Alex Hughes, one of our resident artists, does a Sketchy's Birmingham Retrospective...


The sketchy performance of the title is mine, as I've not posted about Dr Sketchy's Birmingham in over a year now.  Well, as I was packing up my kit to head off to another class on Saturday, I thought this would be the ideal time to post a selection of drawings from Sketchy's past. Due to circumstances beyond my control, I unfortunately missed about half of events, and as ever, my notes from the ones I was at were, er, sketchy as well. As such, this post will be a bit short on the usual waffle, but full of many, many sketches of Sketchy's. 

26 March 2011 - Toy Stories

Over a year ago now, but this romp through the children's toy box threw out a number of interesting  costumes and poses, including the delightfully odd Marnie Scarlett's toy soldier, Fanny Divine's Jack in a box, host Liberty Pink's ballerina doll and rounded up with Parma Violet's portrayal of Jesse the Cowgirl from Toy Story 2. You can see more playthings on the Facebook page and Flickr set. 




28 May 2011 - Fantastical Creatures

Unfortunately, I couldn't make this one, but you can get a flavour of the event on the Facebook page and Flickr set.

9 July 2011 - Americana

Dr Sketchy's returns to it's Stateside roots with an American-themed series of outfits this week. To get things up and running we had a medley of rock and roll hits from Johnny and the Speedos, who also posed for a few sketches. Other models on the bill included two sets from Dante Posh - that of a 50s styled nurse and a High School majorette. Host Liberty Pink and maid Fleur du Mal posed for us as well; and rounding things off was knife-wielding housewife Sherry Trifle.  More on Facebook and Flickr.


24 September 2011 - Rocky Horror Picture Show

Another one I couldn't make, sadly (I think I was on an oh-so-rare holiday). Facebook link.

26 November 2011 - Winter Wonderland

On this unseasonally cold April evening, (it was snowing earlier) I'm reminded of the warm reception we had from this Winter Wonderland themed set. Wintry costumes were worn (and removed) by the likes of our host Liberty Pink, Dani California, Vendetta Vain, Parma Violet and were cooled off by Sherry Trifle's chilling Judderman. Facebook linkFlickr link



28 January 2012 - Eastern Promise

Another one I couldn't make (I was all geared up for this one, but was struck down on the morning by a particularly skull-splitting headache). Anyway, you can get a taste of Eastern Promise on the Facebook page. 

31 March 2012 - Comic Book Capers

And finally to last Saturday's event, which follows in the footsteps of the comic-themed event at BICS a couple of years back. It was nice to see a few costumes again, notably Parma Violet's Harley Quinn routine, our host Liberty Pink's Tank Girl outfit (which we didn't get chance to draw last time), and maid Tiffany Beau's Silk Spectre (aka Sally Jupiter from Watchmen). We had a rare pair of male models in the shape of Batman and (apparently a last minute) Robin, who were then joined by Liberty in her Catwoman costume. Velma Von Bon Bon revealed her secret identity and Ivy Wilde played true to her name as Poison Ivy. More pics on Facebook and Flickr.


And that, hopefully, brings me bang up to date! Phew! It's all on again soon though as Dr Sketchy's Birmingham returns with Spring Has Sprung on the 26th March 2012. More details when I have them…

Alex Hughes - 



Saturday March 31st 2012

Dr Sketchy's Comic Book Capers... or Whaaaaaaaaaam Bam Thank You Spiderman!

As Bruce Wayne once said 'Criminals are a superstitious cowardly lot' artists however are a little braver, and so it was pencils, pens and paints in hand it was we descended on the Victoria Pub for the latest Dr Sketchy's Birmingham.

An integral part of Dr Sketchy's is getting a good seat (they are all good seats), usually this leads to a sense of determination upon entering. Pay money. Head down. Find seat. Draw!

After this initial distraction we settled down and sat back for an afternoon of enjoyment, art and entertainment. Our long standing and beautiful host Miss Liberty Pink kicked off proceedings with a jazzy, hi energy, version of the Spiderman theme tune. Liberty was dressed in a Spidey costume so tight you could practically see her webbing. 'Its for boys age 9-10' she told us, 'I'm keeping it'. Brilliant!




Unusually for us our first two models were boys, Al and John who had just come to watch the show. Ten minutes earlier they had found themselves bundled into the gents with a costume each ( I know I walked in on them (I may never sleep again)). They took to the stage dressed as Batman and Robin and feigned uncomfortableness for about ten seconds. Then they realised they were dressed as Batman and Robin and that lots of people were looking at them, that was AWESOME!



