Mark I. Chester & Gay Men’s Sketch

In October of 2013, I attended the first of many sessions at Gay Men’s Sketch in San Francisco, led by photographer and artist Mark I. Chester. Mark created the group in 1987, as a safe space for gay artists to draw the male nude. Walking up the staircase to his studio, I was greeted by a handsome gentleman in his underwear. He introduced himself as Patrick, the model, and showed me into the small atelier.

I hadn’t participated in figure drawing workshops since college, and joined the group as a means of honing my anatomy skills. Until that point, I had focused my attention on watercolor landscapes, and Photoshop illustrations of Science Fiction characters. Instead of the traditional graphite and charcoal generally associated with figure drawing, I opted to use the materials with which I was most comfortable: an ultra-fine Sharpie pen and my watercolor pocket box.

Below is one of the figure studies I created that night. I love seeing how my style has progressed since then: the ink linework, watercolor rendering, and varying colors. While the technique may have changed, I think it’s definitely still recognizable as Frank Paints Dudes. What do you think?

If you’re in the San Francisco area, Gay Men’s Sketch meets every Tuesday night in SOMA, and is open to all skill levels!

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