Tag Archives: drawing

Boylesque, white tie and more at Vaudeville Variety Revue!

Sarah Goody at Vaudeville Variety Oct 15 2017 by Suzanne ForbesSarah Goody was an amazing aerial performer!

Look, I lived in the Bay Area for eighteen years. I’ve seen some aerial performers. Sarah Goody brought so much lusty power to her rope performance, and I hope I captured some of it.

Yvonne at Vaudeville Variety Revue October 15 2017 by Suzanne ForbesI drew Yvonne in the lobby during the interval.

This is one of those incredibly rare drawings that is so perfect I actually knew not to mess with it.

performers at Vaudeville Variety Oct 15 2017 by Suzanne ForbesThese two performed to the Dresden Dolls song “Missed Me.”

It’s a long song, and their performance was extremely complex and precise; they never missed a beat. I had no idea you could do put a ping-pong ball there!

Previous drawings from this event here, and more to come as soon as I get a second to finish them! Having the extra hours of dress rehearsal really gave me time to get into each performer’s style.

Thank you so much  Sheila Wolf, producer of Berlin’s fabulous Vaudeville Variety Revue, for having me as your guest again!

Dr Sketchy’s Berlin, Victorian Spiritualist Edition!

Dr sketchys berlin victorian spiritualism edition tattooed lady by suzanne forbes oct 29 2017Another amazing edition, the sixty-somethingth, of Berlin’s superb Dr. Sketchy’s.

Once again at beautiful Ballhaus Berlin, with the theme of Victorian Spiritualists, two days before Halloween. Fantastic models, fabulous theme, gorgeous venue. Does it get any better?

Yes, cause lots of my very talented badass-drawing colleagues from ESDIP Berlin were on hand and we set up at a table and just blew the roof off the place with our drawing powers.

Not gonna lie, my goal when I go to an event like this is to draw better, faster and more confidently than any man there, including my valued colleagues.

dr sketchys berlin victorian spiritualism edition by suzanne forbes Oct 29 2017Here in Berlin, where many people who attend drawing events can draw like hell, it’s the kind of challenge I can set my teeth into.

In San Francisco I was always the best draftsman in the room; here I gotta fight hard for that, and it is food for my soul. I locked into pure flow state very early on and spent the whole session riding the armature of my training and abilities. When this happens I watch myself work effortlessly, the only challenge being to trust what’s happening. I really hit the mainline at the end.

Look at this straight up Leyendecker shit. I drew it in ten minutes.

dr sketchys berlin victorian spiritualism edition last pose by Suzanne Forbes Oct 29 2017Lots more drawings coming soon. Check my insta for previews and the Dr. Sketchys Berlin insta for lotsa cool art!

Thank you LaLaVox and Le Pustra for another incredible night! What a gift you give us!

And thanks to my Patrons on Patreon whose financial support makes it possible for me to go to events like this and draw like hell!

Previous Dr. Sketchy’s Berlin posts here, here, here and here.

Miss Mosh performing at Vaudeville Variety Revue, Wintergarten Berlin.

Miss Mosh performing at Vaudeville Variete at Wintergarten Berlin by Suzanne Forbes Oct 27 2017I got to draw Mosh!!!!!

As a longtime fan of beautiful alternative model and burlesque performer Miss Mosh, I had always wanted to draw her. Sheila Wolf, the producer of Berlin’s fabulous Vaudeville Variety Revue, was kind enough to have me as her guest again.

This time I got to come five hours early and draw the dress rehearsal! It was wonderful to be in the beautiful Wintergarten Berlin when it was mostly empty; I got to take a really good look at all the gorgeous details. And I was able to make preliminary sketches of the performers and get a sense of their movements.

Here is Mosh using a screwdriver to adjust the struts of her enormous feather fans.

Miss Mosh preshow at Vaudeville Variety Wintergarten Berlin by Suzanne Forbes Oct 27 2017Like most beautiful famous people I have met in person, Mosh is tiny!

