Tag Archives: drawing in 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

New Portraits of friends!

Portrait of Shakrah Yves at Ballhaus Berlin By Suzanne Forbes May 31 2019My friend Shakrah Yves, dressed in emerald velvet at the Jews!Jews!Jews! show of Berlin Burlesque Week.

I had to sneak this portrait of her as she chatted with a friendly gay boy from Oz, because she looked so luminous. we went for Thai food beforehand and she looked like a movie star, I was like oh la lala, just havin some iced tea with my friend the movie star.

This is done in pastels, gel pens and other mixed media on Strathmore Toned Gray paper.

I love this paper but it’s too big for my scanner so I have to photograph the drawings and with their complex, mixed pigment surfaces they are hard to photograph. I am gonna have get a bigger scanner sometime soon!

Lady with a baby May 9 2019 by Suzanne ForbesLady with a Baby

My friend S. with her little one, just a few weeks old. She has the most amazing kids. Seriously, the most amazing, beautiful, strong, full-of-identity from birth kids. I saw this one in the hospital and he was already right there. And the older kid- her glamour, character and self-possession are already legend among the Berlin demi-monde! “I saw her having lunch with Peaches one day, when she was just five years old”, someone whispered at a party. We are planning a portrait of mama and older child later this year.

This work, of making a record of the people I know, and telling the story of a moment in their lives – I cannot think of anything I am better suited to do, or any task more honorable.

I am so deeply grateful to my Patrons on Patreon, whose financial support makes it possible.

Women tattooing women at the Drink And Draw Berlin Tattoo Jam – on a boat!!

Lydia tattooing at Drink & Draw Berlin Tattoo Jam April 12 2019 by Suzanne ForbesWhat a lovely time we had!

This is Lydia, aka Lylicious Ink, tattooing a lovely lady, ON A BOAT. Lydia is a friend who is a fantastic artist who is now a tattoo artist, like Daria.

I went to the new Drink And Draw Berlin location finally, and holy heck it’s amazing. Drink And Draw’s classes and events are now held in a 90-year-old boat docked in the Historic Harbor by Markisches Museum. The atmosphere is so cozy, so charming, so superbly comfortable for drawing, I cannot even deal. I want to go back ASAP.

Here’s the Drink and Draw Berlin Insta, featuring ME!

Daria tattooing at Drink & Draw Berlin Tattoo Jam April 12 2019 by Suzanne ForbesDaria was tattooing in a mask, looking even more like an artist ninja than usual!

The woman Daria is tattooing is Fania Katz, an “illustrator and creator of weirdness from Berlin“. Fania is a native Berliner, and with Daria, a native Muscovite, and me, a Native New Yorker, sitting there, Daria said we had a mighty trinity.At Drink & Draw Berlin Tattoo Jam April 12 2019 by Suzanne Forbes

These two cool as hell friends of Lydia’s were talking about tat appointments, and one of them was also drawing.

I just was so happy there! There were groups of artists and tattooists working at tables and on couches throughout the boat’s comfy seating areas, and another woman tattoo artist, the fantastically badass Strix, working up on the stage, and people doing stick-and-poke.

Elliott doing stick and poke tattoo at Drink and Draw Berlin Tattoo Jam April 20 2019Suzanne ForbesThis is Elliott, stick-and-poke tattooing his own leg.

I knew people stick-and-poke tattooed themselves, as my incredible artist sister-in-law Caitlin has a number of beautiful works she has designed and done herself. But I’d never seen it happening live in front of me before! I was like, look, a hot boy stick-and-poking his own leg on a boat! What could possible be more Berlin? But then I remembered my friend Suz told me about a nonbinary person who stick-and-poke tattoos drunk club-goers on the party train U8 on Friday nights around 3am, and that is actually more Berlin 🙂

I had some lovely Fritz-Kola on the boat (local soft drink company well known for always sponsoring art events!) and altogether the nicest time.

Thanks, Drink and Draw Berlin! I’ll be back!

And always, my deepest and profoundest gratitude to my Patrons, who crowdfund my documentary art project of a feminist intersectional lens on Berlin life! You can help, with any amount you like per month, a dollar or euro is great ?