Both of the boys embraced the role with great gusto, striking manly man poses that would of put the fear of god into any criminal. And talking of criminals the boys were joined on stage for there second pose by the latex and mask wearing Catwoman, aka Miss Liberty Pink in what was only the first of many costume changes.

Another pose was struck and drawings were drawn, the dynamic duo and feisty feline walked among there audience surveying our work. There favourite piece belonged to the excellent Alex Hughes who can often be seen at Dr Sketchys and always produces great work. 


Liberty then introduced onto the stage Miss Parma Violet with her Harley Quinn act. Never has the Jokers squeeze looked so delightful. As the act ended and we began to applaud Parma ran off stage to 'complete the look' .


While we were waiting Miss Liberty Pink rejoined us, and as a tribute to the late great Eartha Kitt (one of the original Catwomen) sung 'I wanna be evil'. Eartha would have been proud, Liberty gave it her all and was dazzling as always.


Miss Parma Violet then rejoined us, now with full Harley white face and fizzing cartoon bomb and we set about drawing her. Harley Quinn and Parma Violet are both inspiring characters, and a treat to draw, the combination of the two seemed to bring out the best in the artists and some great pieces were produced. Parma Violet gambolled amongst the crowd and chose Ann Brierley as her favourite.





A short interval was announced and we all had a chance to refill our glasses and look at each others work.

Then back for the second half, and KAPOW! who is this coming from behind the spangly curtain (pub door)? Jessica Rabbit. Or rather Miss Liberty Pink dressed as Jessica Rabbit. Liberty strolled and sung her way round the audience, and in true Jessica fashion, picked on several of the male members of the audience who all looked a mixture of slightly embarrassed and thrilled (mostly thrilled).


Liberty welcomed us back and then introduced to the stage the beautiful Miss Tiffany Beau. Tiffany looked stunning as the 'Silk Spectre' and after some initial confusion and hilarity as to whether we had 'started' or not, she gave us a lovely seven minute pose with a smashing bit of foreshortening.


Tiffany was joined by Liberty on the stage in her fourth and final costume change. This time she had donned full Tank Girl regalia, complete with gun, bother boots, and snarl. Liberty gave us a seven minute pose, gun in hand and full of attitude. Both girls then wandered through the audience and chose Norma Robertson as there favourite artist, whose work was delightful and really captured both girls.




Next up was Velma Von Bon Bon, or rather not her but a sack containing her. Brought on to the stage by a villainous villain (who looked remarkably similar to our Batman) and forced to escape, with help from various props and an office chair. It's very hard to make office furniture look sexy but Velma Von Bon Bon definitely managed it, and then some. Velma then proceeded to don spangly arm bands, cape and corset to transform into the deliciously dashing Super Velma.

Velma's act was brilliantly done and very funny. We all jut about managed to control our laughter enough to complete a twenty minute pose. As we were drawing Liberty and Tiffany treated us to an impromptu dance performance of Black Lace's 'Superman' (one of many Superhero themed records chosen by our house DJ) which caused even more hilarity.

When we had finished Velma flew amongst the audience and chose her favourite drawing, which was by another Sketchys regular Lisa Harper. Lisa's work is always exceptional and she has a way of capturing the girls that is lovely.


Liberty introduced the now fully painted Steve, and John (the artist) back onto the stage and we were able to marvel at John's work. A truly exceptional piece, everyone was very impressed. But no time to dwell too long as we still had one more act to go.

Miss Ivy Wilde, whose routine saw the bookish Pamela Isley transform into the go go dancing and sizzling Poison Ivy. Dressed of course in the standard foliage bikini but this bush had a surprise. POW! A flick of a switch and a hundred million lights appeared within the greenery. Brilliant! We definitely needed 'an ocean of calomine lotion' but what we had was paper and pencils. Ivy retook the stage and gave us our final Twenty minute pose of the day.



It is a long standing tradition that whoever has the models favourite picture comes to the stage and gets to kiss both the model and Liberty Pink (and indeed anyone else that might be hanging around). Had Alex Hughes been feeling left out at only having men to kiss (he had won at the beginning of the afternoon with his Batman and Robin picture) then the Burlesque gods were smiling on him. Alex's brilliant art saw him take to the stage for a second time and this time get to kiss two girls. Liberty again and Miss Ivy Wilde. After the kisses Alex took his seat and Liberty serenaded, our punk rocked, us with one last song.

