Basic Inquiry is a life-drawing studio in Vancouver, British Columbia. Founded by the non-profit Vancouver Life Drawing Society (a member-run “registered society”) in 1983, and operated by an all-volunteer staff, Basic Inquiry offers untutored life-drawing sessions to the public many times a week when we are not closed for global pandemics. For more information, see our main website.
Launched in 2021 during widespread COVID closures, Basic Inquiry Online is a Zoom-based series of online drawing sessions streamed from our studio to artists around the world.
First you’ll be asked for your name and e-mail address, as well as to review and accept our session Terms & Conditions.
Then you will be guided through making online payment of the session price (as well as any optional tip you wish to contribute) using a credit card or other electronic means. Once you have paid, you are successfully registered for the session and will receive a confirmation e-mail to that effect.
30 minutes before the scheduled start of the session, you will receive an e-mail containing a link to the session's Zoom meeting. Click on this link and your web browser will open Zoom, joining you to the group of people gathered for the session.
No. At this time we are unfortunately able to accept payment only by the credit cards, bank cards, and electronic wallets accepted by our payment processor, Stripe.
The optional tip requested during registration is any amount you are willing to contribute for the session above the minimum session price. If you can afford it, please add a couple of dollars to your registration cost!
Because we pay a not-small processing fee for each electronic payment you make, we include your optional contribution with your registration cost in a single electronic payment request, to maximize contributions over fees. Unfortunately this means we ask you to tip before a session rather than, more naturally, after. If you are uncomfortable with this, please tip nothing this time. After all, if you like the model, you will want to draw her or him again. Next time you can tip generously in advance!
Your contributions, like your registration fees, go both to the model and to Basic Inquiry. For online sessions, we guarantee our models at least a minimum fee for their work at the same rate we pay in our in-person/unstreamed sessions. (Historically, our rates for professional life-drawing models have been some of the best in our geographic area.) If an online session’s proceeds exceed this model fee by more than a small amount, the remainder is split equally between the model (as tip) and the studio (toward operating expenses).
Basic Inquiry is a not-for-profit registered society in British Columbia, and apart from our models (who are professionally hired), we are organized, managed, and serviced entirely by unpaid volunteers. Therefore the studio portion of your extra contribution goes only to rent, utilities, and equipment that directly sustain the drawing programs we offer.
Registrations are unfortunately not refundable, but if it's more than a day before the session, contact us firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll arrange a credit for some other session.
The basics of Zoom are straightforward. You’ll need an internet-connected device. A computer or laptop is best, since it gives you a larger screen, but people succeed with tablets and even smart phones. If you’ve never used Zoom before and prefer to find out more before your first session, head over to Zoom’s website for tutorials, demos, and to check very general requirements.
The following are points of zoom etiquette for our particular drawing sessions:
When first joining a session, please turn your cameras on so we can all see you. This is part of building community, part of maintaining a safe environment for our models, and in part to facilitate checking registrations. Once the session is underway, feel free to turn off your camera off if you wish.
During drawing times, please mute yourself on Zoom. This keeps your background sounds—not just street noise, but your music, and that pencil that squeaks louder than you think!—from disturbing other artists. During drawing breaks (middle or end of the session), feel free to unmute yourself and join the general discussion!
In sessions with only one camera on the model, the session manager will "highlight" the model so that everyone’s Zoom will stay pinned to that camera view. (Normally, Zoom changes focus to whoever is speaker or to whichever view is making the most noise; pinning overrides that and keeps the focus on a single view.) In sessions offering multiple camera views, you will have to find and pin the specific camera view you want to draw yourself. Zoom’s Gallery View lets you browse all available views in the session. Once you find the one you want to draw, choose Pin from that view’s view-specific options. Finally, depending on your device, you may want to use Full Screen or Maximize Window to make your pinned view appear as large as possible on your device screen.
Use Zoom’s Chat facility to ask (type) any questions that arise during session. The session manager will respond as soon as she or he reasonably can. (Make sure you are addressing your chat to "Everyone" or specifically to the session manager if you want the session manager to respond!) Of course you’re also welcome to use Chat to chat privately (1:1) with other artists during the session. As a last resort, you can unmute yourself and ask your question vocally; just know you’ll be interrupting the rest of the group.
All of this sounds like a lot. Don’t be discouraged; in real life you’ll figure it out in a few minutes. Zoom has been bringing people together all over the world during the pandemic, and is the video-sharing tool of choice among online drawing communities!
Please, no. To some degree, the value of life drawing exercise comes from working within the time constraints of each pose. But the real concern here is one of respect for people’s desire, and moral right, to control the public or private circulation of their own images, especially in potentially vulnerable situations. Legally, our models agree to pose for you only for life-drawing purposes, not for any form of photography or video recording. Contractually, you agree not to photograph or otherwise digitally record them when you accept the Terms & Conditions of session registration.
In this murky online age, though, the most important reason remains one of personal ethics. Our models pose for our sessions under the promise no one will take unauthorized photographs of them. Please respect this; and celebrate their art with yours.