Tag Archives: picture making

I'm not quite sure where it came from. The idea arrived, and delighted me with its silliness.

I pretty much followed my usual process on this one: drawing, reference, value studies, color studies, paint.

Line Drawing and Value Studies This time I drew on tracing paper and did minimal values with the pencil. Then I scanned it in and broadened the range of values with darker darks and a few lighter lights. I was initially thinking this would be a blue sky with puffy white clouds.mitzuk-flying-turtles-values

Reference Some of the reference I used for this project included shots of turtles from our local zoo (and our doctor's office of all places). I also purchased a few toy critters to hold up outside so I could see what the value relationships might look between the light shapes, dark shapes, and background.flying-reference


Color studies I did a few in gouache on 300 lb watercolor paper and a few digitally. Once I got the color idea down in front of me, I decided I didn't really like the blue sky and puffy white clouds. Those colors and lighting situation didn't have much drama or story to compliment the more dramatic view of the turtles soaring overhead. I decided to experiment with sunrise or sunset colors and lighting. Perhaps they're on their way for a mission, or returning from one?flying-turtles-color-studies

Paint Oil on oil primed linen stretched over a board with bracers on the back.

oil painting on primed linen of turtles flying with propellars coming out of the top of their shells and wearing aviator caps by christine mitzuk
Flying Turtles

a photo of many drawing pencilsIn the context of getting ideas out and working out a picture, one of the things I learned at The Atelier was that maybe the media is in the way.

There are many things happening when I'm generating ideas and working out a picture (I'm guessing others have a similar experience). I'm sorting out thoughts in my head, maybe writing down key words or phrases to help the idea along, and trying to make the pencil or other media make marks.

If the mark making tool I'm using is difficult to use, getting the idea out on paper feels more difficult. For example, if I'm trying to write and the pen I'm using gets stuck or drags, so do my thoughts. On the other hand, if the pen I'm using glides across the page, I experience more flow of thoughts.

I'm not saying there's a perfect tool out there that will allow the ideas to flow freely and effortlessly and every picture will be AMAZING. What I'm suggesting is this, if getting ideas out seems overly frustrating, maybe experiment with different media, different tools. I try this out sometimes (I'd like to experiment more).

Other sticking points are that my skills aren't up to where my tastes and idea expectations are set, or that I haven't used a certain media enough to be comfortable with it. I'm thinking both of these will take practice, not being afraid of my mistakes, and a plentiful amount of play, experimentation, and doodling to get familiar with the media. I hope to remind myself of this next time I start a project.

Then there's what a tool does for me. Right now I know I think best when creating thumbnail sketches with pencil rather than on the computer. Using a soft pencil lets me skate across the page and makes getting ideas out a little easier. For getting myself in a more open, playful mindset I'm liking kid's crayons which require some effort to make marks because there's some serious drag on the paper and when layering crayon, but I'm willing to trade that physical awkwardness for the mental playground.