She is like a little absinthe fairy you can imagine perching on a wrought iron balustrade. And yet also, like most performers I’ve met, plainly and obviously strong as hell. She appeared onstage in an oyster silk playsuit and ballet flats, with her hair in rollers, and lit up the stage. I always want to draw dress rehearsal now, it is the best! You can see my drawings from the previous Vaudeville Variety Revue here! More from this one coming soon.

Thank you Sheila Wolf for your hospitality, Miss Mosh for your kindness, and my beautiful Patrons on Patreon for providing the financial support that makes it possible for me to make this work!

A portrait of my mom in Berlin!

Pat Ketchum by Suzanne Forbes West Berlin Oct 26 2017My mom came to visit! It was wonderful.

I made this portrait of her at Cafe Bilderbuch in Schöneberg. We were having coffee. We love coffee!  This is the first time I tried black ballpoint on the Canson Toned Gray paper, and I really enjoyed using a ballpoint on that surface.

It’s a heavy paper that feels smooth to the touch, yet accepts a lot of pigment from pastels, which usually need a surface with tooth. I added oil pastel and chalk pastel when we got home.

Pat Ketchum by Suzanne Forbes West Berlin detail Oct 26 2017Cat supervisors were on hand.

Our horrible Morgan and adorable Viviane enjoyed their time with Grandma, who is a Cat Person of the highest order, very much. Morgan hardly even bit her.

The men of Folsom Europe!

Lovers at Folsom Europe by Suzanne Forbes Oct 13 2017FInally had a minute to finish the last of the drawings I made at Folsom Europe. I really enjoyed my time there.

It was a very comfortable and relaxed scene. On my way in I saw what I thought for a moment was security frisking backpacks. Then I realized it was just a group of uniform fetish players looking for their beer or gear or something!

Rope bondage at Folsom Europe by Suzanne Forbes Oct 13 2017

Folsom Europe really shines with Tom of Finland archetypes.

Because I was a child in Chelsea in the 70s, I really love the classic leather daddy and uniform looks. It feels like being wrapped in a warm blanket to see gay men rocking the old school Christopher St Clone style.

This performer, Georg Kroneis, was wonderful.

Georg Kroneis Folsom Europe by Suzanne Forbes Oct 10 2017However there were also plenty of casually dressed lovers just sporting crew socks and sweats, as seen in the first picture!

I was very casual myself, unlike my friend Sadie Lune who wore gorgeous high leather regalia and an Autumn goddess headpiece, which inspired the big diptych of her and her girlfriend Jo Pollux I just finished. You can see my previous Folsom Europe posts here:

Women of Folsom Europe 2017

Puppies of Folsom Europe 2017

Puppies of Folsom Europe!

Smarty and Lucky at Folsom Europe 2017 by Suzanne ForbesI am not a dog person.

I’ve never been comfortable with dogs or known how to interact with them and I’m always a little scared of them. However back when my art business cratered in the Great Recession and I went back to work as a barista, I worked at Wicked Grounds. And the puppyplay munches held there transformed my experience of dogs.

I learned to play with human puppies, how to scratch them and throw things for them and yell “Good DOG!”.

Many of the puppies were over 200 pounds, and as they frolicked in the back seating area (we moved the chairs and tables out) they made the old floorboards creak. Their joy and exuberance was so delightful to me.

So when I was at Folsom Europe this year, I really wanted to spend some time with puppies!

pups of folsom Europe 2017 by Suzanne ForbesLuckily my friend Sadie Lune and her partner Jo were there, dressed as amazing Autumn Leather Goddesses, and Sadie told me where to go.

“There is a puppy play area where you can see puppies at play and at rest”, she said with great warmth and affection. And I went there and played with pups and skritched their heads and drew them and they were SO WONDERFUL.

So curious, so alert, watching me draw with great interest, ears cocked.

Morgan and pup drawing by Suzanne Forbes Sept 2017The puppies in the first picture above were in the play area and were wonderfully friendly and well trained.

Usually human puppies are much better trained than animal puppies, and I’ve rarely had a human puppy jump up, which scares me. Here in Germany the dogs are generally well-trained, whether human or animal, and I feel very safe around them.

The pups in the second picture were more aloof, maybe they were sporting dogs of some kind? They had those sleek racing stripes!

