Pip (Astro) Bayley Resident artist and blogger for Dr Sketchy’s Anti-art School Birmingham

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Dr Sketchy's Birmingham - Spring Has Sprung event held on Saturday 26th May 2012

Boooiiinnnng! Springtime for Dr. Sketchy's

It was an warm and sunny day back in May at the Victoria for another Dr Sketchy's, which was appropriate for the theme was 'Spring Has Sprung'. The smaller-than-usual crowd (undoubtedly due to the unseasonably - for this year at least - good weather) were treated to a blooming good show of vernal delights, starting with a song and a pose from our host Liberty Pink in a emerald dress adorned with flowers. She was followed by Shirley Windmill (no, not that Shirley Windmill) and her massive marrow, the subject her first song, the old music hall classic 'The Marrow Song (Oh, What a Beauty)'. She followed this with 'Land of Hope and Glory' prior to posing in rosettes along with the aforementioned large squash.

Liberty Pink returned with a rendition of the Tom Lehrer anti-avian air 'Poisoning Pigeons in the Park' and posed for another sitting, this time accompanied by assistant Tiffany Beau. Taking a stroll in the 'English Country Garden' next was Velma von Bon Bon, besieged by a swarm of bees that forced her to shed numerous items of clothing after which she posed for us (with the bees). I also won the prize for this one. Please excuse the shirt… Coming out of her cocoon, we next witnessed the transformation of the artist formerly known as Dani California into Mia Merode and her balletic butterfly burlesque routine.

Finally, our host Liberty Pink returned to round up proceedings, first getting back into the habit (well, dressed as a nun) for her rendition of 'Edelweiss' from the 'The Sound of Music', which was whipped aside revealing lederhosen and swastikas for a high-kicking take on 'Springtime for Hitler' from Mel Brooks's classic 'The Producers'. There are more photos from the whole shebang here.

Dr Sketchy's bounces back tomorrow, the 28th July. We'll be moseying on down to the saloon bar (well, the function room upstairs) at The Victoria for an afternoon in the 'Wild Wild West', featuring Liberty PinkMysti VineRose ThorneParma Violet and Steve Pledger (who I appear to have not credited for his appearance at the 'Americana' Dr Sketchy's as Sandy to Liberty Pink's John Travolta in their performance of a medley of songs from the musical 'Grease'. Apologies!). Doors open at 3.30pm, and for admission you'll have to rustle up £10. I'll be there, along with fellow cartoonist, business partner at Drawnalism and future Best Man Matt 'Hack' Buck (and possibly a return appearance for my Mum). See you there, gringo!




Dr Sketchy's Birmingham - Spring Has Sprung event.

By Pip (Astro) Bayley

Writing this on another wet and miserable summer day it is hard to imagine that the sun ever shone in England. It did and it was on one of these rare and gloriously sunny days that we made our way to the Victoria in Birmingham to attend Dr Sketchy's 'Spring has Sprung' event.


The sunny weather meant that there were slightly less of us than usual, apparently some people would rather sit in their gardens than sit in a room drawing girls. Idiots!


Those of us who had made the right choice and decided to draw climbed the stairs to the Victoria's exclusive studio bar (room above the pub) and were greeted by the soothing sound of Vivaldi's four seasons (Spring of course) played by resident Birmingham Sketchy's DJ J.


The venue has been known to get a little warm and the girls had pulled out all the stops to keep us comfortable.We were treated to a barrage of electrical fans, Windows had been thrown open, and the sunlight streamed in. However in all his majestic glory even the sun was not as bright and dazzling as the gorgeous Liberty Pink who welcomed us with the musical number 'Spring Spring Spring'.




Liberty , a vision in verdant green, welcomed us all and asked if there were any Dr Sketchy's Birmingham virgins in the house. There were, several in fact, and they were all made welcome with a spontaneous round of applause. New attendees welcomed, Liberty gave us a twenty minute pose adorned with various spring blooms.





She then came amongst us and chose her favourite drawing. Liberty chose Alexandra 'Sasha' Balan, a newcomer, because she 'Liked the way she drew my haircut and boobs' and what better credentials for a piece of art.




Sasha was welcomed to the stage and presented her prize, a wonderful bouquet of flowers, as it was Sasha's first time Liberty explained that the second (and more important prize) was that she had to give her a kiss. Cheeks kissed Sasha retook her seat and Liberty introduced our next act Miss Shirley Windmill.


Miss Windmill bounded on to the stage and hit us right between the eyes with a good old fashioned, old time music hall song and dance act. Full of innuendo and charm which cumulated (or should that be cultivated?) in the revealing of the other star of her act, a bright green, extraordinarily large and juicy marrow.




Shirley and the marrow then performed an amazing routine which had us all open jawed and all hoping the rosette's covering her modesty weren't held on with safety pins.


