Dr Sketchy’s Bristol – A Diva, A Drag Queen and Some Dangerpants

Hooray!  I had an opportunity to go out into the world and draw real life burlesque models last week at Dr Sketchy’s.  Behold – my favourite scribblings from each model:

The Diva – Ramona Rose

pen and pencil sketch of burlesque performer Ramona Rose









The Drag Queen – Dis Charge.  (It made my day when Dis Charge performed an Amanda Palmer song)

pen and pencil sketch of drag queen burlesque performer Dis Charge








The Dangerpants – Daphne Dangerpants

pen and pencil sketch of burlesque performer Daphne Dangerpants

A to Z of Burlesque Deaths – A is for Audacity

Some of you may know this about me already:

1. I love burlesque

2. I have a morbid sense of humour.

So to get a better grip with creating gifs, I’ve set myself the challenge of the ‘A to Z of Burlesque Deaths’.  I’ve written the complete poem, I now need to work my way through each letter which will be released as and when.  Ladies and gents, it is my pleasure to introduce to you, Audacity.  Perhaps not the best painting I’ve ever done but I’m pleased to get back into the gif making seat.

Painting of a cabaret singer running out of breath Painting of a cabaret singer running out of breath

The Alternative Punchline

As some of you already know, I have an all dancing, crazy-genius burlesque alter ego called Machete Rose.  Her acts are quirky and love to include witty moments wherever possible – a bit like my personal drawing style…

pen ink and watercolour illutration of a scientific experimentation with glitter blowing up in a person's faceOne of the things that I like to play with when creating a Machete Rose act, is turning expectations on their head.  After performing ‘Hotbot 3000’ at the Bristol Burlesque Festival last year, the lovely ladies at Coochie Crunch asked me to write an article about my distinctive interpretation of what is considered a ‘reveal’.  You can view the article ‘The Alternative Punchline‘, complete with my own illustrations on the Coochie Crunch blog.


pencil sketch of a burlesque performer with white feather fans and a white costume

Burlesque Sketches

As a warm up for my drawing, I like to do a lot of figure sketches.  As I have a fondness for burlesque, a lot of my sketches revolve around that theme.  Behold, a feathered lady and an aerial hoop artist.

From Dusk Til Dawn Pussy Cats

Quick disclaimer: Please note that the use of tongue in cheek and rude word play is in effect in this post!


The time was right; dressed in a sparkly purple number and armed with microphone – I was ready to hit the stage.  The evening found me as a co-compere for a burlesque show in Bristol entitled  ‘A Night At The Movies’ where my partner in crime – Poppy von Tarte – and I, guided the audience through the acts of the evening.

Before the show, Poppy and I had discussed introductions for all the acts.  Not for the first time, I discovered my illustrative flair and love of burlesque colliding – this time as part of the introduction for the headlining act.  Each act had been inspired by a particular movie; and the final act was based on the Quentin Tarrantino film, From Dusk Til Dawn. Which, incidentally was being performed by Poppy herself.

In the film, the group of characters you follow in the first half arrive at a brothel called ‘Titty Twister’ where the beers are cheap and the women are cheaper.  One of the iconic moments in the film is the snake dance performed by Salma Hayek at the Titty Twister, which Poppy was echoing her act.  In order to set the scene, we thought it would be fun to sample a sound bite from the movie and play with the word ‘pussy’.  The sound bite is ‘Chet’s Speech’, where he advertises the different kinds of pussy on offer at Titty Twister.  If you haven’t seen From Dusk Til Dawn, I recommend you watch the film, but for context’s sake, this is Chet’s Speech on You Tube.

It is with great pleasure that I introduce to you, my illustrated versions of some of the pussies on offer:

I must admit, it was somewhat strange drawing cats with alluring expressions but I can certainly tell you it was fun!  My favourite is Yellow Pussy – which is yours?

Dr Sketchy Bristol

You must be familiar with the concept of life drawing – it’s drawing naked people, right?  How about the Dr Sketchy version, where you get to draw not-quite-naked, but fabulously costumed people?  I’m pleased to say that this is how I spent my last Sunday afternoon.  The drawing that is, not being almost naked.

Ally Katte burlesque performer modelling for Dr Sketchy Bristol

Ally Katte burlesque performer modelling for Dr Sketchy Bristol - face pencil sketch















I’ve posted about going to Dr Sketchy’s classes before and had to travel far out to them, so I was chuffed to find one starting much closer to me in Bristol!  Hooray!

Poppy Raine burlesque performer modelling for Dr Sketchy Bristol - silk fans and veils

We worked with 3 burlesque performer models, Ally Katte, Poppy Raine and Didi Curv’e; 2 of whom treated us to a performance as well.  It was up to the audience whether they wanted to simply enjoy the act or get some movement drawings into their sketchbook too.  I was pleased to bear witness to Didi Curv’e playing the bongos with her boobs – I’ve never seen anything like it!


