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.

Goths around town.

Goth girl and her mom at Dussmanns Nov 24 2018 by Suzanne ForbesI drew this tall goth girl and her mom at Dussmann’s.

I was waiting for a friend and they were waiting for a concert in the beautiful underground cafe with the living wall.

goth guy on the U Bahn Nov 23 2018 by Suzanne ForbesI saw this guy in the U station and loved his outfit.

The combo of plaid skirt, heavy socks and turtleneck looks great and I immediately fell to wondering how I could get my husband to rock a similar look…

Unterwegs for Fall 2018!

On the S Bahn Nov 24 2018 by Suzanne ForbesI know there haven’t been many unterwegs this Fall!

I have been having some autoimmune issues with my health and I am sometimes terribly weak, so I haven’t been out and about anywhere near as much as I’d like. It took me ages to finish this drawing of two guys with very different style on the S-Bahn!

Unterwegs couple Nov 24 2018 by Suzanne ForbesAnd this is a very sweet couple, the lady enjoying her bouquet and her attentive companion.

I am so incredibly grateful for the support of my Patrons on Patreon, whose monthly financial contributions make it possible for me to work as I can, when I can. My documentary art is licensed Creative Commons and free for all!

Previous Unterwegs are here:

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



May bonus round

May round one


March 2





Gay lovebugs at Ludwig!

Lovers watching Olympia Bukakis perform at Ludwig Nov 23 2018 by Suzanne ForbesThese sweethearts are watching a performance by Olympia Bukkakis.

Olympia is the founder of Queens Against Borders. QAB is a performance party in solidarity with queer and trans refugees.

Transophonix performing at Ludwig Nov 26 2018 by Suzanne ForbesHere’s Transophonix performing.

These two cuties are newlyweds!

Relaxing at Ludwig Nov 24 2018 by Suzanne ForbesAnd here is a member of community just chilling the heck out.

They are relaxing in the safe space that is queer bar and art gallery, Ludwig Berlin. Opening a radically inclusive, trans, lesbian and nonbinary welcoming, gay art bar in Neukölln has been a challenging journey for Maurus and Ceven, who run the space. I am so grateful the community has stepped up to support Ludwig, a beautiful and warm clubhouse for creative queers and their companions.

Thanks so very much to my Patrons on Patreon, who make it possible for me to make this art and share it open source, licensed with Creative Commons for all to share, print and enjoy.

So much of the world I love is made by trans people. I can’t bear to lose any more.

My World Without Trans People by Suzanne Forbes Nov 12 2018 Public Domain
The great passion of my life, fantasy and science fiction storytelling, is full of the contributions of trans people.

I wanted to make some art for Trans Awareness Week. I have made many drawings and paintings of trans, non-binary and Gender-Nonconforming folx over the years; you can see some of them here in my “Visibility” album. I try and will always try to tell the stories of the people I meet, with the  love and honor they deserve.

I wanted to do more than document trans people, though. I wanted to celebrate their contributions. Last night I lay awake thinking, how can I talk about how much the creative power of trans and GNC people means to me? How can I tell the world how much their work and lives inspire me? And I realized, it was by imagining a world without them.

Imagine the world we’d have now with the ones we’ve lost to violence, despair and lack of medical care.

I can’t bear to lose any more. We must protect trans, non-binary and Gender-Nonconforming people, all their lives.

I made this image myself today on November 12, 2018 and I hereby release all copyright to it. This image is copyright free. It is a Public Domain work. You can download it in a variety of sizes here on flickr.



School for Gifted Youngsters Update!

Action figure dollhouse WIP by Suzanne Forbes Oct 2018The new house is coming along very well.

It is now fully wallpapered, permanently assembled and has a base, thanks to power assists from my husband and mom. The grooves in the floor are for the wiring for the lights.X Men dollhouse WIP by Suzanne Forbes Oct 2018 interior

Action figure dollhouse WIP by Suzanne Forbes Oct 2018 kittyGetting it put together wasn’t *hard*, per se, at least not in terms of structural complexity – but there were a lot of pieces that had to be glued in the right order, and the gluing had to happen all within a very short time.

The house itself is really superbly machined and designed, I can’t say enough good things about The Dolls House Workshop, where I bought it.

Any errors were mine, in terms of not quite lining up the wallpaper perfectly here and there, but luckily trim covers a multitude of sins.

If you’re willing to stain, sand and miter-cut it, that is!

