Rupaul's Drag Race: Season 4, Reunited

(Chad's note: due to some technical difficulties, the images in this post won't appear correctly. Sorry!)

Okay, so, this was fun, right? The whole "drawing drag queens for months on end" thing?

Yeah, it's been pretty cool.

Also, the reunion thing was nice--I dug seeing Ru perform in a live setting. She had a bit more verve and sparkle than usual, and it was delightful to watch her play off the audience.

And it was rewarding to see Phi Phi called out for her shenanigans, without any redemptive closure like we've seen in the past (remember how gracious Tyra was in her reunion episode?)

[singlepic id=166 w=350 h=500 float=right]Willam looked real good this week, though I don't think she got kicked off just for conjugal visits with the hubby. What do you think?

Oh, and yeah, Latrice is just the best.

And so! Sharon won! I love you, Sharon, though couldn't you have shared that crown with Chad? Because he was looking as luminous as ever.

To the right, you'll see a glimpse of Sharon on the cover of 40 Queens, a forthcoming collection of my 40 best pieces of Drag Race art from the fourth season! It's now available to preorder for $6, or combine it with my collection from the third season, 30 Queens, for just $10!

And below, check out the full portrait of the reigning champion: the spooky! the beautiful! SHARON NEEDLES!

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As ever, my prints of Sharon, Chad, and Latrice are available at my online print shop for just $5!

It's seriously been such a delight to illustrate the Drag Race for another season! Thanks for sharing in the weekly delights of each episode, and thanks for your support! You're such fierce queens, all of you!


Rupaul's Drag Race, Season 4: Finale

(Chad's note: due to some technical difficulties, the images in this post won't appear correctly. Sorry!)

Wow, so this was an intense episode. Seriously, I teared up a few times. But I'm also exhausted and these queens just need to be seen. [singlepic id=164 w=435 h=550 float=center]

Look! I drew Phi Phi! I thought she did well in the lip sync--could she win? Could she??

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Chad was pretty amazing, as well. And a good name, too.

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And yeah, this picture pretty much sums up how I feel this late at night, after working the day job and drawing some queens.

But it's not quite over, yet, folks! I might have to draw the winner next week!

Until then, check out which Drag Race prints I've got for sale!

Rupaul's Drag Race: Season 4, Ru's Recap Week

(Chad's note: due to some technical difficulties, the images in this post won't appear correctly. Sorry!)

[singlepic id=158 w=350 h=550 float=right]Wow, just one more week to go, and we'll have a WINNER! Who could choose  between these three queens, amirite?

In honor of this week's recap, I wanted to revisit some outfits from earlier in the season that I missed before.

Lots of Drag Race fans suggested some of the queens' apocalyptic looks, and I love me some sci-fi realness, so I was happy to oblige. Here's Chad Michaels behind his heavenly veil:

And then there is, of course, Sharon's unforgettably winning look from that first episode...

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All season, I've had fans clamoring for more pieces of Willam (who wouldn't want a piece of Willam?), and I knew that this lacy little number would be a pleasure to draw.

Besides Willam, I've also gotten a lot of requests for more portraits of Phi Phi. And I'll admit that watching this week's clip show reminded me how many truly lovely looks Phi Phi has brought down the runway.

But did I draw any of those?


No, of course not!

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(But seriously, Phi Phi, you're gorgeous!)

As always, my prints of Chad Michaels, Sharon Needles, and Latrice Royale are available for sale right here!




Rupaul's Drag Race: Season 4, Episode 11

(Chad's note: due to some technical difficulties, the images in this post won't appear correctly. Sorry!)

Man, this was an episode, people. Lots of good stuff--I was especially charmed by the puppetry mini-challenge. Chad Michaels stole the show, remarking to his little puppet Phi Phi: "America's just going to love you." Last week, we saw the Pit Crew bring in piles of teddy bears, and this time they arrive with adorable dogs? I'm not typically a canine person, but with that kind of introduction, how could I resist? Yeesh.

Like so many of the challenges this season, I was skeptical of this episode's dog theme, but it proved to be a lot of fun. Of course Phi Phi was going to get the biggest, frumpiest dog, and of course she was going to bitch about it. And although I'm rarely impressed by Phi Phi's runway apparel, I do think she made the best of her bloodhound motif.

The challenges involving multiple costumes are always fun--I thought Chad Michaels looked more stunning than ever in his first two outfits. And Sharon continues to show her endless variety and humor. And fuck yeah, her poodle costume was kickass.