Obviously, Morgan doesn’t like dogs of any kind, so she had to display her dominance over the works in progress!

More experiments with pastels and mixed media.

Masks at Drink and Draw Berlin by Suzanne Forbes Aug 17 2017These are the last of the drawings from Drink and Draw Berlin’s Secret Society event, all finished up finally!

I took the opportunity to really experiment on these. Things like changing background color, adding large areas of midtones and heavy darks. Using pastels for the midtones and oil pastels to strengthen the blacks gives a really high-contrast image, much faster and more even than using markers.

I feel like I am getting much better at suggesting the atmosphere of dark clubs and parties!At Drink and Draw Berlin by Suzanne Forbes Aug 17 2017

You can see how this approach would have improved a drawing like this one from the Skin Two fashion show in London in 2007. Both the drawings above and the one from ten years ago are times when I don’t have enough time to get good visual information for the background of a scene.

Choosing areas to treat as dark values and midtones gives the scene much more energy and resolution.

I’ve switched from the beige Canson Kraft to a new Canson Toned Grey sketchbook, so I’ll be posting drawings done on an actual grey midtone soon. It’s like a 30% grey; maybe after I finish that sketchbook I’ll try one with black paper!

Previous Secret Society here and here.

Women who rock: Das Fluff in Berlin!

Dawn and Das Fluff by Suzanne Forbes Sept 18 2017I finally got to see Das Fluff perform! Post-punk electric filth!!

My friend and muse, Donut Heart drummer Rah Hell, told me I would love them. And I did!!!

I went to frontwoman Dawn’s 51st birthday party gig at her favorite Berlin bar, Leydicke. You can’t explain Leydicke; it’s one of those Berlin places that just breathes magic. I had met Dawn at the Donut Heart video release party and liked her very much, and i was excited to hear her music. We are the same age and share much cultural and aesthetic furniture. I missed two of their Berlin gigs this summer due to my ever-present perimenopause health variances, and they are frequently playing in London and soon again touring Japan. It’s hard to get paying gigs for bands in Berlin, whereas in Tokyo serious rock is always in demand.

So I was determined to make this gig in my own part of Berlin, the West. I arrived at midnight, in time for the second set, and it was fantastic. Das Fluff has a sound that is both very modern and very responsive to the era Dawn and I became adults in, the 80s. And it is FILTHY and raging.

Das Fluff audience at Leydicke by Suzanne Forbes Sept 18 2017The crowd was all ages, as so often in Berlin, and international, and multi-gendered.

Berlin is a dress-down town, so most people were in leather jacket and black jeans mufti, except a couple gorgeous genderqueer belles in gothabilly style.

I was so happy I got to chat briefly with Dawn after the set. There is nothing like talking to a woman your own age, who has as much hard-won experience and personal power as you do. We are both here in Berlin, doing our art in the most truthful and authentic and finally distilled way, after long hiatuses from our work. We are beautiful and strong and staying the course.

There is a story to the woman in her 80s who was rocking out hard to Das Fluff, but I’m not going to tell it. She was there, she was dancing. She is part of the mystery of Leydicke, part of the mystery of Berlin. Sometimes both art and life are long.

Follow Dawn on twitter, Das Fluff on fb, and buy new Das Fluff album “Flower with Knife” on vinyl or DL here.

More musicians – Dirk Rave and Mads Elung-Jensen at Ludwig.

Dirk Rave at Ludwig by Suzanne Forbes Aug 27 2017I love to draw people playing the accordion!!

There’s something physical about the way they have to lean into the instrument, its spinelike flexibility, that just blows my mind. It’s like they have a person in their lap and they are squeezing music out of them!

So when Dirk Rave came onstage at Ludwig the other night with his accordion i was delighted to draw him. Amazingly, after I wrote the above, I went to his website to add the link, and guess what I read???!

“The proportion of the instrument can not be underestimated: the accordion breathes. This makes it the ideal partner of a singing man, whether it is a baroque, a pop song or a classic French chanson.”

So I was right! It is about the physicality and proportions of the accordion, it adds a unique dimension to a performance! Isn’t that cool, that Dirk and I share this notion and didn’t even know it?

