Category Archives: Artwork Archives

Older original artworks by Berlin-based artist Suzanne Forbes.

The guys who helped build ChipinHead!

Tim Howarth by Suzanne Forbes Sept 2013It’s hard to believe I didn’t have a home of my own on the web, once.

I have been posting here at since 2013, and having my own site and blog has been an incredible creative outlet. It also provides essential visibility security for me. Especially the last few years, when post FOSTA-SESTA platform censorship means creatives can lose their entire internet footprint in seconds, I’m so glad to have my own space. I might never have had it if not for the guy shown above, Tim Howarth!

My last tech marketing job was at a small web design company in Albany, CA called T324.

I worked half-time, noon to four, with a disability accommodation for my DSPS, and it was a good place to be. I liked all my colleagues a lot, and I found the work interesting. I started blogging on tech news and online marketing tips for the company’s website in 2012, because at that time having a blog on your business site made a significant difference in your site indexing.

So as the marketing person, it was my job to make a blog. I learned how to use WordPress, a little HTML, about email newsletter templates, a little Illustrator, and a little Photoshop at that job. All the skills I had been avoiding learning for a decade or more. I’m grateful as hell to my boss David Daniels for the opportunity to learn and use those tools.

I wrote about things like how Google search works (at that particular moment) and was Pinterest a worthwhile time investment for marketing (still no answer on that one!) I cast an eye jaundiced from the late 90’s and the Dot Bust over the current internet trends like Uber and Lyft. It was interesting, it was fun to write again after the end of my previous tech marketing job, and absolutely no-one ever read anything I wrote.

Not even my colleagues, who were busy working for clients!

Alex Gonzalez by Suzanne Forbes Sept 2013This is Alex Gonzalez.

Such a good guy! A Burner, musician and all-round creative.

Brian Nowell at T324 Sept 2013 by Suzanne ForbesThis is Brian Nowell, manager and good guy!

He was pretty much working his ass off at all times, so he rarely had a minute to spare. I liked him and enjoyed working with him, though. When he did have a minute, he taught me so much!

Tim Howarth Sept 2013 by Suzanne Forbes detailTim was the person who had the most spare brain cycles, and so the person I interrupted with my help questions most often.

And when I mentioned that I didn’t want to share my blog posts on social because the company’s site needed updating so badly (the cobbler’s children etc), he walked me through how to build my own over a single afternoon. Alex joined in, adding tips and tricks; we gathered around Tim’s computer and laughed about the internet.

Tim showed me how to run the domain search, register the domain, set up the site using and arrange hosting, all neat and quick and easy.

We chose BlueHost because at the time it was popular, affordable and working; in 2019 with the advent of FOSTA-SESTA it seemed essential to get my digital footprint out of the US and my heroic husband moved my domain registrations and hosting to Europe.

When we registered in 2013, I had been using Flickr since 2005, and livejournal before that. I’d had domains and a website since 2005, but I couldn’t do anything with them myself, because the website was uneditable, unsearchable images!

ChipinHead was my first home of my own that I could update and maintain.

I made this drawing of Tim in Sept 2013. “Titanic” came out in 1997, and I had drawn approximately 1000 portraits in the time since then. But Tim was the very first person who ever said, “Draw me like one of your French girls”! I found it hilarious.

Tim and Alex were excellent co-workers, and funny and good dudes, and I am so grateful to them for that afternoon of building my home online.

These drawings were scanned for the T324 website, but I never published them myself, and I have absolutely no idea where the original drawings are – maybe the guys each have them?

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




My very earliest portraits.

As I’ve said before, I didn’t try to draw people until I was thirteen.

Before that, it was 99% horses. But when I turned fourteen and became part of the Stuyvesant Freaks, I suddenly had so many friends and boyfriends and girlfriends.

Sketchbook 1981 or 1982 future portrait of Rachel and Gilly by Rachel Ketchum aka Suzanne ForbesAnd I had sketchbooks around, of course, since I was going to be an artist, either a children’s book illustrator or a fashion illustrator.

