Tag Archives: pastel drawing

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.

Red Hot Love at Dr. Sketchy’s Berlin!

Valentina Demonia and Martini Cherryfurter portraits at Dr Sketchys Berlin Feb 17 by Suzanne ForbesOh, what a gorgeous show this was!

Another absolute knockout of a Dr. Sketchy’s Berlin production from LaLa Vox and Syren Joey, at the beautiful Ballhaus Berlin. The models were Valentina Demonia, who I’ve drawn many times, Martini Cherry Furter who I was discovering for the first time, and BiszhopBlaczkx. I had been wanting to draw @thebiszhopblaczkx for YEARS!!! I was sick for the last #drsketchysberlin he performed at and no way was I missing this one!!!

biszhopblaczk at Dr Sketchys Berlin Feb 17 2019 by Suzanne ForbesAnd he wore flowers on his head!!!

Valentina Demonia detail at Dr Sketchys Berlin Feb 17 2019 by Suzanne ForbesI just loved everything about this session.

Many of the poses and outfits were too racy for a Patreon sponsored post, so I’ll finish those drawings and you’ll have to find them on my flickr 😉

I especially loved Valentina’s pasties and red thigh-high boots look, and Martini’s red and black corset! Most of Biszhop’s outfits consisted of his extreme good looks, a pretty accessory and a smoky gaze. His bits were covered, but not by much!

Martini Cherry Furter both posed and performed, an exhilarating number involving the audience setting her on fire!

Martini Cherryfurter detail at Dr Sketchys Berlin Feb 17 2019 by Suzanne ForbesShe has incredible stage presence. She  looked so good I actually lost all decorum and shouted, “Girl you are SO BEAUTIFUL!!”. She accepted that as her due, with a gracious smile.

thank you so much to these amazing artists who brought their hearts and souls to the show, it was a privilege to draw you!

Thank you again, @lalavox and @syrenjoey and @ballhausberlin !

and thanks so very much to my Patrons on Patreon, whose monthly financial support allows me to make art!

Previous Dr. Sketchy’s Berlin posts:

Kabarett der Namenlosen one

and two

Hansel and Gretel

Baba Yaga, posts one and two

Viva Lamore, à la Baroque

Betty Fvck, Trixie Tassels and More, Berlin Burlesque Week

Broken Baroque

Victorian Spiritualist edition with Valentina Demonia and Syren Joey

More Victorian Spiritualist edition

Weimar Berlin, with Le Pustra and Bridge Markland

More Weimar Berlin

and my first Dr. Sketchy’s Berlin with Viva Lamore, Syren Joey and live painting outdoors!

A portrait of the artist’s mother on the River Spree.

Portrait of Pat Ketchum on the River Spree by Suzanne Forbes Oct 24 2018My mom came to visit and we went on a boat!

We took one of the widely available and affordable boat cruises on the Spree, the river that winds around Berlin. It was a beautiful October day, and the river is incredibly peaceful. There’s pretty much nobody on it but cruise boats at this time of year! We sat by the windows and looked out at the city I love so much. My mama is holding an audio aid to her ear, learning about Berlin landmarks.Portrait of Pat Ketchum on the River Spree by Suzanne Forbes Oct 24 2018

I want to do portraits on the boat all the time now, it’s so restorative!

If you want your portrait drawn or painted, on a boat or elsewhere, you can learn more here.

Hansel and Gretel at Dr. Sketchy’s Berlin!

Evilyn Frantic as the Witch Dr Sketchys Berlin Oct 24 by Suzanne ForbesSecond in the Fairy Tale series, and full of witchy goodness.

