Tag Archives: urban sketching

Unterwegs June 2019, belated bonus round!

Unterwegs June 2019 lady with a pillow by Suzanne ForbesI actually drew this picture of a lady with giant pillows on the U-Bahn in June.

But I have been so busy I didn’t have time to scan it or the other new unterweg of last month!

Unterwegs June 2019 on the bus by Suzanne ForbesThese two struck me with their very different styles.

I am using bunch of different gray-scale markers again, experimenting with value scales. And I am increasingly using gray and black pastel or conté crayon to texture surfaces and add dimension. Really, nothing could have suggested “pillow” as fast and effectively as the gray pastel did. I’m not sure how I got here, because I started out so constrained by the exigencies of comics printing in the 80s. But I like it, and I like the freedom.

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!

June 2019 Unterwegs Round One

May 2019

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

Unterwegs June 2019 – Love on the U-Bahn, and more.

Tender couple on the platform Unterwegs June 2 2019 by Suzanne ForbesI started drawing this tender couple because I liked the shape of the left-hand partner’s coat and legs.

As I drew them, they sorted out movie plans and then things got very, very cute!

Guy with Guitar Unterwegs June 2 2019 by Suzanne ForbesThis guy was on the train I got on right after.

He was very tall guy with a very large instrument case, and he looked tired as hell. Whatever gig he was coming from must have been intense. I couldn’t figure out what the instrument was – it was like a guitar case, but oversized. Yet not big enough for a standup bass.

Young woman on the bus May 28 2019 by Suzanne ForbesAnd this young woman in a sweatshirt dress was on the phone, on the bus.

Her phone call making her happy.

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!

May 2019

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

 

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

Unterwegs for March 2019!

Unterwegs March 16 2019 by Suzanne ForbesThis guy reminded me of a boy named Raj I had a crush on my first semester at Stuyvesant.

Something about his slightly flipped, slightly 80s hair. Raj was so cute; I used to watch him play Asteroids in Tony’s Cafe next to Stuyvesant. He went back to India at the beginning of 1981, when I was fourteen, and I never saw him again. So many people we know over a lifetime! Isn’t it amazing? And I was so fascinated by how this young guy’s body language echoes the redheaded Persephone a while back!

Unterwegs March 26 2019 Women on the phone by Suzanne ForbesI guess there are only so many ways that people can sit or stand on a subway, because I have also seen and drawn this stance before!

Drawing this woman, I felt so mesmerized and exhilarated by the unique lines of every human. I just love seeing people and recording their being so much.

Unterwegs March 26 2019 Goth mom by Suzanne ForbesThis goth mom was with her hairless dad and blond daughter.

She was like a burst of jet hair and clothes among them, very serene. She knew I was drawing them too! Mostly people don’t.

I am so 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 courtesy of my Patrons on Patreon whose monthly financial support allows me to make this free art available!

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

Scenes around town, February 2019

Bartenders at the Lori Cafe by Suzanne Forbes Feb 28 2019Here are the bartenders at the Lori Cafe in Kreuzberg.

I drew this waiting to be let through the secret door for the Full Moon Cabaret, and it feels like I drew it before I entered another world!

At the endocrinologist in Mitte by Suzanne Forbes Feb 28 2019These ladies were waiting to see the endocrinologist, like me.

My endocrinologist is in a bizarre, deeply ugly modern building with walls – the walls inside!!!- literally covered in stainless steel. It’s the Galeries Lafayette building, but in the store at least a lot of the ugly is covered in fancy and you can buy delicious cake.

Audience at Le Grand Mess by Suzanne Forbes Feb 28 2019Some audience members at Le Grand Mess.

The young woman shown here is a standup comedian. Going to live-draw at a standup open mic is one of those things that’s on my list of things to draw, like drawing at a tango session again, like visiting the circus center and drawing people doing aerials again, like drawing people ice-skating which I’ve never done, like drawing people playing pool again…there is enough time, but not always energy! And first, before any of those things, I’ve been invited to draw The Berlin Bruisers, Europe’s only gay-inclusive rugby league!!

