Category Archives: Art

Artwork and various creative projects and obsessions from Berlin artist Suzanne Forbes.

More Rahne and Dani queer New Mutants art from the 80s!

Rahne Dani New Mutants Queer Love Movie and 1986 art by Suzanne ForbesApparently, in 1986 I predicted the future on-screen LGBTQ romance of New Mutants Rahne and Danielle, aka Wolfsbane and Mirage!

Wow, I had completely, completely forgotten these existed!

Rahne and Dani double page love scene spread by Rachel Ketchum aka Suzanne Forbes May 1986Holy heck I made so much queer art with the New Mutants!

Thanks to the support of my Patrons on Patreon, I try to do a little archiving of my vast lifelong art archives every month. I hit a goldmine of late-80s and early 90s stuff this week. Rahne long panel by Rachel Ketchum aka Suzanne Forbes May 1986

Because these drawings, which are all dated May 7- May 12, are on illustration board, they had gotten stored with larger works from a slightly later time.

I believe these were all drawn in May 1986, not long after I first met Chris Claremont, based on the level of my skills.

And also because the love scene is totally inspired by Kory and Karras in one of my very favorite issues of the Titans, New Teen Titans (vol.2) #19 (1986), which was drawn by Eduardo Barreto!

Rahne’s makeover is an echo of the X-Men scene in issue #210, where Rogue goes to Bloomingdales, which is what Chris was writing an outline for in his little stenographer notebook the day I met him.

I haven’t seen any of this artwork in decades!

Literally, the box was packed up when I lived in West Hartford, where I drew my last issue of Star Trek for DC. That was Fall 1995. New Mutants Rahne makeover May 1986 by Suzanne Forbes aka Rachel KetchumIt traveled all over the US with me, and finally to Berlin, like all the other boxes of art!

 

Obviously, I desperately wanted to show the kids having a good time!

One of the (many) things I was always (fondly) hassling Chris about was the lack of PARTYING in the book. It was the 80s, f’r chrissake! I loved them, I wanted them to be happy for at least a night.

New Mutants party scene May 1986 by Suzanne Forbes Aka Rachel KetchumDani is making a vision bouquet for Rahne! Isn’t that so cute???

I drew Kitty drunkenly phasing through the couch and Sam shrugging and toasting her with his beer!
New Mutants coming out story May 1986 by Suzanne Forbes aka Rachel Ketchum

But like all coming-out stories, this one takes an emotional turn for a while.

Having myself been through the awkward moment when you’re fifteen and you tell your best female friend you have a crush on her, I didn’t imagine it would go perfectly smoothly.

New Mutants Rahne and Dani coming out story May 1986 by Suzanne Forbes aka Rachel KetchumI was optimistic. I believed those mutant girls would get together!

My own girl crush confession had resulted in hot shower sex and waking up in spoons. And my mom took her and I to brunch next morning! So I had a hopeful take on things. I feel like the (sorry it’s so hard to see) text did a pretty good job of mirroring Chris’ style.Queer New Mutants double page party scene May 1986 by Suzanne Forbes Aka Rachel Ketchum

Look how happy they are! This drawing totally reminds me of Calvin and Hobbes dancing.

I am truly enormously excited about the New Mutants film, and so excited to see my vision of Rahne and Dani’s love on the big screen.

You can read about how I became a New Mutants fan and my journey to become a comics penciller here, and you can see my Wolfsbane and Mirage custom action figures here!

I am incredibly grateful to my Patreon Patrons, whose monthly financial support makes it possible for me to take time to document my art archives.

Until today, no record of these drawings existed – if we had a fire or flood they would just be gone forever.

Color experiments and Weimar Glamour with Kabarett der Namenlosen.

Le Pustra and Mama Ulita at Dr Sketchys Berlin by Suzanne Forbes Jan 15 2020I found a bunch of unfinished drawings from a Kabarett der Namenlosen session of Dr. Sketchy’s Berlin!

Work in progress Suzanne Forbes drawing of Le Pustra and Mama Ulita 2019I was shocked to find these drawings, hiding in a sketchbook I thought contained nothing of importance. (I also found an unfinished unterwegs that I genuinely don’t remember drawing!)

As you can see to left, the drawing of Le Pustra and Mama Ulita was mostly finished. The others were more scribbly, just pencil. But now that I have actually seen the live performance of the Kabarett, I felt I should try finishing them up.