I had a lovely time as always at Dr. Sketchy’s Berlin. Wonderful costumes and posing by models Banbury Cross (Gretel), Hedoluxe (Hansel) and Evilyn Frantic as The Witch.Banbury Cross and Evilyn Frantic Dr Sketchys Berlin Oct 24 by Suzanne Forbes

Hedoluxe and Banbury Cross at Dr Sketchys Berlin Oct 24 by Suzanne ForbesAt one point the witch got a bit less clothing, in gorgeous vintage lingerie.Evilyn Frantic as the Witch en dishabille Dr Sketchys Berlin Oct 24 by Suzanne Forbes

Co-organizer LalaVox and The Narrator, Marijn van der Waa.
LalaVox and Marijn Van der Waa at Dr Sketchys Berlin Oct 24 by Suzanne Forbes

My mom was here visiting and got to see the beautiful and historic Dr. Sketchy’s venue, Ballhaus Berlin.

Thanks again to Le Pustra, LalaVox and all the performers/models/crew for another lovely time at Dr. Sketchy’s Berlin! Here’s the Insta 🙂

and thanks so very much to my Patrons on Patreon, whose monthly financial support makes it possible for me to make art!

Here’s the previous Fairy Tale session, Baba Yaga, posts one and two, and

previous Dr. Sketchy’s Berlin:

Viva Lamore, à la Baroque

Betty Fvck, Trixie Tassels and More, Berlin Burlesque Week

Broken Baroque

Victorian Spiritualist edition with Valentina Demonia and Syren Joey

More Victorian Spiritualist edition

Weimar Berlin, with Le Pustra and Bridge Markland

More Weimar Berlin

and my first Dr. Sketchy’s Berlin with Viva Lamore, Syren Joey and live painting outdoors!

More drawings from Dr. Sketchy’s Berlin Baba Yaga session!

Marin van der Waa Narrates at Dr Sketchys Berlin by Suzanne Forbes sept 23 2018Marijn was the narrator, reading a spooky fairy tale in a voice that filled the room like smoke.

I have drawn Marijn before at Dr. Sketchy’s and was pleased to be able to do so again. Having a narrator really added to the experience of the show! Marijn is an illustrator herself, and you can follow her on the Instas here or check out her website here.

Women artists at Dr Sketchys Berlin Sept 27 2018 by Suzanne ForbesI also drew some of the artists this time!

I wound up sitting right next to the organizer of Berlin Museum Crew, artist Samantha Stover, (her mane of 60s movie star hair was covering her face alas!) and several other young woman artists. That’s Lucille Lehr with the two-colored hair! Plus my dear friend, artist and art teacher Giulia Caruso, was just a few seats away! That’s her with the fuschia streak and tattoos 🙂

Models at Dr Sketchys Berlin Sept 21 2018 by Suzanne ForbesAnd the one sketch I made of the other model besides Valentina Demonia, Hurricane Irina !

Another amazing Dr. Sketchy’s Berlin, thanks to LalaVox and Le Pustra. So excited for the Hansel and Gretel session, October 21 at Ballhaus Berlin!

More drawings from this session here; previous Dr. Sketchy’s Berlin:

Viva Lamore, à la Baroque

Betty Fvck, Trixie Tassels and More, Berlin Burlesque Week

Broken Baroque

Victorian Spiritualist edition with Valentina Demonia and Syren Joey

More Victorian Spiritualist edition

Weimar Berlin, with Le Pustra and Bridge Markland

More Weimar Berlin

and my first Dr. Sketchy’s Berlin with Viva Lamore, Syren Joey and live painting outdoors!

Thanks so very much to my Patrons on Patreon, and welcome to the new Patrons who joined this month! You make it possible for me to make this art and share it open source, licensed with Creative Commons for all to share, print and enjoy.

Witch Power at Dr. Sketchy’s Berlin.

Valentina Demonia as Baba Yaga by Suzanne Forbes Sept 23 2018 detailsI was sooooo excited about the Baba Yaga session at Dr. Sketchy’s Berlin.

And as always, LalaVox and Le Pustra came through with a gangbusters event. There were a variety of marvelous models in wonderful costumes, but in my current mood, I only had eyes for the witch.

Berlin performer Valentina DeMonia as Baba Yaga just thrilled me!