As always, my deepest thanks to my beloved Patrons on Patreon, who make it financially possible for me to document Berlin life.

Seen around town: waltzing boyfriends and a Hoplite warrior!

Waltzing boyfriends Jan 24 2019 by Suzanne ForbesThese two lovebirds were waltzing and smooching as they waited for their train at Hermannplatz.

The funny thing was, I got on the same car as them, and once they were sitting down, the taller guy produced a Dan Brown thriller and began reading it with complete concentration, oblivious to his partner. As Book Time is taken very seriously in our house, I completely respected his boundary-setting around reading.

Cosplay guardian Jan 25 2019 by Suzanne ForbesThis Hoplite was guarding the door at the Erinyes benefit gig I went to recently.

I drew him because it was not what you expected for the security detail at a Polish children’s healthcare benefit. And also it was pretty funny that I was sitting with my Greek friend Anastis drawing the Greek soldier at the Polish children’s healthcare benefit.

However, I only know the armor style is called Hoplite because just a couple days later my husband told me we needed to get a reproduction Hoplite helmet for the library. Because of his studies on Ancient Greece. I said sure, no problem. My first husband built a Tesla coil for our living room and my second husband kept leeches for pets and made daguerreotypes with radioactive rocks, so a Hoplite helmet seems fairly reasonable, really.

edited to add these dancing girls who were whirling around in front of the stage before The Erinyes went on!Dancing girls by Suzanne Forbes Jan 28 2019

Bonus Jan 2019 unterwegs!

Unterwegs Jan 23 2019 A row of readers by Suzanne ForbesI loved this row of reading women.

I wound up having to take a lot of transit this week cause I had medical tests at various doctors, so I had more unterwegs time. There were actually two more women, on either side of these three, also with bent heads reading screens or books, but only these three had bags with rectangular bases in their laps. I imagined the young woman on the right to be a fashion student or designer. She was wearing these cream-colored wide-legged pants that were so striking and unusual for January.

Unterwegs Jan 23 2019 winter hats by Suzanne ForbesHere you can see me being mesmerized by all the textures and shapes of how people bundle up.

As I mentioned in the first unterwegs of this month, it blows my mind how wrapped up people stay on the warm train!

Balance unterwegs by Suzanne Forbes Jan 28 2019edit. to add one more train drawing, which I did on the way to yet another doctor appt!

Previous unterwegs below, all unterwegs courtesy of my Patrons on Patreon whose monthly financial support allows me to make this free art available!

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

First unterwegs of 2019!

Unterwegs reading guy by Suzanne Forbes Jan 20 2019Drawing a foreshortened face is always a good challenge.

I appreciate people who are reading a book very much for this! I have a tutorial about drawing skulls here where I talk about my approach to the face in perspective.Unterwegs wrapped up guy by Suzanne Forbes Jan 20 2019

People in Berlin are all so bundled up in the winter!

Thanks to menopause I run hot and wear about half as much wrapping as most people. Sitting on the cozy subway and buses and trams, I marvel at their bundling. Many people do not even open their coats on the train! While I get on and am immediately clawing mine open 🙂

Dancer unterwegs Jan 29 2019 by Suzanne Forbesedit. to add one person who DOESN’T bundle up: this very tall pole dancing guy I’ve seen several times on the U7!

All the thanks to my beautiful Patrons on  Patreon whose monthly financial contributions make it possible for me to make documentary art of life in Berlin.

Previous unterwegs are here:

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

In Berlin, even charity benefits are punk as fuck.

Baron Anastis and Rah Hell of The Erinyes by Suzanne Forbes Jan 12 2019I was invited to draw The Erinyes at a WOŚP Berlin charity fundraiser at Werkstatt der Kulturen (Workshop of Cultures).

