Tag Archives: portraiture

Portrait of Cadbury Parfait, first sitting!

Portrait of Cadbury Parfait work in process June 2019 by Suzanne ForbesThe minute I met Berlin burlesque producer and performer Cadbury Parfait, I wanted to paint her picture.

She is exceptionally beautiful, and she has fantastic personal style, grace and power. She performs and produces wonderfully naughty, sexy, political, intersectional burlesque shows. Plus, she’s funny!

So we scheduled a sitting, which is challenging because she’s one of the busiest people in the Berlin burlesque scene, and got started. I had a fine large canvas given to me by one of my Patrons, and it is thrilling to be working large again.

I really prefer to paint on the biggest canvas possible for a home studio, so the subject’s figure is one third to one half life-size. We settled on her 1930s style Voodoo Vixen gown in sapphire blue velvet for Cadbury’s outfit, and kept everything else simple and natural.

As sometimes happen, I lost the thread during the process – I made good headway to capturing her likeness and proportions, then screwed it up. This is an almost inevitable part of the portrait painting process; there’s generally at least one point where I almost have it and then lose it, either by accident or design.

So while much of the structure you see is a good foundation, the essential spirit and humor of Cadbury’s personality is currently AWOL. Working back in forth in that uncertainty of recovering the good bit, tolerating the fact that you’ve fucked it up, is part of the process. Keats called our ability to tolerate uncertainty the “negative capacity”.

Whistler used to wipe down the canvas to a shadow after every sitting, then start over.

His process was the process of seeing the sitter and painting the sitter, and he stopped when he did it enough times to hit the sweet spot, know it and call it. I often have to explain this to my sitters, who may be startled that what looked like a really promising portrait has turned weird, or awkward, or lost an arm. Cadbury, who has a striking way with words, got it instantly and phrased it this way: “It’s like the Rubik’s Cube – you have to destroy it in order to fix it! You almost have it except that one orange square – but you have to break the whole thing to get that part right.”

That’s exactly, exactly how it is. I’m used to it, so I trust the process.

Cadbury’s next production is the all-queer-performer

Extravagant Shambles Presents: Pride, Not Prejudice on July 25 at Monster Ronsons!

and all profits from this show are going to an LGBTQ+ cause! And it’s at beloved East Berlin queer clubhouse Monster Ronsons, which has some shitty A/C, which is 200% better than 99% of Berlin venues! Some of my very fave local performers will be onstage, like Noeline la Bouche, as well as breathtakingly gorg out-of-towners like Betty Fvck and Lily Lustre, both of whom I’ve drawn once and been simply CRAVING to draw again!

This is a can’t-miss Pride event, and I’m so excited!

Jews!Jews!Jews! at Berlin Burlesque Week 2019!

Misty Lotus at Jews Jews Jews Berlin Burlesque Week by Suzanne Forbes June 25 2019Jews! Jews! Jews! is a Jewish, QTPOC, and minority-focused cabaret presented by Lolita Va Voom and hosted by Nana Schewitz.

Misty Lotus, doyenne of the Swiss Burlesque Academy, is above, a vision in gold. That’s Nana below, in self-made “Kosher Pig” latex!
Nana Schewitz at JewJewsJews Berlin Burlesque Week May 31 2019 by Suzanne Forbes

Kim Khaos at Jews Jews Jews Berlin Burlesque Week by Suzanne Forbes June 25 2019Kim Khaos performed so elegantly, and so gothically!

She is a beautiful stone goth, and you know how I love goths 🙂 She also had a table with her gorgeous pasties.

Miss Knock Out Noire, Norway’s Brown Sugah Bombshell, peeled like a banana!

She has such movie-star glamour.

Lolita VaVoom at JewsJewsJews May 31 2019 v2 by Suzanne ForbesHere’s Jews!Jews!Jew! producer and doyenne of Berlin Burlesque Week Lolita Vavoom!

You genuinely cannot imagine how hard she worked this whole week. And how beautifully the events focused on embracing diversity, creating safe spaces, and representation.

Johnny Porkpie at JewsJewsJews Berlin Burlesque Week May 31 2019 by Suzanne ForbesThis is Jonny Porkpie, who is apparently the (self-proclaimed) Burlesque Mayor!

His act involved a strip down with flasks, vials and bottles of liquor concealed in ever-more ingenious places. Not very relevant to my interests as a recovering alcoholic but it was a charming performance!

