Tag Archives: portrait drawing

Pansy’s House of Presents at Monster Ronsons!

Pansy at House of Presents Monster Ronsons Oct 9 2018 by Suzanne ForbesEpic drag show House of Presents is a Tuesday night institution in Berlin.

Hostess Pansy is above, warm and welcoming. It takes place at Monster Ronsons, a Queer Berlin clubhouse I am always hitting for friendsshows!

The night opens with Gieza Poke and her newcomer’s hour, to warm up the crowd to a frenzy. I have never seen such a wild hollering lovely audience! People here are SERIOUS about drag shows!Gieza Poke at Monster Ronsons Oct 9 2018 by Suzanne ForbesGieza Poke, above, who performs in a Scottish burr, is hilarious.

Lots of performers were in a form of meta-drag, dressing as themselves in Goth drag AS the crew’s Goth drag girl, whose birthday it was. The birthday girl, Antina Christ, is below. I was so pleased I could make her happy with a drawing on her day! Here’s her site too.

Antina Christ at Monster Ronsons Oct 9 2018 by Suzanne ForbesEveryone was super nice and lovely, and I was very glad to be escorted to my first time at Ronson’s by regular Sebastian, who is posing for a painting. More drawings from this super-fun evening coming soon ūüôā

My live drawing is made possible by my Patrons on Patreon. You let me document Queer Berlin and share it open source, licensed with Creative Commons for all to share, print and enjoy. Anyone can help for as little as a euro a month!

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 ūüôā

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.

Queer elders at The Ballery on Folsom Europe Weekend.

Laura Halding-Hoppenheit and friends at The Ballery Folsom Europe Sept 8 2018 by Suzanne ForbesThere’s no Elders like Queer Elders.

Fearless, generous, battle-scarred by AIDS but refusing to be defined by loss, and still freaky as hell and ready to party. At big leather events they come out in full force, in full regalia. And I get to draw them! During this year’s Folsom Europe, my highest priority was making it to The Ballery for a celebration of “My Gay Eye”, their special Tom of Finland show. (you can see my drawings from the opening here!)

I drew Laura Halding-Hoppenheit, above, right before Durk Dehner announced she had made a generous donation to the Tom of Finland Foundation, which preserves and protects erotic art.

I was so moved that Laura was wearing a red ribbon pin, in an era when few publicly remind us of the presence of HIV and AIDS.

She is known as Stuttgart’s Schwulen-Mutter (Gay Mother) and the Jewel of Stuttgart, and was awarded the Federal Cross of Merit for her social work. She serves on the local council and owns King’s Club and the newly opened Tom’s Bar, a quieter bar for the elder queers, in Stuttgart. She has made her life’s work fighting AIDS, working for tolerance for gay and trans people and helping immigrant sex workers.

Rinaldo Hopf and Durk Dehner at The Ballery Folsom Europe Sept 8 2018 by Suzanne ForbesI got to draw Durk Dehner again, talking about his work as an Art Protector and his curatory collaboration with Rinaldo Hopf.

The show pairs with the Tom of Finland edition of Mein Schwules Augen, a compendium of gay erotic art Rinaldo Hopf has produced for many years.¬†The pin on Durk’s tie says “Support Art!” These older gay men, they look good. They’re fit, virile. They preserve their youth by doing creative work they care deeply about, and by having sex with and choosing as partners much younger men, just as I do!

I also got to meet Henning Von Berg, the premier nude portrait photographer for the discerning private client. He has gorgeous work in the show. I will draw him next time, he is so tall he says people say, “I didn’t see you up there!”.

Otto and the drink line for Tom of Finland vodka at The Ballery Folsom Europe Sept 8 2018 by Suzanne ForbesThe beautiful boy with the long hair is Julian, visiting from Taiwan. He is one of the artists in the show.

Artist Otto Oscar Hernández Ruiz, assistant director of the gallery, is mixing drinks with Tom of Finland vodka, an organic vodka made with arctic water. They sponsored the show!

I chatted with Diva Tomast, below, on my way home. She was relaxing outside legendary Berlin leather shop Butcherei Lindinger. She had been onstage MC’ing earlier and I had wanted to draw her but been drawn away by a photographer who wanted to capture my Bi Pride corset.

Diva Tomast at Bucherei Lindinger Folsom Europe Sept 8 2018 by Suzanne ForbesFolsom Europe is such a lovely event. So full of power, history and survival. And kissing and spanking!

The Leather community weathered a storm beyond imagining, a generation lost, and came out even stronger. I can’t wait to draw this leather celebration again next year!

I’m so grateful to my Patrons, whose monthly support via art funding platform Patreon makes my work happen. I couldn’t make documentary art of queer Berlin without them.

You can buy the special Tom of Finland edition of “My Gay Eye” here. You can donate to help the Tom of Finland Foundation preserve, protect and support the creation of erotic art here. And you can buy Tom of Finland vodka here, a percentage of sales goes to the Foundation! I’m sure it is delicious for people who like alcohol ūüôā

A gorgeous night at Uke Boogie, featuring local music heroes.

Gorjeoux at Uke Boogie Sept 13 2018 by Suzanne ForbesIncluding Gorjeoux!

