Model Drawing Collective


The Arts: Artistic {Re}treats

Creating Spaces for Community Art

Lisa Dosson, founder of Model Drawing Collective, always wanted to be in the animation industry ever since she watched Disney’s Lion King. As a freelance storyboard artist in the animation industry, Lisa has held costume and figure drawing events on her platform in the last few years. To avoid congregating during the pandemic, she has moved model drawing events to Facebook “live” and other online platforms to bring her regulars a familiar workshop experience, virtually!

You started hosting workshops in your home, before the pandemic hit. What made you host events that are open to the public in your private residence, instead of at a public venue?

Lisa: There were several reasons I wanted to run life drawing in my own home. Space in Los Angeles is always at a premium, especially studio space suitable for artists. It made sense when I was looking to move a year ago to find a place where I could live and work. There is, and should be, a sense of community among artists, so it was important to me to find a space where artists and models could safely and freely collaborate. Being able to have a space that is separate from commercial space offers the freedom to try new costumes and concepts without the pressure of a deadline or judgement from an outside party.

Zine: You’ve hosted at public venues too, what is better/worse about hosting in your own home?

Lisa: There are certainly positives to both. The hardest challenge of home hosting is the limited space. I can only fit about 20 artists here, but I think there is benefit to artists and models in a space that feels cozy as opposed to corporate.

Zine: When do you expect to resume, given the current state of the world? What has filled your time in the interim?

Lisa: It’s hard to say when we will run studio or home sessions again. Our plan, of course, is to resume sessions when it is safe to do so. In the meantime, we’ve slowed, but never stopped – we have recorded video sessions on our Model Drawing Collective Facebook page which are free to everyone, and we plan on adding more. I’ve kept busy with storyboard work and personal projects in my free time, along with reading classic fairy tales and folklore, which has always been a deep interest of mine. And I will be hosting life drawing for a virtual convention coming up in November. As with the rest of the world, quarantine came as a shock. Going virtual was something we had never planned for, but there are certainly unexpected positives – at the forefront, inclusivity. We can reach thousands of artists with our sessions; people in isolated parts of the United States who otherwise would not have access to a trained professional figure model. Folks in other countries, and folks who may have differences that make it hard or impossible to leave their homes can join us too, and we never run out of chairs!

Zine: Besides hosting Model Drawing Collective, what is your regular line of work?

Lisa: I work as a storyboard artist in Burbank. Currently, I am boarding on a Disney+ show for older kids, but I began my career storyboarding commercials, and more recently, storyboarding animated series for small children through Disney Jr./Wild Canary.

Hosting Art Activities for Everyone!

Zine: Would you consider expanding to offer other workshops? Do you see a market for this outside of art students and entertainment industry professionals?

Lisa: Absolutely, to both questions! There is value in art for everyone. Drawing the human form can be an act of self-expression, relaxation, even building intimacy (I often encourage folks to draw their romantic partner or best friend as a way to see and appreciate them in a different way). In fact, I have hosted life drawing workshops for novices that are treated like “paint and sip” parties, where businesswomen who are otherwise removed from the arts gather on a Friday night, and wine and cheese are served. Life is short; we should all be making art – and making it exactly the way we want to.

The Model Drawing Collective offers no shortage of whimsy, fantastic costumes, and fun poses at drawing events!

Workshops and the zine are organized by Slow + Sustain through the volunteer efforts of our contributors. Funding comes from both the contributors and the public.

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