Monthly Archives: October 2019

Cute young artist folx at Kino Babylon for Spit and Ashes!

Young artist at Spit and Ashes screening Babylon Kreuzberg Oct 26 2019 by Suzanne ForbesI went to celebrated cinema Babylon Kreuzberg for the screening of my friend Sadie Lune’s new movie from Maria Beatty, Spit and Ashes.

The whole scene was like Planet of the Invasion of the Sexy Young Queers. Basically no-one had any gender binary and no-one had any hair on the sides of their head. If I hadn’t already been dizzy and exhausted I would have been knocked into a chair by the sheer gorgeous life and freedom of the young people. I drew this blue-haired artist while they were waiting in line.

Waiting for Spit and Ashes screening Babylon Kreuzberg Oct 26 2019 by Suzanne ForbesEveryone was looking fantastic and fearless.

While waiting I got to IRL meet and talk to Sara Niedorf, co-founder of Final Girls Berlin Film Festival, Berlin’s marvelous showcase for horror films produced, directed and written by women. As the crowd lined up for Spit and Ashes, I saw an old friend from SF! He had wanted to let me know he was in Berlin but decided to respect my mentioning health issues on my twitter. It was so good to hug an old friend who understands the challenges of my life with disability.

When Sadie arrived, she was in full Witch regalia and breathtaking! Director of Production Jo Pollux was gleaming like a fey creature, spooky and ethereal.

I hugged them and then I had to leave, because I have been having a crushing Hashimoto’s flareup; I was feeling like hammered shit. I am so damn sad I couldn’t see their gorgeous movie on the big screen with that amazing crowd. But I had already done one event that day, live-drawing Shine Louise Houston teaching film-making, and then gotten mixed up and gone to Moviemento (where I had drawings on display this year btw!!!) instead, and had to cab it to Babylon. I was in spoon debt already.

I didn’t have any trouble at all accepting that I’m an alcoholic and an addict and that addiction is a lifelong, incurable disease. But I am having a terribly hard time accepting that autoimmune illness has permanently changed my life. Every time I get better I think I’m better for good; every time I get worse I feel consumed with guilt and grief for the work I’m not doing and terrified of a future where I may be able to do less and less.

I am so grateful to my Patrons on Patreon, whose support makes everything I do possible.

If I didn’t have this monthly financial support, I wouldn’t be able to work at all. The flexibility of being supported by Patrons is so critical to my work. I’m writing this flat on my back on the couch on a Halloween night when all over town my friends are doing beautiful events I desperately want to document – but at least, thanks to my Patrons, I can take the time to scan, edit and post these drawings of cool young folx, and share them with the world.

Portrait of the artist’s mother in West Berlin.

Portrait of Pat Ketchum by Suzanne Forbes work in Process Oct 11 2019Got a chance to paint my precious mama on this visit, which was her longest so far.

I did a drawing on each of her previous visits – here and here– and this time I wanted to try a painting even though I have very little strength these days.

Painting takes a lot out of me physically, and with the endless upper respiratory infections I’ve had on top of my Hashimotos this year, I am always at zero physically.

I was willing to go into spoon-debt and suck up the recovery time for this though!

We did the sitting on the last night of her visit, so I could collapse after taking her to the airport the next day.

Here she is sitting in our salon, reading her Kindle.

Books are such a huge part of my mom and me’s life together, from the beginning. We shared books when I was a teen – Ed McBain, Dean Koontz, Elmore Leonard, Robert B. Parker, and most of all Dick Francis. In the 80s, we read every single thing every one of those writers had written.

And every Christmas there were stacks of paperbacks under the tree for me, all the Anne McCaffery and Isaac Asimov and Larry Niven and Heinlein. (Problematic as hell, but geek teens took what they could get!)

My mom still reads voraciously and lightning-fast, though I no longer do – I am too tired most of the time.

She discovers new writers, or new to her old writers, and burns through their work. The Kindle is great for her, as it is for another power-reader loved one, my Friend-Muse-Patron Barbara North.

My mom wore this pink striped sweater earlier in the week, and I asked her to wear it again for the sitting, I thought it would be nice against the pink model chair and the purple of her Kindle.

I need to do some finishing work on her sweater and paint in her hands properly, but I’m well satisfied with the likeness and how much I got done in the two-hour sitting. I took some photos of her jewelry and sweater for reference – as you all know, I never take reference photos for faces.

Even if I didn’t have a principle against it, I got enough of that on Star Trek!
Portrait of Pat Ketchum by Suzanne Forbes work in Process Oct 11 2019 detail
I did some work on the backgrounds of two other paintings in progress the next day, even though I was dazed with tiredness – the portraits of Shakrah and Cadbury are now much closer to done. Having a palette with fresh paint on it was too much to resist!