[singlepic id=153 w=350 h=550 float=left] But boy, her drama with Phi Phi really took over the rest of the episode. During Untucked, Rupaul repeatedly tried to interrupt their shouting match, but she eventually gave up. (And poor Dita Von Teese!)

Do I think Phi Phi is a terrible person? No. But within the crazy pressure cooker of this competition, she has certainly proven to be a stubborn, combative, short-sighted contestant. She seems to have this highly defensive attitude where she'll relentlessly attack others whenever she feels threatened, but she never dares to question her own assumptions and actions. Arguing with that kind of person is infuriating, since they're so puffed up with their own self-righteousness that there's just no reasoning with them.

Doesn't she realize that her rabid, frenzied outbursts would make her the clear "villain" of the season? I guess Phi Phi has some fans, so good for her. And it's gotten her into the final three.

Honestly, I was rooting for her at the beginning--I think she's cute as hell, and maybe outside of the show she's a much cooler person.

[singlepic id=151 w=320 h=550 float=right]During Untucked, Chad really blew me out of the water with his graciousness and candor toward Phi Phi and Sharon, trying to settle both of them down with such classics as, "Edit yourself, bitch."

Latrice knocked me out, too, by trying to mend fences with the girls even as she grappled with the possibility of being sent home.

Goddamn, do I love that girl.

I adore both Latrice and Chad, so it was brutal watching them face off against each other, but I thought they both did really well. And honestly, up to the last second, I really thought that Ru would keep them both in the game. I thought, "Surely she can come up with some twist to keep these two fierce bitches on the damn show!"

It was with a very heavy heart that I watched Latrice leave the Drag Race, but she left at the top of her game, and with a whole lot of love from a whole lot of new fans.

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Don't forget to click on the images to see larger versions, and check out the rest of this season's Drag Race art! This week's illustrations are already available as prints right here!




Rupaul's Drag Race: Season 4, Episode 9

(Chad's note: due to some technical difficulties, the images in this post won't appear correctly. Sorry!)

Okay, the political spin of this episode was ridiculous, but damn it was fun seeing Chad Michaels whip out her pink poodle up-do. Not to mention the 'tude to go with it! [singlepic id=143 w=350 h=550 float=right]

Even though this was another fun, outrageous episode, it suffered something of an identity crisis: were the queens expected to make cogent political arguments, or were they supposed to make us laugh? In the workroom, the contestants seemed evenly divided in their approach as Ru and Dan Savage went around to check in. To confuse matters even further, Savage took a particularly serious angle on the whole thing.

All of this led to a rather messy main challenge as the queens clashed with each other--moreso in their respective tones than their rhetoric. What were the overly serious Latrice and Dida supposed to make of Phi Phi's manic, politically incorrect maven?

I think, given Dan Savage's involvement in the episode, the show's producers expected the queens to walk the fine line of political satire, making salient political points while still maintaining a sense of irony and self-awareness. Sharon came closest to that, with her sober delivery of some real zingers.

Chad Michaels was riotously funny as the "Lady Pimp," though I think his act was a bit far too removed from anything related to politics to earn him the win. And weirdly enough, Dan Savage loved Chad's performance. (I was actually hoping to do a portrait of Savage, given that he is awesome and kind of studly. Listen to his podcast Savage Love, read his books, and swoon. Sadly, my attempt at capturing his likeness was not swoon-worthy.)

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I was glad that this week's runway had an actual theme behind it, even if nearly all the queens disregarded it. I didn't buy Sharon's line about her look depicting the drag Commander-in-Chief "of the future," but she certainly looked fabulous. It was also great to hear the heartfelt recollections of her high school years and seeing how that's shaped her.

Some food for thought: Although Sharon is clearly one of this season's front-runners (I'd be thrilled if she, Chad, or Latrice wins), the Absolut PR guy clearly doesn't dig her shock schtick. And given that a big part of the winner's responsibility is to headline Absolut's Drag Race tour, might that factor into Ru's final decision of this year's top queen? I hope not, but still... something to chew on.

Or slurp down.

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Chad Michaels looked stuuuuunnnning in his retro outfit. Seriously, I was just... speechless. Despite the classic feel to it, the look felt fresh and immaculate.

No, my simple little portrait couldn't capture her elegance, but it was fun drawing such a long, full, shimmering skirt!

It was rough seeing Latrice in the bottom two, but haven't we all been looking forward to seeing her strut her stuff? And lordy, the song selection was tailored to her--a gorgeous, soulful Gladys Knight tune? Yes, please.