Why had I abandoned them?Le Pustra at Dr Sketchys Berlin by Suzanne Forbes Jan 15 2020

Mama Ulita at Dr Sketchys Berlin by Suzanne Forbes Jan 15 2020 back viewWas it frustration that I can never really capture the wild glamour of these performers, in their soft silk robes and stockings, with their immaculate white tie and tails?

I feel terrible frustration trying to convey exactly how it feels to see Mama Ulita perform. When she whips off her bob wig to reveal her own seal-slick black cap of hair, the audience gasps. I honestly want to be David Downton, at moments like that. This drawing doesn’t have a fraction of her elegance.

But it is a valid attempt, and it was worth finishing to see where it went, so I don’t know why that didn’t happen. Maybe these drawings just overtaken by events, as they say in the military? It’s been a tough year or two, healthwise.

I’m working hard to figure out how to add color to my drawings, but I am still so unsure. I used markers, pastels and a water reservoir brush to add color to several of them. Color is such an important part of the visual design of the Kabarett, with bright wigs by Nina Budden Hair and pale ostrich boas. I don’t really know how to convey these soft vintage shades alongside the graphic black and white tuxedoes.

I am committed to the process of making color an integral part of my live drawing, and it’s tough!

Mama Ulita at Dr Sketchys Berlin by Suzanne Forbes Jan 15 2020Sometimes hints of color, little accents, are best.

Sometimes I try to do more and don’t feel I succeeded. The trouble is, even terrific photographers can’t capture everything the eye sees at a show like this. There are a thousand moments, each so beautiful, and I can’t show you them all.Le Pustra and Dekolars at Dr Sketchys Berlin by Suzanne Forbes Jan 15 2020

Still, I do my best, and I hope you enjoy this tender moment with Le Pustra and Lars Schwuchow, above.

I am so grateful to my Patrons on Patreon, who make it possible for me to document Berlin’s queer intersectional performance scene and release the artwork free to all.

January 2020 unterwegs!

Unterwegs with Stella Ahangi and Brigitta Kuesgen Jan 20 2020 by Suzanne ForbesWell, actually only two January unterwegs and one mystery underwegs!

I met lovely ladies on the S-Bahn!

The city always has a gift. I went across town to see House of Living Colors‘ Endangered Species show at Sophiensaele, but there were no tickets available. However, on the S-Bahn I met these glamorous ladies, who were heading to Alex for their event at Berlin Fashion Week.

The lady with the hat is Stella Ahangi, the powerhouse creative behind Club der Glamourösen Exzentriker. Apparently they have Glam Walks with lots of stylish older people, that start right by our house!! The lady with the blue hair is Brigitta Kuesgen.

Unterwegs with headphones and phones Jan 10 2020 by Suzanne ForbesThe scene above is from my travels to Kay’s t-birthday party.

I am always fascinated by the rhythms of machine-usage, like this group of people: headphones phone, headphones phone, phone, headphones!

Unterwegs with book and phones Jan 20 2020 by Suzanne ForbesThe one above is the mystery unterwegs.

When I first saw it in the sketchbook last week, I had no memory at all of drawing it. When I set to work to finish it, some vague recall came back: it was on one of the new buses, and I remember being fascinated by how much the reader had going on, clothes-wise. Those wooden toggle buttons on her canvas coat! Her hat! But when it happened, where I was going, whether it was early last spring or early last Fall – I have no idea.

You can see hundreds more unterwegs drawings celebrating life on Berlin’s public transit system here. All unterwegs drawings are courtesy of my Patrons on Patreon whose monthly financial support allows me to make this free art available!

First event of 2020 – a private party at Maze for Kay’s T-Birthday!

My pov at Kays birthday party Jan 9 2020 by Suzanne ForbesMy friend Sadie’s co-parent Kay invited me to his T-Birthday party.

It was my first time at a t-birthday! And I got to see someone get their first testosterone shot too, isn’t that cool? Lots of Berlin queer legends were in effect, that’s Laura Méritt of the PorYes Awards dancing above.

I asked the guy sitting next to me if he knew Kay and was there for the party. No, he said, he was here with his friend to talk to the club about hiring the space, and they decided to have a beer. “This is the third beer…” he said. Everyone in Berlin is wearing berets lately!

