Tag Archives: portrait drawing

Barbara at The Ballery.

Barbara at The Ballery by Suzanne Forbes Oct 10 2019I was recently in a group show at Schöneberg gallery The Ballery.

The works shown included a beautiful series of portraits by photographer Eva Brunner. Barbara, above, was the model. During the finissage evening of the exhibit, Barbara performed some deft comic numbers.

This is an example of a drawing where I could take my time with the background and really work out the details. As all my dear ones know, I love to draw people playing music and have had far less chances to do so this year, since I’ve been ill so much. 
Barbara at The Ballery by Suzanne Forbes Oct 10 2019 detail

I added the color when I got home, based on memory and little scribbly notes on the drawings.

I swear to you that the colors appeared exactly as they do here: the glowing red light in the Ballery’s cloakroom, the oversize bottle of Campari, Barbara’s signature red/orange look, the red accent on her mike, and the red nailpolish in the portrait behind her. Other than that it was all grays and whites and blacks.

A marvelous scene I was lucky to capture, including Barbara’s gorgeous gams!! Thanks to my Patrons on Patreon, who make my documentary art possible <3

Berlin X Brooklyn Drag Exhilaration!

Horrorchata at Bushwig Berlin by Suzanne Forbes Oct 10 2019This is Horrorchata.

She is the Motha of the House of Bushwig, a LatinX punk and International Queen who came to Berlin to light things up this summer. I got a good likeness of her, but I could not find photo reference of her outfit, so the look I have drawn her in is a composite of several of her incredible pastel explosions of creativity. I hope the Queen will find that ok!

Nām at Bushwig Berlin by Suzanne Forbes July 30 2019This extremely cute boy Nām was one of two backup dancers for queen Ocean.

As a guest of international NY/Berlin drag festival Bushwig this summer, I drew more performers in a single day than I have EVER drawn before, but I couldn’t draw everybody. I felt bad I couldn’t capture the beauty of the queen herself, but sometimes even the best stage-side seat doesn’t give me a decent view of a performer, and that was the case here.

ReveRso at Bushwig Berlin by Suzanne Forbes July 30 2019ReveRso is a Berlin drag legend, bringing a very different style.

There was a whole other part of ReverRso’s performance, involving actual fireworks in personal areas, that I could not draw for this Patreon-sponsored site. Perhaps you will find it elsewhere 😉Dancer at Bushwig Berlin by Suzanne Forbes July 31 2019

I didn’t get this performer’s name but they danced tremendously in those sky-high boots!

Performer at Bushwig Berlin by Suzanne Forbes July 31 2019This guy is incredibly tall and an amazing dancer, he was BEATING the stage into submission in the brutal heat, just moving and slamming. Drop splits!!

Cupcake at Bushwig Berlin by Suzanne Forbes July 30 2019Cupcake in pink!

I am still working on finishing all the Bushwig Berlin drawings and spraying them with fixativ and scanning them! I actually still have another five performers. The first Bushwig Berlin post is here and the second is here.

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.

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!

 

Scenes around town: In the Warteraum.

Lady in the waiting room Sept 4 2019 by Suzanne ForbesThere’s nothing as convenient for us ladies of a certain age as a rack of pamphlets to fan ourselves with!

Perimenopause is a journey of arriving in rooms that are much hotter than you could possibly anticipate, like my GP’s office last Wednesday.

Warteraum paperwork filler outer Sept 7 2019 Suzanne ForbesDoctor’s offices mean paperwork everywhere, particularly in Germany!

In our orthopedist’s Thursday I had to sign a stack of papers for my upcoming knee surgery. Including a prescription for crutches – the co-pay is 5 euros, and some Germans find this outrageous!!!! Our orthopedist is a hilariously brusque guy. When I told him I didn’t want a prescription for opiate painkillers, he was like, “HA HA we don’t give you those! Live with it! Use ice!!” Which is fine. My pain level after my previous surgery here was negligible.

Warteraum reader Sept 7 2019 Suzanne ForbesThis guy!

What a character, right? Always bring a book!

In the 80s my boyfriend Paul and I had this thing, not a joke thing, about always carrying a paperback. In case you were arrested copping and stuck in the Tombs for a 72-hour hold. When I did get popped during a sweep in January of 1989, just two weeks before I got sober, I was so glad to have that paperback in my pocket. I read it three times over as I detoxed cold turkey in the jammed cell. It was either Larry Niven or Norman Spinrad, and it was not very good. For decades I remembered the exact title, even though I never read it again, but I have now finally forgotten it.

My documentary drawings of everyday Berlin life are courtesy of my Patrons on Patreon, whose monthly financial support allows me to make this free art available

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Pride, Not Prejudice: an all-queer Extravagant Shambles – Wrap-Up!!

