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.
I swung for the fences with this one, and I kinda missed. To try and apply my new techniques of mixed media coloring to such a complex, detailed drawing – with such deep space!- was perhaps an act of hubris. I barely have a grasp of this new approach, and definitely don’t feel skilful in handling pastels.
And I absolutely loved the drawing in its original state. But I felt I had to see if I could make it even better. I’m not sure I did.
Luckily, in a moment of foresight, I photocopied the original line drawing.
The scan is dark, because the photocopy picked up the midtone of the kraft paper, and I hadn’t finished drawing Daria’s tattoo machine. Someone with better digital editing skills than me can sort out the values, prolly.
I was quite scared to add the mixed media (pastel, oil pastel and markers) to the line drawing, and it took me almost a month to get down to it.
Rightly so; it turned out to be a bit beyond me to fully reconcile the values so the drawing reads well.
I kinda feel like I destroyed something I really liked, and that’s good. You gotta kill your darlings in the art biz.
After all, I can always make another drawing of Daria making a tattoo. And I want to go back to Tremuschi and draw Vivi tattooing too, when she gets back from her tattoo cons of Europe tour! I might do a whole series of drawings of women tattoo artists of Berlin!
Here’s some of the drawings I’ve made while travelling about Berlin this month.
In Berlin, where dogs are allowed on the subway at all times, dogs understand about missing or catching the train. They actually hustle to get to the doors before they close. Which I find just amazing.
There are maps on the ceiling of the subway cars, which is sensible!
I am doing so much experimenting with tone, pattern and value areas in these unterwegs. They are my safe space to expand my style and way of documenting things.
This drawing was made from a quick mental snapshot.
I glimpsed this woman wearing the HELL out of a jersey wrap dress, with great hair style, as she hustled for the M10 in Friedrichshain. I was going to the U1, and I got on the train and then realized I had no pencil or even a ballpoint for the sketch I usually do before putting down ink. However I did have a white conte crayon stick and I used that to quickly rough in the gesture and forms. You can see the faint traces of white lines if you look carefully. I could have pimped it up later with background and tone and white highlights, but I just liked the simple lines so much.
Rafa had been approached by Laura, who runs Dr. Sketchy’s Berlin, and asked to do a painting during the Dr. Sketchy’s session. He suggested I join in, and so I did!
It was a nice day and we had a lovely time!
The theme was Garden of Desire, so of course I had to dress up in some leafy flowery business. I brought a leaf crown for Rafa too. His partner came (her parents were watching their little lad, who you can see in this drawing) and took these great pictures.
Isn’t it amazing how two artists can create such different works, on the same theme in the same amount of time?
I love Rafa’s style so much. He used these acrylic paint markers, which he got at the graffiti store (we have two in Berlin!) and which I had never seen before.
I also snuck inside the (gorgeous, historic, old school cabaret) venue and did drawings of the last two poses.
The tables have these telephones you can use to call the bar and order a drink, and apparently they still work though a bit crackly. The globes light up, of course! Ballhaus Berlin is simply a mad spectacular place to hold a drawing session.
The models, lighting, props, set and music were amazing.
Dr. Sketchy’s Berlin is a seriously nice event, going strong for over seven years, and I absolutely plan to make the next one. Hopefully next year I’ll actually make some of the performances at Berlin Burlesque Week. I know I missed some fantastic ones. Darn lack of spoons. More spoons next year!
Here is a lovely photo Dr. Sketchy’s Berlin House Photographer Nina Zimmermann took of all of us!
photo by Nina Zimmermann from DrSketchys Berlin May 2017
Here is hostRah Hell, playing an obscure Amanda Palmer song on her amazing ukulele that has travelled all over the world with her and has more stickers than the bathroom at Urban Spree! You can see another drawing of her performing in DonutHearthere.
This is Luke Smoke, who sang songs I could not understand, but certainly enjoyed.
Later he put on a huge red wig but sadly I did not draw that.
Out of nowhere, Joe from Chicago, who used to live around the corner from Lagari where the Boogie is, appeared.
He is a mad fucking talent on the piano, a fantastic fucking entertainer, and being a Chicago guy he fucking swears like me, a fucking New Yorker. You can see us all freak out on this video Rah took.
There were many other performers, and I wish I could have drawn them all.
I love to draw musicians. They are among my most favorite subjects.
As a non-musical person, being able to create music is like some kind of sorcery to me. So when I was invited to draw live at the party for the release of Donut Heart‘s new video I was very excited. Look at Alfred Ladylike and Rah Hell tearing it up!! The songs are hilarious, “Dude Band” is possibly my favorite. Rah used a heavy piece of chain for percussion at one point, which is not a thing I had ever seen. Although I dated a drummer for two years in my teens!
What a great time I had! Such a wonderful circle of people, and such delightful performances.
I helped Rah glaze the vegan donuts because if there is one thing I know, it’s getting sweet treats ready for a party. There were many highly drawable attractions at the Donut Heart event, as you can see.
Kay was a boylesque Jesus, and kindly expiated one of my many sins.
Natascha did body painting like this cupcake on my bosom!
You can see her here body painting live on stage. She is an artist on non-human canvases as well.
David sang “Chocolate Jesus” from the Holy Book of Tom Waits.
It was grand!
Ludwig is a wonderfully cozy clubhouse of a bar/gallery, staffed by barefoot punks in skirts!
It feels like your friend’s living room. Look how chill the altar boys are, enjoying their beers.
These are some of the best drawings I’ve done in years. I feel like I’m truly recovering my health and finding my feet in Berlin. Thank you, amazing Patreon Patrons, for making it possible for me to document art and young artists like this. I love my life!