I thought Dida did a great job. But, I mean, Latrice just dominated, because that's what she does.


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Now, who do you think Michelle and Santino will bring back to the show? Last season, I was genuinely surprised that they brought back Carmen Carrera, who had proven such an underwhelming performer. Will they choose among the prettiest queens once again? Might we see more Kenya Michaels? Is it just a cheap ploy to extend the season and add to the drama? I don't care, because I love it.

As always, you can find my other Drag Race work here, and you can see what prints I have available right here!



Rupaul's Drag Race: Season 4, Episode 8

(Chad's note: due to some technical difficulties, the images in this post won't appear correctly. Sorry!)

Well, gee, this was certainly an episode, wasn't it? So, obviously, if you haven't seen it yet, there are spoilers below. If you just want to see the pretty art, click here.

The polygraph tests were pretty hilarious, and it was particularly delightful to see how much fun Rupaul was having with the interrogations. But we didn't learn anything especially revealing. And there wasn't actually a challenge aspect to it, nor did it really determine the teams for the main challenge. Still, good TV.

Chad and Dida were a fun pair, though they didn't have as much to work with as the other teams. I thought their rendition had the most energy and personality, but the least polish.

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I loved Willam and Latrice's act--their slapstick routine was a delight! And Latrice has never looked better--girl's gotta show off her swerves n' curves more often! Am I going to do an animation of Willam puking afterward? No, of course not. That would be gross and tasteless. I only depict puking drag queens with the utmost style and restraint:

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It was a shame that Phi Phi and Sharon got too caught up in the singing (oh, the singing!) and failed to deliver much chemistry. When they were forced to lip sync against each other, I was veeeeeery worried. Sharon delivered a really strong performance, channeling a fun, off-kilter energy into her act. Whereas Phi Phi slung off her shoes and started frantically showing off her dance skills. How has that worked for all the other contestants this season? Oh, wait, they're all gone.

What do I make of Willam's surprising removal? I admit, I frantically searched online for more answers than the episode provided. Speculation has run rampant, especially given all the tantalizing clues scattered throughout. I do have to say that Willam's abrupt dismissal wasn't a very emotionally satisfying conclusion to the episode, although I'm happy that Phi Phi and Sharon will be sticking around. Here's my guess about what Willam did: I doubt that it's  anything terribly juicy or scandalous--a big revelation or confrontation would have been a magnificent way to end the episode. Rather, I suspect that the producers know that the reality of the situation is a little underwhelming, so they're keeping it mysterious to keep viewers tantalized.

For instance, did you notice that Rupaul didn't seem upset or betrayed by Willam's actions? Ru praised Willam as a gorgeous, talented queen, but essentially said, "You've put us in a situation where we have to kick you out, because you broke the contract." And Willam didn't deny the accusation or justify her actions, she just sort of... left.

Still, despite the frustrating lack of closure, it was damn compelling television! And I'm just happy to keep drawing the delightful, demonic Sharon Needles:

Sharon as Satan
Sharon as Satan

Be sure to check out my print shop for this week's new Drag Race portraits, and see the rest of my art from Season 4!

Rupaul's Drag Race: Season 4, Episode 7

(Chad's note: due to some technical difficulties, the images in this post won't appear correctly. Sorry!)

So, this episode didn't have any balls-out, heart-wrenching emotional highpoints, but it was fun and buoyant and a total delight. The theme of the week? READING and WRITING, honeys.

The mini-challenge teaches that reading is fundamental, a phrase and practice made famous in the unforgettable documentary Paris is Burning. Yes, it's an amazing old film about drag queens, and yes, it is legitimately known as one of the greatest documentary films ever made. Seriously, I can't stress this enough: If you like ANYTHING about Rupaul's Drag Race, you must go get Paris is Burning from Netflix, your library, the decaying husk of Blockbuster--whatever. Here is just a taste.

The actual Reading mini-challenge this week is entertaining, but not terribly impressive, compared to past seasons. Of course, Latrice and Chad are the funniest. And Phi Phi's venomous jabs are just awkward.

K, now on to WRITING. When I saw the previews for this episode, I was skeptical. "A magazine challenge? They're reeeeeally desperate for ideas, aren't they?" But I was wrong--seeing the smart queens get a chance to shine was an utter delight.

Sharon's photoshoot for her magazine Kitty Cat? IT. WAS. CLASSIC.

