Ladies Drawing Night: Make Art, Get Inspired, Join the Party
by Julia Rothman, Leah Goren and Rachael Cole

Chronicle Books, 2016. ISBN 978-1-452-14700-0.
Reviewed by Mary Ann Moore
Posted on 05/23/2017

Nonfiction: Creative Life; Nonfiction: Arts/Crafts

Ladies Drawing Night is so visually appealing that I kept looking at the photographs and art work for a long while before actually reading the book. Kate Edwards, a photographer from Brooklyn, took photographs of the women who created the art and their various art projects, completed and in progress.

The three women author/artists who wrote the book (as well as friends and guest artists who contributed) followed themes at their gatherings. The photos show the results of fashion illustrations, collages, repeated patterns, cardboard constructions, hand lettering, figure drawing and collaborations with children. All of the content was put together very attractively by designer Jenny Volvovski.

Julia Rothman, Leah Goren and Rachael Cole "design, illustrate, and draw to pay the rent." Drawing nights are free time when they can make what they want. They have fun, experiment with different media, discuss work as well as their personal lives when they get together.

The book describes ten "ladies drawing nights." Talented guest artists were invited to each. Instructions are included in each session so readers can create their own drawing nights. Supply lists for the particular project themes are also outlined.

"Drawing on Style" was held in Joana Avillez's loft in Tribeca, Manhattan. She works on fashion-related illustrations and was the guest artist/instructor for the evening along with Lauren Tamaki who is an illustrator, trained in traditional sewing and pattern drawing.

Drawing clothing turned out to be fun for the participants and "the more weird the clothing, the more fun it is to draw," Rothman says. The photograph of the table shows snacks, wine bottles and glasses along with books for inspiration, paints and brushes.

It's fun to see the works in progress and then the .takeaway," when the final results are revealed. The finished art work is often whimsical,such as the collages created at the "Cut and Paste" night at Cole's apartment in Fort Greene, Brooklyn. The "Cardboard City" created in an artist's studio in Greenpoint, Brooklyn was a challenge that involved cutting cardboard with X-Acto blades.but worth it. The results are imaginative and colourful in the form of buildings, vehicles, and trees.

"Kidding Around," the final chapter, was a collaboration with children. The theme was a fantasy zoo and the children were encouraged rather than directed in their painting and drawing.

This is such a good idea: getting together with friends, inviting artists for some instruction, and collaborating for the fun of it. Most of us wish we could create a unique piece of art but are afraid to try. With others nearby, it's not so daunting. Guidelines are included for holding your own "ladies drawing nights." This book can become one of the main tools of inspiration.

Julia Rothman is an illustrator, pattern designer, and author. She has authored and coauthored six books including Hello NY. Visit her website. Leah Goren is an illustrator and surface designer. In her popular webshop she sells hand-built ceramics, artwork, scarves, and bags made with her original print designs. Visit her website. Rachael Cole works as an art director at Schwartz & Wade Books, an imprint of Random House Children's Books. She is a talented surface designer and active member of the illustration community as a teacher, advisor, and juror. Visit her website. All three women live in Brooklyn.

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