Dr. Sketchy’s: Chicago.
Dr. Sketchy’s began life in a Brooklyn dive bar in 2005. Founded by American artists Molly Crabapple and AV Phibes, the anti-art school was conceived as place for sketchers of any standing to meet up and draw “glamorous underground performers in an atmosphere of boozy conviviality.” Its mix of art, burlesque and theatre has since spawned events in over 100 cities around the world.
Ethan Coal, organiser of the Chicago branch, says we’re living in increasingly puritanical times. Not only is Dr. Sketchy’s a reaction to this, it also gives artists the opportunity to get out of the studio and away from the computer.
“The human figure is not just bones and muscles,” Ethan explains, “but incredibly sexy and alluring. And Chicago’s burlesque community celebrates women (and men, occasionally) of all shapes and sizes, which is an important reminder to artists who may have been using airbrushed photographs of women as reference.
“I find it incredibly rewarding to meet both new and experienced artists who are thrilled by the new challenge of drawing burlesque models.”
Dr. Sketchy’s Chicago takes place at the Everleigh Social Club, where the city’s art and burlesque communities work side by side. As with similar events around the world, it features life models in unique costumes, often centred on a specific theme and often nude – at least, in those cities that allow nudity. But more than that, it enables pros and non-pros alike to sharpen their skills and gain confidence in drawing, and have fun while doing it.
“Traditional figure drawing can often be a solemn affair, Ethan says, “with very little social interaction. Dr. Sketchy’s gives artists of all skill levels an opportunity to draw in an irreverent but dedicated manner, and encourages them to interact with each other. It also brings a little danger and excitement to art.”
Dr. Sketchy’s encourages artists to stop using airbrushed photographs of women as reference and draw what they see.