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She walks in, notices the outrageously studly photographer, and breaks the ice with “Have you done porn? You should really consider it.” And then she climbs a kitty stand. Seriously. When the producers shoo her off the teetering structure, her response was droll and fabulous: “You don’t know anything about fashion.”

And just to properly enrich all of your minds, I must point out that Sharon's kooky "crazy cat lady" costume was referencing another classic documentary, the amazing Grey Gardens. It's less gay, but just as wild. Take a look. The film depicts an eccentric mother and daughter, Big Edie and Little Edie, who hide away in a dilapidated old mansion, fighting, and singing, and dancing. (I can't help but mention that I named my own crazy, reclusive cat Edie after them.)

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Chad Michaels rocked an edgy, zebra-print outfit for his photoshoot. That queen can seriously handle her animal prints, right? And you know I can't resist drawing a pretty pattern.

Willam's photoshoot was pretty fabulous, too. This week, she was really rubbing me the right way--maybe I've just gotten used to her humor, but I found myself enjoying her barbs more often than not. Seriously, I thought she might win this one!

But Phi Phi deserved it--after weeks of complaints, she finally lightened up her makeup, and she had never looked better! And I appreciated her sordid, gay approach to a travel magazine.

Jiggly's photoshoot was just priceless. That jumping rope segment was just... we're talking comedy gold, people.

Once again, I totally missed the week's runway theme, not that it ever seems to matter. But there were some really good looks, and I was compelled to finally do a proper portrait of Willam:

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I thought Latrice looked fabulous, but I understood some of the judge's criticisms. Still, I wanted to draw the lovely sheen of her dress, and as I kept pushing the colors, my portrait of her made her look like The Queen Who Was On Fire. But it suits her, since she was a Goddess of the Sea last week.

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Chad Michael's looked amazing, as always. My only regret is that I didn't figure out a way to frame this to fit in her fabulous boots.

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And of course, Sharon:

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I admit, I went a little crazy with this one. But I told you--I'm a sucker for pretty patterns!

All in all, a great episode. Seriously, I wore myself out trying to capture all these fierce bitches.

Remember to check out my new PRINT SHOP, where I'm selling all my prints of Sharon, Chad, and Latrice! (as well as my best illustrations from last season!)

And my last few notes:

If you don't watch Untucked, you're really missing out. This week, we got Sharon's explanation for Willam's five o'clock shadow--apparently, it results from Willam's reluctance to use the same heavy pancake makeup the other queens do.

Also, Sharon cops to farting on the runway, which is most notable for Rupaul's flustered non-reaction.

Finally, Logo has included some deleted scenes from the Dragazine challenge, and Chad Michaels' one is DIVINE! 



Rupaul's Drag Race: Season 4, Episode 4

Wow, what an episode! Despite all the fighting and the drama (which was pretty great, itself), lets all come together and dance like maniacs while Latrice Royale "takes us to church," singing "Jesus is a Biscuit." Holy. It was really Latrice's episode to shine, and she deserved it. Did everyone love her performance as Marge, the prison guard, as much as me? There were too many great  lines from the challenge, but my favorite was when Latrice told us: "I was tapping into some serious acting talent, because Marge doesn't like nuts, but Latrice does."

Large Marge
Large Marge

What a glorious queen, right? And no, I didn't even come close to capturing the magnificence of Latrice.

Seeing Sharon in her beaver outfit was pretty great, too--I especially loved her squeaky voice and cartoonish make-up. I was very tempted to draw her that way, but opted for her catwalk look, instead.


This season, most of the catwalk themes seem like an afterthought--to both the producers and most of the queens. But Sharon came out full of old school sitcom energy, channeling Carol Burnett as a vampire lord.I liked a lot of the runway looks this week, and it was hard choosing just a few to draw. Ultimately, I picked the ones I thought would be the most fun to depict--predictably enough, I love big, geometric shapes, feathers, and shiny things!

Runway looks
Runway looks

I also loved Chad Michaels' look, but only had the time to do this quick little doodle:  Chad is such a great queen, talented performer, and gracious human being. I hope he starts getting more screen time as the season progresses!

I was very, very sad to see Madame La Queer go, but at least we were treated to a pretty amazing "lip sync for your life" that none of us will soon forget.

Seriously, Milan? Those moves were crazy. Like, I don't even... I can't...

I was delighted and astonished and a little baffled.

Perhaps Willam put it best when he described Milan's show-stopping, stage-crossing slide this way:


"He swiffered the floor with his taint."

What, and next week is The Snatch Game?

Bring it.