Sunday, December 3, 2017

Jammin’, Part 1: Models

12/2/17 Awkward foreshortened pose!

I probably say this every year, but Drawing Jam just keeps getting better and better! The annual all-day drawing festival sponsored by Gage Academy is something I look forward to all year (this was my sixth consecutive year participating). With nude and costumed models, demos by Gage instructors, live music, busts and still life arrangements, self-portrait stations and plenty of art exhibits by students and faculty, it’s the most fun a sketcher can have on a cold and rainy December day.

I spent most of my day at Skinner Auditorium sketching costumed models. Although I missed the Seattle Seafair Pirates and Comic Book Characters for a Cause who have modeled in previous years, this year we were treated to four drag queens instead! Fantastic dancers, they took turns performing for us while the others posed. 

The rest of the time, Gage’s usual lineup of stellar models posed two at a time on a platform, which made it easy for the large crowd to see one or the other from anywhere in the room.

Shown here are sketches of the program models (mostly 15-to-20-minute poses); tomorrow I’ll show sketches of the unwitting models.

Technical notes: I’m still thinking about minimalism and my personal challenge to slim down my kit again. As I was leaving for Drawing Jam, instead of my usual DIY sketchbook, I grabbed my tan Stillman & Birn Nova, which I knew would be a nice, warm color for life drawing. It wasn’t a true test of minimalism because I still had my usual full assortment of materials with me, but I consciously kept my choices narrow. At the end of the day, I reviewed what I had used: my Sailor fude fountain pen; a double-sided Akashiya brush pen containing water-soluble inks (black on one end; gray on the other – more about this handy pen sometime soon); a waterbrush; one graphite pencil; one water-soluble graphite pencil; one white colored pencil; one red water-soluble pencil. One sketchbook and seven tools – not bad for a full day of sketching. I think something like that easily could be my minimal sketch kit in January when I put myself to the full challenge. 

It’s been so long since I’ve done regular life drawing (either formally or while urban sketching) that I’d forgotten how much I like S&B’s paper sizing and texture (Alpha, Beta and now Nova) with a simple ink wash. That’s still one of my favorite ways of achieving soft shading on people’s faces.


  1. Models and demos too!!! That makes the day even more fun. Great sketches!!! You have such nice movement in the fabrics.

    1. Thanks, Joan! Clothing is a different challenge from the usual nude models!


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