Noeline la Bouche at Pride Not Prejudice Sept 7 2019 by Suzanne ForbesThe last batch of drawings from Pride, Not Prejudice at  Monster Ronsons!

Fabulous muse Noéline la Bouche shook it in purple, amazing as always. Afterwards I visited her at her booth where she sells her beautiful fascinators and headpieces – check her insta to see what shows she’s selling at.

Felicity Felicis at Pride Not Prejudice Sept 7 2019 by Suzanne ForbesRock’em sock’em showgirl Felicity Felicis!

She is so gorgeous and sassy!

Skirt Vonnegut at Pride Not Prejudice Sept 7 2019 by Suzanne ForbesA thoroughly Longbottom routine from Skirt Vonnegut!

They told me about this routine in advance but I am a movie-potter not book Potter person so I may have missed some subtleties!

Lily Lustre at Pride Not Prejudice Sept 7 2019 by Suzanne ForbesAnd the rose of English Roses, Lily Lustre!

I was so thrilled to draw her again that I didn’t even mind getting earwormed with Wuthering Heights at Monster Ronsons for the second time.

Thanks to producer Cadbury Parfait for having me as your guest at this Pride Week show with an all queer-identifying lineup!

See more Extravagant Shambles events!

An important note to all my lovelies: I’ve been at home finishing all these drawings from way earlier this summer while I have a horrible case of strep throat AND bronchitis.

As a fat, queer, disabled artist, crowdfunded support is the only way I can make this work. 

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 🙂

Bushwig Berlin, Baby!!

Hungry at Bushwig Berlin Sept 4 2019 by Suzanne ForbesWhat a glorious thrill ride of drag magic!

I was so excited to be a guest of international NY/Berlin drag festival Bushwig this summer. I knew superstar drag performer and makeup artist Hungry would be performing; I’ve been dreaming of drawing her for years. And I knew I’d get to see and draw a whole armada of international drag talents for the first time.

That is Hungry at the top; the crowd went WILD.

I got to speak to her briefly and show her my drawing after, and I have to admit I was a gibbering fangirl.

Hungry at Bushwig Berlin Sept 4 2019 by Suzanne Forbes face detailYou just can’t imagine how beautiful, how ethereal, how meta-human and naiad-like and perfumed with colors she is.

Her makeup is painterly perfection, her skin glows, her brocade corset by Misty Couture has an extraordinary pipestem waist, her smooth bone-tattooed chest is flecked with gold leaf and petals. Her nail gloves were made by Vie of Unicorns Poop Glitter and they waved like undersea fronds in the air!

Hungry is simply a living orchid, a baroque marvel, and the kind of talent you meet only a few times in a lifetime. And she was so sweet and kind!

Read about the development of her style and her collaboration with Björk here.

Betty Fvck at Bushwig Berlin Aug 29 2019 by Suzanne ForbesI got to draw Europe’s Cheekbone Queen, the beautiful Betty Fvck, twice in one week!

Always a thrill to see this beauty work it. Drawing her at both Bushwig and Extravagant Shambles “Pride, Not Prejudice” was a total drawing Lotto win! Betty is so elegant!!

I was seated right up against the stage, and had such a great view of everyone. The venue, Festsaal Kreuzberg, is really lovely, a kind of industrial/tiki forbidden island on the river.

Dirt the drag goblin at Bushwig Berlin Sept 4 2019 by Suzanne Forbes

The variety and diversity of talent was marvelous.

This angel bby drag goblin is Dirt from the Ground. You can see them perform here!

I was very charmed by Frida Pussy, who was assigned acts of contrition for unsafe acts: “Repeat, ‘I’m on PREP it’s fine’ fifteen times”.

Nun to devil transformation is a classic for a reason, baby!

Frida Pussy at Bushwig Berlin Sept 4 2019 by Suzanne Forbes devil style

I loved Donna Trump, a sass queen from Manchester’s thriving drag scene.

She has a new weekly cabaret happening! You can get her goodies on DragQueenMerch here.Donna Trump at Bushwig Berlin Sept 6 2019 by Suzanne Forbes

Sookie Sterling at Bushwig Berlin Sept 6 2019 by Suzanne ForbesAnd check out Sookie Sterling of the Sterling Sisters, a full-on legend.

You can see her on her Insta here.Tyler Ashley at Bushwig Berlin Sept 6 2019 by Suzanne Forbes

Tyler Ashley, a trained dancer, hit the stage like a comet.

She is like a divine blend of Liquid Sky and Xanadu and is known as the dauphine of Bushwig! DJ Hannah Lou at Bushwig Berlin Sept 6 2019 by Suzanne Forbes

DJ Hannah Lou is an incredible professional who managed the music for a huge lineup impeccably.

She was in an amazing silver space angel look.

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.

I was pretty damn wobbly near the end of this show, as I have been sick on and off all summer and it was very, very hot in the venue.

