Tag Archives: drawing in berlin

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!

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.

Last Days of Clärchens Ballhaus? Cha-Cha in the Hall of Mirrors.

Band at Claerchens Ballhaus Dec 9 2019 by Suzanne ForbesBerlin is changing.

Places that were institutions when we arrived in 2015 are closing down, or having to move. I grew up in Manhattan, and I have seen this story unfold in Chelsea in the 80s, and in San Francisco in the 90s.

Beloved dancehall Clärchens Ballhaus is one of the institutions in transition. The building has been sold. The current operator, Christian Schulz, says his lease expires at the end of this year. The ragged old beauty of a building is going to be renovated, and more will be revealed. We can only hope for the best, a space that the community can continue to enjoy and not condos.

Dancers at Claerchens Ballhaus 2 Dec 9 2019 by Suzanne ForbesI desperately wanted to go before they close at the end of the year, to draw a dance session.

But with my health issues and endless medical appointments, making a plan to attend a dance session was very tough.

Instead, my hub and I used a gift from my mom-in-law to go to a fancy dinner-with-dancing for our five year wedding anniversary. It was held in the SpiegelSaal or Hall of Mirrors, with fantastic music, and lucky for me, there were some terrific dancers!

D at Claerchens Ballhaus Dec 9 2019 by Suzanne ForbesAbove, my husband enjoys the music.

His rapt expression is because he‘s listening to the amazing band play The Flight of the Bumblebee, which he says is extraordinarily difficult to play on the piano. The band was Pan Marek on Drums, Alexej Wagner on guitar and Eugen Miller on double bass and vocals, as well as the marvelous piano player whose name I gotta get. He looked like a biker Deadhead but he was superb on the keys!

Clärchens Ballhaus is, as it were, a kind of story machine, a site of conjecture. The German illustrator and photographer Heinrich Zille had his regular place at the bar, where he used to sit and draw. And Otto Dix painted the poster in 1931, which is still used today.

lovely quote from TripAdvisor of all places!

Dancers at Claerchens Ballhaus Dec 9 2019 by Suzanne ForbesHere is the suave drummer dancing with an audience member!

I can’t begin to say how grateful I am that the monthly financial support of my Patreon Patrons makes it possible for me to document Berlin history like this.

I believe these people and places and their stories matter, and I’m able to share them because I’m crowdfunded and can be flexible in managing with my limited resources. Thank you, always.

November Unterwegs!

Unterwegs November 24 2019 lady with gloves by Suzanne ForbesI know, there haven’t been any unterwegs for so long!

And some of my Patrons as well as many of my followers really enjoy them; I’m sorry I haven’t been making them. Unfortunately the last nine months or so have just been a mess with my health, and I haven’t gone anywhere except to doctors, most of whom are walking distance or one subway stop away. I’m feeling better now, and have had a little bit of energy for going to things. And since we live where all the doctors are but none of the nightlife is, that means riding the U-Bahn!

Above, a lady with gloves I saw while heading to the Drink And Draw Berlin boat for a Dr. Sketchy’s/D&D Berlin session. The guy behind her was just staring at me. Not like people usually stare at me – because watching someone draw is vaguely interesting, or because seeing someone draw on the subway is unusual, or I am wearing a giant fly made of Swarovski crystals on my head or whatever. This guy was staring at me like I was one more random event in a day that didn’t make sense. I felt for him, but I liked the way his arm was just hanging there, so I drew him anyway. I do not believe the bottle was his; it had rolled from a different part of the car.

Unterwegs October 26 2019 guy with backpack by Suzanne ForbesThis guy was very aware that I was drawing him.

I had caught his eye when I sat down across from him because I swung my bag around to get my sketchbook out and accidentally bonked the lady next to me. I apologized loudly in my American way, saying “Entschuldigung! Tut mir leid!” while the lady snorted and everyone looked over. Then I saw the guy sitting back so serenely, and started drawing him. And he realized it, and actually posed! Which happens occasionally, but not often, on the U-Bahn.

Here’s the previous unterwegs, and you can see the unterwegs gallery on flickr here.

