Monthly Archives: December 2015

rough idea, thumbnail sketch by christine mitzuk, for the boy who drew catsHere's a look at the tools of gesture drawing applied to a picture instead of isolated at the drawing co-op.

I love it when the gesture in the thumbnail version conveys the idea I'm trying to communicate. Sometimes it gets lost along the way and I have to find it again.





Ipencil drawing by christine mitzuk of boy who drew cats had an idea in my head of how I wanted the figure to behave so I tried to get the model to pose in the same way. It ended up looking stiff and not convincing. He looks like he's propping himself up to draw, which is what I wanted, but compared to the thumbnail he's not deeply engaged in his practice of drawing.  it looks very static. He has windmill limbs. All the limbs are moving outwards in different directions from a somewhat central point. They break the overall flow.



I went back to the drawing board and tried a few other poses. I was hunting for flow, real anatomy, and the sense that he's stabilizing himself with the lower arm. There's the other trip up. I was trying to make it look "real" instead of believable. I was getting lost in showing tangible facts, instead of the emotion. Back to the drawing board. Here are a few I tried.

pencil drawing by christine mitzuk of boy who drew cats

Upper left - Has an interesting overall flow but he doesn't look deeply lost in drawing. It also feels like he's straining. My neck hurts looking at it.

Right - Has a feeling that he's engaged in drawing with the forward lean but we're back to windmill limbs.

Lower left - Better. There's forward momentum. There's flow and it feels believable but there's still a bit of windmill going on. It also gives the sense that he's straining a bit to sit up and draw.


pencil drawing and final painting by christine mitzuk of boy who drew cats

For the final image I tried to downplay the windmill limbs and increase the magic moment with value.

Trying to pose the model the way I imagine the character rarely works because it's either physically impossible or just doesn't feel natural. It seems to work pretty well to have the model explore the fluidity of the pose, to let them play the character. Ultimately the image ends up being a blend of the rough sketch and information from photos, of emotion and form.

This kid looks miserable.

kid with hand decorated sheet cake

I don't know how old I was. Based on that haircut, probably about 8 or 9 years old.

My mom, bless her heart, helped me bake the cake and make all the different colors of frosting (By "helped" I mean she most likely did all the baking. There's a ton of frosting so I suspect I mixed that). I had an idea in my head for decorating the cake. It was so ALIVE in there. All the beautiful colors, the magnificent overflowing cornucopia, the joyous statement of "Happy Thanksgiving!", the beautiful border of realistic looking flowers.

The actual decoration fell short of my expectations. There's that darn perfectionism.

Some things the kid in the picture needs to hear:

Have you ever decorated a cake before? No. Well then why are you beating yourself up over the outcome? You did a pretty good job for an 8-year-old who hasn't been to culinary school. And you did all that from your head? Not too shabby. No it didn't live up to your expectations. In hind sight, did you have all the knowledge and tools to create something to match your expectations? No. You did the best you could with what you had. Did you learn something from doing this? Yes. You learned you can draw pretty well from your head, in frosting, and you learned where your knowledge gaps are so you can collect information to fill those gaps if you want to. Did you enjoy playing with the frosting and hanging out with your mom? Yes. Well then it was time well spent.

Happy Holidays everyone :)

Coming January 2016The Morrigu

I'm excited to announce that in addition to teaching classes at The Atelier in Minneapolis, I will be teaching a class at The Art Academy in St. Paul called Illustration and Imaginative Painting.

Class Description

Explore your creativity by developing an imaginative picture based upon an existing story that you select, or an idea that you originate. Work at your own pace to learn the time-honored steps of the creative, visual process – from idea generation, through preparatory work, to completed project. Emphasis will be placed on storytelling through composition and character development, as well as how color theory enhances visual communication. Students choose to work in the medium with which they are comfortable. Christine has experience to support watercolor, colored pencil, pen and ink, or oils.

Wednesdays 8:00 - 9:30 pm
Starts January 20th
8 weeks

The school is easily accessible on Snelling Ave. South, in a lovely little neighborhood. For more information and to register, please visit The Art Academy's website. Or if you have class specific questions, feel free to contact me.

Edit: do NOT park on the street. It's not allowed and cars are being ticketed. There is FREE parking in the Wells Fargo ramp 1 block away.


Come check out the 23rd Annual Women's Art Festival. ONE DAY ONLY.
I will be selling holiday and birthday cards, prints, and originals. There will also be a few special holiday deals.

digital painting of earth elemental man with antlers surrounded by green flame playing the drum by christine mitzuk
Earth Elemental

Over 125 Women Artists, Live Music, Food & Drink, Lots of fun!

watercolor of a flamingo wearing a Santa hat and strutting his stuff while other flamingos look surprised by Christine Mitzuk
Christmas Flamingo

Saturday, December 12th, 2015
9:30am - 4:30 pm
Colin Powell Center
2924 4th Ave S, Mpls
Plenty of free parking in Wells Fargo ramp within 1 block!

Free admission/$1 per person donation suggested to musician's tip fund.

candy cane oil painting front of greeting card
Holiday cards featuring my candy cane painting. Cards are approximately 4 3/4" x 7" with 5"x7" envelope. Sold in packs of 5 for $15 or singles for $4.

For more information:

Candy Cane holiday cards available here > shop now
Christmas Flamingo holiday cards available here > shop now


Here's sneak peek at what's on my drawing table. This latest project incorporates one of my favorite animals, the owl! I'm working to make this picture very dynamic and am excited about how it's progressing. I will be painting it in oil.

portion of a pencil drawing of owls
Pencil drawing on tracing paper, working out the composition and forms.

At this stage I'm working on tracing paper so I can experiment with composition. I use several different pieces, in this case with different owl shapes drawn on each of them. Since it's semitransparent paper I can layer and position the unique shapes to see how they interact and create a larger, even more interesting shape.