Valentina Demonia as Baba Yaga by Suzanne Forbes Sept 23 2018 It was so great to draw her in her cocoon of power and hair.

Valentina Demonia as Baba Yaga by Suzanne Forbes Sept 23 2018 with staffValentina Demonia as Baba Yaga by Suzanne Forbes Sept 23 2018I used my Canson Mi Teintes toned paper, my Faber-Castell PITT brush pens, dark umber markers, black oil pastel, white pastel and white gel ink pens to make these drawings.

Valentina Demonia as Baba Yaga Suzanne Forbes Sept 23 2018 kraft paper 2And I drew these little ones in a Kraft paper sketchbook.

Valentina Demonia as Baba Yaga Suzanne Forbes Sept 23 2018 kraft paper 1Thanks so very much to my Patrons on Patreon, and welcome to new Patrons S. and I. who joined this month! You make it possible for me to make this art.

A big pastel drawing finished!

Viva Lamore by Suzanne Forbes detail pastel on Mi Teintes June 26 2018Using pastels on dark paper is so weird.

I started this drawing of Viva Lamore at Dr. Sketchy’s Berlin “Broken Baroque” session quite a while back. She is the producer of Full Moon Cabaret as well as lots of other artistic projects, and a frequent Dr. Sketchy’s model; I love to draw her. I worked on this one a good bit at home, but couldn’t figure out how to resolve it.

So I tabled it for a while, to see if I got more comfortable using pastels.

One of my beloved Friend-Muse-Patrons sent me a box of Prismacolor Nupastels for my birthday. Those were my favorite pastels in college, if I could have been said to have a favorite in a media I do not love. They are square in profile rather than round and both harder and more waxy than most pastels. I find them much easier to control and they lay down a lot of pigment on my toothy Canson Mi Teintes paper.

Viva Lamore by Suzanne Forbes mixed media 32cm x 41cm June 26 2018I also knew I needed a workable fixatif to freeze each layer of color as I laid it on.

But I was having trouble finding the kind of workable fix I used in art school.

Eventually I figured out that Winsor and Newton “soft fixative” is the same product. It’s sold as Professional Fixative now in the US, I believe. It’s a (virtually odorless! brave new world!) spray fixative that holds the dusty pigments in place, and creates a new layer of tooth for the next layer of pastel to catch on and adhere to. I ordered some and went back to the picture of Viva this week.

Portrait of Viva Lamore in media media and pastel work in process by Suzanne Forbes 2017 to 2018

The process of adding layers of Prismacolor Nupastels to a portrait on Canson Mi Teintes paper by Suzanne Forbes, 2018

Pastels are imprecise anyway, so I can use them fairly well with my injured hand.

The problem with workable fixatif, or any fixatif, is that when you spray them on, they adhere the pigment particles to the paper with an adhesive medium. Which has the effect of darkening the pigments. I hadn’t had much trouble with the Lascaux fix I’d been using, but the new can totally knocked out my highlights.

Portrait of Viva Lamore in media media and pastel work in process by Suzanne Forbes 2017 to 2018After each spray of fix I had to go in and restore the highlights. The paper got coarser and coarser, although as promised the fix does build a new layer of tooth. You can continue to add pigment on the surface for a long time. The lightest values in the drawing you see in the photographs aren’t properly fixed; they could easily be rubbed or wiped off. But that is a problem for another day.

I feel like this is a nice depiction of Viva’s beauty and mischief!

Thanks so very much to my Patrons on Patreon whose financial support makes it possible for me to experiment and grow as an artist. You sustain me.

A portrait of E in pastels, on a Sunday in Berlin.

E Pastel Portrait by Suzanne Forbes May 6 2018 detailMy muse these last thirteen years was here this weekend.

We had a portrait sitting, and brunch. There was crying, as there often is, and evil laughter, and then we got to work. I had told her we would try the pastels, on dark paper.

