Tag Archives: pastel drawing

Ladies and Gentlemen, the Beau Belle Brothers!

The Beau Belle Brothers at Vaudeville Variety Revue by Suzanne Forbes Nov 4 2017I got to meet and draw the Beau Belle Brothers in October at Vaudeville Variety Revue!

What a thrill! They are the most gorgeous, creative boylesque pin-up models. I have been a fan of these multitalented muses since I discovered them through the work of master gay erotic artist Ali Franco. He has made a whole series of amazing paintings of them, collected in this beautiful calendar which I got myself earlier this year.

Beau Belle Brothers usherettes Wintergarten Berlin by Suzanne Forbes Nov 4 2017The Beau Belle Brothers started three years ago as an art project for a photo shoot. Now they are muses to artists all over the world!

Deathbirds makes incredible costumes and loves comics, like me! Mybeautyspace is the genius hair and makeup artist behind their superb vintage aesthetic, and also loves comics.

The Beau Belle Brothers by Suzanne Forbes Nov 5 2017I had never drawn twins before, and it is a perfect challenge for a portraitist!

The Brothers are the kind of inspiration that make artists gleeful with happiness. And they are super nice!! It took me forever to finish these drawings, because I was wanted them to be perfect and to do justice to their beauty. I’m still not sure if the colored versions are better than the black and white.Beau Belle Brothers by Suzanne Forbes Oct 15 2017 wip

So I am just very much hoping to get a chance to draw them again sometime soon, perhaps at Dr. Sketchy’s Berlin 🙂Beau Belle Brothers and Suzanne Forbes at Wintergarten Berlin Oct 2017

More drawings from Vaudeville Variety Revue here, here and here; thank you Sheila Wolf for having me as your guest!

BTW, If you like hot, tender, superbly rendered man-on-man love, check out Ali Franco’s Patreon!

Sheila and the Shark, Vaudeville Variety Revue

Sheila Wolf and the Shark Vaudeville Variety Revue Oct 15 2017 by Suzanne ForbesThis time at Vaudeville Variety Revue, I got to come to the Wintergarten early for dress rehearsal.

I mostly drew the performers practising, as seen with the aerial duo LIttle Finch at the bottom of this page. But I did also capture a couple of special moments in the empty venue.

Drone shark Wintergarten Oct 15 2017 by Suzanne ForbesI don’t know why Sheila Wolf, the event’s producer, has a floating robot shark.

It looked really cool though! As did everyone who wrangled it.

Little Finch aerials Vaudeville Variety Revue by Suzanne Forbes Oct 15 2017Previous drawings from this event here and 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.

Women who rock Berlin – Donut Heart at Arcanoa

Alfred Ladylike and Baron Anastis at Arcanoa by Suzanne Forbes Oct 20 2017I drew the Donut Heart folk at an amazing and magical Berlin bar, the underground wonderland that is Arcanoa.

The show was called the “Sunken Ship Show!” Check out Alfred Ladylike and Baron Anastis, above. I feel like I got a very good likeness of Baron, who is a professional life model as well as rocking out with both Donut Heart and Baron and the Erinyes.

Rah Hell and Donut Heart at Arcanoa Suzanne Forbes Oct 20 2017Pirate costumes were on point! Here is Rah Hell drumming in high seas style.

Donut Heart at Arcanoa by Suzanne Forbes Oct 2017Well and truly is it said that she is the sexiest and most amazing dork in all Berlin. Also kinda cool, the drawings form a panorama of the stage! By accident mostly, I’ve never done that before.

Natascha Artworx came down from Hamburg and she wore an amazing mermaid outfit she had made herself, much like she created her outfit for our A(RT)ffair.

I also wore an amazing mermaid outfit, although I only made the jewelry and headpiece of mine!

Suz Natascha Artworx and Alfred Ladylike at Arcanoa Oct 2017Here we are with Alfred Ladylike posing like merpirates or something!!

Check out how great we look and how cool Arcanoa is! There is a running stream built into the bar. It is probably neither safe not sanitary, but it is beautiful. Living in Berlin is heaven.Natascha Artworx and Suzanne Forbes at Arcanoa Sept 28 2017

Last but not least, the show opened with a thrilling oceangoing yarn spun by the shifty Old Tom Haggardy!

He belted out some fine sea shanties later as well.Tom Haggardy at Arcanoa by Suzanne Forbes Oct 20 2017

New Donut Heart video online here.

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.

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

Live painting during A(RT)ffair at Ludwig Berlin!

Suzanne Forbes painting Natasha Enquist at Ludwig on Aug 19 2017 photo by Xushaw

Suzanne Forbes painting Miss Natasha Enquist at Ludwig on Aug 19 2017. photo by Xushaw

SO much appreciation to Suzanne Wegh and Natascha Artworx for creating our wonderful art event at Ludwig Berlin this past weekend.

We had new works from all three of us, live painting (me) and drawing (by lots of cool women), modelling by Miss Natasha Enquist, live body-painting by Natascha Artworx on Alfred Ladylike as human canvas, a gorgeous performance by Leo Gold, and music by NanseaBerlin.

