So, I spent last night drawing and watching Burlesque on a boat.

Not just any boat either, a paddle steamer!

The Norwich division of Dr Sketchy’s Anti School is a monthly life drawing “class” for artists and people who can’t draw alike. I’ve been to a few now, and I can’t draw to save my life, but it’s not about that, it’s about having fun, and some amazing burlesque and cabaret. This is the second year they’ve run the special Broads event on the paddle steamer, I was so jealous of last years photos, so I was pretty excited to go along this time!

Let me just say now, you’ll have to excuse the awful photos, I did not take along my proper camera, as really photography at these events isn’t allowed, but I snapped a few on my phone so I could write about it today!

Look at that sunshine streaming in (and ruining my photo)


We were encouraged to add a bit of nautical flare to our outfits for the occasion, so I wore the gorgeous sailor blouse and 40s Swing skirt I got from 20th Century Foxy.

I also wore HEELS, for the first time since I sprained my ankle. I was a little nervous at first and my ankle did ache a little, but it was really good for my confidence to wear them as I’d started to get a little nervous about injuring myself.

We settled down with a glass of wine, some paper and pencils while the boat headed off along the beautiful Norfolk Broads.


We started with quick poses where we were supposed to draw without taking our pencils off the paper, or without looking down, before a couple of slightly longer poses. Part of Dr Sketchy’s is that it’s fun, it doesn’t matter if you can’t draw. You are encouraged to make your pictures silly, by drawing the models on the Titanic, for instance, or in other imaginary situations.

There are no photos of the poses as, like I said, you’re not *really* allowed, and anyway I was busy creating works of art.

There was a short interval, during which we could explore the boat, watch the beautiful Norfolk scenery and pose for photos with Foxy Loxy, Dr Sketchys stuffed fox who appears in every pose.



A nice lady even took a picture of me and my drawing partner for the evening, Zoe from Golden Unicorn, posing on top of the boat, which was way easier than trying to fit both of us into a selfie!

zoe and gemma

We returned, for a couple of longer poses from our models Bob Percy and Sophia St Villier and were also treated to a display of mind reading magic from Bob Percy and a finale of a Femme Fatale burlesque routine from Sophia St Villier.

An evening at Dr Sketchys always ends with the prize giving. There are first, second and third place prizes and also a couple of special mentions which don’t get prizes, but just the warm glow of knowing their artistic skillz were worthy of mention.

Now, steady yourselves, I received a special mention for my awesome (not awesome at all) drawing of Bob Percy “blowing peoples minds” on the Broads. It included a fish and a person with exploding heads. What’s not to like?

I have a feeling that the “special mention” might be the equivalent of those “participation” awards they give children at school in order not to make the really rubbish ones feel bad, or the 7th place trophy I once got given in a dancing competition in which 7 people were taking part, but never mind.

You can see my attempt here, at the beginning of the line of displayed art.


And posing for my “special mention” photo with hostess Natalya Umanska, Bob Percy and Sophia St Villier.


The next Dr Sketchys in Norwich is on the 24th September, sadly it is not on a boat, but it is still good fun, so come along!

If you are not Norwich based then there are Dr Sketchys franchises across the UK, indeed, across the world, so they’re worth looking up!