The Werkstatt is an amazing castle-like building near Hermannplatz. It focuses on transculturality and diversity and showcases Berlin’s migrant forms of culture, art and action. Amazing right?!? There is a big concert auditorium and for this event there was a delicious Polish food pop-up. I ate the most scrumptious vegetarian pierogi, the best I’ve had since those middle of the night feasts at the Kiev in the 80s.

My friends and muses Rah Hell and Baron Anastis were performing, with Antony Buzz who flew in from Greece that morning. I had had some trouble controlling my line the night before at the Schwules Museum, as my hands are a bit shaky from various medication adjustments.

So I decided to take a break from pencil and ink and do some ballpoint drawings. 
The Erinyes by Suzanne Forbes Jan 12 2019The Erinyes by Suzanne Forbes Jan 12 2019

Ballpoint is so great for gigs!

It’s so fluid, I just let my hand move with the music, swirling and slashing. It feels incredibly good to draw with a ballpoint, but in general it is other artists who really like the drawings rather than the larger audience, so I tend to avoid it. Still, some of my favorite musician drawings I’ve ever done are in ballpoint or rollerball.

It was so rad to see The Erinyes rocking out, howling their signature raw sexypunk, at an event to raise money for medical care for kids. So gloriously Berlin. I love this city so much.

Roundup of my open-source crowd-funded documentary art for 2018!

Suzanne Forbes crowd funded open source art 2018Hello all my dear ones, readers/friends/muses/Patrons/collectors! It’s my 52nd birthday!

I made over 250 individual pieces of finished documentary art in 2018, despite a year of health challenges (including being in a bus accident that busted up my drawing hand, ongoing menopause & auto-immune problems and my hb’s health issues!). That’s right baby! More diversity, representation and beautiful human stories than ever! 

The only reason it was possible: the financial support of my Patrons on Patreon. Thank you, my darlings!!!!!!!

As always, the best birthday present you can give me is sharing and tweeting and facebooking my Patreon and Ko-fi!

For the biggest boost of all, totally free to you!!!, PLEEEEAASE, I beg you, submit my documentary artwork project to ColossalBoingBoingLaughingSquidMy Modern MetBoredPanda, Women’s Art on twitter, and/or any of these other sites. Starter text at bottom to give you an idea how to do that!

I don’t make art if I don’t get paid. I don’t have the strength to make art for free.

To me, there is no greater validation of my work than getting money (to use for food and medicine) for it. So the last three and a half years on Patreon have been amazing, a total revelation in how happy and fulfilled I can be. You can help on Patreon, for as little as a dollar/euro a month. Or chip in on my account on Ko-Fi, the dumbest-named artist support platform ever!

https://www.patreon.com/join/SuzanneForbes?

 

I love you all so much, and I’m so grateful to you for supporting my work. 

I am not giving up and I will keep working. Despite advancing arts censorship in the US and UK, I believe crowdfunding and releasing my art open source is the way for me. And of course I am available for private portrait commissions too 😉

Yours in love, hope and solidarity,

my best wishes for 2019,

Your Suz

Sample text/project descriptions for submission to art news websites:

  • Former courtroom artist makes a life’s work of open source documentary art, live-drawing scenes from sex parties to the Berlin subway.
  • Former DC artist documents alternative culture by drawing live on the scene, then distributes her work open-source.
  • Huge open source queer and alternative culture art archive in jeopardy from SESTA/FOSTA.
Suzanne Forbes is an expat New Yorker by way of the Bay Area, using the skills she developed as a courtroom artist to live-draw queer, trans and alternative culture. Much like the embedded combat artists who traveled with troops in World War One, she draws live on the scene for public distribution. Instead of newspapers, her drawings are published open source for anyone to print and share on flickr and her blog. Her documentary art project has been running since 2005, and is crowd-funded through Patreon. Her mission is to tell unique human stories, with a focus on visibility and representation.