by Jack Diablo
If you’re anything like me, you appreciate art but possess the ability to render only the most basic images in any recognizable fashion. Not that that has ever stopped us from doodling or fantasizing about creating something that people ooh and ahh at.
The cool thing about art is that you don’t have to be an artist to do it. It’s not like being a doctor. You can’t walk in off the street, don some scrubs and start performing surgery. But that doesn’t mean art isn’t hard, it just means you can practice it untrained without maiming or killing anyone.
However, a little training may be just what it takes to unlock that dormant spark of artistic genius within us. You or I could be the next Andy Warhol with the right motivation, right? But for now, we’re hobbyists which means art school is out of the question. Fortunately for us there are options, and in this case alternatives, but they are plenty and your time is precious so allow me to do the leg work and you can decide for yourself where you belong.
Let’s start with something simple like drawing. Everybody has drawn at some point in their life, if but a doodle, and lately I’ve been hearing some buzz in the Twitterverse about a figure drawing class that goes by the name of Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School.
When attending Dr. Sketchy’s for the first time, it helps to be prepared. First there is the tiny matter of admission. A modest seven dollars gets you in, but bringing your own sketchbook knocks the price down to five. Arriving early is essential as the Sinclair fills up much quicker than you’d expect on a Wednesday night. Early birds get the best seats in the house at a table covered in candy and drawing tools while latecomers are forced to mount bar stools and balance their pads on their laps. Your promptness will also allow you to attain the level of inebriation necessary to lure you out of your shell. This step is essential as you will be ripped from said shell otherwise while participating in this class. A handkerchief might come in handy as well – it’s not polite to drool.
And drool you will as long as buxom tattooed ladies in burlesque costume is your thing, and whose isn’t? But keep it together, we’re making art here! The first round of drawing involves a series of ten one-minute poses that serve as a warm-up. Don’t be a dummy like me and try to reproduce every detail, there’s no time! Stretch your fingers and arm muscles by sketching the basic form or concentrating on a specific area. Trying to do it all in such a short period of time will only frustrate you. And there’s plenty more pencil time so stop worrying, ya turkey!
Between each costume change, your flamboyant host and hostess see that your idle hands are distracted with various forms of entertainment. You can expect singing, blindfolded drawing contests and some harsh criticism. But don’t be discouraged because the only house rule at this party (I mean, class) is “When the art stinks, the bar buys drinks!” Test tubes full of complimentary sake are then distributed amongst the crowd to get the artistic juices flowing. Take the shots, you’ll need ‘em.
The rest of the evening consists of more posing for increasingly longer sittings. Now it’s time to work on those details. I noticed some of my peers taking digital photographs of their favorite poses which they could later go back to and use to finish what they had started on. Not a bad idea if you plan on doing some sketching in your free time.
Possibly the most important thing to keep in mind during your first visit to Dr. Sketchy’s is that you won’t leave an artist. The truth is, if you haven’t spent much time honing the skill, you’ll be lucky to walk away with something remotely resembling the human form. Keep at it and you just might get there but that won’t be why you keep coming back. You’ll be back next month and the month after that because it’s just that much fun!