So soon enough I was trying to draw my loved ones.  Above is a picture of me, left, and my bestie Gilly, as I imagined us when we were the age I am now. (If you had told me I would be fifty-five and fat, and fine with it, I would have snarled in your face!) Drawn/attempted to paint in either late 1981 or early 1982. Abandoned in frustration with the watercolors, like many drawings then.

Self portrait with Gix 1981 or 1982 by Rachel Ketchum aka Suzanne ForbesThis is the companion, drawn around the same time, of us as we were when I was fifteen and Gilly seventeen.

(More self-portraits from the 80’s here. ) It’s actually a good likeness of Gilly!

Portrait of glam Jenny 1981 Rachel KetchumThe one above is my friend Jenny, made around early 1982. For some reason I drew her all dressed up, but again, abandoned the effort.

Below, my boyfriend Ben, who left Stuyvesant and moved up to his mom’s in Maine, summer 1982.

It is actually quite a good drawing of Ben, getting his proportions just right, but the colors made me miserable. Ben arriving in Maine spring 1982 by Rachel Ketchum aka Suzanne Forbes

You can see even before I decided to become a comic book artist, I hated coloring my own drawings!

Below is a picture that tried to capture some of my boyfriends to date, in 1982. Not that they would ever have lounged around like that, of course, that was just my fantasy 🙂

For this I tried using the Design markers that I, like all graffiti artists, kept around. They were just as frustrating as the watercolors.

Sketchbook 1982 boys I loved by Rachel Ketchum aka Suzanne ForbesThe notes I made for the colors as I wanted them to look remind me of later on leaving notes for the inker and colorist, when I worked in comics.

But instead, I was leaving notes for my future self, someone I imagined could find a way to draw all these colors and get it to look right.

When I worked as a courtroom artist, I used markers and a little bit of colored pencil, and I hated it. I had to have color, and markers were neater than the pastels others used. Plus they let me treat the drawings as colored line art, a daily practice for the career in comics I wanted so much. But I did not like coloring the drawings, and I did not like the effect of the markers at all.

It’s a miracle, and thanks to the support of my Patrons on Patreon, that I ever started making color portrait drawings again.

Using Rapidographs for the initial line drawing was part of the problem!

I tried to draw Jenny with my 000 refograph, in 1982.

Trust me when I say this looks nothing like her. Yes, I was probably drunk and high, but still.

The most successful of my early portraits are just pencil.

Cecile and Jason May 1984 by Suzanne Forbes aka Rachel KetchumMy friend Cecile and her son Jason, in 1984.

This is actually an exceptionally good likeness of Cile, harder to say about Jason. Babies have never been my wheelhouse.

Chris in the Meadow 1984 Rachel Ketchum aka Suzanne ForbesMy friend Chris, in Sheep’s Meadow.

Spring 1984. Again, this is actually a very good likeness; anyone who saw it recognized him. I was starting to get the hang of portraits a little bit.

This is my boyfriend Stefan, in early 1984, when I was seventeen.

Funny story, Stef was applying to RISD for college, and needed to draw a self-portrait. But he was not a figurative kind of drawer.

So I drew him, at our local laundromat on 8th Ave between 20th and 21st.

He sort of re-drew it in his style. He got in!

Stefan is still active doing creative work in New York, and has a cool project you can check out on Youtube, called “The Death of Art“.

I feel like this drawing of Stef was one of those moments you have as an artist, when you flash ahead to the future of your work.

Maybe you access a level of ability you won’t have consistently for another year, or decade.

Maybe you have insight into a way of working that will eventually become the core of your work.

This is a known phenomenon among visual artists (I can’t speak for other kinds, but I bet it’s the same) – the flashforward into your future artistic self. Drawing Stef in the laundromat was definitely a wormhole into what became my life’s work and vocation, portraiture from life.

Most of these drawings had never been photographed; until now, no record of them existed – if we had a fire or flood they would just be gone forever.

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