All The Young Nudes was recently lucky enough to be featured as part of O Street’s beer x series – and I was lucky enough to go along!

I’ve also recently been lucky enough to take up a position at ATYN HQ in Glasgow, helping with administration / web things / dog patting and, my personal favourite, harmonium playing. beer x ATYN was the first event I had attended in person, and I wasn’t disappointed.

O Street is a space that’s repeatedly caught my eye when I’ve been walking along Bank Street – usually carrying books from the library, or books to the park, or books I shouldn’t have bought back to my flat. It’s the kind of space that breathes good design – and I say ‘breathe’ intentionally, because it was the kind of space that, when I eventually got inside, made me take a deep breath – because, I think, of the careful balance of light and the considered arrangement of space. Careful balance and considerate arrangements seem to be something of a staple for the O Street bunch, who’ve worked on projects designing RBS’ new banknotes (the fiver with the fish is my favourite) and with The Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art – branding which was the backdrop for All The Young Nudes’ recent appearance there as part of the closing ceremonies for the 8th British Art Show, which you can check out here.

And, from hyperlink to real link: careful balance and considerate arrangement are of course two of the key considerations when sketching, as well as two of the considerations in our minds as we set up a small number of chairs and stools onto which, an hour or so later, people cozily squeezed with drawing boards and eager eyes.

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A musician and writer by training, I’ve always been one of those sketchers who never seems to have as much time as they’d like to sketch. The event welcomed this kind of sketcher, however, as well as a number regulars and pros; and what I loved most – after the pencils had been sharpened and the paper had been clipped to the boards – what really struck me – after the shutter had come down and the music had been switched on and the clothes had come off – was the harmony of this arrangement of people of all ages and professions; the careful shapes they made on their different bits of paper – from scraps of thin, simple white, to skeins of thick, lustrous cream – with their different tools – pencils, charcoal sticks and, in one instance I particularly liked, felt-tip pen – creating an ever-changing procession of images from a single model; and then the same thing happening time after time as Beth changed from being a martial statue with a stick like a weapon to an almost familiar girl with a distant look in her eyes.

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I had to leave before the beer and the party and the exhibition unfortunately, but I think I still got a flavour of the event, and I know I’m getting a feel for what All The Young Nudes is about: inclusivity, opportunity, and – as I grasped amid the synchronous scratches of twenty sketchers – community.

It’s life drawing for anyone, and I’m so pleased to be a part of it.