Sketchy’s Insanitorium

They say the best way to get your creativity going again is to do something out of your comfort zone.

I don’t really like that phrase. I don’t like the idea of there being a zone where you can be nestled in and never need to venture out of lest you want to be horribly scarred for life. Or something.


A few days ago, I was browsing about on Tumblr when I saw a link to the Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School. Founded by Molly Crabapple about seven years ago, it takes a bit of a slant look at live drawing classes, spicing them up by having burlesque and cabaret performers be the live models.

I tweeted that I’d be interested in going, but I wasn’t sure. I’m not the greatest sketch artist in the world and I didn’t want to venture out of that zone and be embarrassed.

Cut to this afternoon, when I arrived at a pub in Islington to venture out of that zone with lightning speed.

The venue was lovely, and I tentatively sketched the stage on which the models would be sitting. That was about the only sketch that I did which I liked. The compère, a sprightly young man named Dusty Limits, guided us through the afternoon, making us sketch models Frankie Von Flirter and Ellie in many different poses.  As the day progressed, I felt more and more out of tune with myself until my bubble burst at the end.

I was glad to be going home. Not that I didn’t enjoy it and not that I don’t think Sketchy’s isn’t a totally awesome initiative… It’s me I didn’t enjoy. I could not silence the voice in my head that said that I was way out of my depth. I can understand the value of doing something outside your comfort zone, but I was so far out that I’m having a hard time going back in again.

I dunno.

Still, I actually did it. I trundled through the snow (IN MARCH) (IN SPRING) and went to the event and actually participated in something that made me feel like a twat. I’m now home and I haven’t cried or had a nervous breakdown or anything of the likes. And I actually quite enjoyed the atmosphere.

That must count for something, right?

(I might go again. Might.)



Leave a comment


  1. Your sketching adventure reminded me of a book I read, The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. Her workbook is about discovering the artist within, regardless of the medium you choose. (It’s how I came to terms with my heart’s desire to write.) Anyway, she encourages you to “cross train” with other artistic venues to feed your creative soul. When I read your post, I thought about all the textures and smells and atmosphere you must have soaked in, and despite your discomfort, I’m impressed with you venturing into the unknown. Actual sketching seemed to be beside the point.

  2. At least you gave it a go. 🙂


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