Dr Sketchy’s / 21 june 2012
Held at various venues around the world, Dr. Sketchy’s offers up an ‘anti-art school’ experience, giving those who like to dip their nibs in ink a life drawing class with a difference. When I was at art school there was plenty of drink and dames, but not much life drawing funnily enough, so I was very eager to find out what the world of Dr. Sketchy’s was all about.
I ventured up to Chester to take part in The mid-Summer celebration of the North Wales and Chester’s chapter, which looked at the culture of tea and cake (Cream tease to be precise) through the ages. Each set of the performers poses having a distinctly unique feel. Starting with Marie Antoinette (Bexi Owen), with a pinky out, brandishing a cream eclair, moving to the 1800’s for high-tea with delightfully uptight and proper victorian Ma’am Kittie Klaw (of the Ministry of Burlesque).
During the interval the most delicious cupcakes and freshly brewed tea were served (Supplied by Mad Hatter’s of Chester) which give everyone a chance to stretch their legs and have a nose at fellow sketchers’ marks. The second half proceeded with Cherry Blossoms dipping her ravishing fruit into a picture perfect 50’s-retro picnic scene, while Sherry Trifle rounded off the individual poses by showing us how to make the perfect lady sized trifle, topped off with a generous helping of whipped cream of course 😉
The poses at Dr. Sketchy’s are pin-up perfection, with ravishing costumes, delightful company and pencil fuelled panache. Each model did their performance and held a handful of quick poses of a minute or so before giving drawers a more in-depth five to ten minute stance. The class is held by the inimitable Madame ex, the mistress of ceremony – she runs a strict school, but ensures everyone has a wonderful time. The finale of the evening brought all four ladies back on stage for a creamy tableaux that seemed to get messier and sticker by the minute for a whole quarter of an hour. At the end of any Dr. Sketchy’s it’s customary for everyone to put their personal best drawings up for viewing from which the models choose their favourites.
There was a real mix of people taking part that seem to share a genuine sense of community and excitement. It’s also common for the North Wales and Chester drawers to come along in costume depending on the theme: indeed, I shared my table with Treena Angel, a sketchy’s regular, who turned up in full prim victorian regalia. I certainly had a great time, drank lots of tea, did a good deal of drawing, made some new friends and with any luck will be back for more burlesque inspired life-drawing very soon.