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We Went to a Zombie Life-Drawing Class and it was Awesome

24 May 18 words: Bridie Squires

We got down to the National Justice Museum for The Drawing Dead, a concept birthed by our very own ketchup correspondent, Tommy K. All we knew was that there was a zombie on trial in Nottingham, and we had been called up to be the court artists, so over to High Pavement we plodded...

I'd never been to a life-drawing class before, let alone a bleddy zombie one. Not knowing what to expect, we rocked up to Galleries of Justice to find a table with an array of drinks available, including zombie cocktails. Good start.

While ordering, a lad wearing all-in-one white protective gear covered in blood splats grabbed himself a drink and asked if I'd “seen any zombies around here?”

“No,” I replied, voice quaking. “Do you always dress like this?”

“Every day. It's serious business,” he said.

As we entered the eerily dim courtroom, a girl in a judge's wig handed us our guide to the evening and informed us that she “would not be held responsible for any injuries inflicted upon us during the course of the hearing.” Fair.

We were given the lowdown on the current state of the world; zombies have taken over, with infected zones aplenty. However, in the city of Nottingham, there’s one area that’s declared themselves zombie-free; the affluent West Bridgford. There’s been an ongoing battle between those fighting for the rights of zombies, and those who consider them sub-par beings. It was with our own moral judgement that we had to decide the fate of the zombie on trial.

We sat down, pulled out our A4 pads, pencils, and wilko felt tips. The latter? Bit unorthodox of us, I know, but we had a feeling norms weren't exactly gonna be adhered to, so out the bright colours came. With a full room of excited, anticipated chatter, the doors suddenly swung shut and our judge took her seat. 

A thud at the door.

It's fair to say we were shitting ourselves at this point.

Another thud. A taught-throat squeal pressed up against the wood.

The door finally flung open, and out came a creeping zombie, with the lad in the protective gear lagging behind him to ensure all order was kept.

As the zombie – who had a remarkable resemblance to Tommy K – took its position on the centre table, we were invited to create line drawings, without looking at the paper and without taking the pencil, or felt tip, off the page. After some hilarious results, the first witness was called to the stand; a local Bridgy butcher who declared that the zombie had been nicking his sausages.

We were then shown how to draw zombie with the correct body proportions, given another witness statement from a woman whose cat had mysteriously been eaten, and invited to draw Zombie by only shading in the dark parts.

We finally heard from a witness who believed the zombie to be innocent, before comparing works from the whole group on the table. As you can see, mine was the best.

The evening was thoroughly enjoyable. Not only was it immersive and hilarious, but we actually learned something about life drawing. Zombie put on an excellent show too, his movements were fantastically creepy and he was a joy to draw. Plus, when the room was deadly silent, and a cough escaped an illustrator, Zombie echoed with a growling squeal, much to everyone’s amusement.

Large up Tommy K. He continues to deliver some of the best events to this city; booking the best music acts from back in the day as well as whacking on weird shit like this. The time and attention put into developing the story made for a seriously enjoyable experience and I can’t wait for the next’un

The Drawing Dead took place at the National Justice Museum on Thursday 17 May 2018

National Justice Museum, High Pavement, NG1 1HN. 0115 952 055


Tommy K on Twitter
National Justice Museum website