Dr. Sketchy RVA: A Tribute to Bettie Page

Last night I went downtown to Gallery 5 for the latest installment of our local chapter of Dr. Sketchy. It was the third overall, but the first I'd been to. I wanted to make the last monthly meeting, and it just didn't work out...but the theme for the night, "A Tribute to Bettie Page", just sounded like a can't-miss, and it didn't disappoint.

A word to explain just what Dr. Sketchy is, from their own website:

"Dr. Sketchy's is the little Brooklyn event that became a movement. Founded in 2005 by artist Molly Crabapple, Dr. Sketchy's asked a simple question. Why can't drawing naked people be sexy?

Here's our attempt at an answer

We combed New York to find the most beautiful burlesque dancers, the most bizarre circus freaks, and the most rippling hunks of man. Then, every other Saturday, we let you draw them for three hours. Interspersed with posing are comedy skits and ridiculous drawing contests (best left handed drawing? Best incorporation of a woodland animal?) where you can win booze or prizes."

The model last night, who goes by the stage name of Boo Boo Darlin', was really good. She had Bettie's look nailed, right down to the signature bangs. Having pored over so many of Dave Stevens' fantastic and inspiring Bettie Page drawings recently made it difficult to remember to draw what I was actually seeing and not simply re-interpret the poses through my own cartoonier style...it's a problem I often have when drawing from a live model, in fact, and I don't think I was particularly successful last night. Also, she was standing kind of above those of us drawing, on a table about four feet high, which made the perspective a little tricky.

All I could think of the entire time was how much fun it would've been if my friend Bill, another Rocketeer and Bettie fan, had been able to come along. Still, I had a lot of fun, and had a great time drawing for two-and-a-half hours. I'll definitely be back next month!

Here are a few of my attempts:


willy willions said...

How cool! I would have loved to join you!

As far as "drawing what you see" vs. "filtering through your own cartoony style"-- I'm increasingly of the opinion that the only thing that makes a drawing interesting IS the filter of the artist's style. Accurate academic figure drawing is not, in itself, art.

The only drawing I've done lately is from sculptures at the Met museum. While they may accurately record what I see, even at their best they look...academic.

Mack said...

Great stuff, Rob. I especially like the last one. Her expression is perfect.

Shon Richards said...

I too am a fan of the expression on the last sketch. It's really great.

Pat Lewis said...

These are great! I'm headed to the Pittsburgh Dr. Sketchy's on Monday.

Kyle T. Webster said...

These are nice, Rob.

I met Molly in NYC three years ago - she's pretty fun and it looks like her idea has spread all over the country. That's great news.

Somebody tried to get Dr. S. going in GSO, but I don't know if it worked out.

Robert Ullman said...

Thanks, all!

Kyle- Doesn't surprise me to hear that...as someone intimately familiar with both towns, it's always a struggle to get something like this going and keep it going!

James Anderson said...

John Nagridge always said that if you ever went to a Dr. Sketchy session with us that you'd kick our butts. Really nice stuff, Rob!


Bettie Blogger said...

You have a great, clean style.

Would you like to be featured on the Bettie Page Blog?


Boo Boo said...

Boo Boo Darlin' here! LOVE LOVE love these sketches! Was wondering if it would be ok for me to post them to my facebook/myspace pages....with credit to you of course!
Yay! So glad you enjoyed Dr. Sketchy's!!
Boo Boo Darlin' booboodarlin@gmail.com