Gorjeoux has a sparkle ukulele and performed “Toxic”, which I think is a Britney Spears song? With her own pun-ny lyric enhancements. In the funny songs category, The Ukelele Bandit performed a really good song about Brexit, but I did not draw him.

Rah Hell and Roberta at Uke Boogie Sept 13 2018 by Suzanne ForbesHowever I drew hostess Rah Hell and her roomie Roberta singing a Grimes song!

and this lovely fellow who performed a virtuoso piece on the musical saw. There’s always some mystery at Uke Boogie, someone who shows up and does a spectacular turn on some instrument you’ve never heard of. It’s part of the Uke Boogie magic. I don’t know why he removed his shoes to play the saw, but he did.Musical saw at Uke Boogie Sept 13 2018 by Suzanne Forbes

And I drew co-host the Great And Famous Crayon Jones in his marvelous cape and his very shiny very tight outfit!Crayon Jones at Uke Boogie Sept 13 2018 by Suzanne ForbesAlert readers will recall Crayon from my “Loving The Alien” drawings last summer.

The evening ended with Crayon, a bit drunk, playing the piano and singing “Heroes”. To hear “Heroes” in Berlin, played by someone who loves it deeply, in a roomful of people you care about, after midnight in the early Fall – well. Life is full of magic.

You can catch Uke Boogie the second Thursday of every month at Lagari. You never, ever know what’ll happen.

And keep up with drummess and ukulelist Rah Hell on the twitters and Instas. Of course, thanks to my goooorgeous Patrons on Patreon for providing the monthly financial support that makes it possible for me to document queer life in Berlin!!

Previous Uke Boogie drawings here and here.

Drawing portraits of young Berlin folx at queer art space Ludwig.

S at Ludwig Sept 7 2018 by Suzanne ForbesI went to our much-loved art hangout Ludwig on Friday for my friend Sue’s birthday.

Sue is an artist and curator and we have done lovely art events at Ludwig, however this time we were just checking out the current show and chilling. I made drawings of some friends who were there. S. was wearing their internal clitoris necklace from a local Berlin artist!

Super pleased with this likeness of E., who I was meeting for the first time.

E at Ludwig Sept 7 2018 by Suzanne ForbesAnd as always, incredibly grateful to my Patreon Patrons, for making it possible for me to make portraits of these Berlin folx and share them. 

Ok not much else to say cause I got SO MANY drawings to finish and scan and post from the rest of this Big Gay Weekend!

August 2018 Unterwegs: punk mom and dance party on the U1

Punk mom and sporty son on U Bahn unterwegs by Suzanne Forbes Aug 29 2018This punk mom was hustling her sporty son off the U because she wanted to hit her vape pen, ready in her hand!

She was too polite to smoke it on the train, I guess?

U1 dance club unterwegs by Suzanne Forbes Aug 29 2018The scene below was a classic Berlin moment: subway car dance party.

Just as the doors closed at Warschauerstrasse, two guys hopped on the car. As soon as it pulled out of the station, they cranked up their boombox and one was rapping while the other danced. Most people were dancing, watching or filming the scene, like the woman with the gorgeous Afro. But the guy next to her, with the model-type looks, remained still and his face was masklike in repose. I imagined he had just come home from a big shoot for Calvin Klein in Dubai and was completely exhausted…

Thank you, my Patreon Patrons, for making it possible for me to draw these Berlin moments and share these stories. People are so cool.

previous 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

On the roof of a fancy hotel, Miss Natasha plays the accordion.

Two drawings of Miss Natasha Enquist by Suzanne Forbes Aug 2018I was invited to Miss Natasha Enquist‘s performance at the Grace Bar at Zoo Hotel.

That’s the drawing on the left, in blues and greens. The Grace Bar is a very fancy place, and I never go anywhere fancy in Berlin, so it was an interesting experience. The rooftop bar was absolutely full of blue magic hour light, reflected from the blue-tinted glass of neighboring buildings and the long Berlin twilight.Miss Natasha Enquist at Blue Summer Night Aug 16 2018 by Suzanne Forbes

It was very beautiful, but the scenesters and “influencers” at this invite-only party were completely ignoring that.

I had to leave after her first set because it was quite hot and the waiters were passing around all these frosty mojito thing drinks, which made me very thirsty! I very, very rarely feel any temptation to drink alcohol since I got sober in ’89, but a hot night and frozen drinks all around was a bad combo for me, so I went home!¬† And quickly got to work on drawing the colors of the evening. I tried to capture that blue feel.

Miss Natasha Enquist at the English Theater Aug 28 2018 by Suzanne ForbesI was also inspired to finish an orphaned drawing from this April, when Miss Natasha performed a concert at the English Theater, with proper theatrical lighting. Me and several friends went to see her, including Giulia Caruso, a fellow artist and also fellow art collaborator with Miss Natasha. The lighting and visuals were really lovely, but unfortunately it was really dark in the seats!

So I finished the lighting and color on this from memory, my mental file of images of light particles falling on MNE’s elegant face. As a portraitist, it’s so important to me to draw the same models over and over, to really try to understand how light lies over the skin and bones of a face I know.

