Author Archives: Suzanne Forbes

About Suzanne Forbes

Suzanne Forbes is a traditionally trained figurative artist, writer and bricoleur. She is an expat New Yorker living and thriving in Berlin with her third husband and their two cats. In previous lives she was a courtroom artist for CBS and CNN, a penciller for DC Comics on Star Trek, and a live-drawing chronicler of Bay Area alternative culture.

Dr. Sketchys Berlin Nr. 70 – the Barbarella Edition!!

Lucille Spielfuchs and Sebastian Stone posing as Barbarella and Pygar Dr Sketchys Berlin Aug 11 2019 by Suzanne ForbesWow, that was a hell of a good time!!

I returned to my comic-book roots with this edition of Dr. Sketchys Berlin. I have a new tool, a giant PITT brush marker, and I just dashed the drawings out like a wild woman!! Using a combination of the PITT marker and my beloved white chalk marker on Strathmore Toned Gray paper, I was able to treat the drawings like paintings, working additive-subtractive. This method gave me tremendous freedom and confidence.

Lucille Spielfuchs and Sebastian Stone posed as Barbarella and Pygar Dr Sketchys Berlin Aug 11 2019 by Suzanne ForbesThe fact that the models looked exactly like the superheroes I spent my teens drawing made it so easy!

The models were Lucille Lehr and Sebastian Stone, two extremely muscular and fit humans who totally embodied cartoon heroes. They are both extremely talented multi-disciplinary artists, and they brought such marvelous energy to the show. Lucille’s resemblance to Jane Fonda was UNCANNY. I had SO MUCH FUN!!!!!

UFO Hawaii at Barbarella session Dr Sketchys Berlin Aug 29 2019 by Suzanne ForbesI also drew Dr. Sketchy’s house DJ, Berlin legend UFO Hawaii!

His sound is always the sickest in town. When he breaks out the T. Rex I get so happy!

I am so grateful to have Dr. Sketchy’s and the good folks who make it happen in my life.

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!

 

Performers’ Panel Discussion about Cultural Appropriation at Berlin Burlesque Week 2019.

MisSa Blue speaking at Berlin Burlesque Week by Suzanne Forbes July 30 2019This international panel discussion was facilitated by MisSa Blue, from Germany, and co-hosted by Denise “Seven” Bailey, from the US.

MisSa Blue, sword swallower, TEDx speaker and POC activist, above.

Sydni Deveraux speaking at Berlin Burlesque Week by Suzanne Forbes July 30 2019Sydni Deveraux speaking at Berlin Burlesque Week by Suzanne Forbes July 30 2019Sydni Deveraux, the Golden Glamazon, from the USA (International special guest!).Knockout Noire speaking at Berlin Burlesque Week by Suzanne Forbes July 31 2019Knockout Noire – from Norway and the USA.

Luna TikTok speaking at Berlin Burlesque Week by Suzanne Forbes July 31 2019Luna TikTok – a Berlin-based New Yorker!

Viva Lamore speaking at Berlin Burlesque Week by Suzanne Forbes July 31 2019Viva Lamore – another Berlin-based New Yorker.

Misty Lotus speaking at Berlin Burlesque Week by Suzanne Forbes July 31 2019Misty Lotus – based in Switzerland, fire-eater and doyenne of the Swiss Burlesque Academy.

Kim Khaos speaking at Berlin Burlesque Week by Suzanne Forbes July 30 2019And Kim Khaos, the Exotic Ecdysiast – Scotland based, producing and performing internationally.

Funding for the panel and MisSa Blue’s work around the topic is through Paypal. Please feel free to contribute so that the speakers on this discussion are not doing this emotional labour for free.
https://www.paypal.me/MisSaBlue

My own work was funded by my Patrons on Patreon, whose monthly donations allow me to make documentary art of Berlin’s queer, intersectional burlesque scene and release it for free to all.

A summer finissage at the Schwules Museum.

Layana Flaxx and L at the Schwules Museum July 29 2019 by Suzanne ForbesI have made so many drawings this summer!

I’m still catching up from the beginning of June, with events like this finissage at the Schwules Museum. It was a beautiful event for the closing of the incredible “Objects of Desire” exhibit, with two live performances.

Above, gorgeous model, makeup-artist and advocate Layanna Flaxx shows off her purple hair. I was sitting with my friend Sadie Lune and saying how amazing her makeup in her latest film was, and she was like “Yeah Layanna did it!”.

Photographer at Objects of Desire Finnissage and Liad performance Schwules Museum July 29 2019 by Suzanne ForbesI also drew this young photographer who was documenting the live performance of Liad Hussein Kantorowicz. I need to get the photographer’s name!

The performances involved nudity, so I can’t create those drawings for this site – look for them on my other site in the next few days.