And that was it. Our comic book capers had reached the final page but before we left Miss Liberty Pink told us the next event would be on May 26 and would be themed 'Spring has Sprung'. She then proceeded to show us the website address in a way that was memorable, probably illegal, and truly amazing (see our site for photos).

We packed up our pencils, put on our capes slid down our batpoles (stairs) and headed back to the City streets vowing to return 'Same bat time (ish), Same bat channel' for the next Dr Sketchys Birmingham

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

Photographs by Candee Photography


 Saturday January 29th 2012

Dr Sketchy's Anti-art School Birmingham - Eastern Promise or 'In Birmingham no one can hear you Harem'

Birmingham in January is a cold desolate place so we were all very pleased that the Dr Sketchy's gang would be warming us all up with the promise of palm trees, desserts, deserts, camels, fezzes (fez's?, fezzs?) and some general 'Eastern Promise'. 

My local life drawing group has been going to these for a while (we all travel from Shrewsbury and it has become some what of an eagerly anticipated event) and after meeting them downstairs in the bar we headed up to the Victoria's penthouse studio (upstairs bar). We were barely halfway up the stairs when we heard the seductive clink clink clink of emancipated slave girl 'Tiffany Beau's' outfit. 
'You look amazing,' I asked 'how do you feel?' 
Pretty much par for the course for a burlesque gig then.

After taking our seats, and being treated to a variety of exotic songs and music from resident DJ J 'Now that's what I call Kebab Shops 27' our evening began as our delightful, delectable and delicious Harem Mistress 'Miss Liberty Pink' took to the stage. She serenaded us a slightly altered version of 'Arabian Nights', welcomed us all, and then took to the stage to pose for us in an amazing red outfit and billowing fans.
Liberty is always a delight to draw and tonight was no exception.

After we had put our pencils down we welcomed onto the stage the gorgeous Miss Eliza Delight. A shimmering mirage of gold and white topped with a piece of the most divine head wear ever to grace a burlesque performer. After her act Eliza did two ten minute poses for the group and we all relished capturing her elegance and art deco beauty. Eliza then moved amongst us like an elegant living hood ornament (think Rolls Royce not Mini Metro) and chose her favourite drawing.

 Next up Miss Willow Blue. Dressed like the sensuous Cleopatra of old,Willow swirled and danced like a dream. Just as we thought the act couldn't get any better she introduced another girl into the act. A lithe and supple little minx named Scarlet which got us all hot under the collar. She may have been only thirty centimetres long but what a thirty centimetres (she's a snake). 

Both the girls posed for us after the act and the addition of a moving element certainly made the drawing more challenging and fun. The snake seemed to inspire all the artists and Miss Willow's favourite definitely had a hydra like quality. Another winner was picked and then it was time to recharge our glasses, have a sneaky peak at each others work and wait for the second half.

Liberty Pink returned to the stage with another fantastic song and helped welcome us back.
Libertyis always fantastic and never, never fails to disappoint. After her amazing number she introduced to the stage Miss Scarlet Daggers. Not to be outdone by Scarlet,

Scarlett also moved in a snake-like way, a five foot something, highly charged, go-go dancing, flame eyed, firecracker version of a snake, but snake-like none the less.

Scarlett's act also included my favourite prop ever in a burlesque routine, and quite possibly my favourite prop ever in my life, a massive bejewelled collar that initially lay flat but halfway through popped up to transfer her into an angry (sexy) cobra . So amazing and so well used, this really has kept me amused ever since seeing it. Our artists did a splendid job of capturing it and another winner was chosen.

After the excitement of the angry sexy cobra Liberty returned and introduced the 'exposed' Tiffany Beau onto the stage for our last drawing of the evening. Resplendent in her chiffon Harem pants and still with the seductive chink chink chink Tiff did a splendid job. The artist all enjoyed drawing her and she looked as though she had a great time choosing her favourite drawing and winner.

Finally all the winners chosen by the girls were invited up on stage. Each winner had been given there very own slave girl belt and were encouraged to wear them. In there new outfits all of our winners looked sensual, seductive and erotic particularly the ones with beards. Before leaving the stage each was fed a piece of Turkish delight by Miss Liberty Pink, and then another piece, and then another piece, and another piece, and another...until all were finally allowed to leave the stage slightly stickier (in a good way) than when they arrived.

