Life Drawing at The Book Club

December 09, 2013
On Saturday the tempestuous fever of Thursday which had given way to a raging cold on Friday had subsided to a mere hacking cough. In other words, bar the fact that I was highly contagious, somewhat disgusting, and sounded like a punctured bicycle tyre I was all good to be out and about! I celebrated my convalescence with a bit of exercise...that is, an exercise in millennial narcissism. My version of the narcissist's basics for recovery are a) Selfies aka immortalising one's perceived attractiveness and shoving it down the virtual throats of one's followers on social media and b) doing something you think you're good at. For some it's dressing up and loitering around Brick Lane waiting for some 'style hunter' to ask to snap their picture for their street style blog. For me it's drawing.

Step 1: Take a lot of selfies to overcompensate for recent radio silence. The internet and its audience are enablers of the modern day malaise of social media narcissism, and who am I to fight this disease? I am but one in a sea of many. More selfies on my Dayre microblog.

Step 2: I finally went to a life drawing class at The Book Club in Shoreditch...!

I've been meaning to go for ages, months really, but never really got around to it. 'Life drawing class postponed, details sketchy' would be the headline for the broadsheet of my shameful lack of commitment. 

'Don't go to Dalston' and 'Shoreditch twat' were surely cocktails made for me. But then again any self-important Shoreditch twat would think that.

I sipped at scotch (with a drop of honey for my cough, doctor's orders) and tried to solve a Rubik's cube. 

In the shadowy depths of The Book Club's basement, our materials and model awaited us. A petite woman, Maryam draped herself over a cloth-clad bench, bathed in red light, her posture and comfort in her nudity recalling the languid grace of la grande odalisque. That she had a smear of red makeup across her eyes and wore an oversized paper crown that, in the flickering light, could be a tribal headdress added to her majesty.

My two favourite drawings of her. My medium of choice was brushes and poster colour for the line work, charcoal for the shadows, and red pastels for the light. Of course I completed all her poses---raging from 5 to 15 minutes---with time to spare.

This was the first pose with the paper crown. From where I was sitting her body was mostly obscured by the big, mad, fringes of the crown flopping everywhere like giant feathers on a massive headdress so I forgo drawing her figure and concentrated on her face instead. I think I was trying to go for a fashion illustration style, but ended up with this smudgy monstrosity. 

My friend's interpretation was far more pleasing to the eye, and had a touch of Art Nouveau about it.

Everyone did really well. I should really make it a point to go to life-drawing once a month.

My friend and I got a ride home from the brightest sunflower of a car...

...certain to add colour to even the dreariest urban landscape.

Maryam looking very different (to me) fully dressed and sans paper crown.

Thank you Ian for the ride home, although admittedly home was only two blocks away. Still...why walk if you can drive? Walking is so...*drumroll*...pedestrian.


  1. Hello,

    Would love to know more about the beautiful sunflower car and how it came to be.
    Looks similar to Lennon's Yellow Submarine Rolls!
    Is it for rent or does it belong to Ian?


    1. Yes it belongs to Ian!
      And it was painted by the same person who did Lennon's car, well spotted!