Little Miss Piss at JewsJewsJews Berlin Burlesque Week May 31 2019 by Suzanne ForbesLittle Miss Piss did an act that was very different at the end than at its beginning.

It was PACKED with surprises! I cannot show you the drawing of the end here, sadly. You will have to find it on my not-safe-for-puritans erotic art channel and site 🙂 Perhaps you can find it by googling.

My live-drawing at Berlin’s queer, intersectional burlesque scene is courtesy of my Patrons on Patreon whose monthly financial support allows me to make this free art available!

 

The Shimmy Shakedown Newcomer Competition at Berlin Burlesque Week 2019

Noeline la Bouche at Shimmy Shake Berlin Burlesque Week by Suzanne Forbes June 20 2019The Newcomer competition at Shimmy Shakedown was a Battle for the Best in Burlesque!

Newcomers from all over Europe and Germany competed for the title of ‘Burlesque Entertainer of the Year’. Above, you can see Noeline La Bouche, who won “Most BadAss” I believe!Here’s Setty Mois – she was my first drawing of the night and I wish I could have captured her in more detail.

I love hearts as a theme because I love love 🙂
Cadbury Parfait at Shimmy Shake Show Berlin Burlesque Week June 13 2019 by Suzanne ForbesCadbury Parfait, who won “Most Classic”!

The Velvet Unicorn by Suzanne Forbes July 16 2019Here is The Velvet Unicorn.

This performance was intensely moving. Watching The Velvet Unicorn use “Hands Up Don’t Shoot” in the Burlesque context, with their “costume” consisting of the kind of black hoodie that is so often racially profiled, was disquieting. As it should be.

As they stripped down and twerked I thought of both the appropriation of black dance moves by white performers and how white culture hyper-sexualizes people of color to other and alienate them. I was reminded of Karen Finley throwing glitter on her chocolate-covered, abused body at the end of We Keep Our Victims Ready because “After everything they do to us, we’re supposed to get dressed and go out to dinner”. I was not surprised to learn The Velvet Unicorn works with social justice and trauma in their burlesque art. They have a radio show as well!

Skirt Vonnegut, doing a classic Reverse Strip in genderqueer style!

Memphis Shell, deliciously goth! You know I love drawing goths and redheads!

MC at Shimmy Shake Show Berlin Burlesque Week June 2 2019 by Suzanne Forbes

MC Elsie Marley in classic top hat and legs for days!

Dickie Smalls at Shimmy Shakedown at Berlin Burlesque Week Suzanne Forbes May 30 2019Here’s Dickie Smalls, looking angelic up until his amazing disco reveal!Veggie Performer at Shimmy Shake Show Berlin Burlesque Week May 30 2019 by Suzanne Forbes

I loved vegetable-clad performer Trouble Peach, she was so exuberant!

Dark Ophelia at Berlin Burlesque Week at Ballhaus Berlin by Suzanne Forbes July 12 2019This is Dark Ophelia, who was the most terrifying!

She was beautifully Bathory-licious! Her portfolio is here.

The Diamond Dahlia at Berlin Burlesque Week at Ballhaus Berlin by Suzanne Forbes July 12 2019The Diamond Dahlia was a very sexy Sigmund Freud.

She had amazing underwear 🙂 Her website is here.

My live-drawing at Berlin’s queer, intersectional burlesque scene is courtesy of my Patrons on Patreon whose monthly financial support allows me to make this free art available!

And coming soon- Shimmy Shake School Mâitresse La Viola Vixen!

 

T*ts, Bits, and Politics! Extravagant Shambles doesn’t hold back!

Cadbury Parfait at Extravagant Shambles Tits Bits and Politics May 23 2019 by Suzanne ForbesAll the issues were on the table at the latest production of Extravagant Shambles, at beloved queer clubhouse Monster Ronsons.

Of course, there was producer Cadbury Parfait doing her fabulous “Miss Brexit” act, with its EU banner reveal which brings down the house, and the moment when she discards the stinky ol’ British flag, seen above!

Mamouna at Extravagant Shambles Tits Bits and Politics May 23 2019 by Suzanne ForbesDoing “Booty Burlesque”, artist and performer Maïmouna Coulibaly!

She is an actress, director, choreographer and mistress of Booty Therapy.  You can see her dance with the ocean here!

Skirt Vonnegut at Extravagant Shambles Tits Bits and Politics May 23 2019 by Suzanne ForbesSkirt Vonnegut dared to touch the topic of US politics.