Liberty bid us all a fond farewell and reminded us that the next event would be on the 31st March and would be a 'Comic Book' spectacular. Excited at the prospect and bouncing from the amazing day we had all had, we left the dessert oasis and returned to the cold Birmingham streets, but everyone who had attended felt a little warmer inside after being blessed by the ray of sunshine that is Dr Sketchy's Birmingham.

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


Baroque to the Future Dr Sketchy's Goes Rococo

It was all powdered wigs and crinoline at the Victoria in Birmingham for Dr Sketchy's back in January. The theme was Rococo Rocks, so with 18th Century inspired images and music playing in the background we were in for an evening of baroque burlesque life drawing.

Kicking things off with Falco's Rock Me Amadeus was regular host Liberty Pink, who then went on to pose for our first drawing.


She was followed by Marnie Scarlet's vivid Red Queen routine, my sketch of whom won the prize for that round; a knitted (ahem) cup-cake.

Liberty Pink returned with her rendition of the Scarlet Pimpernel from the musical of the same name, before posing with stage manager Tiffany Beau.

 Another elaborate wig was being sported by the next act, Kitten von Mew, complete with twinkly fairy lights and a peacock feather tail. She then went on to pose for two drawings, one of them rather 'cheeky'.

Rounding things off for the evening was Liberty Pink, in another costume change, this time apparently fulfilling another fantasy by appearing as Adam Ant (of Adam and the Ants fame) for a performance of Stand and Deliver, which involved getting this month's winners up on stage (yours truly included) to dance along. Erk.

Another fun night was had by all, and, as ever, I've left this posting a bit late again, as the next Dr Sketchy's happens this coming Saturday 26th March, upstairs at the Victoria in John Bright Street in Birmingham, tickets £9.50 on the door. I'll be there, as will my mum, for a special birthday treat. The theme this time round is set to be Toy Story, so why not come out and play?

Alex Hughes


Nothing to be embarrassed about...
Back in November (and again in January) I dropped a couple of hints about an upcoming Channel 4 programme I was going to be involved in. Candee the promoter of Dr Sketchy's Birmingham had been approached by Channel 4 and Dr Christian to ask if they could 'borrow' some artists. Candee got in touch with me and Saffron Sheare-Gare another regular attender at Dr Sketchy's Birmingham.
Well, it goes out tomorrow (Friday 18th) at 9pm on (inevitably) Channel 4. Those of you with a handy copy of the Radio Times will have guessed by now that we will be appearing on the popular medical show 'Embarrassing Bodies'.
WARNING! There may be some nudity ahead…

Luckily for the viewing public (and my modesty) you won't get to see any of my embarrassing body parts, nothing more embarrassing than me drawing a few sketches and answering a few questions.

The show's organisers Maverick TV arranged a life-drawing class featuring two male models, one with a foreskin and one without, for a piece concerning circumcision. We drew the models as host Dr Christian  asked us our opinions the rights and wrongs of circumcision, followed by a Q & A session with a series of photographs of diseased (or otherwise) penises.

Anyway, I'm posting my sketches from the day here (see if you can work out which one is which), and will be watching tomorrow with my hands over my eyes and gritted teeth.

In the meantime, I'm just hoping my part doesn't get cut…

Alex Hughes


Desert Island Doodles - Dr Sketchy's on Paradise Island 

Aloha! and welcome to Paradise Island (no, not that one ), the setting for the most recent outing for Dr Sketchy's in Birmingham. As the name implies, this instance of the burlesque anti-art life drawing class had a distinctly tropical theme, so we donned our leis and sharpened our pencils in readiness.

Making a splash with her opening number was our mermaid compère, Liberty Pink, after which we were straight in to our first model, Dani California with her balletic Bird of Paradise routine. This was followed by Missy Malone, who stood for two poses.


Mysti Vine performed a grass-skirted hula for us, and finally Liberty Pink lowered the tone a bit with her rendition of sweary Saturday Night Live  track I'm in a Boat! Reluctantly rescued from our desert island, we made our way home…

If this sounds your sort of thing, then the next Dr Sketchy's happens er, tomorrow (sorry, this post is a tad late) 29th January, upstairs at the Victoria in John Bright Street, Birmingham, tickets £9.50 on the door. This month's theme is Rococo Rocks, so expect a bit of the baroque with the burlesque.

