While living and working in a remote part of the Somerset countryside has its advantages, suitable venus to acquire that all important art training via life-drawing are few and far between. Rian Hughes rubs this in with his new book, Soho Dives, Soho Divas: Rian Hughes Sketches London’s Burlesque Artistes, a collection of sketches and more developed pieces culled from several sessions in the company of some of London’s more risqué life models, dancers and performers.
Having been responsible for a few burlesque posters myself, the unique opportunity this represents for practice isn’t lost on me and Hughes rightly takes advantage. It’s 360 pages (housed in a striking, red hardback cover) are packed with all the various drawings you might expect to be left with after several hours looking at ladies in their undies. Quick 5 minute sketches to more fully realised vector illustrations and experimental photo comps describe the evolution of the ideas that can come from such sessions. I love the mock book covers, poster concepts and general creative energy the book conveys, and while it satisfies my inner sketchbook geek, it also made this illustrator green with envy.