By Kim Graziano of Kim Gee Studio
When I moved to the Isle of Man from New York City in early 2016, the first thing I did was search for a local life drawing class. There were plenty of “drink and draw” nights at bars back in Brooklyn, but after dozens of Google searches and asking everyone I met about drawing groups, it became clear that the trend hadn’t caught on yet in the Isle of Man.
After a year on the island and no news on the drink and draw front, I finally realized that if I wanted a drawing group I was going to have to make one myself. The Isle of Man Drawing Club was born! I designed a logo, made a Facebook page, found a pub with good decor and ample seating, and picked a date. I pushed a Facebook event live, and people were actually interested! It seemed like there were a lot of artists on the island doing the same Google searches as me, ready for a social drawing group but hoping someone else would actually make it happen.
And so on 15 June I found myself standing on a stool at The British, introducing myself to 28 local creatives of all ages and occupations. The theme for the first event was Portraits, and I led the group through a series of timed poses where they drew the club member across from them. It seemed like a good choice for our first meeting: staring at a person’s face for 5 minutes is a great way to get to know someone, even if you’re just trying to get their profile right! Everyone was chatting, there was zero pretension or bad attitudes, people just seemed happy to be drawing. It was exactly what I’d hoped for.
After drawing each other for the first hour or so we moved on to self-portraits, then spent some time refining the drawings we worked on earlier that evening. We closed the night the same way we opened it, with 5 minutes of 20 second gesture drawings to keep us from getting too precious about our work. I then asked everyone to pick their favorite drawing from the night and lay it out on their table, and we walked around and mingled, checking out each other’s work and exchanging business cards with new friends.
After the success of the first meeting I got to work coordinating the second one, and decided to take things up a notch. I booked out the private room upstairs at The British instead of making a pub-level reservation, and reached out to a local burlesque dancer about modeling for the club with all her feathery props. I’m finally getting my figure drawing group after all! The meeting is on 20 July, and should be ever better than the last one. All are welcome regardless of skill level, as long as you love drawing we’d love to have you there!