Dirk and Mads at Ludwig by Suzane Forbes Aug 27 2017Dirk performed several of his original compositions, then was joined by Danish tenor Mads Elung-Jensen. 

They were GREAT! You can see them perform together yourself here. It was a performance way the hell out of the league of a quiet Thursday night in Neukölln, exactly the kind of unexpected miracle Berlin specializes in.

About the drawings, I must note that the top one is another example of me nearly ruining a fine drawing by adding pastels and mixed media.

I wanted to use only grey tones, because I worry that I’m in danger of developing laziness around values from using pink and umber. I knew I had to be careful to leave the open space of the kraft paper as a value and that I needed deep darks to convey the night-time feel of the bar. I could just barely wrangle it all together, and it devolved for a bit.

Sargent said that if you control the midtones you control the painting.

I am working on midtones, trying to use them more effectively. Since I developed my entire style of drawing to be reproducible black and white linework for comics, that’s challenging to me. I still find spotting hard blacks is helpful when the drawing isn’t reading clearly.

Having a true peer that you see and work with often is so crucial to artists.

Daria is such an important part of my growth as an artist here in Berlin. It’s her voice I hear in my head when I want to overwork a drawing, and her voice I heard tonight saying, “When in doubt, add more black!”.

For the second drawing I kept it simpler, leaving more of the paper surface open. While pattern and value ensure it reads easily, it doesn’t have the same night-time feel. My next sketchbook is going to be a Canson grey tone pad. Sargent painted on canvases toned with a cool grey midtone, and I am excited to try using pastels to work on that kind of base! Wow, the 50th-birthday gift of greyscale markers from my beloved friend-muse-Patron Clear really opened the drawing door for me!

More accordion drawings:

Unterwegs

Four hour portrait painting of Julia

There’s one of Heather playing accordion but I couldn’t find it on my flickrstream, you can look at her great photos instead

Dovekins at Cakebread

Scout at Cakebread

Old ones from St. Paul and here and here

More drawings from Dr. Sketchy’s Weimar Berlin at Cafe Kalwil.

Bridge Markland posing at Dr Sketchys Berlin Aug 22 2017 by Suzanne ForbesWow, I have made SO MUCH ART this month! Thank you, amazing Patreon Patrons, for making this possible.

Here are some more drawings from the Anita Berber Salon Session of Dr. Sketchy’s Berlin. Above, Bridge Markland portraying Anita Berber amid a group of young women drawing. The life drawing scene in Berlin is absolutely being taken over by women!

For this one I pulled out my Winsor & Newton Series 7 Sable No. #7, which I have kept and cared for since I bought it when I was a student at Parsons in 1984. It is beat to shit but still shakes out to a nice point and holds a wash like nobody’s business. I haven’t done a wash drawing in decades and have no ink, so I used a bit of black acrylic (bad! don’t use acrylic on a sable brush!). It came out lovely I think! The craft paper isn’t sturdy enough to hold up to a wash so I had to press the drawing under a bunch of my doorstop Rose Levy Beranbaum cookbooks after.

Bridge Markland posing at Cafe Kalwil by Suzanne Forbes Aug 22 2017Here’s another drawing of the amazing Bridge, illuminating beautiful Cafe Kalwil with her classic art modelling chops.

You can see my previous Dr. Sketchy’s Berlin drawings of Bridge here!

Le Pustra as Sebastian Droste by Suzanne Forbes Aug 10 2017And I finished two more drawings of Le Pustra as Sebastian Droste.

You can see the previous ones here. The one below has paint added with my fingers, as I continue to experiment with mixed media despite my previous failures. I am so gorram excited about the next time I get to draw Le Pustra, at the Kabarett der Namenlosen.

Or maybe I will sneak in a sketch of him at the October Dr. Sketchy’s Berlin which is Victorian Spiritualism themed! OH hell yeah you know Imma hit that big time in Full Goth.Le Pustra as Sebastian Droste by Suzanne Forbes Aug 22 2017

After all I snuck in a sketch of event organizer LaLa Vox this time 🙂LalaVox hosting Dr Sketchys Berlin Aug 6 2017 by Suzanne Forbes