Friday, 17 August 2012

Life Drawing Review- Art Macabre at Cass Art

I love Cass Art. There I said it. For those of you who don't know, Cass Art is a chain of art supply shops in London, famous for their insane student sales. Their megastore is in Islington, opposite a joint where you can grab a pretty awesome burger called The Cuban, and comprises of 3 floors of amazing art goodies. Up on the top floor is paper, canvases, portfolios, and as I found out recently, occasionally naked people.

Art Macabre combine life drawing with what I guess you could call "amateur theatrics". It's pretty good fun, and very good value at £8 for 2 hours with several models and poses and materials included. Everyone huddles downstairs before the top floor officially opens and then there's a bum rush for materials and seats. I recommend you go and secure a good seat first- you can always draw with the wrong colour pencil, but if you're short and you end up at the back you'll spend the whole class with a crick in your neck trying to lean round the person in front.

This week's theme was Revenge of the Rejected Toys. In the centre of the room the stage was set with all sorts of kitsch bits and bobs: plastic deer, cutesy paintings of children, and various dolls. We had 5 models plus the MC to provide inspiration for the evening.

First up was the nurse and the broken toy soldier:
(yeah, I'm a bit rusty. I have been doing my daily drawings, but I haven't drawn from a proper model for ages)
Here's another toy soldier drawing, plus the introduction of the pregnant doll:
It was nice to work with charcoal, I used to love it but I haven't used any for ages. And here's where things start to get weird. Miss Doll "gave birth" to a bear, and then tried to breastfeed it before getting angry and rejecting him. There's a sentence I never thought I'd type.

Angry doll (far right) was my favourite pose of the evening. The figures in pen here are the bear (all grown up) and the last model we got, the marionette puppet. My bear looked more like some kind of grotesque ghouly thing but never mind.

So do I recommend Art Macabre? Yes, absolutely! It was a very fun evening. Here's a run down of my tips if you decide to go:
  • bag a good seat first
  • eat before you go! Islington has tons of great restaurants
  • take a drink with you. It's 2 hours long and towards the end I was starting to droop a little
  • be prepared for some weird situations, and don't even think about taking the session seriously
  • don't worry about your level of drawing skill, or the level of skill of the other people in your class. This is not school, there are no grades or marking criteria. Just relax, and draw. People will peep at your pictures though! PEEP RIGHT BACK.
White Rabbit bar in Stoke Newington  do life painting sessions, so I think I might go along to one of those next. I tried painting the other day and discovered how badly out of practice I am. It's embarrassing really. Well, you can't be a master at everything at once.

...or can you?


  1. Hellooo, thanks for posting your review of Art Macabre! I've been thinking of going to one of these sessions after finding out about it today, but couldn't find out much about the concept/what actually happens in a session so this has been very helpful indeed! :) x

  2. love the drawings, especially the baby jane sketches, very cute and creepy!!! The pink is perfect!