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'Don't have time to erase:' New UNC club promotes quick drawing style

Photo Courtesy of Alicia Laxton.

Imagine it's a breezy fall day on campus. You're settled in the Pit, locked in on an assignment due that night. All of a sudden, a bustling group clutching pencils and sketch pads approaches.

“Would you mind if we drew you?” they might ask.

Photo Courtesy of Alicia Laxton.

UNC’s Croquis Club, formed this semester, is often out and about on campus in this fashion. The club meets four times a month to draw together.

Croquis is a French word for sketch. The art form consists of quick drawings of a human body.

The artists draw a colorful spectrum of people on and around campus during club outings, fromart majors to farmers to even surgeons.

Photo Courtesy of Alicia Laxton.

Croquis Club President Alicia Laxton, a communications major at UNC, decided to start the club after being inspired by a comic, "Spirit Fingers," which features a high school girl who is roped into the art world without any drawing experience. 

“Anyone can do art,” Laxton said. “You don’t have to be a master at it.” 

Laxton said she wanted to create a space that provided the resources for art to be easily picked up by those who had never done it before. 

“I think a lot of college students feel like they don't have time to do their hobbies,” she said.  “Or they don't even feel like they have 15 minutes in a day to just draw, or it just doesn't come up on their mind. So having that space is really important.”

According to Laxton, many of the club's members are from STEM fields and not studio art majors.

One of those STEM majors is the club's treasurer, Thao Nguyen, a double major in biology and information science. She said she appreciates having a block in her schedule to have free range over her artistic ability and creativity

The club has created a space for Nguyen to revive her hobbies from childhood in her adult life, she said. 

At meetings, Croquis Club members only have between 30 seconds and 15 minutes to draw live models. 

Nguyen said that the biggest challenge about croquis drawing is being able to capture a picture in a single moment, since models can’t pose forever.

“Like a photograph, you can spend all your time and fixate on every detail, every stroke of the pencils and stuff but with live models, you just have to be confident in your first stroke,” Nguyen said. "You don't have time to erase. You just got to go with it." 

Katherine Ropp, the Croquis Club vice president, is a music education major at UNC. She chooses to draw with a pen so she can’t second guess herself, which challenges her to work with her mistakes. 

According to Nguyen, the club not only boosts her confidence as an artist, but also gives her the opportunity to be more open about sharing her work with others.

Ropp said that the overwhelming support of the group creates a non-judgemental and freeing atmosphere, despite a variety of experience levels within the club. 

Ropp does not consider herself an artist, but feels that she improves with every meeting she goes to. 

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“I think it being a different way to express myself is really cool to develop this late in life,” she said. “It’s not too late to start.”

Regardless of styles and abilities, club member Aditya Roy, an environmental health science major, said everyone’s perspectives are welcome. 

Photo Courtesy of Alicia Laxton.

“The most important thing about having this dedicated time to just draw is you're really devoted to it, your full focus is on it,” Roy said. “You don't really feel as bothered about the deadlines coming up or all the other various things that are going on in your life.”