I’m so grateful to my Patrons (including my mama and mom-in-law!) for supporting my work and making paintings like this possible.

Carnivorous Plant Month teaser! With air-dry clay tips.

Carnivorous alien plants by Suzanne Forbes Oct 28 2019

Little Workshop of Horrors!

Carnivorous alien plants made of air dry clay WIP by Suzanne Forbes Oct 28 2019I‘m having a rest day so I‘m doing art that feels like play and gives me energy. I made a bunch of leaves using my fondant decoration orchid veiner and air drying DAS modelling clay, then painted them and glossed them with gel medium.

You can see me handling the teeny teeth with a wax rhinestone pick-up pencil in the video below. This is a craft/costumier tip I learned about from incredible head-dress maker @bubblesandfrown and damn it changed my decor game!!!

I‘m using a glue gun to apply this batch of teeth, stick in the tongues and clamshell the leaves together.

The gluegun glue is great because its fast setup lets me position the tongues and angle the openness of the mouths on the fly.

Carnivorous alien plants in process by Suzanne Forbes Oct 28 2019Fast-worker tip I learned: you can speed-dry air-dry clays and paperclays in the oven!

That is a GAME CHANGER if you are a fucking impatient person like me. However, that is not what I did here. Once I learned heat would speed up the drying without releasing any fumes, I just put ’em on the radiator. There are two modern radiators in our kitchen/my workroom, and they can be adjusted, so I put the leaves on there! Apparently these clays scorch easily so care is required when putting them in the oven, while the radiator top is visible from my worktable.

Air-drying clay is super-absorbent, so it sucks the paint right in.

I was able to coat and recoat these in a very short time. Then I coated everything with gel medium, for a creepy gloss. (I talk about sculpting materials and glossing substances here!) I’m not totally confident in the gel medium’s tack-free curing, so I may spray them all over with spray acrylic varnish later. But first the thick medium is getting another day to cure.

This is only the first iteration for what is gonna be Carnivorous Plant November around here!!!

Drawing Shine Louise Houston in Berlin!

Shine Louise Houston teaching film at Altes Finanzamt Oct 26 2019 by Suzanne ForbesA great regret from the Bay Area era of my documentary work was that I never got to draw film-maker Shine Louise Houston.

She is the powerhouse creative force behind revolutionary queer studios CrashPad Series and PinkLabelTV, and an amazing QPOC artist.

Shine Louise Houston teaching camera technique at Altes Finanzamt Oct 26 2019 by Suzanne ForbesYesterday I got to meet and draw Shine, and what a thrill!

Shine Louise Houston‘s camera work and film workshops are incredibly popular and sell out like lightning, but I was able to get in as a documentary artist and record her teaching the class.

Shine Louise Houston and students at Altes Finanzamt Oct 26 2019 by Suzanne ForbesShine started out with some gems about filming adult media that I never would have thought of!

I was absolutely fascinated to hear her talk about the secrets of a happy set and how to troubleshoot when things go sideways. Shine on IMDB here! You would not believe how much creative work she has done as a producer and director of sexy erotic cinema.

“There is power in creating images, and for a woman of color and a queer to take that power… I don’t find it exploitative; I think it’s necessary.” – Shine Louise Houston

Shine Louise Houston and Jiz Lee at Altes Finanzamt Oct 26 2019 by Suzanne ForbesHere’s Shine with Jiz Lee, demonstrating the concept of the 180-degree Line.

Although all I know about film-making is what I’ve seen on queer porn sets, I know this concept from my career as a comic-book penciller! I drew Jiz Lee often in the Oughts in the Bay, because we both donated lots of time to benefits for local sex-positive institutions like The Center for Sex and Culture. I keep up with them daily on twitter and Instagram, because Jiz is always on top of news and opportunities for sex-positive activism and education.

Jiz Lee at Altes Finanzamt Oct 26 2019 by Suzanne ForbesSeriously, if you want to be learning and growing about how to support trans and nonbinary folx and QPOC erotic cinema, Jiz Lee is your first stop.

They were the first out nonbinary person I knew IRL, and their clear voice is always educating me on how to be of use and of help. Step one: PAY FOR YOUR PORN!!!

Suzanne Forbes photographed by Jiz Lee at Shine Camera Work class Oct 26 2019

Jiz Lee took this cool over-the-shoulder shot of me drawing!

Shine Louise Houston teaching camera work at Altes Finanzamt Oct 26 2019 by Suzanne ForbesIt was a total treat that one of the demo models for Shine’s class was Bishop Black!