A night at the Circus – Martini Cherryfurter MC’s!

Martini Cherry Furter at Zum Starken August by Suzanne Forbes July 27 2019I met up with Suzanne in Prenzlauerberg for a visit to the Circus Bar!

There are two circus bars, actually, kitty-corner from each other as we used to say in the Old Country.

Zum Starken August has burlesque Friday and Saturday nights, with an MC like Martini Cherry Furter, above. Toast Hawaii has bands and also something called Pornokaroake which I don’t know what that even is. Toast Hawaii, btw, is a disgusting German dish. Do not google it.

Martini Cherry Furter at Zum Starken August by Suzanne Forbes July 27 2019I’ve drawn Martini before and it is always SUCH a pleasure. She is so beautiful, all glamour and cheekbones and legs and sass. The straight boys she was teasing as I drew this were blushing like little kids.

La Labo Balucia at Zum Starken August Suzanne Forbes Aug 29 2019Here’s performer La Loba Lucía, one of my favorite people in Berlin to draw!

She always looks like a super hero, even doing her gangster routine here. She brought the routine out of retirement just for this night so I was super excited! It was so important to me to be there on this night, and yet I was so sick I almost gave up and went home. Only the support of my friend and fellow artist Suzanne Wegh kept me there.

As a fat, queer, disabled artist, crowdfunded support is the only way I can make this work. 

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.

Scenes around town, July 2019.

Plants and piercings June 13 2019 Suzanne ForbesJust a guy, carrying home some plants for his balcony, like you do.

Living in Berlin, I constantly see people using public transit for carrying and moving the kind of stuff you generally only see people transport with cars in the US. This fellow went to Bauhaus, which is like fancy Home Depot, got his plant stuff, and hopped on the same bus I took.

I saw these two at our local pub.

The argument passed and they were talking convivially soon after, so I’m glad I caught this moment of body language.

My documentary drawings of everyday Berlin life are courtesy of my Patrons on Patreon, whose monthly financial support allows me to make this free art available!

X-Men Dollhouse Update: scratch-built miniature library blackboard!

Scratchbuilt dollhouse miniature blackboard and eraser by Suzanne Forbes July 18 2019It was a bit of a bear to make this, but I’m glad I powered through!

In general, I prefer having miniature things to making them. And I am very good at sourcing things. But I couldn’t find a big, school-style blackboard from any of my usual miniature sources. It needed to be scaled to Dr. Hank McCoy, who is a big figure! So I built it from scratch.

Scratchbuilt dollhouse miniature blackboard and eraser in dollhouse by Suzanne Forbes July 18 2019Luckily, I save every single piece of miniature wooden trim!

I cut a backing board from illustration board and then framed it with several different trims to get the ledge for the chalk and eraser.

I had to miter cut the trim with my miniature miter-cutter, which I hate doing. I packed and moved the miter-cutter to Berlin knowing I would need it, and I have. But damn, it drives me nuts.

I pleated a piece of felt and glued it to a strip of trim, then cut it down, to make the eraser. Pesky!

X Men dollhouse library by Suzanne Forbes July 18 2019For the board surface I used self-adhesive chalkboard vinyl.

It may not be as archival as chalkboard paint would have been, but it was neater and faster. I used two layers, for opacity, and I still only needed a tiny bit; I can give the rest to my friend with little kids.

X Men dollhouse library through window by Suzanne Forbes July 18 2019And white gel pen was perfect for the writing – it even smears.

Part of the blackboard was copied from All-New X-Men #30, drawn by the crackerjack, spectacular, amazing Sara Pichelli. I liked the timeline diagram a lot.

I did some work on the facade of the house today too; the whole thing is coming along. It’s damn near completely done, in just about a year. And then, the front garden, with gates. And then the Danger Room, underneath, and the Morlock subway tunnels under that, just like the laboratories and subway under the other dollhouse. I gotta make a custom Callisto…

The Picture of Lady Barbara: I drew at a play for the first time!

Achim Kraemer Robert Farrar and Tom Eggert in The Picture of Lady Barbara July 12 2019 Suzanne ForbesI went to Stammtisch in Neukölln to catch a gothic comedy from Farrar Krämer Komedi.

I am not much of a play-goer, but Robert Farrar is one of the cleverest lyricists I know, so I was confident his drawing-room comedy would entertain! The set for the play was ingeniously designed and the venue was as old-school Berlin as it gets, full of character – the house dog has his own chair.

Drawing the actors was wonderful. I loved the range of expressions and the luxurious amount of time I had to draw everyone, especially after Berlin Burlesque Week when I had an average of four minutes to capture each performer! Above, left to right, Achim Krämer, Robert Farrar and Tom Eggert.

Robert Farrar and Zofia Huddon in The Picture of Lady Barbara July 12 2019 Suzanne ForbesI had a marvelous time!

