IMG_5567In midtown Manhattan there’s a townhouse dating back to 1875 that’s home to the Society of Illustrators, an organization honoring some of the finest artwork created in the past century. Walk the halls and you’ll see original art by painters such as Norman Rockwell and Robert McGinnis — even a giant portrait of Olivia by Ian Falconer. And if you’d walked to their fourth-floor library one day this past week, you’d have seen us there too, practicing our figure drawing, and our figure modeling, under the guidance of award-winning painter Gregory Manchess.

IMG_5384IMG_5410It was an extraordinary experience, first just absorbing the atmosphere and history of this unique institution and then getting to watch one of the best illustrators in the world create breathtaking portraits of us in seconds, working with nothing more than some newsprint, charcoal and pencils.

IMG_5915IMG_6078IMG_6056IMG_6068IMG_6089Our own work with the same tools was a tiny bit less polished!

IMG_5534But Greg gave us tips and insight and advice and inspiration, and we went home raring to crack out the pencils again and get back to the drawing board.

IMG_5429IMG_5404IMG_5322Kudos to the Society for having us. Interestingly, down on the third floor while we were on the fourth, another nude sketch event, held weekly and open to the public for a $20 ticket price, was going on, and that room was packed to the rafters. Aside from the two models, it looked like nearly everyone in that room was male, while of course in our room nearly everyone was female (and no tickets were being sold). We make no comment on the why or wherefore, we simply present this interesting fact for whatever it’s worth.

IMG_5737-SweaterIMG_5237Kudos also to the Society’s charming Hungarian bartender, who kept the evening well lubricated with wine and spirits, and to Baked by Melissa and Sprinkles Cupcakes for supplying mini- and maxi-sized treats, respectively. Nothing loosens the drawing hand and concentrates the attention quite like the combination of red velvet and rosé.

IMG_5550Of course we also had books on hand — what is a book club, or a library, without them?

IMG_5815But most of the time our hands were empty, or next to it.

IMG_5781Would you like to join us the next time we cook up a once-in-a-lifetime experience like this one? If you’re a body-positive woman in the vicinity of New York City, we’d love to hear from you. Email us at toplesspulpfiction@gmail.com and maybe someday soon you’ll have the chance to get naked with a skeleton too. 🙂

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