On the first and third Wednesdays of each month, White Whale Craft Ales on Bull Street is flooded with artists.
From sequential artists to illustrators to digital artists, they all gather in the tasting room to work, collaborate, and encourage each other.
The event, called Neighborhood Drink-N-Draw, has grown from last summer’s small gatherings to a full creative community. Jamie Jones hosts the event in collaboration with Neighborhood Comics.
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“I was part of drink-n-draw back in Tampa where I hail from. I’m friends with everybody who works at White Whale, and I’m friends with Lee [the owner of Neighborhood Comics]. read [Heidel] was sitting outside one day, and he asked me about having drink-n-draw in Savannah, and I said I’ll run it.”
Jones said they now have about 15-to-30 people who he would consider regulars at the event, but that number is growing. “I think the regulars have been like, this is a great thing. Let’s tell more people about it and get more people to come.”
Cleonique Hilsaca and Jesus Costilla are two of those regulars. “We’ve been coming since it started last year,” said Hilsaca.
She and Costilla have found Neighborhood Drink-N-Draw to be a great environment to work on projects. “I’m a professional illustrator and I use Drink-N-Draw as an event to socialize but also to draw on my own personal projects and to sketch,” said Hilsaca.
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Rib agreed. “I’m a writer, and so I have a couple of comics that I’m working on, and sometimes I just draw my own renderings of the characters I’d like to see in my stories.”
It isn’t all work and no play. Many use Drink-N-Draw as a way to find project collaborators or even new friends.
“The networking I think is the best thing for me,” said Costilla. “I meet people from so many different fields who if I like their work, I’ll approach them as ask, ‘Hey you’ve got a pretty cool style. Would you ever want to work with another writer?'”
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“As a freelance illustrator, it can be very lonely to work at home, so it’s very good to meet people in other fields that are here, usually sequential artists,” said Hilsaca. “To learn from them and get to know them better and to be part of a community, that’s very important for artists that work alone.”
For people like Anya Driffill, who is a recent college graduate just starting out as a professional, it’s a good way to find encouragement.
“You know with [the pandemic] it was really easy to feel isolated and being able to find a group of people who are interested in the same type of things as I am is a really cool platform.”
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Liv Hamilton has found that the little connections made during Drink-N-Draw have also helped people’s careers. “I work on making my own graphic novels. I have a few pitches in the works right now, and Jamie has been super helpful. When he heard I was looking for an agent, he said, ‘I’ll recommend you to my own agent.'”
While Jamie Jones said the purpose of Neighborhood Drink-N-Draw as a networking and social event will continue, there are plans to try something new. If there’s a fifth Wednesday in a month, there will be a more organized Drink-N-Draw with costumed models or a theme.
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“Right now, it’s very free form. You can come in. It’s a networking thing. But having something that’s a little more focused and a little more themed.”
The next Neighborhood Drink-N-Draw is scheduled for Wednesday, April 6, from 6 to 9 pm at White Whale Craft Ales, 1207 Bull Street.
Follow Neighborhood Drink-N-Draw on Instagram @neighborhooddrink.n.draw.
If you’d like to see more from these artists, you can follow them on Instagram: Jamie Jones @artofjamiejones, Cleonique Hilsaca @Cleonique, and Anya Driffill @anz_solo.