White Night Brighton, 2011

On October 29th, there was the annual festival of white night in Brighton. This is a yearly event on the night that the clocks go back, and there are many free art installations, activities, and special events spread around the Brighton “Lanes”. This event holds a special place in my heart, as it is this event last year that I first started drawing – and had great fun, despite taking an extra five months to start it consistently.

This year, Draw (the new name for the “Brighton Life Drawing Sessions”) ran a bigger session than last year, and took over the inside of St. Pauls church on West street, with public admittance from 20:00 to 4:00 am. I was part of the volunteer team that helped set up, and we all turned up four hours before the expected start to set up the modelling areas, and generally prepare for the onslaught. Luckily, there was a wonderful quantity of food provided by one of the volunteers, Keith, and there was enough time left over at the end of setting up for us all to have a banquet before the models needed to get into costume for the rest of the evening.

The evening was a great success – and in total around 600 people came to draw – at times it got very busy in the church and there was very nearly standing room only! I didn’t get as much drawing in as I should have – there was a lot of joy for me in just being in the atmosphere, chatting to people both out in the main area and in the back areas with the other volunteers. What drawing I did get done, however, was remarkably productive – and I was quite happy with the results. They can all be seen here, but I will talk about a couple of my favourites in this post.

After a set of five minute poses, which included one I liked of Lucy, I drew a slightly longer 15-20 minute post of Sofia. Now, I like drawing Sofia (our previous drawings can be seen here), and get on very well with her, but am frustrated by the fact that I find capturing her likeness pretty difficult. But the picture I did here I am extremely proud of – and is probably my best picture to date of her:

After drawing Sofia, I stopped for a chat-and-tea break, and started chatting to Michelle

Charlotte and Michelle

in the dressing room – this was to be her first time modelling, and I love chatting to new people doing anything, and love to draw people who I haven’t drawn before! I started by drawing a couple of five minute poses, then came back to draw a medium length pose of both Michelle and Charlotte. I wasn’t entirely certain on the post length for this one, so rushed on Charlotte a bit – but am generally happy.

After this, I went to draw a 15 minute of Emma, a couple of shorter ones of Charlotte, and then drew a medium length picture of another new (or just not drawn by me before) model – Amy.

After another break, it was about 3:15am and the drawing was still going on strong, despite everyone starting to feel pretty tired. I took the opportunity to draw Otto, a model I had heard of but not drawn before – a couple of weeks previously, he had apparently been doing headstands for the short poses! We didn’t quite get that, but he did do some yoga poses – including the legs-over-backwards one shown on the far left of the inset picture. It’s interesting how you get used to drawing similar poses and body structure – I had a moment frozen as I realised that I didn’t ‘know’ how to draw this pose. I definitely look forwards to drawing Otto again.

After this, there was a final, 20 minute pose which all the remaining models took part in. After my successful one of Lucy earlier, I decided to dedicate the time to drawing her again – quite apart from anything else, I liked the composition of my view and especially liked the striped tights. I’m reasonably happy with the results, especially given the mental state I was in at the time – I wonder if the hand is a little small, something that I do often, but I don’t generally have any complaints.

This was theoretically the end of the evening – and everyone started packing up. I finished colouring in the black of Lucy’s top for a minute, but then managed to get an extra, sneaky, draw in – Lucy, Emma and Frankie all lay down on the cushions for warmth and rest, and chatted for about five minutes. They were all still enough that I managed to get a group sketch that I am also pretty proud of – especially as they dispersed about the moment that I finished drawing Frankie. The faces aren’t my best, but I think I captured the moment pretty well, especially the motion of Emma’s chatting.

In summary, it was an extremely wonderful, productive evening, and I was proud to be a part of the setting up and organisation, even if my roles were only minor. I very much look forward to the next big Draw event!

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