Suzanne Forbes, an expat New Yorker in Berlin. Made possible by the generous support of her Patrons. https://www.patreon.com/SuzanneForbes. Former DC Penciller for Star Trek, former courtroom artist, painting portraits and teaching drawing.
She was born on the same continent I was; nowadays she identifies as a “Citizen of the World”, and teaches German here in Berlin. She’s lived all over the planet; maybe all the experience is what keeps her so young. My friend Maurus, who owns Ludwig, calls the beautiful photos he takes of his guests “Souls of Ludwig“. I love the idea that we are all souls, meeting here in this world.
We were talking about the schedule for the Illustration Intensive course for the summer, when we get students from all over the world. Sara is from Spain, Omar is from Ecuador, and Sarah is from the UK. But we were all united by a discussion of how appallingly expensive, and yet wildly desirable, the new iPad Pro with the stylus is.
Berlin is a place for all souls to freely be themselves.
And I am so grateful to my Patrons on Patreon, whose monthly financial support makes it possible for me to tell these stories.
Finally finished this drawing of dancers and smoochers!
These lovely boys were crowding the dance floor at Chantal’s House of Shame. It took me a long time to finish this one because at Bassy Club I always sit on a stool in the raised loge area and it makes my perspective of the dance floor a slight, tricky downshot. Eventually I figured out the foreshortening and how to fill the space. More drawings from this night here!
Bartender at the KitKat club.
This friendly young bartender reminded me of my boyfriend Richie Barton in the 80s. This is from the night Miss Natasha Enquist and I went to KitKat; more drawings here!
Five minute gesture drawings from ESDIPBerlin Friday night Life Drawings!
With excellent model Luciano. You can see more of these here.
ESDIP Berlin, where I teach drawing, has an in-house print studio. It’s run by Suspicious Package, who teach printing to our Fine Arts students and give standalone screen printing courses. Screen printing, a beautiful way to make unique printed images, is really popular here in Berlin. The work being done is gorgeous. The poster print show called Flatstock has a big European event in Hamburg.
Rob Hanna of Suspicious Package asked if I’d be interested in doing an art collab with them for our Fall Fine Arts semester.
I said sure! We talked about the idea of a “Modern-Mucha” style image, with elements that represented the different Fine Arts disciplines we teach. But punk as fuck, like Berlin itself.
I honestly hate most of those saccharine “Mucha-esque” designs on deviant-art that turn pop culture icons into Mucha posters. They almost* universally lack the shocking fleshy immediacy of Mucha’s women, which was his great strength and their source of power.
Almost nobody today has the draughtsmanship skills to give women’s bodies the physical presence and grace Mucha did. I certainly don’t.
But I did the best I could to capture the confrontationalnature of my favorite Muchas, their determined physicality and returning of the artist’s gaze.
I came up with these studies for the artwork. I wanted to convey the feel of Berlin’s art scene, still pretty gritty and rough around the edges.
The art scene here embraces urban art like nowhere else I’ve ever lived, with support (and specialty supply shops!) for graffiti artists and stencil artists.
So I included some classic Krylon cans, and of course the cinder blocks and broken glass and empty bottles that are still common in lots of places.
Plus take-out noodles! I wish those had made it into the final.
I love to draw a punk girl! I decided she would be a Modern Muse Of Fine Arts.
Mucha did a series called The Arts, with a representation each for Dance, Poetry, Painting and Music. They were sold as a limited edition of prints, because he produced work across a spectrum of availability: unique paintings, work created for fine art prints and works made for commercial reproduction.
These famous exhibition posters were made for the Salon des Cents, a huge public print show and sale.
Mucha was a master of design, but the humanity and specific natural beauty of his models was the power behind the arabesques.
This less well known exhibition poster, sometimes called “Muse of the Arts”, has been one of my favorites since I was a teenager. I love the rack of prints!
I think of it whenever I go to an art event like Berlin Graphic Days at Urban Spree and see posters in the same kinds of racks, over a hundred years later.
There’s a beautiful through line from early 20th Century art print culture to modern East Berlin screen printing shops where artists are pulling unique pieces by hand.
I sent my finished drawing to Rob Hanna, who did the graphic design and created the text elements to turn it into a poster.
Then the students made it into prints! It was the first time printing for all of them and I am so excited at what they made. I framed one!