I said that with her lilac hair she would “emerge from darkness, like a lily from a lake of blood.”

E by Suzanne Forbes May 6 2018 WIPI have always found E tirelessly interesting to try and make a picture of. I have been trying since I met her at the Folsom Street Fair in 2005, where she was wearing a vintage slip and white flowers in her masses of tentacley black hair.

I was so struck by her I went home and drew her from memory, something I very rarely do with portraits. In 2006 and 2007 she had more free time, and she sat for me often.

Then she got an important job and an athletic hobby, and has since become progressively more busy doing good, important work. In the intervening years our lives have been set on fire repeatedly, and we have survived the fire.

I have made so many pictures of her, and I would happily make a hundred more.

But for now, this one. E Pastel Portrait by Suzanne Forbes May 6 2018 edit

You can see my watercolors of E from summer 2016 here, and a drawing of her in Kreuzberg in 2015 here. And you can see the many, many paintings and drawings I made of her in the Bay Area here, and the story of our great collab “Defending the Electronic Frontier” here.

Or you can hear me talk about “D.E.F.” at Maker Faire in 2008 at the 4:32 mark in the video below.

Last Days of the Bassy Club.

Scotty the Blue Bunny at Bordello Bizarre 3 Bassy Club by Suzanne Forbes April 28 2018A Berlin institution is closing down, victim of gentrification.

The Bassy Club closes this weekend. This kind of thing happens everywhere, even in Berlin. Nothing is permanent in life except the cuteness of cats and the value of love. Still, it’s a heartbreaking loss of a ridiculously cool (though grubby) venue. It means events that have had a home there forever, like Chantal’s House of Shame, have to look elsewhere. (Chantal’s has moved to Suicide Circus as of May 3!)

Performer at Bordello Bizarre 3 Bassy Club by Suzanne Forbes April 28 2018And a newer event, Bordello Bizarre, was only on its third go last night, when I was invited to draw.

I had a great time at the previous Bordello Bizarre and I love the Limelight-in-1992-meets-Burning Man aesthetic of the party. This one was the last ever at Bassy, which closes its doors forever on Monday, April 30.

Dancer at Bordello Bizarre 3 Bassy Club by Suzanne Forbes April 28 2018Going out with a bang, it was emceed by Scotty the Blue Bunny!

You can see him at the top, wisely wearing one of the more sheer of his many blue bunny bodysuits. There were cool performances, a great band, and a gyrating mass of really gorgeous young people dressed in glitter and faux fur. Bassy is (was) a club that is always hot as hell, winter or summer, like hot yoga; the dance floor was packed body-to-body, and everyone seemed to be having a good time. It sucks that places like Bassy Club are displaced by what will likely be a greenjuice cafe for tech people. But change comes, whether we like it or not.

DJ Booth with Anto Christ at Bordello Bizarre 3 Bassy Club by Suzanne Forbes April 28 2018I was just glad to be there, documenting the moment, drawing like hell in the dark and smoke and sweat.

Multi-disciplinary art genius Anto Christ was wearing a new work of art, the second version of her “Anxiety Dress”. The little follicles are all entirely hand-crocheted, and she explained that when she feels anxious she can just finger them. I hung out by her and her husband in the front room for the last couple hours, catching a breeze from the street through the front door!

You can see my drawings from Chantal’s here and here, and the previous Bordello Bizarre here and here. More to come soon from last night!

March 2018 Unterwegs: including the artist at work!

Self portrait on S Bahn by Suzanne Forbes March 29 2018I drew myself in this month’s unterwegs!

It’s good practice for a portrait artist to do regular self-portraits, but I did so many in school I can’t get excited about it. I know other people find it entertaining though!

Noodles on the bus by Suzanne Forbes March 28 2018This elegant young lady was having some hot noodles on her way home.

I loved her sneakers with stars.

Bubble gum by Suzanne Forbes March 10 2018This girl was really OVER her older sister.

Previous unterwegs are here:

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