Always a pleasure to see that gentleman creative, who is one of the hardest working artists in Berlin’s incredibly rich queer life.

Shine Louise Houston teaching at Altes Finanzamt Oct 26 2019 by Suzanne ForbesPeople I know have been shooting with Shine Louise Houston forever!

Sadly my health got worse and worse in my last years in the Bay, and I never managed to be somewhere Shine was working. It was an honor to at last document her historic and powerful artistic presence. I loved hearing her talk about intuitive and spiritual approaches to cinema; even if you’re not a film-maker the class is so interesting and I highly recommend it!

These drawings are licensed Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)

That means they’re 100% FREE for all to share and enjoy! In addition, I release the copyright on each drawing to the performer shown and they may use the drawings for their own profit and pleeeasssure in any way they choose.

As a fat, queer, disabled artist, crowdfunded support is the only way I can make this work and release it for free. 

You can join my Patreon Patrons, for as little as a dollar/euro a month, to keep me making my documentary art of Queer Berlin as Free Art.

Barbara at The Ballery.

Barbara at The Ballery by Suzanne Forbes Oct 10 2019I was recently in a group show at Schöneberg gallery The Ballery.

The works shown included a beautiful series of portraits by photographer Eva Brunner. Barbara, above, was the model. During the finissage evening of the exhibit, Barbara performed some deft comic numbers.

This is an example of a drawing where I could take my time with the background and really work out the details. As all my dear ones know, I love to draw people playing music and have had far less chances to do so this year, since I’ve been ill so much. 
Barbara at The Ballery by Suzanne Forbes Oct 10 2019 detail

I added the color when I got home, based on memory and little scribbly notes on the drawings.

I swear to you that the colors appeared exactly as they do here: the glowing red light in the Ballery’s cloakroom, the oversize bottle of Campari, Barbara’s signature red/orange look, the red accent on her mike, and the red nailpolish in the portrait behind her. Other than that it was all grays and whites and blacks.

A marvelous scene I was lucky to capture, including Barbara’s gorgeous gams!! Thanks to my Patrons on Patreon, who make my documentary art possible <3

Berlin X Brooklyn Drag Exhilaration!

Horrorchata at Bushwig Berlin by Suzanne Forbes Oct 10 2019This is Horrorchata.

She is the Motha of the House of Bushwig, a LatinX punk and International Queen who came to Berlin to light things up this summer. I got a good likeness of her, but I could not find photo reference of her outfit, so the look I have drawn her in is a composite of several of her incredible pastel explosions of creativity. I hope the Queen will find that ok!

Nām at Bushwig Berlin by Suzanne Forbes July 30 2019This extremely cute boy Nām was one of two backup dancers for queen Ocean.

As a guest of international NY/Berlin drag festival Bushwig this summer, I drew more performers in a single day than I have EVER drawn before, but I couldn’t draw everybody. I felt bad I couldn’t capture the beauty of the queen herself, but sometimes even the best stage-side seat doesn’t give me a decent view of a performer, and that was the case here.

ReveRso at Bushwig Berlin by Suzanne Forbes July 30 2019ReveRso is a Berlin drag legend, bringing a very different style.

There was a whole other part of ReverRso’s performance, involving actual fireworks in personal areas, that I could not draw for this Patreon-sponsored site. Perhaps you will find it elsewhere 😉Dancer at Bushwig Berlin by Suzanne Forbes July 31 2019

I didn’t get this performer’s name but they danced tremendously in those sky-high boots!

Performer at Bushwig Berlin by Suzanne Forbes July 31 2019This guy is incredibly tall and an amazing dancer, he was BEATING the stage into submission in the brutal heat, just moving and slamming. Drop splits!!

Cupcake at Bushwig Berlin by Suzanne Forbes July 30 2019Cupcake in pink!

Cupcake is a performing artist, theatre-trained actor and a member of the Queer Arab Barty collective. I enjoyed their performance immensely!

I am still working on finishing all the Bushwig Berlin drawings and spraying them with fixativ and scanning them! I actually still have another five performers. The first Bushwig Berlin post is here and the second is here.

As usual these drawings are licensed Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) for all to share and enjoy!

In addition, I release the copyright on each drawing to the performer shown and they may use the drawings for their own profit and pleeeasssure in any way they choose.

As a fat, queer, disabled artist, crowdfunded support is the only way I can make this work and release it for free. 

You can join my Patreon Patrons, for as little as a dollar/euro a month, to keep me working and releasing my documentary art of Queer Berlin as Free Art.

The Sea Salts of Berlin!

Sirens singing sweet songs at Ballhaus Berlin!

