Tag Archives: pencil drawing

Looking for an art class for fun? An art class for continuing your studies? Yes to both? Winter-Spring term starts January 22, 2018 at The Atelier and I have several classes to offer.

Costumed Figure Drawing and Painting is Back!
(only offered during the winter-spring term)

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

This class offers the opportunity for hands-on learning in dealing with a costumed figure. Emphasis will be placed on the visible form, gesture, underlying structure, differing characteristics of fabric, and selecting from nature to create a visually pleasing picture. Using the sight-size method, students will develop a minimum of 3 costumed figure studies. This 15-week class will be broken into 3 five-week poses. Each pose will feature different costuming.

Depending on skill level, students are welcome to work in pencil, charcoal, or oil paint. Watercolor or pastels are also welcome. During the 15 weeks, students are welcome to do a sustained pose study for the full 5 weeks, or multiple studies from different views as spots are available.

Starting TUESDAY, Jan. 23, 4:15 - 6:45 PM
$250, 15 weeks.  Scroll down for registration information.

Portrait and Interior

portrait class at the atelier in minnesota

Students draw in charcoal and may progress to oil or pastels. The portrait model will be set within an interior. Advanced students can take advantage of the entire composition. Capturing the likeness is emphasized. Color and techniques in oil and pastel are covered.

Starting TUESDAY, Jan. 23, 7:00 - 9:30 PM
OR THURSDAY, Jan. 25, 7:00 - 9:30 PM
$250, 15 weeks.
Instructors: Christine Mitzuk (Tues.) & Laura Tundel (Thurs.)
Scroll down for registration information.


Color Mixing Class - Paxton Palette Values Deepen your understanding of color and expand your color possibilities. In this course we'll put color theory into context with exercises, exploration, and practical application of theory used in various
painting scenarios. Topics include: the color wheel; ways to alter chroma; the relative nature of color attributes; color meaning; color harmony; color constancy; and simultaneous contrast.

Color 1 or similar, and previous painting experience are strongly recommended. Edit: color 1 and some  painting experience is recommended, however if you have a basic understanding of some color theory that should be enough to get you started. We will be using oil paints. If you don't want to use solvents I can recommend solvent-free painting materials. Contact Christine with any questions and for supply list: cmitzuk@gmail.com

Starting THURSDAY, Jan. 25, 4:15 - 6:45 PM
$230, 15 weeks. Scroll down for registration information.


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

Stretch your imagination! During this class, students will develop imaginative pieces based upon a story or individual ideas. We will move from idea generation to preparatory work and on to final art. Emphasis will be placed on composition, and storytelling. Students may choose to work in the medium with which they are comfortable. Christine has experience to support watercolor, colored pencil, pen and ink, or oil paint.

Starting THURSDAY, Jan. 25, 7:00 - 9:30 PM
15 weeks, $230
Scroll down for registration information.


General Info

During the Winter-Spring term, my classes at The Atelier run for 15 weeks, with some time off for the Spring holiday (unless we need a make-up class).

The Atelier Studio Program of Fine Art is a friendly little traditional art school located in Northeast Minneapolis, MN (a bit on the outskirts of Dinky Town). The school is on the second floor of a red brick warehouse on the corner of Stinson Blvd. and East Hennepin Ave. Free off-street parking is available.

Where's the Gesture Class?

The Costumed Figure Drawing and Painting is in the Gesture Class time slot. Fear not! The Gesture Class will be offered again during the summer session which starts about the middle of May.

Register for classes at The Atelier one of three ways:

Option 1: Call The Atelier at 612-362-8421. Main hours are 9am - 4pm Central Time or during evening classes. Please leave a message if you don't get a live person.
Option 2: Print out the registration form from the course catalog PDF.
Option 3: Contact me and I'll help you out,

My interpretation of the May Queen is a companion piece to Jack in the Green. Their world is bleeding through to our own.

I'll show more of the process some time after I finish the painting. For now, here's a shot of the drawing. I hope you enjoy it.

drawing of woman as the May Queen  wearing flowing gown turning into flowers, and a butterfly wing corset walking down a gray city street
May Queen, 9"x12" drawing on Dura-Lar


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.

Drawing on Vellum

For the past several projects, I've been using Canson Vidalon Translucent Vellum for my drawings. I like the surface. I also like being able to have my line drawing on one side and develop the values on the other (that way I don't lose my drawing if I have to erase values). What's a bit of a bummer is that the last two drawings have rippled.

I'm not certain exactly what's causing it. I'm guessing it's a combination of factors.

  • I really worked the values, made the darks very dark. The previous drawings didn't have as developed values and didn't ripple.
  • I did have 2 sheets of paper for my hand to rest on. Maybe I need to get my hand up completely off the paper.
  • On one drawing I taped around the drawing on both sides (I do the line work on one side and the values on the other so I don't lose my drawing). On the other drawing I only taped one side of the vellum.
  • Both drawings were taped for 3 or more weeks.
  • It has also been pretty humid around here.

My Attempt to Fix the Ripples

First I sandwiched the drawing between regular paper on top of board, placed a clean dishtowel (flour sack cotton dish towel) over that and ironed it a bit on the lowest setting. I also used the iron dry not wet.