Me and Daria and Marina went to ESDIP Life Drawing yesterday. Know who else was there??
Lee Dotson who I know from the Bay Area, who is living at Rah Hell’s place and co-working at ESDIP, both occurring totally unrelated to me. The world is small, and rich in co-incidence.
We did five minute poses to start.
We were blessed by Luciano, a wonderful life model. For a former comic book artist like me, there are certain body types it’s terrifically easy to draw.
Then ten minute poses.
I am having a really interesting time switching back to markers and inkline after six months of experimenting with pastels.
Towards the end we did one-minute gestures.
I did two, and worked on the left-hand one for an additional four minutes, because Spiderman!
For the last two poses, I drew the artists instead.
Several of my students and former students were in the group, which was lovely, and I wanted to capture the moment. Also, unlike most figurative artists, I’m not that interested in naked people. Even beautiful, fit, young naked people.
Daria tackled the last pose and made a terrific drawing despite the difficult angle from where we were seated. Check it out!
Life Drawing at ESDIP Berlin by Daria Rhein Nov 10 2017
You can see my previous drawings from ESDIP Berlin life drawing sessions here, and here. Naked people warning, of course!
Alfred Ladylike posed for Natascha Artworx as her human canvas.
Natascha was wearing an amazing art dress she had customized and painted. The person who owned the dress was getting divorced and planned to burn it, and it got turned into art instead!
Miss Natasha Enquist posing and Alfred Ladylike as human canvas for Natascha Artworx, Aug. 19 2017
30 minute portrait of Miss Natasha Enquist by Suzanne Forbes and the Fluid Gallery at Ludwig Berlin, Aug. 19 2017
The finished 30 minute portrait of Miss Natasha Enquist, above.
We gave out free raffle tickets and raffled it off at the end of the night! Free art! And there was even a secret surprise performance by Alfred! Her Donut Heart bandmateRah Hell was represented in portraiture by both myself and Natascha, and performed the raffle ticket drawing. What a heavenly evening.
My infinite thanks to Suzanne Wegh and Natascha Artworx for managing this event. If you’d like to help support their creative work, here’s Suzanne’s Patreon and Natascha’s Patreon. Visit Miss Natasha Enquist’s Spotify here and Donut Heart on bandcamp here.
I think I drew a pregnant woman once, well actually twice in my whole drawing career before, I don’t have a picture of the second one which was a private commission of my friend Mindy.
For part of the session Martha wore a flowing blue wig! Of course, no one with a comics background can draw a naked pregnant woman without thinking of the late Jeffrey Catherine Jones and her creation Idyl.
It was totally by accident that I drew her as a naked, tattooed, pregnant Whistler’s Mother.
What a beautiful evening it was, with a crowd of three dozen artists quietly working hard to capture Martha in her immanence.
Mysteriously, the group was almost entirely women, many of us tattooed blue-haired women. It was very special. I’ve had a lot of luck of both kinds in my life. The night I accidentally found my way to ESDIP Berlin for the first time was one of the very luckiest.
You can see my previous life drawing session drawings here.
Miss Natasha Enquist invited me to see her perform at the Berlin Music Video Awards opening, but I missed her!
I was teaching at our ESDIP Illustration Program, and there are no cabs in Friedrichshain! At least not at 6pm on a Thursday. I thought I could just come out of Grunberger Hof and grab a cab, like you can where we live in the West.
Nope! Seriously, in our neighborhood you can get a cab in 30 seconds. Not in the East! So I got to The Nuke Club late. But I saw Natasha in her wonderful golden sequin hot pants and fishnets outfit, and met Amanda, who let me draw her, seen above.
I asked her if I could draw her portrait, and she was like, no I’m sorry I’m working, I manage the VIP bar, I’m just grabbing a smoke and a drink and a snack then I gotta go back to it.
I was like, “Don’t worry! I can easily draw you in the time it takes you to have a snack and a smoke!” She was super-nice and friendly. Her mom is a painter!
I also got to draw this nice young man, who caught my eye for his gingery coloring in the Berlin sun. He was shooting for the event, so he filmed me while I drew him!
This is one of the fastest portraits I’ve ever done, less than five minutes in the crowded courtyard at Nuke Club!
I finished up two May unterwegs as well on Thursday. How I love the faces and characters of Berlin.