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The Journal of the Lincoln Heights Literary Society
Miscellanea and Ephemeron

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11/24/2006 Archived Entry: "Book review: Dr. Sketchy's Official Rainy Day Colouring Book"

Dr. Sketchy's Official Rainy Day Colouring Book
by Molly Crabapple and John Leavitt
Published by Sepulculture Books
Release date: December 6, 2006

Review by Ginger Mayerson

The official companion volume to the Williamsburg cabaret life-drawing class that has become an international phenomenon! Dr. Sketchy's Official Rainy Day Colouring Book is one part DIY handbook, one part activity book on acid, and one part history of the Sketch Revolution. To sweeten the broth, Molly Crabapple and John Leavitt have added dozens of photos, paper dolls, colouring book pages and puppets of Amber Ray, Lolita Haze, Little Brooklyn, Audra Gwarskitty,and all your other favorite Dr. Sketchy's models.

This is going to be an adorable book. I know this because the advance copy I got is adorable. It is indeed "... one part DIY handbook, one part activity book on acid, and one part history of the Sketch Revolution" and has a bit of business savvy and good sense tossed in here and there where it slides gently into the consciousness and will be useful in all the readers' future endeavors. I loved the history, interviews, and anecdotes very much and the paper dolls! I love paper dolls! I never cut them out, but I love looking at them. There are all kinds of nifty drawings in it and some good advice, too.

Although I don't share Molly's distain for life drawing classes, I did enjoy this book. When I modeled at Art Center, Otis Parsons, Disney, Warner Brothers, and various other places in Los Angeles and surrounding, the mood was more serious. For animators and art directors, it was about keeping up the purity of their art chops in Hollywood. For students, it was about learning technique that was the foundation of their art. It wasn't supposed to be fun anymore than playing scales is fun for musicians or barre work is fun for ballerinas. It's not about the artist or the model or the teacher or the venue, it's about technique. It's necessary if you're a serious artist, so you do it.

As a model, I would say that 90 percent of my experience was positive, but it was more like church than party-time. I never had the body or the temperament to do the kind of modeling Molly describes, but I did sit in art classes where guys like Harry Carmen, Brune Hograth, Peter Liashkov, Joe Mugnaini, and many other great artists and teachers were talking about art. I learned a lot about art, art history, and life in art in those classes. I also learned from other models, most of whom were also in the arts. I learned to look at art books for poses, I learned what was possible and what made body parts go numb, I learned that a good pose for one class was not a good one for another, and I learned when and how to say no to inappropriate behavior in modeling situation and when to simply walk out. And when it all went right or mostly right, I could feel like I was part of a creative process outside my own métier. That, to me, was the most important part of modeling.

But things change and modeling as performance art is the in-thing right now, even in LA. Do we have burlesque in LA? I wonder. So, I highly recommend Molly's book because it's fun and fun is good.

You can read Molly Kiely's interview with Molly Crabapple for J LHLS here.

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