There was a wicked reveal! Skirt Vonnegut is always political 🙂

Lord Hicks at Extravagant Shambles Tits Bits and Politics May 23 2019 by Suzanne ForbesLord Hicks sang about “cottaging” in the old days of gay London.

He was hilarious though the topic was tough.

Peaky Blinders at Extravagant Shambles Tits Bits and Politics May 23 2019 by Suzanne ForbesThis performer did a gorgeous genderplay on Peaky Blinders.

Which I haven’t seen yet! Weirdly, since I adore Cillian Murphy. I also adore genderplay burlesque, going back to the 80s when I watched Victor/Victoria on HBO about a million times!

And Stella von Fersen tempted us all as a Devil, but because she stripped down to pasties, I can’t put that drawing here!

Always a pleasure to draw Ms. von Fersen! You might find the drawing on my sexy site, with the title using just my name 🙂

My live-drawing at Berlin’s queer, intersectional burlesque scene is courtesy of my Patrons on Patreon whose monthly financial support allows me to make this free art available!

 

 

Archiving: my very earliest portraits of women friends.

Portrait of Anita in black on masonite from winter 1990 Suzanne Forbes aka Rachel KetchumHere’s three portraits of women friends I made during the winter semester of 1990, my first semester back at art school after I got sober.

I was nearly a year sober when the semester started, and living with Anita, who appears above, in all her grace and strength. I had taken an adult ed painting class in St. Paul, the previous Fall. The class was offered through the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, where I wound up enrolling in the BFA program in January 1990.

Portrait of Anita detail acrylic on masonite from winter 1990 Suzanne Forbes aka Rachel KetchumPortrait of Anita in pink on masonite from winter 1990 Suzanne Forbes aka Rachel Ketchum detailIt was really an accident I took the painting class, the accident being that it was the one art class available in St. Paul that Autumn of 1989 that fit my work schedule. I was working full time in a bakery so I took a night class. I had never been interested in being a painter, professionally.

All I cared about was being a comics penciller, and I always intended to have a colorist to handle color for me.

I was bored and resentful in my color theory classes at Parsons and particularly unhappy in the one watercolor class I had to take. I did take a portrait painting class in my last semester at Parsons, but we only worked in sepia tones, not full color, and we spent the entire semester painting a single male model’s face. It was the atelier approach; it was not for me.

And the class terrified me; I would get so wasted to go that I would wind up too high to walk, let alone stand at an easel, and spend the day nodding in a lounge across the street at The New School instead.

But in Fall 1989, having a supportive woman teacher and being sober changed everything, and I began a visceral love affair with painting.Portrait of Anita sm detail acrylic on masonite from winter 1990 Suzanne Forbes aka Rachel Ketchum

I signed up for my teacher’s regular undergrad painting class in my first semester at MCAD, and she seriously had my back. The fact that I trusted her mattered so much. Although figurative art was generally spurned at MCAD, the painting teachers were really good. Somehow I got into painting on masonite during my first year painting. It was easily and cheaply bought at the school store. Masonite is a gorgeous surface to paint on, with a perfect mid-tone. (Unfortunately, it’s also insanely heavy and the sheets of masonite are a total hassle to haul around and nearly impossible to hang.)

The painting of Anita in black uses the natural color of the masonite as a base; the one below of her in pink uses a bright pink ground.

Portrait of Anita in pink on masonite from winter 1990 Suzanne Forbes aka Rachel KetchumThese paintings have heavily scumbled surfaces, as I was using tube acrylics on disposable wax paper palettes, and the paint dried fast.

The scumbling is cool, in retrospect. But when I discovered the Masterson Sta-Wet Handy-Palette a year later, it transformed my painting, by keeping my paint moist.

Anita posed for me whenever I asked, during the short few months we lived together. I painted the picture of her in black in our scantily furnished living room, over a couple of hours on a winter night. Our friend Tom was staying with us, and he looked at it and said “Wow! I didn’t know you could paint like that!” I looked at it, and I was astonished; I said, “Neither did I.”

Portrait on masonite from winter 1990 Suzanne Forbes aka Rachel KetchumAfter Anita was gone, I started to ask other people to pose for me.

This is a woman I knew in that first year of sobriety. We weren’t close friends, but I loved her style. She was what they called in the Twin Cities a “darksider”, a kind of goth. I was always much more interested in painting women than men, because women’s faces are so much harder and their clothes tell so much more.