Finally, I hinted about the presence of some Channel 4 folk in my last post from Dr Sketchy's. Well, this involved a bit of filming for an upcoming TV show and a slightly different life-drawing class. Of which, more details soon

Alex Hughes


 Dr Sketchy's Anti-art School Birmingham at the BICS Comic Convention

Me, Vicky and Rich had decided to attend another event at the con called 'Dr Sketchy's Heroines and Villains'. It was held in the same speakers hall, but now instead of housing panelists and comic book talks, it was the home of beautiful ladies, strutting their stuff, getting undressed to cheesy/hilarious music and finally posing for 15 minutes each to let the crowd draw them. At the end of each 15 minute pose the performer would walk around the audience, looking at their sketches and pick out the best one.

Allow me to elaborate on this AMAZING event that I'm never going to forget. (Watch out, this is gonna be a long post!)

We had decided to take a front row seat on the side to get a closeup view for the drawing (only the drawing, I promise... Mrreow!). So we were close enough to actually converse with the performers during the 15 minute pose.

It all started with the hostess sauntering in, dressed as Jessica Rabbit while singing a sexay song. She moved around the audience, placing her knee down on some men who sometimes looked incredibly awkward or just stunned. It was hilarious to watch :D

She proceeded to introduce the first act. A performer dressed as the Silk Spectre from Watchmen who came in and did a short performance piece where she undressed in front of the audience, leaving only Watchmen Smiley faces covering her breasts and a short short skirt cover the other bits at the end..! There was a lot of hollering and whistling. Most probably coming from me and Vicky.


I hadn't brought my watercolours at this point and ran out to get them, but I didn't make it back in time to paint the lovely Spectre, so the first 15 minutes pose didn't work out. A lady from the crowd was chosen to have made the best sketch and was brought down to stand next to the performer while given a round of applause. Lovely atmosphere, I must say.

For the second performance, Wonderwoman came in and did her undressing act before again posing for 15 minutes. This time I was able to start painting.

I should also mention that at this point, the hostess had switched costume from Jessica Rabbit to Tank Girl. :D

When the 15 minutes were up, Wonderwoman went around the audience, picking out her favourite sketch...

Which was me. 

With my painting still drying, I was asked to come to the 'stage' where not only was I given applause and a free ticket to their next event, but Tank Girl also wanted a peck on the cheek! One must deliver, of course.


I scurried back to my seat and the next performer arrived. This one started off looking like a psychiatrist, so I was a bit confused at first, but then when the music started and she began to perform, it became clear that she was Harley Quinn, transforming into her nutty alter ego after having The Joker as a patient. Very creative, but when it was time to do the 15 minute pose, her stance and my angle made her gun go straight in front of her face, so it wasn't really ideal... But hey! I went for it anyway :D


When the 15 minutes were up I had to run out to change the watercolour water, so I didn't see who won, but I am sure it was brilliant! Many of these sketches in the crowd are gathered on one site -


Next on que was none other than Cheetara, doing one of my favourite performances simply because it was so hilarious! She was growling and licking and prowling and bouncing and... of course getting undressed. There was a lot of 'Raaawwrrrr!' motions going on :D When it was time for the pose, she was facing the other way, so again, it wasn't ideal for painting, but I worked with what I got.

15 minutes up, Cheetara checked out all the sketches and paintings and coloured work (I think I saw markers and colourpencils in the crowd) and finally came back to me.


I was a bit stunned to be chosen twice, but was urged back on stage by Tank Girl who told me that I now had TWO free tickets to their next event! (need to find out where they are..!)
This time Vicky also got a round of applause for holding my water bottle during the painting sessions, which was hilarious :D

The last performance was by far the most haunting. In strode a tall and slender Poison Ivy, on sharp stilettos and a tight green leaf dress. She had peacock feathers in her eyelashes(!).


At this point Vicky received a text saying that our friends were waiting outside and wanted to go eat. We had apparently been gone for 2 hours and they had patiently sat outside, drumming their fingers. We didn't know this until the text arrived and were suddenly in a rush to get out to meet them. So when the performance was done and the painting finished, we bundled up our stuff and rushed towards the exit, where I (of course) fumbled with my painting water and paints, dropping the paint on the floor and splashing water all over myself. Luckily a lady came to help me pick the stuff up (thank you by the way!) and we could continue hurrying off.

So.. PHEW.

Jennie Gyllblad at