I was lucky enough to have a kind stranger be my support team – basically as my health has deteriorated this past couple years the type of embedded, in-the-splash-zone, eight-hours-nonstop drawing I do has become much harder.

A stranger (or friend!) showing appreciation for the value of my work, offering to get me a non-alcoholic drink, helping to buffer my drawing hand against surging crowds, fanning me with a flyer, holding my seat while I hit the loo, giving me a Euro or two to help my crowd-funding – all matter so much. Thank you, Arthur!

 

Pride, Not Prejudice: an all-queer Extravagant Shambles at Monster Ronsons!

Eden Lost at Extravagant Shambles Pride Not Prejudice August 27 2019 by Suzanne ForbesThe minute producer Cadbury Parfait announced a Pride Week show with an all queer-identifying lineup, I was in!

I love to go to shows at iconic venue Monster Ronsons, even though it’s on the absolute opposite side of town (and of course in the summer getting to the East is a nightmare because U-Bahn construction). Because, a) the place just feels like home, and b) Ronsons actually has some shitty air-conditioning, which puts it WAY ahead of basically every other venue in Berlin. And Pride, Not Prejudice was a can’t-miss Extravagant Shambles lineup!

Above, Eden Lost shakes off the patriarchy.

Eden Lost is one of those performers who just blows my mind. They have the kind of star power and gorgeousness that comes off the stage in waves. I was so thrilled to meet them and have been following their adventures on the Insta, where I just saw they cosplayed 80’s Punk Storm!!! You must click!!! So good I am basically rolling around on the floor SHRIEKING.

Sarah Tonin at Extravagant Shambles Pride Not Prejudice Aug 27 2019 by Suzanne ForbesHostess Sarah Tonin as a seven-foot tall Gothic Lolita in mint and black outfit by Harry Hardon.

HP Loveshaft at Pride Not Prejudice July 27 2019 by Suzanne ForbesThere was a terrific showing of local drag kings.

Above, gentleman dandy HP Loveshaft bringing hard thrills! (My Patrons got to see these two hot drag king portraits a month earlier than everyone else, as an exclusive treat).

Daddy Sparkles at Pride Not Prejudice July 27 2019 by Suzanne ForbesAnother fabulous performer I was drawing for the first time, Daddy Sparkles!

Daddy Sparkles is an explosion of colorful charisma!

Stella von Fersen at Extravagant Shambles Pride Not Prejudice Aug 27 2019 by Suzanne ForbesStage Kitten Stella Von Fersen wore one of my favorite classic cabaret looks, tux and topper!

Betty Fvck at Extravagant Shambles Pride Not Prejudice August 29 2019 by Suzanne ForbesEveryone loves glamour queen Betty Fvck, she always brings her A game!Miss Strawberry Moon at Extravagant Shambles Pride Not Prejudice August 29 2019 by Suzanne ForbesMiss Strawberry Moon came over from the UK!

You know I love me some tentacles, and Pride flag tentacles, well hell yes!!!!

Coming soon, more drawings with breathtaking Lily Lustre, genderqueer Harry Potter cosplay from Skirt Vonnegut, and rock’em sock’em showgirl Felicity Felicis!

An important note to all my lovelies: I’m at home finishing all these drawings while I have a horrible case of strep throat AND bronchitis.

As a fat, queer, disabled artist, crowdfunded support is the only way I can make this work. 

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.

Dr. Sketchy’s Berlin, Barbarella Edition part two!

Lucille Spielfuchs as Barbarella Dr Sketchys Berlin Aug 11 2019 by Suzanne Forbes loungingYou can take the girl out of comics, but you can’t take the comics out of the girl!

It doesn’t get more superhero than Lucille Spielfuchs as Barbarella at Dr. Sketchy’s Berlin.Sebastian Stone as Pygar Dr Sketchys Berlin Aug 11 2019 by Suzanne Forbes

Her companion Sebastian Stone as Pygar was equally superheroic.

Would ya look at that guy!

Lucille Spielfuchs and Sebastian Stone as Barbarella and Pygar Dr Sketchys Berlin Aug 11 2019 by Suzanne Forbes profileLucille Spielfuchs and Sebastian Stone as Barbarella and Pygar Dr Sketchys Berlin Aug 11 2019 by Suzanne Forbes profileAnd these two lovelies posing together!

Pure comic book goodness. Below, a three-minute drawing of Lucille. Powerhouse lady!

Lucille Spielfuchs as Barbarella Dr Sketchys Berlin Aug 11 2019 by Suzanne Forbes 3 minDr. Sketchy’s Berlin and the good folks who make it happen are one of the best things in my life in Berlin.

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 all my love to my Patrons on Patreon.

I’m a disabled artist with chronic, unpredictable, debilitating health issues.

My Patrons’ monthly financial support allows me to make this art and make it available as free art! You can help, right here.