Portrait on masonite from winter 1990 Suzanne Forbes aka Rachel Ketchum detailWe never had a second sitting for this picture, so it remains unfinished. But it looks kinda good that way! It’s a fucking banger of a painting.

It is such a tribute to my belief in the value of my work that I have dragged these paintings all over the US and now to Europe, through my fifteen different official residences and the three times everything I owned has been in storage, through two divorces, a bankruptcy, twenty years of crippling depression and fifteen of ill health. I believe that my work matters, and that these images of these women matter. And yet until I took the pictures for this post, there were no modern media records of them. If we had a fire, they would just have been gone forever.

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.

Queens, clowns, knife magic and Mr. Bear Congeniality at Big Broad Revue!

Nico at Big Broad Revue by Suzanne Forbes May 10 2019Another lovely event I attended the for the first time, in a very cool and glamorous venue.

Nico is Mr. Bear Congeniality, a Berlin Bruiser, and does stand-up with a twist.

This performance featured a strip and shake!

Dotti Moscati at Big Broad Revue by Suzanne Forbes May 11 2019Big Broad Revue is co-produced by Dotti Moscati, who gave a quick talk about how much she values diversity and inclusion in burlesque.

Same, queen! It’s all about the big, embracing tent. I love a show that welcomes all folx. The next BBRevue show is looking awesome too, I don’t know if I’ll be able to make it with the vast amount of medical procedures both hb and I have in June but I am gonna try like hell. The venue, Zum böhmischen Dorf, is very cool as well!

Liliana Velasquez at Big Broad Revue by Suzanne Forbes April 30 2019The other producer is Liliana Velásquez, the hardest working latex queen in Berlin!

Liliana did her new comedy routine about redacted cause spoilers, you gotta see it yourself and wore two different bespoke latex outfits! Sadly, I could only draw this transp. burgundy and black one. You can catch Liliana’s comedy every Sunday, no matter what, at Sunday Slips.

Miss Mokki at Big Broad Revue by Suzanne Forbes April 10 2019This is Miss Mokki , the doyenne of Iceland burlesque.

She is hilarious, sexy and luminous. She threw knives in her underwear.

We also enjoyed several other performers including local legend Cadbury Parfait and violin-playing contortionist Ellie Steingraeber, whose drawings I will get up shortly- I still gotta get some reference for their costumes 🙂

Wynton Kelly Stevenson at Big Broad Revue by Suzanne Forbes April 30 2019The show finished with a set from Wynton Kelly Stevenson, an amazing musician-sorceror-scientist.

Wynton mixes harmonica, synthesizers and vocals for a sound that is totally unique. I love to hear him perform. There was a rather drunk guy at the show who also clearly loved Wynton’s sound, and he got out of hand and started hollering about “One more! One more!” Liliana, who is both Latina and a former New Yorker, told the dude to chill out in a very firm way. Do Not Mess 🙂 More Liliana and Wynton drawings here.

It is only possible for me to create and share my documentary art of Berlin life because of my Patrons on Patreon. Their monthly financial support allows me to make this art!

You could help, for as little as a dollar/euro per month.

Drag Brunch in Prenzlauerberg!

Mx Aleppo Pepper at Drag Bunch May 3 2019 by Suzanne ForbesIt was a quiet Sunday afternoon when I glanced at Instagram and saw my friend Dia was about to perform at Tipsy Bär, on the other side of town.

I hadn’t seen Dia work their moves onstage since we lived in the Bay, so I grabbed my art tools and jumped on the train. I made it just in time to catch Dia’s second act as well some other fabulous people!Ebony Rose Dark at Drag Bunch May 3 2019 by Suzanne Forbes

Ebony Rose Dark danced so gracefully, so delicately on those 6″ heels. She was amazing!

And she casually kept them on after her performance! We had a minute to chat and she told me about some of the other performances she does, including one in pitch dark with fellow visually impaired performers. Now I really want to go to Worn and Felt and draw in the dark.

Vivienne Lovecraft at Drag Bunch May 3 2019 by Suzanne ForbesVivienne P. Lovecraft was a vision of serenity in opal pastels, performing about Steven Universe I believe?

Which is a tv show that so many people I love are into, but I have never seen. I feel slightly guilty about that!

During the trivia contest, the question “What do the H. and P. in H.P. Lovecraft stand for?” was asked and Dia yelled, “Highly Problematic!” Another audience member pointed out that Lovecraft was from Rhode Island, which is hysterical, during Drag Brunch.