Kay at his 11th T birthday party Jan 9 2020 by Suzanne ForbesHere is the birthday boy, in his first outfit!

He wore multiple looks during the event of course.

Kaey performs at Kays birthday party Jan 9 2020 by Suzanne ForbesThe MC was lovely Kaey, in the most incredible Space Invaders graphic houndstooth dress.

She sang a tender version of “Creep” for all us weirdoes 🙂

Ceven performs at Kay birthday party Jan 9 2020 by Suzanne ForbesI saw Ceven perform for the first time since he began his drag journey.

He slipped out of a bunny onesie (he’s in the drawing below), then a flight suit!Crowd at Kays birthday party Jan 9 2020 by Suzanne Forbes

I was drawing loose and sketchy, because the light was mostly red light and fog machine.

And I was squished up with the beret guy and his friend on a squishy low couch. My pens kept falling between us and then I had to fish them out from under his butt.

The underground brick vault of a club, Maze, used to be BangBang, and before that it was legendary Queer Berlin homespace Schwuz. Schwuz is now a huge fancy place, but Kay and Sadie remember the basement days 🙂 and I was mistaken for Nina Hagen in the courtyard.

Kay P Rinha performs at Kays birthday party Jan 9 2020 by Suzanne ForbesThis is performer Kay P. Rinha, shaking it tough!

There were many Kays last night, and they were all amazing.

I was able to be there and document them because of my Patrons. As a 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.

 

 

For the archives: My queer gaze, as expressed in pinups.

Pinup of flapper Spring 1982 or 3 by Rachel Ketchum aka Suzanne ForbesI was always drawing pretty women, as a teen.

I was inspired by the great illustrators, like Alphonse Mucha and Maxfield Parrish, then by SF artists – by sixteen my bedroom was wallpapered with Boris Vallejo- and then by the comic artists who were known for their “Good Girl Art”, which does not mean art of good girls.

I believe the golfing flapper above dates from Spring 1983, when I had dropped out of Stuyvesant and was taking fashion illustration classes at The Art Student’s League of New York, waiting to be old enough to matriculate at Parsons. Before I discovered comics in Fall 1984, I wanted to be a newspaper fashion illustrator, which was a total real job then!

This drawing of a futuristic sex worker, in an imagined 2001, is probably from late 1982 or early 1983.

I can date most of my old drawings pretty well by what I had learned of my craft at that point! This drawing shows the street-hustling sex worker (although that term didn’t exist then) checking in with her boss via a little Bluetooth type headset, and dosing herself with drugs via a push-button in her hand that goes to her arm. Not a judgment – I just knew a lot of sex workers who were junkies in my teens, and I thought it would be nice if it was convenient for them. It looks like I designed it to be safe and prevent overdoses.

This bondage girl is from later 1984.

I think it may have been one of the portfolio drawings I used to get into Parsons – you were supposed to do an illustration from a book and I did The Story of O. Yup, I got into Parsons School of Design with a GED and a bunch of smutty pinups.

Fetish pinup drawing by Rachel Ketchum aka Suzanne Forbes Oct 29 1986This one, from 1986, was probably drawn as a present for my friend Chris Claremont.

Because it’s signed. I didn’t sign most work until the 90s, except when giving it as a gift. Why didn’t I sign my art? Because it wasn’t good enough to meet my own standards yet most of the time. It didn’t look like what I saw in my head yet.

And I was really IN the process of learning to get better, and really just working the process. Some days I still am!

I am incredibly grateful to my Patreon Patrons, whose monthly financial support makes it possible for me to take time to document my art archives.

Until today, no modern media record of these drawings existed – if we had a fire or flood they would just be gone forever.

 

 

Last drawings of the year – fabulous drag performers of course!

Adele Computer performs at Bushwig Berlin Dec 30 2019 by Suzanne ForbesHere are some more glamorous folx from Bushwig Berlin, where I drew the most performers in a single day ever!

Seriously, I still have a couple left to finish, and there are THREE other Bushwig Berlin posts! Above is the marvelous Adele Computer, so sassy and so spectacular.

Sasha Kills at Bushwig Berlin Dec 30 2019 by Suzanne ForbesAbove with the swan and the shark, Sasha Kills, whose performance “MALIBU” included both inflatable beach gear and blood.Performer at Bushwig Berlin Dec 30 2019 by Suzanne ForbesPerformer 2 at Bushwig Berlin Dec 30 2019 by Suzanne Forbes

Performer at Bushwig Berlin Dec 30 2019 by Suzanne ForbesTrying to get ahold of credits and links for the other four performers, so if anybody knows, let me know!

