Hundreds of feet potter up and down the stairs of Cabaret Voltaire every Tuesday night. Regulars, and newbies chaperoned by their regular sketcher pals, scoot round the corner and into the depths of the cavern, emerging in swathes to visit the bar at the break, and traipsing back up the stairs at the end of the night. Though most folk seem to know what they’re doing and where they’re going, myself and Annabel are on hand, one of us at the materials station, and sometimes a slightly bewildered looking person makes their way up to me and tells me they need to buy some STUFF. What do they need? I ask. If my question is met with a second look of bewilderment, I can be pretty sure I have a first time sketcher in front of me, and my wee heart jumps with delight! Yes!
Louise's first time sketching at ATYN Edinburgh!

Louise’s first time sketching at ATYN Edinburgh!

The vast majority of folks who come have had some kind of experience with art before, even if that was what may feel like a squillion years ago at school. Hats off to you all for trusting yourselves to revisit your creative side, like a long lost but favoured sock that you dust off from its hiding place behind the washing machine, from behind the pile of jobs and houses and mortgages and children. Hats off to you all! But sometimes we are lucky enough to be hosting a total newbie. Now that doesn’t happen too often in Edinburgh, and that gets me really excited. I feel so privileged to witness the start of the journey they might be about to embark on!
Last Tuesday we were lucky enough to meet and chat with Louise, a total beginner to drawing (though she told me that as a wee babby she liked drawing faces!) I asked Louise a few questions about her night, and here’s what she had to say…
What made you come to All The Young Nudes tonight?
I decided to come because a friend of mine told me about it and it sounded great! naked people, music, art and drinks hooray! I wanted to come because I’d never done anything like it before and I wanted to see what it would be like.
Did you come on your own or were you with a pal?

I wasn’t alone, I was with my friend Steph so I felt more confident to get stuck in!
How did you find the evening?
The whole experience was really positive- a really relaxed, non judgmental and creative vibe with people of all ages. O felt totally involved and there was no sense of competition or exclusivity which I’ve experienced in other artistic circles. I didn’t need to ‘be an artist’ in order to enjoy it. It was a mindful 2 hours; I loved being totally focused on one thing. I liked the different spaces with the different models and the freedom to choose who to draw and how to draw them. Everyone was super supportive and friendly. My first few drawings turned out a bit like the scream mask and drawing an entire person in 2 mins seemed impossible. but I quickly got the hand of it and surprised myself with what I could do and was pretty pleased with how they turned out. Some of the models poses seemed impossible to draw, with limbs at all angles, but the more I studied him the easier it became. [My friend] Steph hadn’t drawn in years but when I looked over she had created a masterpiece!
Do you think you might return?
I’d like to come back, it was really great and I feel like I could improve. although even if I don’t get any better, it is still a great, relaxing activity for a Tuesday evening.
Louise's first time sketching at ATYN Edinburgh!

Louise’s first time sketching at ATYN Edinburgh!

All in all, yay! Making art, connecting with your creative side, in whatever way, however big or small, is so rewarding. Art is transformative, confidence building, mindful, surprising, and wonderful, and I am absolutely delighted and privileged to be facilitating that for you all. I’m going to start having a sit down in the bar at Cab Vol after the sessions – I know that some of you hang about and look at your sketches after – and it would be lovely to get to know you a little better. You’re such a lovely bunch.
Much love, Topaz xx