Oh, how I hate staining, sanding and miter-cutting trim.
X Men dollhouse WIP by Suzanne Forbes Oct 2018 staining components

I also hate putting on dollhouse wallpaper, but it had to be done.

X Men dollhouse WIP by Suzanne Forbes Oct 2018 wallpapered wall panels before assemblyI used Streets Ahead dollhouse wallpaper paste for this house, instead of Yes! paste, and it did not have the greatest adhesion.

It was repositionable and didn’t warp the papers, though.

I skipped the step of spraying all the papers with matt fixative to strengthen and waterproof them this time, and I shouldn’t have, as they tore a little here and there when wet with paste. X Men dollhouse WIP by Suzanne Forbes Oct 2018 Logan and wallIt was fixable or not noticeable, but that step is worth doing. I did the wallpapering before the final assembly of the house, on the panels, rather than once the house was assembled, like my first house.

I kind of think there are pros and cons to each way.

There was a huge amount of measuring and cutting, which I do not like.

I guess actually I like having a finished dollhouse to create a work of art in, and planning and choosing the components to build and decorate the dollhouse, but I don’t actually like the building the dollhouse at all. Ah well! It must be done!!

At least there’s no soldering now I’m using LED lights with battery converters. More about that next time.

Action figure dollhouse WIP by Suzanne Forbes Oct 2018 kit detailMeanwhile, my beloved mama came to Berlin and brought the perfect 80s kitchen I found in Canada and had shipped to her (it would have cost about a million dollars to ship it here!) It arrived missing a piece but luckily I found that piece from a UK seller and it should get here this week.

I need to put a final coat on the front panels, install them, install the windows and front door, install the wiring for the lights, and then miter cut ten million pieces of ceiling trim and floor trim.

Oh and put the stairs together and install the floors and carpets and the ceiling paper and…

I still think it can be done by Christmas. I’d hate for the X-Men to spend another holiday in storage 🙂


New portrait painting in progress: Sebastian in brights.

Portrait of Sebastian by Suzanne Forbes work in progress Oct 30 2018I am super pleased with how this portrait of a new friend is coming along.

Portrait of Sebastian by Suzanne Forbes work in progress Oct 30 2018 detailSebastian is a circus performer and producer who comes from the Oz steampunk scene and has some fabulous outfits.

He calls this one his “Snow White” colors and I love how the brights pop against the soft colors of the salon.

I have had more of a challenge finding people who are into dressing up for fun in Berlin than I did in the Bay Area. This isn’t a dress-up town, alas.

I love people who love clothes and fashion and performative identity and was happy to find another collaborator!

Above is after the second sitting. Here’s after the first.

Using a canvas toned gray the way Sargent did has speeded up my painting even more. You can see the edge of the gray along the right side below!

Portrait of Sebastian by Suzanne Forbes work in progress Oct 30 2018 first sitting

This portrait will be done in one more sitting I expect.

And then I need to get back to the painting of Shakrah, which was interrupted for a long spell by the bus accident and my hand injury!


A portrait of the artist’s mother on the River Spree.

Portrait of Pat Ketchum on the River Spree by Suzanne Forbes Oct 24 2018My mom came to visit and we went on a boat!

We took one of the widely available and affordable boat cruises on the Spree, the river that winds around Berlin. It was a beautiful October day, and the river is incredibly peaceful. There’s pretty much nobody on it but cruise boats at this time of year! We sat by the windows and looked out at the city I love so much. My mama is holding an audio aid to her ear, learning about Berlin landmarks.Portrait of Pat Ketchum on the River Spree by Suzanne Forbes Oct 24 2018

I want to do portraits on the boat all the time now, it’s so restorative!

If you want your portrait drawn or painted, on a boat or elsewhere, you can learn more here.

Another lovely Extravagant Shambles!

Cadbury Parfait at Extravagant Shambles by Suzanne Forbes Oct 20 2018What a great job Cadbury Parfait does putting together her burlesque shows at 800a in Wedding.

That’s the lady herself above, doing a routine to “All by Myself” that showcased her comic timing as much as her great beauty. I really like the cosy theater-bar venue 800a and was able to fight my way to the front of the stage this time!

MC Sarah Tonin, below.Sera Tonin at Extravagant Shambles by Suzanne Forbes Oct 20 2018

The very beautiful Ruby de Cadence!Ruby de Cadence at Extravagant Shambles by Suzanne Forbes Oct 20 2018

Stella von Fersen, celebrating Halloween’s candy-related pleasures.Stella von Fersen at Extravagant Shambles by Suzanne Forbes Oct 20 2018

A new-to-me performer, marvelous La Loba Lucía.

