Suzanne Forbes, an expat New Yorker in Berlin. Made possible by the generous support of her Patrons. https://www.patreon.com/SuzanneForbes. Former DC Penciller for Star Trek, former courtroom artist, painting portraits and teaching drawing.
Funding for the panel and MisSa Blue’s work around the topic is through Paypal. Please feel free to contribute so that the speakers on this discussion are not doing this emotional labour for free. https://www.paypal.me/MisSaBlue
My own work was funded by my Patrons on Patreon, whose monthly donations allow me to make documentary art of Berlin’s queer, intersectional burlesque scene and release it for free to all.
Here is beautiful CocoLectric, as a lovely flower during the Full Moon Cabaret “Nature” show! So many incredible performers traveled from all over the world to perform at Berlin Burlesque Week, and I was thrilled to meet them and get a chance to draw them.
This is AgathaFrisky, a gorgeous lady in a gorgeous outfit, as a Corpse Flower!!!
Her costume was exquisite, and she has an amazing shake!
With smiles for miles and legs for leagues, she lit up the stage. Meeting her I was so touched by her warmth, and her Instagram is full of powerful, compassionate social justice messages. She recently performed at Hubba Hubba Revue in San Francisco, where I cut my burlesque live-drawing teeth from 2005 to 2014!
Below, producer and hostess with the most, Viva Lamore.
Because of recentchanges in US law, I cannot create any drawings that show nudity, “implied nudity”, or breasts with pasties for my Patreon, which is how I have crowdfunded my free documentary art the last few years. I’ve created a new site for my documentary art about human sexuality and gender expression. I can’t link to it because of Patreon rules. Please don’t blame Patreon; blame SESTA-FOSTA. Maybe you could find the new site by googling!
There’s a post on my new site with new drawings from this Full Moon Cabaret too. It shows the breathtaking power and beauty of the performers at this show in all their glory. Skyclad, or in pasties.
I’ll continue to post on here too, sponsored and supported by my beloved, cherished Patrons, as right now that’s the only source of revenue for my art and I’ll always be interested in doing “work-safe” art as well as art with nudity such as life drawing. I’m working on a funding model for the new site.
Of course, you can always paypal me artist support money at suzanneforbes @ protonmail.com!
Plus, there’s a mooning contest which is pretty exciting!
So I was psyched to see this show and I was not disappointed.
Behind a secret door was a long room with a stage, lined with a very long dining table.
I took a seat on the sidelines so I could draw. (I learned my lesson about trying to eat and draw simultaneously at a LOTR-themed immersive dinner theater event put on by the Greater Bay Area Costumers’ Guild in 2005 or 6!) Most of the Full Moon attendees were in ’30s finery and there was a crew of gorgeous performers in really wonderful Shanghai 1930s style. That’s stage manager Maylisss standing in the background above; she is an expert at vintage clothing and costuming.
Below, more lovely audience and attendees!
That’s Chika, above helping with the mooning-hole!
and below with legend Vanessa Jupiter in the long gloves who is a trained massage therapist and was doing massages for the guests.Viva and her crew are so vibrant and sexy, and there is a kink vibe to the shows so I feel right at home!
This was one of those events where I wanted to draw everyone a dozen times.
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.
I 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.
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.
After 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.
My Hormone Replacement Therapy for menopause is working amazingly and I have more energy all the time. It’s simply grand! So when I was invited by the wonderful burlesque performer and producerViva Lamore to draw at Berlin’s queer and wild woman-run burlesque show Full Moon Cabaret, I was happy to go.
Ms. Lamore hosted the event as a glamour unicorn, seen above. Although she did not perform any numbers, she demonstrated her burlesque powers in some sweet moves!
I had a lovely time.
The music by DJ Don Rogall was terrific and in between acts there was much dancing, with some excellent dancers hitting the floor.
The venue, Diskothek Melancholie 2, is delightful and it reminded me of going to see my beloved Hubba Hubba Revue at the Uptown Oakland. In the drawing below, Violetta Poison, aka The Mexican Spitfire, teaches this blow-up man doll some manners.
Violetta is performing at Hubba Hubba San Francisco on May 11, follow her for news! Burlesque lovers can also enjoy about a zillion drawings I made at Hubba Hubba and other SF burlesque events from 2006 to 2013 here. Upcoming Full Moon Cabaret shows here!
Here’s co-producer Lolita Vavoom doing some beautiful work with fabric.
And Scotty the Blue Bunny performed although I didn’t have time to draw him! I did get a quick sketch of this rad performer, Rubyyy Jones!
As always, I am so grateful to my Patrons on Patreon, whose monthly financial support makes it possible for me to document Berlin life and art!
This first one is of the beautiful Viva Lamore, who wore a marvelous outfit with a cage hoop. Because the theme for this Dr. Sketchy’s was Broken Baroque, everyone was wearing ropes of pearls and masses of ruffles. Plus fluffy white cotton batting wigs.
I’m struggling to control the “dust sticks” as I call them and render some kind of believable volume with such pale colors.
I find it so hard to get any detail with pastels. Especially drawing things like pearls and lace. As you can see, for important areas like the models’ faces, I just cheat and use ink. I’m using both my beloved PITT brush pens and 50% grey scale markers here to add in darker values. For the pearls, I started using a white color pencil.
As much as I’ve hated and ignored color pencils all my life, I can see how on paper this good, they can be a nice tool.
Each of these drawings is on a different shade of Mi Teintes paper, as I randomly chose from my pad of sepia, umber, and buff paper in order to provide “new experiences”. Mighta gone a little overboard on adding complicating factors there, as the effect of each color of pastel stick is startlingly different on light vs dark papers.
So I am working on them just a little bit at a time, trying not to set myself the overwhelming goal of “finishing” or “getting them right”.
You can see the drawings I’ve finished so far from this Dr. Sketchy’s here.
Thanks so very much to my Patrons on Patreon whose financial support makes it possible for me to explore new materials like this. You are the best.
There’s nothing I love like too much, and Broken Baroque is such a gorgeous theme. As always, LalaVox and Le Pustra did it up right. Above is the marvelous Viva Lamore as Mistress Overdone. She looked both beautiful and deliciously wicked! She is such an amazing performer, and her gestures are incredibly expressive. I brought my new pastels and drew with them!
I always try and draw hostess LalaVox, as she brings her A game to her look every time. Like this ship-in-head!
Isn’t the sacque-back gown a perfect style for her?
I had been wanting to draw Evilyn Frantic for a long time, since I saw her in the street last year, introduced myself and told her I wanted to draw her picture.
This one-minute sketch was my first chance, more to follow as I clean up and finish up the pastel mess I made!
LalaVox and Suzanne Forbes at Dr Sketchys Berlin Victorian Spiritualism by Maren Michaelis.
Also bonus: here is a drawing of Viva Lamore jumping out of a Campbell’s soup can, from the Sunday Slips New Year’s Extravaganza! She is wearing a handmade bra fashioned after the 1940s Schiaparelli design! How amazing is that?
If you’re interested in a similar design, last year there was a hand print bra and panty set made for the Bettie Page line by Playful Promises, the queer, trans, gender-fluid-, sex-worker-, body positivity- and diversity-embracing lingerie company.
Thanks so very much to my Patrons on Patreon whose financial support makes it possible for me to go to events like this. You are the best.