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. Thanks to the chill-as-heck venue Festsaal Kreuzberg. And to Bushwig for having me!

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.

More Carnivorous Plant Art!

Carnivorous flowering alien plant in glass dome by Suzanne Forbes Dec 2019Still rolling on the creative high of this theme!

This large flowering alien carnivorous alien plant is made of marbled shades of green Sculpey, mixed with 40% translucent Sculpey to let some light through, and the teeth are made of translucent Sculpey mixed with white Sculpey Bake-and-Bend. I ran the floral wire stems of the Audreiis through ready-made plastic succulents, added “silk” flowers leaves, and wrapped everything together with floral tape.

Then I drilled a hole into the wood base to hold the stem. You can see a little bit of not-yet-painted Apoxie Sculpt where I filled in the gap in the base intended for fairy light wire. I’m quite happy with this creature and I’m keeping it for our house. Creepalicious right???Carnivorous plant fascinators by Suzanne Forbes Dec 2019 set of four

I also made four fascinator hats, using the sculpted Venus Flytraps, “silk” leaves, velvet, fleece, felt and trims.

I stuck everything together with my favorite textile glue, UHU Alleskleber (which is similar to Quick Grab/Quick Grip in the States).

They have little satin garter tabs at the back, to put a bobby pin through for extra stability.

The wires at the bases of the plants go through a hole pierced in the fascinator base and are spiraled, glued down and covered with felt. I hate the idea of something I make not holding up to wear!

I put two up for sale, one goes in my birthday party art giveaway, and I’m keeping one. 25€ from each sale went to Give Something Back to Berlin, an organization supporting refugees.

Carnivorous plant fascinator by Suzanne Forbes Dec 2019 burgundyThe one above sold to a lovely collector of my work who is giving it as a gift – it makes me so happy, as did making the donation to GSBTB!

Carnivorous alien plants by Suzanne Forbes Dec 2019And I made potted Alien Carnivorous Plants!

I used ceramic pots, tinfoil as filler/stabilizer, spackle/glue on top and some very, very old ground cover from the “California Missions” kits sold in CA craft stores.

One of these was sold to a friend who collects my work, for a Christmas gift for his hubby! The other is going in the art giveaway I’m having on my birthday.

Carnivorous alien plant by Suzanne Forbes Dec 2019I also wanted to donate art to the charity raffle for Jews!Jews!Jews!, a wonderful burlesque show created by Lolita Vavoom and Nana Schewitz, which celebrates Jews and Jew-adjacent performers.

I thought a fascinator might not be as universal an item as a freestanding plant that wants to eat your face. And I was a little worried about the fragility of a plant in a pot during a club night.

Carnivorous alien plants in domes by Suzanne Forbes Dec 2019So, Alien Venus Flytrap in a tube!

The domes are plastic, but they look quite nice and cause me much less stress than using glass. Some lucky raffle winner will take one of these creepers home tonight. Sleep well, raffle winner!!

This has been such a fun and refreshing little Alien Plant Party, and I hope you have enjoyed it as well. The previous posts are here and here!

 

December 2019 Unterwegs: Buff Gay Lovebirds and Cannibal Kids!

Child eats dads head unterwegs by Suzanne Forbes Dec 17 2019I saw this sweet family on the bus one night recently.

Apparently, when you have a child, they sometimes try to eat your head. And the child’s mother thinks it’s funny, so there’s no help there.

Buff lovebirds on the U Bahn by uzanne Forbes Dec 2 2019I saw these buff sweethearts on the subway this summer, then the drawing languished unfinished til December!

They were happy to pose and I gave them my card, I hope they‘re not disappointed it took a while to get posted!

I am so grateful that the monthly financial support of my Patreon Patrons makes it possible for me to document Berlin people like this.

I believe these people and their stories matter, and I’m able to make these drawings and share them because I’m crowdfunded and can be flexible in managing my limited resources. Click here to help, for as little as a dollar/euro per month.

Beetle tiara, beetle necklace and finished insect corset!

Bead embroidered insect corset tiara and necklace by Suzanne Forbes Nov 2019Good heavens. The insect outfit project got a little out of hand.