The drawing is on top of 5-10 pieces of letter size paper. I taped the upper and lower edge of the drawing, which is 9"x12", to the board.
The drawing is on top of 5-10 pieces of letter size paper. I taped the upper and lower edge of the drawing, which is 9"x12", to the board.

Next, while it was still a little warm, I "stretched" the drawing by making a small stack of 8.5"x11" paper (5-10 sheets), then taped the drawing to a board over the stack along the top and lower edges of the vellum.





I placed some regular tabloid size paper over the stack.
I placed some regular tabloid size paper over the stack.
Weighed down drawing.
I placed another board over the first and then weighted it all down with some heavy books.

I put some tabloid size paper down then placed the taped drawing and board face down on the paper.





Then I weighted down the whole stack with heavy books. The drawing is a little less rippled. Maybe it needs a longer time under the books.


Complete Avoidance of the Problem

I either have to work faster, not tape my edges and clean up after, or switch products if I'm going to continue to do full value drawings on vellum. The latest drawing I only taped on one side. It has still rippled a little but not as much as the previous project. We'll see what happens. Art on!

Update! Suggested Solutions and Process Changes

I really like using the Canson Vidalon Vellum so was thrilled to hear back from Ed the Fine Art Education Director & Technical Consultant of Canson. The following is his input (posted with his permission):

"It is definitely the humidity.  I'm in the Chicago area and the humidity has been high.  As a result paper has a tendency to curl more.  It will eventually uncurl by itself if left in a dry area.  But who wants to wait?  For wet media, you can use a hair dryer, but for drawings I suggest an iron. place the drawing between two sheets of baking parchment (silicone coated paper).  Set your iron on the lowest setting and iron.  Then take the drawing with the parchment and place it on a cool surface (a kitchen counter top or piece of glass works)  and cover with a piece of glass or a baking sheet.  This will pull the heat from the paper and flatten the paper.  If it is exposed to more humidity it will wrinkle again.  When you are not drawing it is good to cover the drawing with the pad or put the drawing back into the pad.  This will minimize the exposure to the air especially this time of the year.

If you use a hair dryer, you will need to do the same, placing it on a cool surface and covering with another cool object."

I also wrote him that I pulled the tape off my current drawing in an attempt to reduce the rippling (which has helped a bit) and he responded,

"Yes, removing the tape will also help relieve the curling as you described.  When working you could also tape the four corners to your drawing board.  This will also keep it flat.

The paper flattening process is what photographers did once they printed their images.  This is a wet process and they needed to flatten then once the image was dry."

Now I have some new methods to try and a few changes to make in my process that will hopefully do the trick in this darn humidity. Thanks Ed!

Update: All 4 Mini paintings have been sold. The drawings are still available!

Two sold. Two remain.

framed dragon eye paintings 2"x2"
Dollar coin in photograph to show scale of art.

I have two dragon eye paintings available for purchase.

The oil paintings are about 2"x2" and are framed at 5 1/4" x 5 1/4". Each painting is strung with wire across the back so they are ready to hang on your wall.

Each mini canvas is mounted to pH buffered matboard using Acrylic Gel Medium.


Dragon Eye Pencil Drawings

tiny 2 inch square dragon eye pencil drawing by christine mitzuk
A shot of the eyes by themselves

If black and white is more your taste, the drawings are also available for purchase.

Each drawing is about 2"x2".

Each framed drawing measures about 8 4/3" x 8 3/4".




Framed Dragon Eye Drawings

If you're interested, drop me a line. Price may vary because of shipping.

I've been wanting to do this for a while and I'm finally getting around to it. Dragons. Dragon eyes to be specific. For this project part of my research included a field trip to a local reptile store, and a friend sent me pictures of her beautiful bearded dragon lizard. Fun!

christine_mitzuk_dragoneyes_drawingDrawing Dragon Eyes

The measure about 2.125"x2.125", pencil on Rives BFK. The Rives is mainly used as a print making paper. I know a few artists that like using it for their drawings and I like the look of their work so I thought I'd give it a try. I used graphite pencils: B, 4B, 6B. I tried smearing around some graphite powder from sharpening my pencils. I didn't like that very much on this paper. I found it difficult to lift out. Next time I might use more of the vinyl eraser rather than the kneaded one.

christine_mitzuk_dragoneyes_paintPainting Dragon Eyes

A friend gave me a few 2"x2" canvases, already with a base color (one blue, one purple, one lime-green, and one white). I don't think I've ever worked on toned canvas so I thought I'd give them a try too. I'm liking having one of the values already on the canvas.

Both the drawings and paintings will eventually be available for purchase. I'm hoping to have them completed and framed in time for Gen Con (July 30 - Aug. 2, 2015). Then they'll be available at my table in Artist Alley.

New pencil figure drawing!

This is a study I did during the Costumed Figure Class I teach at The Atelier.

Study of a woman in a fancy dress, with a flower in her hair.
Pencil on bristol board, approximately 7"x11".
Why the bargain bin pricing? I really like how the drawing turned out but there are 2 small puncture holes in the upper right corner.



It is complete! The pencil drawing for Bear Cliffs is ready. Next I'll scale it up by scanning it and having it printed at 16"x20". Then I'll transfer it to the board for oil paint. I'm excited to start painting!

fantasy art called bear cliffs pencil drawing on vellum by christine mitzuk
Pencil drawing on vellum, created in preparation for an oil painting. I needed to figure out the values before I started the painting.