There’s a reason artists paint the same person many times; it’s because it’s a different story every time.

Rainbow Magic at Peaches’ Experimental Art Show in Mitte.

In line for Peaches August 12 2018 by Suzanne ForbesThe hero of the hour was Sue, who queued in good time for the experimental art piece Peaches did Sunday at Neuer Berliner Kunstverein.

You know how sometimes you go to meet your gorgeous friend and they are with their new hotness and they’re smooching on each other and you’re so happy to see beautiful humans being happy together your mind is just blown? Anto, seen above preparing inhalable refreshments, didn’t know Sue or Zuzana before, but since I know Anto it seemed completely natural to me that they were all hanging out together!

And of course Anto was wearing one of her amazing wearable art crochet art pieces, which I always love to draw.

You can see more drawings of her, at Bordello Bizarre, here and here.

Nico, below, is from Oz and actually a friend of Gaff-E, who I drew a while back, also at Bordello Bizarre.

We chatted while in the line and he told me his lovely coming-out-to-his-best-friend story and also about his fabulous outfit which was entirely borrowed except for his shoes. The ombre shrug, made of a gradient of vintage leather opera gloves and organza ruffles, was a showstopper.Nico in the queue for Peaches August 12 2018 by Suzanne ForbesAnd then there were all these other beautiful queer nonbinary agender drag kinky folx who were dressed in feathers and glitter and balloons, and everybody was really happy like it’s when Pride falls on perfect weather or all your friends meet up at your favorite con or something.

Well that’s a Peaches show in Berlin!

The show itself was amazing, and it turned out I knew several of the dance/movement performers, and I made lots of drawings, but they are pretty sketchy so it will take a while to finish them up. I wanted to finish these two first while my memory of the vibrant colors was strong enough to give me the courage to try and capture them! I am not sure I succeeded, you can’t imagine how vivid and luminous and alive everyone was out there on the street against the grey cobblestones, but I tried. And I will keep trying.

thank you, my Patreon Patrons, for making it possible for me to do this work and draw these beautiful people!!

I make this live event art and share it for free because of my Patrons, and anyone can help for as little as a buck a month.

From the Vaults: Courtroom drawings and the Case of The Frozen Head.

St Paul Russian gangster trial courtroom drawing by Rachel Ketchum aka Suzanne Forbes approx 1992So you all know I used to be a courtroom artist.

It’s the only job I’ve ever had where people would immediately say, “Oh, that sounds so interesting!” and I would say, “Yes, yes it is.” It was also deeply traumatic, and wildly challenging, and sometimes deadly boring (embezzlement or early days of DNA testimony).

One of the more disgusting but less traumatic cases I worked on involved a pair of Russian gangsters who had moved to suburban St. Paul.

They were best friends, and their wives were best friends, vacationed together and so on.

An attorney courtroom drawing by Rachel Ketchum aka Suzanne Forbes approx 1992But all good things must come to an end, and some business rivalry caused one of them to shoot the other, chop off his head and hands, and dump the body in a lake.

At this time, around 1992 or 3, I was driving a 1991 Toyota Corolla. It was a dealer demo return but still the closest thing I’ve ever owned to a new car, and only my second car.

So I was extremely proud of it and kept it clean, visiting the carwash downtown after a day working in court.

Back to the trial: the cops found the slushy head in a partially frozen lake, and eventually arrested the Russian gangster guy.

St Paul Russian gangster trial courtroom drawing by Rachel Ketchum aka Suzanne Forbes ca 1992 detailHe was not the coldest human I ever saw in court, but definitely a really vicious sociopath. I have a drawing of a forensic pathologist using a pointer to indicate gunshot wound and axe marks on a slide of the decayed head, the headsicle if you will, but I can’t find it yet.

The prosecution utilized the shockingly cavalier way many murderers talk about their acts.

This guy was really just like, so he got the lease on the laundromat, so I chopped off his head. They always talk about it like, “Well I just did what anybody would you know.”

The thing is, the thing is, the guy put the body in his trunk to dump it. And then his nice suburban car was all bloody, so he took it to a carwash to be cleaned up.

He told the guys at the carwash that he had killed a deer. Not so unusual, in Minnesota.Witness courtroom drawing by Rachel Ketchum aka Suzanne Forbes approx 1992

You know what, my dear ones?

It was my fucking carwash he went to. The guys testified and everything.

Narrator: And she never went back to that carwash. 

Only the top drawing is from the Frozen Head trial; I have no idea where the other two are from. I made hundreds of courtroom drawings from 1991 to 1993, and I have only a fraction of them. I was constantly selling them to people involved in the trials, prosecutors and defense attorneys and DNA experts and ballistics people and so on.

I didn’t have a camera, and of course there were no camera phones. So until this moment, the only documentation of these drawings that existed was the footage the WCCO-TV cameraperson shot for the night’s news. And the station kept all that footage on BETAMAX tape. So,

I am incredibly grateful to my Patreon Patrons, whose monthly financial support makes it possible for me to take time to document my art archives.

Until today, no modern media record of these drawings existed ‚Äď if we had a fire or flood they would just be gone forever.