As always I am so grateful to my Patrons for their crowdfunded support, which lets me make this work and release it as Free Art. 

You can join my Patreon Patrons, for as little as a dollar/euro a month, to keep me making my documentary art of Berlin.

The Sea Salts of Berlin!

Sirens singing sweet songs at Ballhaus Berlin!

I adore the delicate and sophisticated (and sometimes naughty) sound of Lorelei la Voix and Syren Joey, and it’s a thrill to see them perform in full sea-worthy costume. This session of Dr. Sketchy’s Berlin featured the Sea Salts duo performing quite a few lovely numbers. Above, Lorelei in her “blangmange” costume, a marvelous pink hoopskirt froth with a mermaid tail.

Syren Joey of Sea Salts Berlin with rapier by Suzanne Forbes Sept 29 2019Plus, lady with a rapier! Always love a woman with a sword.

Syren Joey is a great performer and I always love to draw her. However, I was struggling quite a lot with these drawings, as I am pushing iterations of my mixed media technique and experiencing the danger of over-confidence. “Don’t get cocky, kid!”Syren Joey of Sea Salts Berlin by Suzanne Forbes Sept 29 2019

Using chalk markers, pastels and india ink pens, I’m developing an additive/subtractive approach to drawing that lets me work in a more painterly way.

I’m constantly changing and correcting as I draw. It’s actually a derivative of the correction-tape method I developed when doing pen-and-ink work on Guidolon. If I made a mistake, I ran the correction tape over it and was redrawing on top in seconds. It worked great for drawings that were being scanned and transmitted digitally, because no-one ever saw the tape. Not so good for art people are gonna buy the originals of! (and they do; if you want to buy one of my existing drawings from an event, go here, towards the bottom.)

The chalk markers, with their tremendous opacity and extremely fast dry-down, give me similar powers to correction tape. And at the previous Dr. Sketchy’s, with just two models in neutral colors, I was flying! But Sunday I jumped in with the same fearless vigor, and a lot went wrong. Damage to the surface of the paper from too much water in the brown chalk marker, problems with my line as I moved too quickly even for myself, and weird scumbling effects from the pastels I was using.

I just kept rolling, working and reworking the same drawings, trying to figure it out, because I am invested in the process.

It did mean, however, that I didn’t make nearly as many drawings as usual. There are these three of the Sea Salts, and a couple portraits of Bishop Black, and one of beautiful Gizam Akman, and that’s it!

You can see the drawings of Bishop and Gizam here.

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!

 

Bishop Black in pearls, and more castaway hotness at Dr. Sketchy’s Berlin!

Bishop Black in pearls at Dr Sketchys Berlin by Suzanne Forbes Sept 29 2019I was very excited to get to draw Bishop Black again.

Bishop is a multi-disciplinary artist who works incredibly hard in so many swim lanes! And he is fantastically handsome and muscular 🙂 You can see my drawings of him from the Dr. Sketchy’s Berlin Red Hot Love session here and here.Bishop Black and Gizam Akman at Dr Sketchys Berlin by Suzanne Forbes Sept 29 2019

I was experimenting a lot with materials for this session (read more at this post) and struggling to resolve values.

Gesture drawing of Bishop Black at Dr Sketchys Berlin by Suzanne Forbes Sept 29 2019Rendering skin tones and clothing shadows is something I can do easily in paint, but I am a novice at pastels and color drawing still.

A big part of the reason I’m adding color to my drawings now is to give performers of color a more vibrant representation. My approach is ever-evolving, and I always invite POC performers to check me if I get their undertones wrong!

I only got one drawing of beautiful mermaid model Gizem Akram, seen below, because my usual table by the dj stand just didn’t work well for most of her poses.

This happens occasionally wherever I draw; sometimes I just can’t get a good “shot” of one or more performers.Gizam Akman at Dr Sketchys Berlin by Suzanne Forbes Sept 29 2019

It’s challenging to draw scantily-clad people in multi-colored stage lighting, but I did my best; you know who is awesome at it?