Shirley and the marrow then posed for us for twenty minutes. The mix of a beautiful girl and a large vegetable made a great combination to draw and we all had great fun. Shirley chose her favourite who was brought to the stage. Another newcomer (Hooray!) Christine Hodges. Christine graciously accepted her bouquet and now knowing the routine gave both Shirley and Liberty a kiss on the cheek. After such excitement we were ready for a break, so break we did.



This was a great opportunity to say hello to everyone. Newcomers were soon chatting with regulars and everyone was showing each other their work. The atmosphere at Dr Sketchy's Birmingham is always so friendly and warm that it always feels like a big happy family so the breaks are always less about having a break and more about catching up with old, and making new friends, seeing how others work and showing your own work. But breaks can't last forever and we were here to draw so we were pleased when we were welcomed back.


Liberty Pink took to the stage again singing a wonderful ditty, and handing out free snacks, 'what a lovely song' we thought as we all tucked in to our free food 'I wonder what it's called?'. We soon found out 'Poisoning Pigeons in the Park', oh dear, suddenly those free snacks didn't seem so appetising. But of course Liberty wasn't trying to kill us (although I am sure she has caused a few hearts to stop in her time) she came to entertain us and get us to be creative and so we moved on to the next pose.




Liberty was joined on stage by the graceful doll like beauty, floor manager and vision in pink that is Miss Tiffany Beau.



Posing as though on a park bench the girls arranged themselves for a twenty minute pose. Tiffany chose to hold aloft a beautiful silk parasol which framed the pose wonderfully.




The pose ended, Tiffany got the feeling back in her arms and they moved around the group and chose there favourite picture. The winner was John Abbiss, regular attendee, first time winner. The girls handed him his flowers, kisses were exchanged and the next act took to the stage.



The delightful and delectable Velma Von Bon Bon, a Dr Sketchy's Birmingham regular and one of the funniest performers on the scene, entertained us dressed as an English country lady besieged by bees, needless to say the bees soon got everywhere, in everything and under every piece of clothing and Miss Von Bon Bon, in an attempt to alleviate the problem, was soon bereft of (almost) all of her garments. Cue huge applause and laughter, such a great performance.



Velma then joined us back on stage and gave us two great ten minute poses.


As Velma chose her favourite picture Liberty commented that 'Velma has more layers on than a game of pass the parcel', she also said 'I love her name because I can say Velma Von Bon Bon Bon Bon Bon, I feel so Lingual, or is it Labial?' Mercifully at that point Velma had chosen her favourite picture.


Dr Sketchy's Birmingham regular Alex Hughes joined the girls on stage with his two amazing creations.  


Flowers were given out, more beautiful girls were kissed and then Liberty introduced our final performer of the afternoon Mia Merode.


Mia emerged as a beautiful fairy (think Cottingley not Christmas tree) with a stunning pair of Prussian blue butterfly wings which she used to full effect. She performed an act that was beautiful and mesmerising. An amazing moment was when various petals and flowers she had hidden amongst her clothing were picked up by the electric fans at the front of the stage and cascaded playfully around her. An amazing and magical act which was made even more amazing by the fact that all of the act was done 'en pointe'.



Mia then fluttered back on stage and gave us two ten minute poses. One pose saw her with both arms held high above her head which was wonderful to draw, but also caused a lot of us to ask 'are you OK like that?' 'do you want a rest?' 'are you SURE you're OK like that? etc' throughout the pose. She made it though and then chose her favourite picture.



A beautiful watercolour by another regular the wonderful Daniel Stedman. And so with our last performer leaving the stage we asked ourselves was this the end? Of course not this is Dr Sketchy's Birmingham and there are always surprises in store.





Our finale. Liberty Pink rejoined us, dressed as a demure Fraulein, and sung to us the joys of 'Edelweiss' the timid mountain flower. Dr Sketchy's Birmingham, demure? Timid flowers? Not for long! It didn't take long before Liberty changed the pace. She was soon belting out perhaps the classiest of all Springtime songs 'Springtime for Hitler'.



Goodbye to the demure the milkmaid outfit and hello to a naughty black corset with suspenders and those oh so fashionable Nazi insignia adornments. As we neared the end of the song all of this was topped off by Liberty adopting the notorious toothbrush moustache, and goose-stepping around the stage and into our hearts.



Through the rapturous applause Liberty just had time to thank all of our performers, our resident DJ, the delightful Candee (organiser, official photographer and all round good egg) and remind us that the next event is on Saturday 28th July and will be a Wild Wild West spectacular.


As we left the darkness and rejoined the sunshine we may not have been tanned but we all had a rosy glow and were all looking forward to doing it again in July; on the 28th.


For more photographs from this event go here:




Pip (Astro) Bayley Resident artist and blogger for Dr Sketchy's Anti-art School Birmingham

Photographs by Candee Photography