Artffair at Ludwig Aug 19 2017

Clockwise from left, curator Suzanne Wegh, Natascha Artworx in front of works from her “Selfie” series, me painting Miss Natasha Enquist, my husband studies my portrait of Rah Hell.

It was so much fun! I was so happy to be able to book electro-accordion chanteuse Miss Natasha Enquist as our model; she is an extraordinary performer and one of the best life models I’ve ever known. This outfit was inspired by her rad look when she rode on a float at Christopher Street Day Berlin! She kicked it up a notch with the creepy white latex gloves!

Miss Natasha Enquist seated at Ludwig Aug 23 2017 by Suzanne ForbesMy colleague and fellow art instructor at ESDIP Berlin Omar Jaramillo came and made art!

He is a remarkable watercolorist and painting teacher; I had never seen his tonal work before and was dazzled by these lovely wash drawings. Check his Insta for more beauty!

Omar Jaramillo and his drawings of Natasha Enquist at Ludwig Aug 19 2017Omar Jaramillo and his drawings of Natasha Enquist at Ludwig Aug 19 2017

Omar Jaramillo and his drawings of Natasha Enquist at Ludwig Aug 19 2017

My beloved genius Daria Rhein came and made jaw-dropping drawings of Miss Enquist, on her new ipad Pro thing- I had no idea work like this could be created digitally.

Click over to Daria’s Instagram to see more!

Miss Natasha Enquist and Alfred Ladylike drawn by Daria Rhein Aug 19 2017

Miss Natasha Enquist and Alfred Ladylike drawn by Daria Rhein Aug 19 2017

I taught a quick lesson on how to do a gesture drawing, and made vegan treats! We raised 90 euros in our donation jar, not bad!

The house was packed, a wonderful representation of queer Berlin, and several of my former drawing students came and drew, how lovely! Photo of me and new drawer Ursula by artist Xushaw who I know from ESDIP’s monthly Life Drawing nights.

Artffair at Ludwig Berlin Aug 18 2017Alfred Ladylike posed for Natascha Artworx as her human canvas.

Natascha was wearing an amazing art dress she had customized and painted. The person who owned the dress was getting divorced and planned to burn it, and it got turned into art instead!

Natascha Artworx painting Alfred Ladylike at Ludwig Aug 22 2017 by Suzanne Forbes

Miss Natasha Enquist posing and Alfred Ladylike as human canvas for Natasha Artworx Aug 19 2017

Miss Natasha Enquist posing and Alfred Ladylike as human canvas for Natascha Artworx, Aug. 19 2017

30 minute portrait of Miss Natasha Enquist by Suzanne Forbes and Fluid Gallery at Ludwig Berlin Aug 10 2017

30 minute portrait of Miss Natasha Enquist by Suzanne Forbes and the Fluid Gallery at Ludwig Berlin, Aug. 19 2017

The finished 30 minute portrait of Miss Natasha Enquist, above.

We gave out free raffle tickets and raffled it off at the end of the night! Free art! And there was even a secret surprise performance by Alfred! Her Donut Heart bandmate Rah Hell was represented in portraiture by both myself and Natascha, and performed the raffle ticket drawing. What a heavenly evening.Miss Natasha Enquist and Alfred Ladylike drawn by Suzanne Forbes Aug 19 2017 Ludwig Berlin

My infinite thanks to Suzanne Wegh and Natascha Artworx for managing this event. If you’d like to help support their creative work, here’s Suzanne’s Patreon and Natascha’s Patreon. Visit Miss Natasha Enquist’s Spotify here and Donut Heart on bandcamp here.

I was able to be part of this event and make this art documenting queer Berlin because of my Patrons on Patreon. You can help with just a buck a month – it’s super easy!

30 minute painting of Miss Natasha Enquist painted by Suzanne Forbes at Ludwig Berlin Aug 19 2017

Life drawing session at ESDIP Berlin: a very pregnant tattooed lady!

Martha reclining drawn by Suzanne Forbes at ESDIP Berlin Aug 4 2017I went to the life drawing session at ESDIP Berlin again and this time I drew a lovely model named Martha who is about to have her baby!

I think I drew a pregnant woman once, well actually twice in my whole drawing career before, I don’t have a picture of the second one which was a private commission of my friend Mindy.

Martha in blue wig drawn by Suzanne Forbes Aug 4 2017For part of the session Martha wore a flowing blue wig! Of course, no one with a comics background can draw a naked pregnant woman without thinking of the late Jeffrey Catherine Jones and her creation Idyl.

It was totally by accident that I drew her as a naked, tattooed, pregnant Whistler’s Mother.

Martha in blue wig drawn by Suzanne Forbes Aug 4 2017What a beautiful evening it was, with a crowd of three dozen artists quietly working hard to capture Martha in her immanence.

Mysteriously, the group was almost entirely women, many of us tattooed blue-haired women. It was very special. I’ve had a lot of luck of both kinds in my life. The night I accidentally found my way to ESDIP Berlin for the first time was one of the very luckiest.

You can see my previous life drawing session drawings here.Martha in turban drawn by Suzanne Forbes Aug 4 2017