Vanessa Jupiter at Drag Bunch May 3 2019 Suzanne ForbesI drew hostess Vanessa Jupiter at a Full Moon Cabaret back in February, so I had a sense of her face already.

I loved her rainbow flag stole and a tender performance to Björk’s “All is Full of Love”, where she came out and hugged all the audience members. It was really comforting and hopeful. As Ms. Jupiter pointed out, a Sunday afternoon drag show may seem silly, but taking space this way is always, always a political act.

I’m grateful I can document moments like this in Berlin, thanks to my Patrons on Patreon whose monthly financial support allows me to make this art!

 

May 2019 Unterwegs, with bicycles!

Unterwegs April 25 2019 by Suzanne Forbes couple with bikeI am so bad at drawing bicycles.

It’s because I can’t ride one, I don’t understand the basic mechanics. But people bring their bikes on the U-Bahn, and their dynamics with the bikes are interesting, so I occasionally try to draw them.

Unterwegs April 15 2019 by Suzanne Forbes guy with bikeWhen I did the drawing above I was thinking about the looseness and easy mark-making of my pre-comics drawing style.

I recently scanned some drawings from 1990-91 for my archives, and realized how much rigidity I developed while I was formatting my drawing style for comic inking and printing. I want to try and rediscover that sketchy early 90s style.

I wouldn’t say this drawing succeeded at that, but it’s been a long road here and it’s ok for it to be a wander to try and go back a bit.

At least I drew this goofy hand, which is barely drawn at all!

Unterwegs April 23 2019 by Suzanne Forbes spare changeIn Berlin homeless people spare-changing on the U-Bahn announce themselves and say their names loudly as they enter the train.

That’s what the guy you see here is doing. There’s a sort of script panhandlers follow. It’s not clear to me if this is custom or required by some regulation. It does serve the purpose of giving people a chance to dig in their purses/pockets for change, if they are so inclined. I panhandled daily to support my heroin habit in the last year of my active using; I understand doing anything you can to ease the mechanics of asking strangers for money.

Speaking of money, I am deeply 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 drawings are courtesy of my Patrons on Patreon whose monthly financial support allows me to make this free art available!

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

Portrait of Shakrah, third sitting.

Portrait of Shakrah Yves work in process third sitting by Suzanne Forbes April 29 2019Sometimes a portrait changes a lot during the process!

Suzanne Forbes painting Shakrah Yves photographed by Mirella Frangella June 2018 all rights reserved

Suzanne Forbes painting Shakrah Yves photographed by Mirella Frangella June 2018 all rights reserved

I was frustrated with this portrait of my friend Shakrah Yves because it’s on a small canvas (about 40x50cm) and I usually paint quite large.

I just couldn’t get comfortable with the composition.

Plus, during the second sitting, which was photographed by Mirella Frangella, I radically changed Shakrah’s pose and completely repainted her face.

But we convened for a third sitting last week and it came together, finally. WIP Portrait of Shakrah Yves by Suzanne Forbes first and second sittings 2018

Here are the results of the first two sittings, above.

Really different right?? It’s not done yet, but Shakrah’s time-traveler beauty is emerging. In the ten months since we last worked on this picture, Shakrah and I have spent time hanging out, and I have come to know her face much better. I was truly feeling like her character and her beauty weren’t captured by the portrait to date, and seriously considering abandoning it. Plus, the pink velvet salon chair she was sitting on was destroyed by a giant hacker during our New Year’s Day epic brunch, so we needed to use a different chair!

But she was up for posing, after my work hiatus caused by the bus accident and after her very busy year, and I decided to see how it went. Because I know her face better, when I returned to the painting, I could see what was salvageable and good about the second iteration, and build on it. And we decided to remove her headpiece, even though she made it and it is beautiful, because its scale overpowered the small painting.

I’m glad I didn’t give up on this one! I posted the latest on my Instagram and one of my Patrons commented,

Portrait of Shakrah after third sitting detail by Suzanne Forbes April 29 2019 2

“Thank you for sharing your frustrations as a professional artist. It gives the rest of us newbies perspective and that we too should keep trying.”

I was glad to be of service, and also surprised. I started earning money as an artist when I was sixteen, so I’ve been working within my own insecurities and frustration my whole life. That’s why it’s WORK!