Above, Robert Farrar and Zofia Huddon. Working on these I felt great freedom from my usual pressure of perfectionism. There is a giddy spirit in them usually absent from my work. My art is increasingly political (all art is political) as I have more spoons available to be furious and horrified about much of the world. So it was nice to take a break and draw some comedy.

Achim Kraemer in The Picture of Lady Barbara July 12 2019 by Suzanne ForbesAbove, Achim Krämer in final costume, or nearly final.

There was so much quick change gender-blender dressplay towards the end, it was hard to keep track!

It’s the monthly financial support of my gorgeous Patrons that allows me to make documentary art of Queer Berlin and distribute it for free.

If you can help to crowdfund me, by joining my Patreon or just by buying me an alcohol-free beverage or passing a hat when you see me out at a club, I will love you even more!

Unterwegs June 2019, belated bonus round!

Unterwegs June 2019 lady with a pillow by Suzanne ForbesI actually drew this picture of a lady with giant pillows on the U-Bahn in June.

But I have been so busy I didn’t have time to scan it or the other new unterweg of last month!

Unterwegs June 2019 on the bus by Suzanne ForbesThese two struck me with their very different styles.

I am using bunch of different gray-scale markers again, experimenting with value scales. And I am increasingly using gray and black pastel or conté crayon to texture surfaces and add dimension. Really, nothing could have suggested “pillow” as fast and effectively as the gray pastel did. I’m not sure how I got here, because I started out so constrained by the exigencies of comics printing in the 80s. But I like it, and I like the freedom.

Previous unterwegs below. All unterwegs drawings are courtesy of my Patrons on Patreon whose monthly financial support allows me to make this free art available!

June 2019 Unterwegs Round One

May 2019

March 2019

Jan 2019 bonus round

Jan 2019

Dec 2018

Fall 2018

September 2018

August 2018 unterwegs

July 2018 bonus round

July 2018

April 2018

March 2018

February 2018 bonus round

February 2018

January 2018 bonus round

January 2018 round 1

December 2017

November 2017

September 2017

July bonus round

July

June

May bonus round

May round one

April

March 2

March

January

December

November

Book release party for “As You wish, my Lady”, with Jo Pollux, Sadie Lune, Finn Peaks and more!

Jo Pollux and Sadie Lune at Ludwig July 9 2019 by Suzanne ForbesSUCH a beautiful party for the official release of the gorgeous coffee table book of photographs by Jo Pollux and text by Sadie Lune.

It was held at cherished all-inclusive queer art gallery/bar/clubhouse Ludwig Berlin  in Neukölln, and featured the artist and her muses! The book showcases Jo’s Film Noir aesthetic and Sadie’s dark prose. In attendance were models from the book, including Sadie, Bishop Black, Manon, Finn Peaks, and more.

Mamas AfroDisiac and Axel Karlsson Rixon at Ludwig June 20 2019 by Suzanne ForbesThere was a wonderful crowd of queer Berliners, plus visitors from all over.

Above, visiting Mama’s Afrodisiac and European local Axel Karlsson Rixon, a supernaturally attractive pair!

Finn Peaks at Ludwig June 20 2019 by Suzanne ForbesThere were performances, including this one by Finn Peaks.

Finn had pink eye makeup on making him look even more like Anne Carlisle in Liquid Sky!

And afterwards the crowd retired to the back room to witness à la carte acts of dominant play by Sadie, always a huge hit.

My live-drawing of queer Berlin’s art scene is courtesy of my Patrons on Patreon whose monthly financial support allows me to make this free art available! You can help for as little as a dollar/euro a month.

I’m working on some more drawings from the back room, but since they are sensual and involve passionate interactive I am not creating them for my Patreon. You will be able to find them on my other website, the one with my name, soon 🙂

Embroidered Bear Pride Flag Berlin Bear!

Is this my most adorable Pride project ever?

Last Fall, a Patron gifted me a collection of vintage embroidery hoops, including some that were very old. One had a type of closure I’d never seen before. Instead of the usual screw to ratchet the outer hoop looser, you press down on the brass bar. This opens the hoop at the dovetailed joint. Fascinating, right?

It reminded me of the kind of old brass bar taps you see in an ancient Berlin gay bar, when you’re sitting at the bar drawing.

My plan is to gift it to a Berlin bear bar!

The boots are made of gold leather salvaged from a pair of gold booty shorts left behind by Miss Natasha Enquist when she left Berlin.

Always be makin’! Here’s me and Suzanne Wegh sitting in the air-conditioned library before we began our day of embroidering, sewing and drawing. It was 101 degrees in Berlin today!

A friend recently said we should refer to ourselves as “TwoZanne” when working like this. Awesome, right???