New York is buzzing with talented people who do creative things for a living. This makes it an exciting place to live but the flip-side is that people can be a little disappointed when they hear that you work in that dull and evil world labelled ‘corporate’. So to add a little something to my creative persona I dragged myself off to Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School one Sunday afternoon. The school’s founder, the multi-talented ‘art school dropout’, Molly Crabapple, says everyone has at least 1000 bad drawings in them. I may never get as far as testing her theory but so far p.10 of my A3 sketchpad does not contradict it. My father, who has definitely completed 1000 drawings in his time, many of which had the nymph-esque hippies of the Knysna Forest as their subject, tells me that drawing the human form is the best practice because it’s also the hardest. If you can draw a body, you can draw anything apparently. In search of bodies, I arrived in the LES’ burlesque HQ, the Slipper Room, and was greeted by a stilted puppeteer named Creamed Stu dangling vet performer, Scooter Pie on the mini stage, while thirsty sketchers helped themselves to rye-on-the-rocks at the bar.
While the bar at Dr Sketchy sessions creates a convivial and slightly bad-ass atmosphere and also helps to loosen up the drawing hand, it sadly meant on this occasion that the lovely Scooter Pie had to suction her form into a transparent full body stocking – NY State law doesn’t trust us to mix nudity and liquor apparently. Drawing a sheer morph is actually a lot more challenging than drawing just an old fashioned nude as it turns out. Where there should be folds, there is just sheerness. I was further challenged by having arrived too late to secure a spot at a table (nice stable drawing surface) so had to assume a rather awkward leaning stance against a window. This is what I was painfully able to produce:
The upshot was that I found myself strategically positioned next to an attractive hipster man who looked like he knew how to draw standing up. He confirmed during a pose change that he was a legitimate Artist, with a degree in it and everything. It turned out to be quite a long pose change and I learnt that the Artist lived in Brooklyn, wielded his talents by day doing animation and had a dog (sweet) that was holidaying in Sweden with his ex (warning sign).
When Scooter Pie resumed her posish on stage, the Artist, in the most romantic gesture I’d been on the receiving end of all year, offered me the use of his blue crayon. It came just at the right time, as the resident funnyman MC decided to spice things up and instructed us all to draw the models ‘in the style of a cartoon’. Here is my best attempt at transforming Scooter Pie into a Smurf:
From the outcome of the blue sketch evidenced above, you are correct to assume that I didn’t win any free body shots for my ‘in the style of a cartoon’ efforts. I graciously but quickly handed the blue crayon back to the Artist with a flush of the cheeks that said ‘I’m so bad at this and you’re so good – why don’t you take advantage of the uneven playing field and ask me for my number’. The Artist, having invented this little crayon exchange game, was obviously familiar with how it plays out and casually threw out the ‘Do you want to get a drink sometime?’ to which I responded with an equally casual ‘Sure’. Eight amateur sketches and one powerful flirtation later, my first Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School lesson drew to a close. Given my lack of formal training, I like to think Ms Crabapple would be very proud of my results.