I adore the delicate and sophisticated (and sometimes naughty) sound of Lorelei la Voix and Syren Joey, and it’s a thrill to see them perform in full sea-worthy costume. This session of Dr. Sketchy’s Berlin featured the Sea Salts duo performing quite a few lovely numbers. Above, Lorelei in her “blangmange” costume, a marvelous pink hoopskirt froth with a mermaid tail.

Syren Joey of Sea Salts Berlin with rapier by Suzanne Forbes Sept 29 2019Plus, lady with a rapier! Always love a woman with a sword.

Syren Joey is a great performer and I always love to draw her. However, I was struggling quite a lot with these drawings, as I am pushing iterations of my mixed media technique and experiencing the danger of over-confidence. “Don’t get cocky, kid!”Syren Joey of Sea Salts Berlin by Suzanne Forbes Sept 29 2019

Using chalk markers, pastels and india ink pens, I’m developing an additive/subtractive approach to drawing that lets me work in a more painterly way.

I’m constantly changing and correcting as I draw. It’s actually a derivative of the correction-tape method I developed when doing pen-and-ink work on Guidolon. If I made a mistake, I ran the correction tape over it and was redrawing on top in seconds. It worked great for drawings that were being scanned and transmitted digitally, because no-one ever saw the tape. Not so good for art people are gonna buy the originals of! (and they do; if you want to buy one of my existing drawings from an event, go here, towards the bottom.)

The chalk markers, with their tremendous opacity and extremely fast dry-down, give me similar powers to correction tape. And at the previous Dr. Sketchy’s, with just two models in neutral colors, I was flying! But Sunday I jumped in with the same fearless vigor, and a lot went wrong. Damage to the surface of the paper from too much water in the brown chalk marker, problems with my line as I moved too quickly even for myself, and weird scumbling effects from the pastels I was using.

I just kept rolling, working and reworking the same drawings, trying to figure it out, because I am invested in the process.

It did mean, however, that I didn’t make nearly as many drawings as usual. There are these three of the Sea Salts, and a couple portraits of Bishop Black, and one of beautiful Gizam Akman, and that’s it!

You can see the drawings of Bishop and Gizam here.

All the thanks to producers Syren Joey and Miss LaLa Vox aka @lalavox, UFO Hawaii, @pixie.scarlett and Matthias for all their hard work, and @marenmichaelis  who takes the amazing photographs, and to @lepustra and the hardworking team at the gorgeous vintage venue @ballhausberlin!!

And so much love to my Patrons on Patreon, whose monthly financial support allows me to make this art and make it available as free art!

 

Bishop Black in pearls, and more castaway hotness at Dr. Sketchy’s Berlin!

Bishop Black in pearls at Dr Sketchys Berlin by Suzanne Forbes Sept 29 2019I was very excited to get to draw Bishop Black again.

Bishop is a multi-disciplinary artist who works incredibly hard in so many swim lanes! And he is fantastically handsome and muscular 🙂 You can see my drawings of him from the Dr. Sketchy’s Berlin Red Hot Love session here and here.Bishop Black and Gizam Akman at Dr Sketchys Berlin by Suzanne Forbes Sept 29 2019

I was experimenting a lot with materials for this session (read more at this post) and struggling to resolve values.

Gesture drawing of Bishop Black at Dr Sketchys Berlin by Suzanne Forbes Sept 29 2019Rendering skin tones and clothing shadows is something I can do easily in paint, but I am a novice at pastels and color drawing still.

A big part of the reason I’m adding color to my drawings now is to give performers of color a more vibrant representation. My approach is ever-evolving, and I always invite POC performers to check me if I get their undertones wrong!

I only got one drawing of beautiful mermaid model Gizem Akram, seen below, because my usual table by the dj stand just didn’t work well for most of her poses.

This happens occasionally wherever I draw; sometimes I just can’t get a good “shot” of one or more performers.Gizam Akman at Dr Sketchys Berlin by Suzanne Forbes Sept 29 2019

It’s challenging to draw scantily-clad people in multi-colored stage lighting, but I did my best; you know who is awesome at it?

Samantha Stover, who was also at Dr. Sketchy’s on Sunday. As was superb draughtsman Jürgen Schlotter.

It’s such a treat for me to see drawings of the same scene I drew from these two, because their styles are profoundly different from mine but they are both SO good.

I had a wonderful time at Sketchy’s as always.

All the thanks to producers Syren Joey and Miss LaLa Vox aka @lalavox, UFO Hawaii, @pixie.scarlett and Matthias for all their hard work, and @marenmichaelis  who takes the amazing photographs, and to @lepustra and the hardworking team at the gorgeous vintage venue @ballhausberlin!!

And so much love to my Patrons on Patreon, whose monthly financial support allows me to make this art and make it available as free art!