TV presenter and illustrator Rove McManus will host Life Drawing Live on SBS on Saturday, July 4.
TV presenter and illustrator Rove McManus will host Life Drawing Live on SBS on Saturday, July 4. Supplied

Rove’s new sketch show with a twist

ROVE McManus has grown closer to his followers than ever during the coronavirus pandemic.

The TV presenter, producer and illustrator kept himself busy during lockdown with his Doodle A Day video series. What started as a small project grew into a social media hit attracting tens of thousands of views on Facebook.

In the ever-expanding series, Rove - who has drawn all his life and has a fine arts degree - brought followers' ideas to life on the screen with his black and white doodles.

"Even when I haven't been necessarily drawing for professional purposes, it's always something I've kept up. For me it's like meditation," he says.

"Sometimes when I'm on the phone I'll sit with a pad and you just let your hand go on the page. It doesn't have to be something that gets framed and hung on the wall - it's a great stress relief and a great creative outlet. Certainly when things were a lot more stressful when we were in isolation it was a great thing for mental health."

Now Rove wants to get even more viewers in on the creative act with a concept born out of the pandemic - Australia's first televised live drawing class.

In the two-hour event, Life Drawing Live, he will be joined by a group of amateur artists, including some famous faces, to sketch live life models as they strike various poses.

Guided by two of the country's leading art experts, artists will complete a series of life drawing exercises before attempting to capture a challenging final scene.

Viewers are invited to pick up their pencils and draw along in real-time -  using #SBSLifeDrawingLive on social media or via email at lifedrawinglive@sbs.com.au - with the chance to have their artwork featured during the broadcast and analysed by experts.

An uninterrupted stream of the life models will also be available via sbs.com.au/lifedrawinglive.

"You don't have to be a good artist or a good drawer to be able to enjoy it," Rove says.

"The beauty of drawing and painting and sculpture is it really is subjective … this is all about teaching people at home as many tips as we can."

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He hopes to inspire viewers to turn their self-isolation hobbies into, such as art, into long-term creative outlets.

"I think a lot of us were caught out when what we were told was an initial, bare minimum six months of lockdown, There are a lot of cupboards full of sourdough bread and books on how to learn French and gym equipment that will slowly start to gather dust," he says.

"I would like to think if anyone was taking up drawing or an artistic endeavour then they will be sticking with it. It's something so beneficial no matter what state the world is in. Get out and take a sketchbook with you; sit in a park or a busy cafe and draw what's in front of you."

Life Drawing Live airs Saturday, July 4 at 8.30pm on SBS-TV.


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