Get Your Nibs Out: Life Drawing For Copywriters

Think life drawing is only for artists? Wrong, join me in a basement in Shoreditch for the first event where writers take inspiration from a naked model called Lily...
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Think life drawing is only for artists? Wrong, join me in a basement in Shoreditch for the first event where writers take inspiration from a naked model called Lily...

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A beautiful breast
Ample, rounded, pert; a chest
It is here, right now

Haiku, inspired by Lilly

I’m sitting in a compact, hot basement in a bar in Shoreditch with around 40 other people, most of us seated on plastic chairs, pens in hand and sketch pads on laps.

We’re all facing a red haired lady called Lilly, who is changing poses every 5 minutes whilst our facilitator announces instructions on the next theme.

There’s no time for procrastination with minimal moments for self-criticism or editing as we rapidly move from one style to the next. Stream of consciousness, haiku, short story to limerick; our facilitator is like a sophisticated, continental sergeant major leading us along a path of productivity.

The brainchild of Dan and Sean, a creative team from ad agency Draft, this is the world’s first Life Drawing for Copywriters session where writers, rather than artists, take their inspiration from a nude model.

“I didn’t realise she’d actually be naked” I hear one participant say to the other, as if to question the morality of the situation, perhaps feeling just a touch exploitative whilst hiding his glee from his girlfriend.

Conscious not to be a total perv, I was holding back on writing overtly sexual stories and also trying to have a bit of empathy for the model, who must have been both hot and uncomfortable. The dark basement was lit only by spotlights, which can quickly emit an excessive heat to anyone in their path.

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As if reading our minds the facilitator announced at an early stage that now was the time to get any sexual stuff out of the way. This coincided with the limerick section and so I ended up with a fairly poor and immature, hasty effort.

There once was a girl called Lilly
She was clever and not very silly
She took off her clothes
And has a cute nose
So now I have a hard willy

Quickly moving on, my favourite section was where we had to write a short story. I could now take my focus off the model alone and start to think about our surroundings for inspiration. We had to write in the style of a famous author so, as a son of Edinburgh, Irvine Welsh was the obvious choice.

A London based Renton, meeting a pretty Swedish first date called Helga, combined with Begbie fleeing the police in Edinburgh provided the basis for a tale of tension. Needless to say when Begbie got to the bar he wasn’t impressed with the situation, wondering why the stripper was static in the middle of the pub surrounded by weirdos writing earnestly.

Whilst my writing skills are questionable the session was enjoyable and highlighted my main flaw when it comes to getting things done. There was no place for procrastination and for that reason alone was quite inspiring.

I was surprised this format hadn’t been done before so would expect to see other iterations taking place soon.

Keep an eye out to get your nibs out.