I guess I assume everybody knows that professional artists struggle constantly with not being as good as they want! Or not being able to resolve a piece! Or not being able to capture someone or something beautiful!

That’s the greatest frustration to me, that I can never capture the beauty of my subjects the way I see it.

I will never be able to show you exactly how beautiful and luminous and unique you are before me, but I will get closer and closer til the day I die, Goddess willing.

And I am able to do this because of the help of my Patrons on Patreon who provide the monthly sponsorship that allows me to tell women’s stories and grow as an artist!

 

For the Archives: ballpoint portraits from the 90s.

Gabes birthday probably summer 1991 drawn in ballpoint by Rachel Ketchum aka Suzanne ForbesI looked through some of my art school notebooks and found these drawings!

They have never been scanned, photographed or copied; if we had a fire they would just have been gone forever. The one above is the birthday party of Gabriel, the son of a woman I knew in the recovery community. Gabe was what we would call a Spectrum kid nowadays, and there was not much understanding about how to support him, although his parents were devoted.

For some reason he adored me, and I was very fond of him and his older sister Shuli, and spent a lot of time with their family altogether. Based on the notebook this was found in, I am estimating it was done in the summer of 1991. I have only the haziest memory of drawing it!

Teacher at MCAD Fall 1991 by Rachel Ketchum aka Suzanne ForbesAnd this is a teacher at MCAD, where I finished my BFA.

Kirk Kristlibas October 1991 ballpoint by Rachel Ketchum aka Suzanne ForbesThis is a drawing done in class of my friend Kirk Kristlibas.

Kirk was a dear friend of mine in my last couple years of art school, a deeply creative and talented person whose personal style was amazing. The kind of self-directed polymath art-generator you only meet a few times in a lifetime. He was a fellow New Yorker and we would drive around in my car yelling about the fucking Minnesotans. I have not seen him in decades, but he is quite googleable and so I see he has written a book, gotten multiple art degrees, done theater work and apparently looks exactly the same?

I drew a lot in my school notebooks and a little bit in my journals.self portrait in bed with Jamie Jan 1990 by Rachel Ketchum aka Suzanne Forbes

This is a self portrait of me in bed with a boy named Jamie.

In my bedroom in St. Paul, right after I’d been sober for a year. My roommate Anita and I had a party for our sobriety birthdays and I said to him, “You must be my birthday present.” He was a wounded soul, one of several survival sex workers I’ve been lovers with. Self portrait in Woullet uniform Spring 1990 Rachel Ketchum aka Suzanne Forbes

This one to the left is a self-portrait of me in my uniform from Woullet Bakery, where I worked for nearly a year when I was newly sober.

My roommate Anita had been forced to go back to prison, through some very fucked up drug testing stuff that was extremely unjust.

I was devastated; she was one of the best friends I’ve ever had, and an extraordinary muse to me right when I went back to art school, at MCAD. She posed for all my homework, and was an amazing cook, and gave me Neuromancer to read.

I’m going to start in soon on photographing some more of the many drawings and paintings I made of her in the short four months we lived together.

Looking back at the way I drew before I worked as a courtroom artist and then on Star Trek, I feel like something was lost.

The spring that I drew this picture, I did my first official tryout for Marvel, with Fabian Nicieza.*

One of Fabe’s critiques of my work was that I needed uniform, enclosed lines on all shapes and consistent, inkable shading. Which was good advice for superhero comics then, and maybe even now. Although in 1990 Baxter and Mando papers and Flexographic printing had long since become part of comic production, a lot of comics were still printed on newsprint, and artists were still being told to pencil for newsprint production.

I had to get rid of the multiple lines, the looseness, the brushiness of my drawing, unless I was gonna ink it myself, which I was never interested in. Comic colorists needed areas that were fully enclosed for each color, to be painted in carefully with Dr. Martin’s dyes, for the hand separated CMYK plates of the four-color printing process.  I believe nowadays it’s all done digitally, with digital shading, stored codes for costume colors, and there is a person in the production line called a flatter, who is somehow involved in preparing digital color files for printing.

My old style probably still wouldn’t work for comics, but it was beautiful and free. Since I don’t have to draw comics ever again (it was not good for my health), I would love to find my way back to that free style. You can see a collection of more older drawings I scanned during my last period of archiving work, in 2009, here.

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.

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

*the splash page of the tryout script Fabe sent me was a picture of a dead woman, lying in a boat. I talk about some of the many ways women were deterred from working in superhero comics, even by well-meaning editors, here.