It was a lovely atmosphere as we were welcomed in (upstairs at the Stag and Hounds) and the class was started off with a few quick warm up poses of a few minutes.  As we worked further into the session, we managed to get our teeth into slightly longer poses of 10 and 15 minutes.

I really enjoyed drawing the models – I only wish I was able to capture more of the beautiful costumes, they were so intricate in places.  Note for next time, need to work on Go-Go-Gadget Speedy Drawing Skills. 


As a personal bonus, I thought I recognised a Lenore (the cute little dead girl) tattoo on Poppy Raine.  It’s been ages since I’ve read the graphic novel by Roman Dirge so felt a little like glimpsing an old friend!

Didi Curv'e burlesque performer modelling for Dr Sketchy Bristol - multi coloured pencil sketch of her face

I’ve posted my favourite sketches and can’t wait for more Dr. Sketchy action in September!

Machete Bears All

As a drawing exercise and for inspiration whilst the piece was being created, I have several images on the theme of the burlesque act ‘Machete Bears All’.  Have a look at some sketchbook scribbles:

pencil drawing of dancing bears in fez and waistcoat

The bears are dressed for entertainment – wearing human items is deemed cute but is at odds when worn by a wild animal.  Perhaps lulling you into a false sense of security, the human aspects make it more familiar and therefore less of a threat.








salmon and tin of salmon drawings to have items for my picnic basket


For entertaining bear references, I thought of Baloo from the Jungle Book, Yogi Bear and Winnie the Pooh.  All loveable characters defined by their either slightly clumsy, preoccupied by food and/or  friendly demanors.  Certainly a far cry from the wild animals they really are.  I couldn’t have loveable bears without a pic-a-nic basket, a tin of salmon and a jar of honey.



pencil sketches of baloo from the jungle book studying his walk


Or indeed without an affable walk.  Baloo is perfect for this so studied his gait in the disney Jungle Book clips on you tube.  I can’t tell if you can see from my sketchbook notes, but I could tell he carried a lot of weight in his hips, twisting as he walked, arms swinging wide, his whole frame quite loose – very relaxed with no tension held in the body.  At complete odds with my good posture dance background!






Below you can see the translation of costumes from bare to bear.  Turning what you expect into something you don’t.    The character performing for your entertainment, becoming the entertaining bear.  In the act, the bear cannot get into the food in its picnic basket and is forced to revert to its feral state when it gets angry.  For this I watched lots of Eric Bana clips turning into the hulk!

pencil drawing of belly dance costume, and high heel shoes

pen ink and pencil drawing of girl in bear costume

After turning feral, the bear eats a member of the audience and is much happier for having eaten something.

pencil sketch of angry bear having just mauled a victim


Zombie Jesus Day! Burlesque Poster

I was asked to design a poster for Pink Kitten Dance School’s student cabaret this Easter; I was inspired by an image from their ‘March’ image in the Pink Kitten calendar and worked from there.  I wanted it to be tongue in cheek and fun to look at, hence Zombie Jesus Day!  but I got cold feet and made a differently titled one for the final.  Although I’d be interested to hear if you have a preference title-wise….













I like bright pink and teal but after discussing it with a colleague at the dance school, I changed the colour palette and I think it does work better for the Easter theme.  So below you can find the final version, with all the tweaks.


I’m biased, as I work for the company and that I perform in their showcases, but they are a blast for an evening’s entertainment, you should come along!


Life Drawing with Christmas Glitz

After a good while of not putting pen to paper with a life model in the room, I thought it would be a grand idea to flex the ol’ life drawing skills at a one off (or every few months anyway) burlesque life drawing evening at Bristol Folk House.  The models Delilah Di Sgrace and Ally Katte were in their Christmassy finery creating both  interesting and festive poses.  I did particularly like the one where Delilah Di Sgrace rolled up onto her shoulders, fair play to her holding that for 10 minutes!  The following are some of the images that came from my work of the night, more will be uploaded as I have opportunity to get them up.  Click an image for a closer look!

pencil and crayon life drawing of burlesque model delilah di sgrace

pencil sketch of burlesque model delilah di sgrace

pencil and crayon drawing of burlesque life model ally katte

pencil sketch of burlesque life model Ally Katte, from back, corset

pencil and crayon drawing of burlesque life models delilah di sgrace and ally katte

pencil and crayon drawing of burlesque life models delilah di sgrace and ally katte

Cheltenham Dr Sketchy drawings that what I found

I realised that these hadn’t made their way to the great viewing platform called ‘internet’.  The models were Kitty Ribbons and Lexi Sexx, both wonderful to draw.

Kitty Ribbons posing with her balloons    Kitty Ribbons posing with balloons, this time pencil and crayon sketch

Lexi Sexx before her beautiful fan dance.  Pencil and crayon    Lexi Sexx before her beautiful fan dance