Monthly Archives: July 2014

oil painting of a woman holding a sand dollar and staring dreamily into the distance, perhaps she's a mermaid, by christine mitzuk
A personal piece, Sea Daydream.

This piece went through a LOT of changes from the initial concept. Maybe I'll post some of the process for this one at some point. We'll see.

She's an original painted with oils on linen canvas mounted to board, and framed. She'll be with me on display at Gen Con. I plan to have limited edition prints ready as well.

Today was our last day. What a great week.
Julie brought in celebratory donuts from Sara Jane's Bakery. Thanks Julie!

Celebratory Donuts

Here's where we left off. She did color studies in colored pencil. Then Julie decided to try something new and gave gouache a whirl. Here's a shot of some of her process (the "Borged" Joan Crawford).



Lisa-Marie illustrated her LMNOP (Lisa-Marie, Not [Obviously] Presley). Here's a shot of some of her tools and her color explorations. We expanded her comfort zone of color.


Look for her art. She did a fabulous Faux-Fiti book where she took her very cool sketches and drawings and superimposed them onto photos she took of signs and buildings around St. Paul. It's an unnumbered datebook so you can use it any year, any month, with generous sized squares for notes. Or just buy it to enjoy the creative juiciness.

I thoroughly enjoyed teaching this workshop. Thank you Julie, Lisa-Marie, and Kathy (who had to cut her week short) for make it a wonderful, inspiring experience.

Art on!

This year's summer illustration workshop is coming to a close. Only one day left and there will be donuts. Thanks Julie!

Here are a few shots of some of the projects where they stand today. I'm really enjoying seeing what folks are coming up with. Fun!

What happens when you cross Joan Crawford with a Borg? Julie is finding out. Here she's experimenting with a color study.
Lisa Marie, a.k.a. LMNOP, is illustrating her alias. Here she's adjusting the P (platypus wearing a pinafore, on a pogo stick). At the left edge of the image you can see a corner of one of her favorite sketching tools, her Samsung Note 2.


Sometimes I'll finish a piece and feel like I added a new layer of skill and be excited about the results.

digital painting of the astrological sign Scorpio by christine mitzuk to be used in Llewellyn's 2015 Astrological Calendar
Scorpio. This image is one of the astrological images I created for Llewellyn's 2015 Astrological Calendar.

Sometimes it'll feel like I'm pushing a boulder up a hill. There's a new concept or skill I'll be trying to grasp and incorporate into the latest picture. There's frustration. I can kind of understand the concept. I can see it used in other people's work. I'll have a plan of how I want the image to look. I'll try and try but it just isn't "there" yet. I just can't seem to make my hand and brain cooperate and get this new thing to work. I'll want to flail and shake my fists at Art and the universe, "I thought I understood what to do, why can't I make this work?! What am I missing?! WHY CAN'T I GET IT??! Arrrrgh!" (Yes. Hyperbole. Let's just roll with it.)

At times like this, here's one of the things I tell myself, "It is what it is. I'm at where I'm at."

That doesn't mean I've given up. Nor does it mean I'm resigning myself to a plateau of a certain skill level. To me it just means I have accumulated skills enough to make a picture look a certain way. Sure I don't "get it" right now, whatever the skill or concept might be. If I keep at it, eventually something will take shape. The outcome might not be what I expected but it'll be mine.

Illustration Workshop Day 12014 Illustration Workshop Day 1

Today I gave talks on process and composition. Everyone is working hard: brainstorming, drawing out thumbnails, hunting down reference. They look so serious. Trust me, there were plenty of laughs.

The process being: research (if need more information about a character or story); brainstorming with words and thumbnails; larger rough sketch working out composition; gather reference for missing information about form, textures, figures, objects; value study; color study (if needed); tighter sketch/drawing at full size for the final; finalize image in chosen media.

Sure, I get paid to teach. That helps keep me in art supplies. But I also get something else out of it.

I learn.

digital painting of the astrological sign Libra by christine mitzuk to be used in Llewellyn's 2015 Astrological Calendar

When I prepare materials or talk with a student, I have to think about what I know. I need to break it down into steps so I can communicate the process to draw a face, or a figure, create an illustration, or paint with oils or watercolor. Sometimes a step is so integrated into my process, it has become automatic. I have to reach back in memory and think about how I learned it. Why I do it.

One way of describing something doesn't always work with everyone, so I try to find different ways to talk about the same idea. One person might grasp a concept better through analogy. Another might be easier to communicate with through specific steps, or an "if-then" process flow.

I also see gaps clearer in my own learning. This is great because I enjoy researching the various art components and filling those gaps.

If you're looking for fun learning opportunities, my next teaching/learning opportunity starts next week. I'll be doing a week long illustration workshop at The Atelier. There are some spaces available. You can sign up by contacting The Atelier.

Art on!

This weekend I'll be spending my days at CONvergence over in Bloomington, MN. This year's theme is A Midsummer Night's Dream. It's all about Urban Fantasy. The official guests, panel discussions, activities, and movies all touch on this topic. I'm really looking forward to it.

"CONvergence is an annual convention for fans of Science Fiction and Fantasy in all media: a 4-day event with more than 6,000 members, and the premiere event of our kind in the upper mid-west."

digital painting of the astrological sign Leo by christine mitzuk to be used in Llewellyn's 2015 Astrological Calendar

There's lots to do and see. As for me,
I have several pieces of art, prints, calendars and a few jewelery pieces for sale in the Art Show. Specifically, I'll have a few prints of the images I created for the astrological calendar available for sale.

Thursday evening from 8:30 - 9:30 I'll be heading the Art Show Meetup.

Friday 3:30 - 4:30 I'll be helping with a Costume Sketching event.

If you want to attend this year, you can still purchase a 4-day membership ($120 at the door). Otherwise, get one early for next year when the price is cheaper. There's usually a lower price offered for several months after the current year's con.