Samantha Stover, who was also at Dr. Sketchy’s on Sunday. As was superb draughtsman Jürgen Schlotter.

It’s such a treat for me to see drawings of the same scene I drew from these two, because their styles are profoundly different from mine but they are both SO good.

I had a wonderful time at Sketchy’s as always.

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!

 

Bushwig Berlin 2019 – more incredible performers!

Amber Alert at Bushwig Berlin Sept 17 2019 by Suzanne ForbesI was honored to be a guest of international NY/Berlin drag festival Bushwig this summer.

The lineup was astonishing, and I stayed in my stageside seat by the piano, supported by kind stranger Arthur, for a good six or seven hours. There was no way I was leaving before drawing Hungry and Betty Fvck!

Check out Amber Alert, above! What a stunner! Amber talks about the early days of Brooklyn’s innovative drag scene and her drag journey here on Huffpost.

Rhama at Bushwig Berlin Sept 17 2019 by Suzanne ForbesRhama is so lovely!

An elegant nonbinary singer and dancer, you can see them on youtube here. Their latex dress is by a designer named Florian Máthé.

Wanda Cookie at Bushwig Berlin Sept 17 2019 by Suzanne ForbesHere’s Wanda Cookie, having a spectacular tantrum!

I really appreciate all the performers who traveled to be here in Berlin.

And I don’t know this performer’s name or links but I’m working on it 🙂

Thanks to the chill-as-heck venue Festsaal Kreuzberg. And to Bushwig for having me! And to DJ Hannah Lou, an incredible professional who managed the music for a huge lineup impeccably.

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.

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.

Portraits of loved ones.

Portrait of Clear and Jen Sept 5 2019 by Suzanne ForbesMy absolutely cherished Beloved Friend-Muse-Patron Clear was in town with his lady companion Jen.

I have a lot going on right now, and I still have strep, but I can work under damn near any conditions, and there was nothing on this earth I wanted to do more than have the sacred, precious drawing-time with these two. There is a connection when I work with people, when we sit together and I draw them, and we talk, that is like nothing else I’ve experienced.

It creates a bond, the bond between artist and muse, that lasts and connects. I get to see them through the merciful eyes of a Higher Power, illuminated by their beauty and character. Their faces move and shift, and the portrait is a gestalt of all the moments that pass between us as we work.

I say we because my portraits are a collaboration, the result of the work of being together and their work being visible to me. It’s the most precious and important thing I know. And of course it’s why I don’t do portraits from photos, only from life. We gotta hang out!

Portrait of Clear and Jen Sept 5 2019 Suzanne ForbesThis image is the drawing halfway through, before I added pastels. My technique is evolving and developing in a very unorthodox way as I figure out how to “paint” with a combination of toned paper, chalk markers, greyscale and sepiatone markers, and pastel. I am figuring out how to make the drawing process additive-subtractive with these new tools. It means rather than pass/fail, this-mark-is-final, I can keep shifting as I would with a painting.

I described the changes that have happened in my drawing style since Clear came for my 50th birthday two years ago and brought me my first set of greyscale markers. How then my Beloved Friend-Muse-Patron of 44 years, Victoria, gave me a set of pastels and I started shyly, almost apologetically, adding touches of color. How Lydia loaned me a chalk marker at a life drawing session in her home in 2018 and I fell in love with its painterly qualities.

“It sounds like you’ve been iterating really fast,” said Jen, who is very smart as well as funny and beautiful. “Yeah, I guess I have”, I said. It’s the hothouse environment of my Patreon, I realized; it lets me feel so supported I can take risks. It was so wonderful to have this time with these two, and to document them together. Clear’s been commissioning  portraits from me since 2006!

Portrait of Dan Sept 3 2019 by Suzanne ForbesAnd this is the other portrait I did this week, of my husband at the visa office, where we got startling bad news!

He is always gracious about posing, even though he really dislikes having his picture taken and being seen or shown on social media. I’ve been carrying this little Kraft paper sketchbook around this week, and it was the perfect size for a quick drawing. Although I generally like to work as large as possible, sometimes a little drawing is just right 🙂

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