derby girl 3

Alice Parsons gets her skates on and comes up with some pretty-frickin-awesome illustrations for

If, like me, your only encounter with the world of Roller Derby has been watching ‘Whip It’, you may have some idea that these ladies are pretty cool. They are tough and strong, not afraid to fall over/into/through anything. Like ice hockey players but with way better outfits. A dash of leopard print, stripy socks, short shorts and plenty of protective gear. I haven’t been to a match yet and still don’t understand the rules, but you don’t have to in order to enjoy drawing these tough women.

Brighton’s Old Market is currently playing host to a series of themed life drawing events run by Draw Brighton, I was sorry to miss Hearts and Lines, Pygmalion and many others but managed to make it to the latest drop-in session with the Brighton Rockers team. It was a challenge, wrestling with oversized paper, fighting leg cramp to get good angles, whilst trying to appear like the cool sort of person who might hang out at a derby match.

I’m used to looking for familiar markers at normal nude drawing sessions, a hint of muscle, the crook of an elbow, a fine contoured shadow, something to help me place my lines and make a body appear on the page. The roller girls were cut up by protective gear, divided into strange segments of arm and leg, faces peeking out of helmets, making them alien to draw, a good challenge for anyone, experienced artist or part time doodler.

In spite of an infectious giggling attack, which struck a couple of the rockers towards the end of the session, the team’s muscles and core strength held them stock still in their poses, barely drifting on their mammoth wheels.

Clearly, the sensible thing to do now is check them out at a derby bout, I’ll see you there and we’ll figure the rules out together.



Words and illustrations by Alice Parsons. Details of the next bout are here and for more info about Drawing at The Old Market, Hove, go here


Thanks to the Team: Emma the Condemner – Brighton Rocker/Model, Kapow – Brighton Rocker/Model, Cap’n Block Beard – Brighton Rocker/Model, Anti Gravetty – Brighton Rocker/Model, Petichoke – Brighton Rocker/Model, Chaka Carnage – Brighton Rocker/Model, Jake Spicer – Tutor, Shelley Morrow – Photographer