My Patrons on Patreon give monthly financial support which allows me to make this free documentary art available for all to share!

Unterwegs for March 2019!

Unterwegs March 16 2019 by Suzanne ForbesThis guy reminded me of a boy named Raj I had a crush on my first semester at Stuyvesant.

Something about his slightly flipped, slightly 80s hair. Raj was so cute; I used to watch him play Asteroids in Tony’s Cafe next to Stuyvesant. He went back to India at the beginning of 1981, when I was fourteen, and I never saw him again. So many people we know over a lifetime! Isn’t it amazing? And I was so fascinated by how this young guy’s body language echoes the redheaded Persephone a while back!

Unterwegs March 26 2019 Women on the phone by Suzanne ForbesI guess there are only so many ways that people can sit or stand on a subway, because I have also seen and drawn this stance before!

Drawing this woman, I felt so mesmerized and exhilarated by the unique lines of every human. I just love seeing people and recording their being so much.

Unterwegs March 26 2019 Goth mom by Suzanne ForbesThis goth mom was with her hairless dad and blond daughter.

She was like a burst of jet hair and clothes among them, very serene. She knew I was drawing them too! Mostly people don’t.

I am so grateful to my Patrons, who crowdfund my documentary art project of Berlin public transit! You can help, with any amount you like per month, a dollar or euro is great 🙂

Previous unterwegs below, all unterwegs courtesy of my Patrons on Patreon whose monthly financial support allows me to make this free art available!

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

The Shimmy Shake Show at Ballhaus Berlin, with Scotty the Blue Bunny!

Scotty the Blue Bunny at Shimmy Shake Show Ballhaus Berlin March 24 2019 by Suzanne ForbesYou can never really get used to the sight of a very tall, loud, slightly drunk gay man in a glittering velvet bunny suit.

As often I as see, and draw, Scotty the Blue Bunny performing, there is still a pleasant frisson of shock at just how much blue bunny he is. Even in flats!

The beauty below is La Viola Vixen, mâitresse of Shimmy Shake School.

La Viola Vixen at Shimmy Shake Show Ballhaus Berlin March 24 2019 by Suzanne ForbesThis was my first time making it to the Shimmy Shake Show, which features students, graduates and teachers from Berlin burlesque school The Shimmy Shake School. It is held at the beautiful vintage venue Ballhaus Berlin, where I go multiple times a year for Dr. Sketchy’s Berlin.

You can call the bar to order a drink with the antique telephones on the tables, though the bar is always too busy to bring you a beverage when I’ve been there!

As you can see, the audience members were dressed for the show.Attendee at Shimmy Shake Show Ballhaus Berlin March 24 2019 by Suzanne Forbes

I was invited to draw at the show by Shimmy Shake teacher La Loba Lucía, who I became a mad fan of after I saw her perform at Extravagant Shambles. She is the most leonine, ferocious, superheroic burlesque performer I have seen so far. Drawings of her act coming soon!

Meanwhile, here is another instructor, Anja Pavlova, performing a ballet-like burlesque that had a rococo Rites-of-Spring feel!

Anja Pavlova at Shimmy Shake Show Ballhaus Berlin March 24 2019 by Suzanne ForbesAnd here is Cadbury Parfait, who produces Extravagant Shambles.

I have been invited to draw at Extravagant Shambles several times now and really love the crew.

Cadbury Parfait at Shimmy Shake Show Ballhaus Berlin March 30 2019 by Suzanne ForbesI also know Stella Von Fersen, seen below as a pearl emerging from satin oyster fans, from the Shambles.Stella von Fersen at Shimmy Shake Show Ballhaus Berlin March 24 2019 by Suzanne Forbes

There was a Neo-burlesque duet, below, that was passionate and lovely, Adèle Meta Morphosis is the dancer.Duet at Shimmy Shake Show Ballhaus Berlin March 24 2019 by Suzanne Forbes

And btw, check out Scott’s beautiful gay portrait sanctuary, Love Gay People, here.

Lots of love to my beautiful Patrons on Patreon, who make it possible for me to document Berlin’s queer intersectional burlesque scene and release the artwork free to all!