Monday, February 18, 2013

Disappointing Dr. Sketchy

2/17/13 Velvet Black ink, Stillman & Birn sketchbook

Maybe I just had other expectations.
Or maybe I just got spoiled by the professional life drawing models at Gage and other drawing studios, who are probably among the best in the industry.
In any case, what I got last night at Julia’s on Broadway, host of Dr. Sketchy, was quite different.
When I first heard about Dr. Sketchy – which, according to its website, “combs Seattle for the most dazzling burlesque dancers, the most bizarre circus performers, and the most rippling hunks of boylesque. Then, on the 3rd Sunday every month, we let you draw them for three hours” – I was intrigued. Apparently Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School is an ongoing national event hosted by local venues. The up-yours attitude appealed to me. I started looking online for sketches from various Dr. Sketchy locations, and I was particularly inspired by the work of Portland urban sketcher Kalina Wilson (AKA Geminica).
2/17/13 Velvet Black ink
I started thinking about attending a Dr. Sketchy sometime, but I was a bit nervous about going alone. When I heard that Frances and Lynne would be going, that sealed it for me: I was looking forward to a fun evening of unusual life drawing.
Unusual would be an accurate term. Our model was Gleda, a “medicinal scientist by day, contortionist by night.” She did, indeed, strike poses that I would be unlikely to see at a Gage life drawing session. But I use the word “pose” loosely. As a frequenter of “horror conventions and events,” maybe she is used to modeling for photographers but not artists. In any case, she moved constantly. During what was supposed to be a five-minute pose, she held one leg straight up behind her back. Two-and-a-half minutes into the pose, she decided to switch to her other leg! (Granted, holding a pose like that can’t be easy, but she did tell us she has held some poses for as long as 30 minutes.)
2/17/13 Velvet Black ink, Stillman & Birn Beta sketchbook
I encountered other frustrations, such as not being able to see much of her for much of the time, like when she posed on the floor and when I was dodging heads and bodies of other participants in front of me (though I don’t blame the model for the latter). Not to mention that the room was cramped and so cold that I had to keep my jacket zipped up to my chin (OK, now I’m just whining).
At one point, I heard Frances, also frustrated, muttering that she might as well go out to the other part of the restaurant and sketch people sitting at the bar. That’s when my attitude changed. I decided to stop seeing Dr. Sketchy as a life drawing session and instead see it as an urban sketching opportunity, where the “models” never stay still and my view is often blocked.
2/17/13 Nero pencil
After that, I enjoyed myself more, and I have to say that the quesadilla was quite good. But I’m not sure I’ll be going back to Dr. Sketchy.


  1. Medical scientist by day and contortionist by night sounds so interesting. Your post was so amusing. I'm glad you were finally able to relax and appreciate the session for what it was turning out to be. I do love the idea though...

    1. Friends who had been to Dr. Sketchy before said that other models have been much better, so last night probably wasn't typical, fortunately. I, too, like the idea of it so much that I might go back someday after all!

  2. It's nice you were able to re-frame the experience and then enjoy it more. I think Dr. Sketchy might be more than USA as I read about one in Germany (blogger from Vancouver, BC spending 3 mo in Berlin).


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...