Loved her warrior woman cowgirl routine and she makes costume parts herself, using cosplay materials like Worbla!Lalobalucia at Extravagant Shambles by Suzanne Forbes Oct 29 2018

Burlesquer and drag king Fifi Fantome!
At Extravagant Shambles by Suzanne Forbes Oct 20 2018

Agata D Mon at Extravagant Shambles by Suzanne Forbes Oct 20 2018And Agata D’Mon , above, spooky in mask and then eating some fire! Like you do.

Agata D Mon eating fire at Extravagant Shambles by Suzanne Forbes Oct 29 2018Thanks so much to my Patrons on Patreon, who make it possible for me to document Berlin’s queer intersectional burlesque scene and release the artwork free to all.

You can learn more about sharing and using my free documentary art here, and you can help for a little as a dollar/euro a month!


Goats of West Berlin!

Grandma and grandbaby at The Charlottenburger Ziegenhof by Suzanne Forbes Oct 24 2018During the horrible week in September, friend and fellow artist Sue and I made a plan.

Suze hand and goats at the Charlottenburger Ziegenhof by Suzanne Forbes Oct 24 2018We would go to see the secret urban goat farm of West Berlin.

We would draw strength from the goats. This plan gave us great comfort and an important thing to look forward to.

And it was deeply restorative.

Look at the grandma and grandbaby enjoying the goats, above – what a wonderful sight it was!

To the left you can see Sue’s hands as they petted the sweet goat! Goats are good magic.
The Charlottenburger Ziegenhof by Suzanne Forbes Oct 24 2018

The secret goat farm, the Charlottenburger Ziegenhof, is quite near our house. It is in a city block, with a cafe and art gallery and Indian restaurants right there. It is a heavenly place, a restful oasis. There are goats and fluffy chickens and myriad places for children to play. We slid down the slide!

Goats at Charlottenburger Ziegenhof by Suzanne Forbes Oct 24 2018The goats are gentle and calm. They amble over to you and present their necks for skritching.

These goats are cats. They are deeply slothful, and assume loaf position on their Goat Resting Shelf most of the time.

Resting goats The Charlottenburger Ziegenhof by Suzanne Forbes Oct 24 2018They are chill as fuck. Nothing has ever bothered them, and if it did, they would just eat it. Important info from the goat feeding guide:

The Ziegenhof is entirely volunteer run and donation supported.

I made these goat drawings with the financial support of my Patrons on Patreon and they are free to use and share!

Hansel and Gretel at Dr. Sketchy’s Berlin!

Evilyn Frantic as the Witch Dr Sketchys Berlin Oct 24 by Suzanne ForbesSecond in the Fairy Tale series, and full of witchy goodness.

I had a lovely time as always at Dr. Sketchy’s Berlin. Wonderful costumes and posing by models Banbury Cross (Gretel), Hedoluxe (Hansel) and Evilyn Frantic as The Witch.Banbury Cross and Evilyn Frantic Dr Sketchys Berlin Oct 24 by Suzanne Forbes

Hedoluxe and Banbury Cross at Dr Sketchys Berlin Oct 24 by Suzanne ForbesAt one point the witch got a bit less clothing, in gorgeous vintage lingerie.Evilyn Frantic as the Witch en dishabille Dr Sketchys Berlin Oct 24 by Suzanne Forbes

Co-organizer LalaVox and The Narrator, Marijn van der Waa.
LalaVox and Marijn Van der Waa at Dr Sketchys Berlin Oct 24 by Suzanne Forbes

My mom was here visiting and got to see the beautiful and historic Dr. Sketchy’s venue, Ballhaus Berlin.

Thanks again to Le Pustra, LalaVox and all the performers/models/crew for another lovely time at Dr. Sketchy’s Berlin! Here’s the Insta 🙂

and thanks so very much to my Patrons on Patreon, whose monthly financial support makes it possible for me to make art!

Here’s the previous Fairy Tale session, Baba Yaga, posts one and two, and

previous Dr. Sketchy’s Berlin:

Viva Lamore, à la Baroque

Betty Fvck, Trixie Tassels and More, Berlin Burlesque Week

Broken Baroque

Victorian Spiritualist edition with Valentina Demonia and Syren Joey

More Victorian Spiritualist edition

Weimar Berlin, with Le Pustra and Bridge Markland

More Weimar Berlin

and my first Dr. Sketchy’s Berlin with Viva Lamore, Syren Joey and live painting outdoors!