Typical for me!  Bead embroidered insect corset tiara and necklace by Suzanne Forbes Nov 2019

beetle bricolage tiara by Suzanne Forbes Nov 2019I made a tiara, using my usual method of embellishing an existing metal flora tiara with decorative elements. This time, beetle brooches and wired loops of iridescent beads and crystals. The beads were left over from the corset.

The beetle brooches are inexpensive enameled pot metal, bought on eBay. They are the last of my cheap art materials bought by mail, as I’m taking a consumer break and eliminating non-local purchases as much as I can. I have enough 3D art supplies to make bricolage stuff for years anyway!

I always wire everything on, for strength.

I had some copper wire that matched the tiara, but I also used gold to split the difference between the base color of the beetles. My design/decorating motto is always, add more stuff til it all goes together/the mistakes are hidden/it has so many colors it will match anything.

I use E6000 on top of the wire to cover any scratchy sharp wire ends and stabilize the knots and connections.

Halfway through, I ran out of regular E6000 and had to order the new “odorless” E6000 Plus. My Beloved Friend, Muse and Patron Monique Motil, master costumier, often said of E6000, “The bad smell is how you know it’s gonna work!” and I would laugh.

Of course, I’ve always been a person who was totally cavalier about chemicals and fumes, because of my misspent youth, but now that I have overlapping autoimmune diseases I’m rethinking that.

So I was willing to try the new version, but I was initially disappointed. E6000 Plus is described as self-leveling, and tbh the old kind was too, but I find the Plus a bit runnier.

Regarding adhesion, I tested the bond a few hours on, when the glue was dry to the touch, and the glue blobs peeled right off!

However, I love to research adhesives, and I read on a forum that the bond isn’t strong til the glue is fully cured. And behold, after 24 hours the bonds seem pretty good.

So, making the switch to E6000Plus until I can get some nontoxic GemTak, which my Beloved Friend and Muse Noéline la Bouche swears by, as does master headdress maker Sylva of Bubbles and Frown.

For the necklace I prised off the pinback parts of some beetle brooches. The brooches are made of fairly soft pot metal and the pinback portions are generally soldered on; they can usually be broken off with jewelry pliers.

Suz’s most serious crafting and bricolage tip: have a set of jewelry tools at your elbow at your worktable.

You will use them every day, although rarely for actual jewelry. The broken solder left sharp, ragged edges, but rather than file them down (I’m working on the dust exposure problem too!) I just covered them with the Apoxie Sculpt I used to attach the eye pins.

The stems of the eye pins were quickly formed into loops to give the epoxy clay something to secure – even though Apoxie Sculpt adheres well to metal, a straight pin could pull out. Once the Apoxie Sculpt was cured, I used jump rings to attach the beetles to a cheap pot metal necklace. The jump rings give the bugs a little movement which is fun, and keep them from fouling the links of the necklace.

Bead embroidered insect corset by Suzanne Forbes Nov 2019Finishing the corset was just a matter of another forty or fifty hours of beading and embroidering.

I used a lot of metallic filament at the end, to unify the machine-embroidered appliques with the beading and the crystals. I got the colored metallic filaments, which are plastic rather than thread, in a pack of ten colors at the Euro store.

Bead embroidered insect corset by Suzanne Forbes Nov 2019I have used up my whole supply now and gotta find some more, as most metallic embroidery thread is simply the devil’s dingleberries.

Bead embroidered insect corset by Suzanne Forbes Nov 2019(I did not make up that phrase. One of my boyfriends, astonished at my passion for capers, said that “Capers are the Devil’s dingleberries.” Not something one forgets.)

Bead embroidered insect corset by Suzanne Forbes Nov 2019I was planning to attach some beetle brooches to it, but in the end I decided they would catch everything even more than the 3D crust of beading. So I will simply pin them on to my top.

Here’s a bad video of me actually wearing it!

J, who fights to save our free expression online.

jillian by Suzanne Forbes Dec 17 2019We are blessed to have friends who do important work around freedom of speech.

One of them stopped by to pose today! You can visit onlinecensorship.org to learn about how to fight platform censorship, and join Electronic Frontier Foundation to help protect all our digital civil liberties.

Thank you, always, to my Patreon Patrons, whose monthly financial support makes it possible for me to document Berlin culture and people.