Drawing Sesh

Nomi @the_nomi
9 min readDec 27, 2020

In this story, I’m going to write about the drawing session which we have started in 2020 and have been doing regularly for about 3 months now. But as you may know I was born old and as an old person I’d like to talk about the past for about a couple of paragraphs. Feel free to skip the nostalgia bits if you just wanna read about 2020, the year you were born.


Back in 2014, Alice invited me to a drawing session in Richmond. We knew each other through mutual friends but I still didn’t know her that well. And that drawing session in Richmond gave us a good chance to bond and we started hanging out quite a bit. I also got to know what a good drawing session can do. I didn’t bond with anyone else I met in this drawing session; I didn’t make a masterpiece or anything–but it allowed me to feel not stressed out about all the things and concentrate on doodling and socialising aimlessly.

richmond baby
Richmond–it’s a chill leisurely area in London near Kew Gardens–an uptight solo person like me wouldn’t’ve gone there unless there’s a solid reason to go there but it was a perfect spot to do a casual drawing session with a (relatively) new friend and a bunch of friendly people who are into drawing in the mid-September. We went to a pub afterwards to share what we’ve drawn and all. If Alice came back as a force ghost, i‘d ask her if she’d like to do this drawing session again.
richmond sure is a family friendly place. they all come here to seek freedom.
Some kid on a leash.

Fast forward to 2019, I realised that there are a quite a bit of visual artists who are interested in joining a drawing field trip in my newly started meet-up group Gæmz Meetup. Since I have a fond memory of that Richmond drawing session and because the way I drew has been stressing me out, I wanted to do something similar (we went to some other drawing sessions in London and I went to one in Berlin too but the Richmond one was the best). So, I proposed to do something and even named it (thanks Rafael for naming it) but had to postpone it several times and never made it come true.

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The Eternal Voyage of Bird Parks. We planned to go to bird parks to sketch and compose haikus, etc.

Then in September 2020, almost a year later, drawing session finally became feasible probably thanks to the covid-19 pandemic. (I’m aware that it’s been a tough year for many people but online hangout getting normalised as well as telecommuting is inarguably one of the best things that come out of this pandemic).

don’t call it zoom call they are all genies not zoomers
Yeah, sometimes I try my best to draw people’s attention by adding an image.

I did a couple of test sessions and familiarised ourselves with the basic format. It actually took us a little more to figure out how to make the session work the way it does now. I’ll tell you how we run the sessions in the next section.

We married Midori’s characters (the priest figure by Cham)
Doot doot awoo.

How to organise Drawing Sessions in 2020

So, actually I don’t remember if I was planning to make this a regular thing but we somehow collaboratively made it a regular thing. Here’s how we did it.

First, instead of using a certain platform such as Discord, we decided that a group email is the best decentralised way to keep everyone informed. Then the logistics wizard (and multi-talented) Marie suggested schedules that would work for people in different time zones (we nearly cover all the time zones on this planet). From those suggestions, we picked 14.00 UTC+0 as it was morning in North America, afternoon in Europe & Russia, and night just before the bedtime (for some people) in Japan & Australia. (It has changed slightly due to the end/beginning of Day Light Saving time)

Narrowing down the option for the starting time made the scheduling a lot easier. We use Doodle (https://doodle.com/) to determine the date to have the drawing session. After each session, I email the group the link to the poll for the upcoming week’s session and close the poll on Sunday night in NA/Monday in the rest of the world (nearly).

What Do We Do?

Even though I used to draw more than some people and I sometimes make living by drawing, I don’t really have a proper formal drawing school experience. So, I just started off the sessions with no principles whatsoever. And in one of the earlier sessions, we decided to have a prompt and share the drawings on a shared Google Docs file.
I think the first prompt (or what started this custom of giving ourselves a prompt) was introduce yourself. Here are some of the self introduction drawings that we got on 1 October 2020:

Horatiu was ready to bend all the rules from the beginning and started sharing his clayxels art.

Other time, the prompt was spooky sun. (Apparently, this is coming from the clock in the 1995 film Whisper of the Heart but I don’t know why. Funnily enough I know a behind the scenes story about this particular scene though.)

