I originally got her mostly for her laboratory accessories, for my dollhouse laboratory.
I wanted to reference her dance training, her cabaret and Victorian numbers from her burlesque revue days. She and Madeline Kahn had so much in common as performers, and yet you only see a glimpse of it in “Bride of Frankenstein.” She plays Mary Shelley as well, in the “Bride” prologue. Shelley calls her “an angel”, and the devil is the corner of her mouth as she smirks, “You think so.”
I always had the idea I’d do a custom outfit for my Sideshow Bride, something sassy and exciting.
As I began to make my Horribella dolls, I amassed tiny doll-making trims and miniature buckles.
I got stuff from model horse tack suppliers Rio Rondo (boy, don’t try to load that site on your phone!) and BJD clothing-making suppliers all over the world.
I got amazing tiny silver leather trim from a handbag company in Los Angeles. I saved every bit of ribbon from every bag of fancy cookies, every inch of silver elastic from a dress tag, for my Snow Queen project (reveal next year!). For my mermaid doll and my corset customizing projects I got a zillion different kinds and sizes of Swarovski crystals, beads, sequins and chains.
I give them big curves to match the silhouette of a Modern Edwardian underbust, my own favorite corset style. Then I draft a tiny corset pattern and cut and glue a miniature corset over them.
Now that my workshop is complete, I keep powering through long-awaited projects.
So I finally made my Bride of Frankenstein Gothic Burlesque Elsa Lancaster Showgirl!
Isn’t she marvelous?
She was in town for the weekend. María is an incredibly talented young artist who is now studying art full-time back home in Madrid. You can see her work by following her on twitter and tumblr, as well as her YouTube channel. We had a wonderful visit, talking about art and drawing. I got to see the things she’s working on, her Inktober drawings and her latest projects. She has recently won prizes in several illustration contests in Spain (which I predicted each time!).
She made this lovely drawing of me, which I will add to my framed collection of portraits of me by other artists.
Here’s a nice picture of us earlier this year! In case you can’t tell, I am living my best life ever here in Berlin. Thanks to my Patreon Patrons, I can draw and teach and live, and it’s a life of meaning and purpose.
On my way home from teaching at ESDIP Berlin I saw these badass skater girls.
I sat across from them on the U1 and politely asked if I could draw them, as I’ve learned to in Germany. But they were American, and it was totally fine with them! Turned out they were from the Bay Area, specifically all San Francisco born and raised.
“From inside the 7×7”, they told me, just as I always make it clear that I was born on Manhattan island.
I had just a few stops to draw them, so I finished a lot of the detail later. However, it is totally accurate that the stickers on their boards were all dogged out from grinding copings. I don’t think these vital, modern young women were riding fat old-school Kryptonics wheels; that’s just what skateboard wheels look like, to me. I loved that they had big wide decks.
My best friend in high school was a skater girl, in 1981, and she rode what she called a “rolling stage”.
I showed this to Daria while we were having some lovely cake in my kiez and she said she liked the right-hand girls much better, with their casual sketchy hands. She said the hands of the left-most girl were overworked. Too much information.
“You’re so strong in technical skills, in understanding the structure of the hand, you get caught up showing too much.”
She was right, of course. The most interesting and powerful thing about the whole scene to me was the way the girl on the left cupped her hands over the nose of her board, like it was the pommel of a saddle.
And by drawing every detail of her fingers, instead of leaving some space open, I’d made her hands pedantic and overdrawn.
I had lost the shock of her dark nails against her pale skin by adding too much black line detail.
If I were drawing this for reproduction, I would have changed it, as I did when Daria suggested I give the Three Ages of Woman more space around them. Instead, I restored some of the drama and focus I’d intended by making the left-hand girl’s shirt black. Interestingly, Daria didn’t make the same criticism about space with this drawing- I think she understood that the fact the girls fill the frame is meant to create a sense of intimacy and immediacy.
I wanted to show I was occupying the same space, briefly, as these fearless young women.
First up was the inaugural IRL exhibit of Berlin sensation Laetitia Duveau’s feminist art platform “Curated by GIRLS“.
The show, called “Freer in Berlin“, was beautiful; I really loved the photographs by Laurence Philomene especially. I made this drawing of Ms. Duveau in glimpses through the packed crowd. Also, in an amazing piece of Berlin magic, a friend from the Bay who I hadn’t seen for years spotted me drawing; he couldn’t believe the synchronicity. I was like hey, Berlin is ALL synchronicity.
Then I went to the Gig Poster Screen Print show at ESDIP Berlin, where I teach.
It was a really nice party, with live screen printing, music, the official Lujan Bar and a vegan chili pop-up by Chicas Sin Carne. The work was simply amazing. Fantastic work by Brookesia Studio, Noise Armada, The 13th Sign, and Print’s Not Dead. I drew Rob Hanna printing.
I wanted to buy fucking everything, the prints were so amazing, but as a poor artist I controlled myself and bought only this Noise Armada piece of Trump getting it in the head with a machete. Husband finds it too horrifying to hang in the house, I am bummed.