Every third Saturday of the month, a bit of Brooklyn’s edgy culture is transplanted to the Ruby Room in Hillcrest, by the name of Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School San Diego. Dr. Sketchy’s gives Saturday nights a new meaning by combining art, models and booze to create unforgettable live-drawing sessions.
Guests need only come prepared with sketchbooks, cash for drinks and open minds. The coordinators of Dr. Sketchy’s provide the rest of the off-the-wall entertainment.
According to its website, Dr. Sketchy’s is an art movement that addresses the question, “Why can’t drawing people be sexy?” A refreshing alternative to routine weekend nights spent in downtown’s bar and club scene, Dr. Sketchy’s allows guests to enjoy a drink and spend several hours drawing a wide array of costume-themed models, ranging from hunky men and mermaids to sci-fi fantasy figures. Prizes are awarded to guests who win contests that are held throughout the evening, such as “best left-handed drawing” and “best incorporation of a woodland critter.”
The good news for drawing-impaired individuals: Art skills are not required.
“The beauty about Dr. Sketchy’s is there’s no pressure to produce an absolute masterpiece on the spot, nor is there any judgment from the rest of the world,” Dr. Sketchy’s director Nikki, who preferred to be mentioned by first name only, said. “There is just encouragement to bring to life whatever your heart desires in that moment. So I’d say people do come to practice their art skills, but in a very lighthearted and fun way.”
In 2005, artist Molly Crabapple founded Dr. Sketchy’s in Brooklyn, NY. Crabapple sought to revamp the world of art through Dr. Sketchy’s funky and playful mix of cabaret and drawing. The San Diego branch was launched in 2007 during Comic Con. Crabapple made a special appearance and hosted the first San Diego session. There are currently more than 100 Dr. Sketchy’s branches around the globe and each location has its own flavor and set of themes.
The San Diego branch’s affectionately calls its guests “art monkeys.” They come from all different backgrounds and talents to enjoy the fun vibes of the session or put their artistic skills to good use. Models pose in different positions for a certain length of time, allowing the “art monkeys” to sketch away before time runs out.
“We welcome peeps from all walks of life, artists and non-artists alike,” Nikki said. “Our artists range in talents and skills from the absolute beginner to the professional. Art monkeys also differ in the types of materials they use to draw, such as pencils, ink and watercolor. However, the thing to remember is Dr Sketchy’s is not for the faint of heart. It can be a wild ride.”
The Dr. Sketchy’s sessions are only open to ages 21 and older. However, Dr. Sketchy’s is a portable operation. Special events can be organized by request for audiences 18 years and older.
Sessions held at the Ruby Room have an entrance fee of $10. For such an unforgettable experience, it is worth the price.
“What is there not to love about Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School San Diego?” Nikki said. “The models, the drawing, the music, the themes, the set dressing, the contests, the prizes, the atmosphere and even the booze. Another included special is mingling with and creating art alongside fellow art monkeys. The whole experience is unlike any other.”