They’re appearing all around the world: initiatives like ladies drawing night and social sketch. What is the fascination with drawing in groups?
Take a few creative women, some wine and nibbles, a table full of drawing and painting supplies, and a theme (and sometimes, even a collective drawing) and you’ve got all the ingredients you need for a Ladies Drawing Night. When the New York-based illustrators Rachael Cole, Julia Rothman and Leah Goren decided to get together one night a week to draw and paint together, they had no idea that this would lead to a book and a global following.
The aim of these drawing nights, during which they also paint and use stamping and collage techniques, was for them to try out new things, learn from each other and mostly just ‘let their hair down’, without a client or final result in their minds. But, as they write in their book, things didn’t quite work out that way. ‘We always pick our favorites and post them online to share. We hashtag the evening with #ladiesdrawingnight to collect all of our images from these nights. There has been a lot of positive response, not only to the artwork itself, but also to the idea of organized drawing sessions and shared creativity among women. Strangers started tagging their friends and commenting “we should do this” or “I wish I could come”. We realized that this ritual was something that really resonated with people of all ages, amateur artists to professionals.’
And that’s how the idea for their book, Ladies Drawing Night (Chronicle Books), came about. It gives the reader a glimpse into ten of these nights, including occasions when illustrator friends joined them at the drawing table as guests. You can see what they create and how they discuss their work among themselves, as well as find inspiration from the fun themes and new techniques, such as making black-and-white paintings with large brushes, or cutting and pasting painted cardboard.
Text Jocelyn de Kwant Photography Kate Edwards