Claus’s creepy sun is real creepy
Pototo’s creepy sun and Jessica’s powerful creepy sun
Horatiu mde a gif of creepy sun (this is not a gif though. it’s png. soz)
ethan’s creepy sun looks rather friendly
Dragons–a request by Mike
Also check out Jessica’s dragon cat–the one on the left is self introduction and the one on the right is new spooky card motifs for halloween

We also play games.
The games we played include:

“I’m going to be thinking about this Texas wearing underwear all day.”–Ethan
I think the original prompt was simply TORCH but someone got creative.

Drawphone is a browser version of Telestrations–a Pictionary-like game in which is basically chinese whispers but the word is told by drawings and written text.

If you take a look at some of the examples here, I think you’ll get the idea. (If not, I can play it with you. It’s rather easy.)

We’ve also attempted to repurpose Drawphone to play another game. I’ll come back to it later.

I honestly don’t remember what this was all about.
Probably the best example of all. Sorry about the other examples.

We still play those games (especially Drawphone) but I think we have been very keen to find out other ways to play, too. Spontaneously coming up with prompts is a part of it. At least one of us is actually developing a cool drawing game and we recently had a playtest.
But before going into that, you might want to know how we usually play games when there’s no in-game canvas. We use shared canvas. Here are some of the shared canvases we have tried so far:

So now I can tell you about how we’ve been trying to come up with different ways to play.
I suppose you might be familiar with figure drawing (especially with nude models) if you have ever been to paid drawing sessions. (OK I lied a bit earlier. I’ve been to those sessions a few times. A couple of times when I was forced to go to a painting school for the people who were studying to go to art schools to make friends, once at a public drawing session in Berlin that I attended with a few friends.) But since not all of us are super familiar with figure drawing and especially not on a big shared canvas, this has become a playable experience.
We used Quickposes (https://quickposes.com/en) thanks to the recommendation by Jessica. We haven’t tried this yet but Zack also recommended another tool for figure drawing (https://vimeo.com/croquiscafe).

This is how it started. We just drew nude models as we were told like good pupils.

Then Horatiu requested to turn the models into jazz players.

Jazz warriors and scat pope

Then we decided to collaboratively sketch models since it was hard to draw the details within time and we thought that maybe we can cooperate instead.

Big canvas drawings are kind of hard to share but this is one of the best attempts. We had to test this way of drawing several times as we kept losing the track of where we were and since we kept making the drawing bigger as we progressed.

We also tried to get inspired by AI Dungeon (https://play.aidungeon.io/main/landing). Most of us focused too much on the story writing/handling AI but it was a fun topic to explore.

our ai dungeon story. we didn’t write most of the accurate stuff.
ai created so many characters and it was just hard to follow everything. but we tried to draw.

At this point, it was clear that we are really into narrative things, (we also talked about MUSH, a text-based online social medium (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MUSH) quite a bit but more on that some other time maybe). So, I suggested we repurpose Drawphone to make a story.
The format went like this.
- the first player sets up the story in words (e.g. one day, a mysterious man gave james magical crystals)
- the second player draws the scene described by the previous player (e.g. a picture of james getting magical crystals from a mysterious man)
- the third player writes what’s going to happen next based on the picture they saw. (e.g. james accidentally drops magical crystals)
- the fourth player draws the scene described by the previous player.
- and so forth.

Here are some results:

I guess that’s all I wanted to show. As I’ve briefly mentioned, we’ve been playtesting a drawing game and that has been quite fun but I guess I’ll keep it a secret until it becomes public.
I don’t think there’s much to tell but feel free to contact me if you’d like know how to organise a drawing session or you’d like to join mine.


P.S. enjoy some more drawings:

we had a new centaur day. this centaur is one of the centaurs by jessica.
i think this is a centaur by horatiu but i’m not sure.
a new centaur with a cool tshirt and a heart tat by ethan.
another centaur by horatiu
one of the centaurs by me
us election, zack’s monsters drawing session, etc. by horatiu
participants by jessica
participants by jessica
people who stayed until late by me
our attempt to play an abridged version of a quiet year (https://buriedwithoutceremony.com/the-quiet-year)
Ferran’s clever shit on corsel.io
ivan’s bong bong
Ivan and I made a fan art of this guy.
some serious figure sketches with midori
our answers to “where is your mind?” on piccles
horatius in the snake zone



Nomi @the_nomi

Semi-pseudo-scientific avant garde musical nonsense fiction comedy film designing roadie jesting around on the planet called Earth in the galaxy far far away.