February 9th, 2007
Dr. Sketchy’s Official Rainy Day Colouring Bookby Mr. Norman Maine
Wondering what to do on a rainy day? Well, artist, model, diva, author, Molly Crabapple, and raconteur illustrator and general man-about-town, John Leavitt, suggest you mix a couple of voluptuous burlesque queens complete with spangly pasties, some smart cocktails, toss in a few young talented artists, or artist wanna-be’s with sketch pads and a passion to draw willing contestants, a few prizes (booze) mix gently in a too-hip-to-be-real setting, shake–never stir–serve on a Saturday afternoon, and you too can have your very own Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School.
These cabaret like, anti-art school “drawing classes” were started a year and a half ago by former art school model and award winning artist, Molly Crabapple and friend A.V. Phibes. Tired of the bland and lifeless modeling classes they were attending, these visionaries decided to start what has become nothing short of a nationwide craze, with Dr. Sketchy’s popping up all over the country. Now with the help of friend, and a very gifted illustrator in his own right, John Leavitt, Ms. Crabapple has put together a simply charming, Victorian stroll on how to bring a Dr. Sketchy’s to your town, or simply share in the “When I go, I’m goin’ like Elsie” fun this book provides.
Although spilling over with actual pictures to colour, along with cutouts, games, instructions and testimonials, what makes this book so special is the beautiful art work of Molly Crabapple and John Leavitt. Their work illuminates this glorious, fun-filled colouring book for adults. They both share a rare gift for pen and ink work that harkens back to the splendor and technical beauty and erotic qualities of Aubrey Beardsley. Not to imply that it’s at all pornographic, quite the contrary; it is sexy but not sleazy–well, it’s a little sleazy, but it’s the good kind! This is conceived out of love for the Medicine Man shows of days gone by, a time when the circus really did come to town with snake oil salesmen, promises of a cure-all tonic, and lip-smackin, hip-shakin’ hoochie-koochie girls in tow.
It’s not often that something as special and unique as this lovely book, and the whole Dr. Sketchy’s concept, comes along. We are treated to a fresh idea for fun and a clever and inventive way to express it. This would be a brilliant gift for yourself, or for a friend. You don’t need to be an artist to appreciate this book because it’s such a delight on it’s own merit. It’s art-imitating-life-imitating-art…how very avant-guard! One can only speculate that Mr. Henri De Toulouse Lautrec might be the original Dr. Sketchy, and if he were alive today its certain that he would be a regular at Ms. Crabapple’s Saturday soirees. I suggest you find a space in your neighborhood, a club, a bar or coffee house and hold your own Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School. It’s great big, bohemian fun!