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.

Soho Dives, Soho Divas by Rian Hughes
Hardback 360 pages
23.6 x 15.8 x 2.8 cm