Tag Archives: art school

From the archives: Hands and Feet.

Hands acrylic on paper horizontal prob fall 1989 or early 1990 by Rachel Ketchum aka Suzanne ForbesDrawing and painting so many, for so long.

People have a hard time with hands when they start drawing, because hands are very complex. There are a lot of techniques and instruction on how to draw hands – here’s mine– but actually just doing it is the biggest part of learning.

Hands 2 acrylic on paper horizontal prob fall 1989 or early 1990 by Rachel Ketchum aka Suzanne ForbesThese paintings are from my first year at MCAD, winter 1990, I think.

Sketchbook Winter 1990 Minneapolis hands 6 by Rachel Ketchum aka Suzanne ForbesFrom early 1990, found in a sketchbook. 

Sketchbook Winter 1990 Minneapolis hands 4 by Rachel Ketchum aka Suzanne Forbes1990, a class assignment – probably to draw hands using volume created by light and dark.

Sketchbook Winter 1990 Minneapolis hands 3 by Rachel Ketchum aka Suzanne Forbes1990. Always gotta draw all kinds of hand positions, not just flat.

Sketchbook Winter 1990 Minneapolis hand by Rachel Ketchum aka Suzanne Forbes1990. A strong light source helps to understand the structures.

Seriously, I put everything I know about hand structures into this tutorial on how “Thumbs ruin everything.

Sketchbook Winter 1990 Minneapolis hands 1 by Rachel Ketchum aka Suzanne Forbes1990. Gotta draw foreshortened poses, too. 

Fist studies prob 1985 by Rachel Ketchum aka Suzanne ForbesComic class notes, probably around 1985.

I was searching for the image above for this post, knowing I had scanned and edited it, knowing it had “fist” in the filename, and let me tell you, well, most of the drawings with “fist” in the filename in my archives are quite different. My comic teachers often said the superhero fist resembles a Dixie cup from many angles. A reference which probably dates me! 

I tell you this: if you are struggling with drawing hands, read all the books, watch all the Youtube videos, but most of all, draw your hands. It’s free, and they’re there.

Foot study drawing by Rachel Ketchum aka Suzanne Forbes circa 1985And feet. Gotta draw feet nearly as much as hands.

These are from the late 80s I think, and they’re definitely my chunky little feet. I’m sure more will turn up as I archive. While feet have less moving parts than hands, they are still complexly structured. Because they receive so much impact, they change shape dramatically as a person moves. So you need to understand the bones and the tissue volumes underneath.

footstudy by Suzanne Forbes 2016In 2016 I made some studies of the basic volumes and shapes that make up the feet for my drawing students.

None of these drawings had ever 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 Patreon Patrons, whose monthly financial support makes it possible for me to take time to document my art archives.

Still Life without Woodpecker.

Still life with raygun and Gumby prob 1990 or 91 Rachel Ketchum aka Suzanne ForbesI made a lot of still-life drawings and paintings in my many years in art school.

I don’t like making still-lifes, which is why I haven’t done a single one since I left school. Drawing and painting people was always what I cared about. But I am perfectly capable of doing still-life pictures, as long as I can have a little fun. Like the still life with raygun and Gumby above, probably from 1990 or 1991, when I was at MCAD. Charcoal on paper.

still life with raygun 1985ish by Rachel Ketchum aka Suzanne Forbes

1985-ish, still life with raygun.

Plus a coffee cup and a pitcher stacked on top of something to make more shapes and values! Ink, probably a Pilot fine-point, on paper.

Pipe drawing by Rachel Ketchum aka Suzanne Forbes 1986

This is also from before I got sober, at Parsons in 1987.

It’s a picture of my cigarettes and my old glass heroin smoking pipe ( I had “graduated” to snorting). I was always crying out for help, really. Fine-point pen on paper.

Still by Rachel Ketchum aka Suzanne Forbes Chelsea Feb 1987This one is from February 1987.

It was painted in the bathroom of the Chelsea apartment I grew up in. My mom always made sure there were vegetables in the house; I cooked sporadically, having taught myself as a teenage vegetarian.

Still life with weird duck prob 1987 to 89 by Rachel Ketchum aka Suzanne ForbesHere is a still life with a weird duck.

Probably 1987 to 89. Charcoal on paper.Still life with normal duck prob 1987 to 89 by Rachel Ketchum aka Suzanne Forbes

And here is a still life with a normal duck.

Made in the same timeframe. Pencil on paper.
Shoe acrylic on paper horizontal prob fall 1989 by Rachel Ketchum aka Suzanne Forbes

Color study of a shoe!

From the painting class I took through MCAD in Fall 1989, I think. Acrylic on paper.

Bathroom in St Paul by Rachel Ketchum aka Suzanne Forbes winter 1990Here is the bathroom of the apartment in St. Paul that I shared with Anita in winter 1990.

It was quite a dark bathroom! Pencil on paper.

Sketchbook 1990 still life by Rachel Ketchum aka Suzanne ForbesMy phone/answering machine. Remember those?

Graphite on paper, August 8 1990. The writing says, “Pretty fruitless but I still want that erase button for my life”.

Watermelon and Sunglasses 10 bet 1988 and 1992 by Rachel Ketchum aka Suzanne ForbesNow here is where it gets wild.

I don’t know for sure when I did the watermelon sunglasses pictures.

Watermelon and Sunglasses 9 bet 1988 and 1992 by Rachel Ketchum aka Suzanne ForbesI think it was at Parsons, where I had a class where we used a Windsor and Newton series 7 sable and Sumi ink.

Watermelon and Sunglasses 1 bet 1988 and 1992 by Rachel Ketchum aka Suzanne ForbesBut it could have been during Tom Garrett’s illustration class at MCAD.

Watermelon and Sunglasses 2 bet 1988 and 1992 by Rachel Ketchum aka Suzanne ForbesSo I am gonna say these were done between 1988 and 1991.

Watermelon and Sunglasses 8 bet 1988 and 1992 Rachel Ketchum aka Suzanne ForbesThey look like the kind of thing you’d do in class, except those were my cat-eye sunglasses.

Still, I could have brought them to class.

Watermelon and Sunglasses 6 bet 1988 and 1992 by Rachel Ketchum aka Suzanne ForbesI honestly don’t remember.

I have a hazy, hazy memory of scattering the salt on the wash of ink.

It was the first time I used that technique.

That’s all I remember. They’re all 18″ by 24″, ink and salt on paper.

Seriously, if you had had to make fifteen drawings of a cut watermelon and a pair of black plastic sunglasses, using only ink, water, and salt, would you have stored it in your memories?

Most of these paintings and 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 Patreon Patrons, whose monthly financial support makes it possible for me to take time to document my art archives.