Dr Sketchy's Anti-Art School

Article by Fergus Ray Murray | 25 Sep 2008

Dr. Sketchy's Anti-Art School makes a triumphant return to Edinburgh next weekend, and very glad we are to see it too. The burlesque life drawing class came to the capital in 2006, and it's been encouraging artists and amateurs alike to whip out their pencils ever since. First started in New York by the alarmingly talented illustrator and burlesque performer Molly Crabapple, Dr. Sketchy's was a reaction against what she saw as inexplicably dull life drawing classes - it seems obvious that sitting around drawing naked people could be great fun, so why wasn't it? She added in some good music, drawing competitions, a bit of humour and the playfulness of burlesque - and the result is an international phenomenon, now with 50 branches in 11 countries, including a very successful Glasgow offshoot which recently had a huge party to celebrate its first birthday.

This session ties in with the ninth Big Draw - a UK-wide campaign running throughout October that aims to get everyone drawing - and in The Skinny's experience there is nothing quite like Dr. Sketchy's to encourage people to flex their artistic muscles. By actively welcoming people of all levels of ability it provides a non-scary spur for those of us who like to draw but never seem to find the time these days. There are silly competitions that tend to be judged on comedy value and the creative interpretation of themes more than artistic talent as such, so the fact you may end up sitting next to art students or professionals is never a problem.

Tallulah Twist has returned as Dr. Sketchy Edinburgh's organiser after producing its 5-star run at the 2007 Fringe, and the delightful Harlequin Kiss is taking over as the hostess with the mostest. This month's session appropriately has a 'Fresher's Fair' theme, with performer Gilda Lily - one of the highlights of the recent burlesque night Gypsy's Tramps and Thieves - appearing as a sexy librarian. We all secretly lust after those horn-rimmed-spectacled minxes, right? ...right?

Dr. Sketchy's Edinburgh will be in residence at The Jazz Bar on the first Saturday of every month, starting Sat 4 Oct, from 1pm-3pm; "late enough that you'll have managed to emerge from the duvet and grab your pencils, late enough that you won't feel *too* guilty buying a drink to toast our beautiful models with". Don't try telling me you have anything better to do on a Saturday afternoon...