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Student reviews

Hi Mark:

I just had to let you be the first to know (well, after my husband)...I sold
5 illustrations!!!! 

I will retain the rights to the illustrations too.They are for
online use by author Susanna Hill (she has about a dozen books) She has developed an online how to writing course.  She wanted to have some illustrations to complement
the text and be story-starters.  She has work from 6 or so artists included - and WOW, I'm one of them! I met Susanna online through the 12 x 12 writing group and I'm participating in the Perfect Picture Book Friday reviews. She saw an illustration (Grumpy Cat) on my blog.  One thing led to another ...She asked to see more illustrations and was very complimentary. Anyway - just wanted to share the news and  thank you so much for all you have done for me -instruction wise, confidence wise and career wise.   I am polishing some pieces and hoping to submit somewhere for
consideration in a month or two.  

I've joined SCBWI and will be working on my
artist page.  Also exploring how to do digital touchup and applications. Oh- one question - how long may I continue to participate in critiques? (I know my year is up or almost.) Thanks again, Mark.  I'm off to do a happy dance.


I must say that when I started your class I stepped into
another world. I had taken a few art classes before but your lessons and all of the tremendous amount of information on illustrators, videos, interviews, critiques, techniques, ebooks etc.

I feel I have entered into a delightful world of interesting and gracious folks that do hard and worthwhile work but fun. Thanks for all the work you do in making this happen. You are one busy guy.

Look forward to Thurs. critique night.

Best to you,

Dear Mark,

I just finished the session #1.  I really loved it though it was difficult
> for me to scribble.  Your session is so much more than I thought.  I really love the spiritual aspect of your art lessons.  I am electrified.

Hopefully I can wake up my inner artist.  I am grateful that I am being
 able to take your course.  Just wanted to thank you. 


Have to credit the dominant and best friends with complement for the colors! Mark, you even have me looking at my photos and vegetables differently...and it's all good. The color to surprise me the most was when a little cadmium orange spilled into blue-green. I did not see that one coming, a nice surprise.

Mary Livingston

Your video's are like gold treasures!

I'm taking drawing 2 as one of my electives in school.
My instructor is a young ____
woman who is going back to
___ after this class, she has been here 5 yrs to
gain her
masters degree.

She is a wonderful artist but can not teach.
It has been so frustrating giving up 6
hrs every Sunday and
not learn anything new. She gives an assignment and expects the

class to figure it out looking at her example.

Last Sunday was perspective and I left there so confused.

Your perspective videos
are so clear and help to put into
practice what you are teaching that I am able

today to draw the bedroom where Rosie (the puppy in my book)
is hiding under the
bed, there is a dresser and a window in
the room and it is totally believable! I'm
so excited!!

Honestly, I believe you are God sent in my life.

Thank you for all that you are giving to your students!

A very grateful 60 yr old,

Mary Martin

P.S. Use part or all the text and use my full name if you want.

Heck, I'll provide
my first born if that will help get the
message out about the value of every email,
tutorial or
feedback you provide.

I really believe you are one of the most valuable assets in my
life, Mark,
especially on my journey to getting that
first children's book out of me and on

"I know I hated my textbooks in school and wish all textbook
could just go through your course once!"

+Mark Mitchell Thank you for making color theory actually make sense!! I know I should be working on the assignments from the first few lessons first but your course seems to read like a blockbuster that I just can't put down :-D So I peeked in to the other lessons and I was hooked on to color theory :-)

+Pooja Srinivas

Last month, I took my first illustration class (Intermediate Illustration) at Laguna Gloria. The class was taught by Mark Mitchell, and he is a wonderful artist and art teacher. I don't want to go into specifics about what I learned from the art class, because I don't want to infringe on Mark's intellectual property, but I will say that I learned great information about color, image placement, watercolor materials and how to evaluate my work. Mark was incredibly patient and a wonderful teacher, and I enjoyed hanging out with the other students in the class. Overall, I give the class 2 thumbs up and I can't wait to take the fall illustration class!
Angel Thornton (see her ballerina illustration on her blog)

Little Red cover by Nancy Kennedy

Art by Nancy Kennedy http://www.nannankennedy.com/gallery.html

I’m so grateful that you’ve made this course available to someone like me. I’m  really learning to pull my painting together with each lesson I do.

I’ve been trying to incorporate each new exercise I learn into one 
painting, as you might tell from the photo I included in this email.

The next stage in my painting is to darken the painting by adding
more tree
trucks to the background, in watercolor only. I’m trying to
keep in mind
the amount of dominate color, which is blue/green, and
balance the light,
dark and midtones.

The wolf will be the darkest subject. The only thing
will draw in ink
will be his eye. His eye will have a deep redish iris.
As soon as I’m
finished I will post it on Wiggio for critique.

Thanks again for offering such a wonderful course.

Nancy Kennedy (See the Little Red Riding Hood illustration on her blog

Thanks so much for checking out the time [Singapore time zone
for the online group critique session] for me.
Unfortunately I wasn't able to make it! Next time I hope.

And I just wanted to let you know that I'm enjoying the course
immensely. Fun AND so many exciting and useful things to
learn! Thank you for sharing so generously with us :)

Warm regards,
Melissa de Silva

A couple of years ago, I had an idea for a kids’ book about George 

Washington, and  started playing around with drawings for it. And 

quickly realized I needed some professional help. So I went looking to 

see if there was an online course that taught  Children’s Book 

Illustration. I found a couple that looked interesting, but I kept 

visiting the website of one in particular…  Mark Mitchell’s Make Your 

Splashes –Make Your Marks! 

Mark’s course focused on watercolor, which is my favorite 

medium. And I really liked his illustration style. Looking over the 

course information,  I also saw that the lessons weren’t “canned”

assignments that everyone did, but  lessons on the principles of 

illustration that I could apply to my own projects. 

The  course was also VERY reasonably priced, and still is. I think now, 

I’m most impressed at how Mark is continually adding to the course… 

videos, updated lessons, and more.  I can definitely recommend his 

course to anyone interested in learning how to  illustrate for children!

One thing that has been really helpful and REALLY fun is Mark’s monthly

online critique sessions with his past and present students. Lots of 

advice can be found there, along with oodles of inspiration! And I’ve 

discovered that most children’s book artists are really big kids 



Something I didn’t expect to happen during the course, was to get 

hired to illustrate someone else’s book! When illustration opportunities 

come to Mark’s attention, he’ll often e-mail his students about them. 

One morning last year, I received an e-mail from Mark about a man who

was looking for an illustrator. On a whim, I did a super quick watercolor 

sketch, and sent it to the author...

Kim Fry's Thistle Dew blog. Read about Kim's experience of illustrating 

an e-book in her first paid children's book illustration assignment.

Slylvia LiuLand blog, art by Sylvia Liu

Are you looking for a great last minute present for a loved one who dreams of being a children's

illustrator? You will not regret investing in author-illustrator Mark Mitchell's online course on 

children's book illustration, Make Your Splashes, Make Your Marks.

Several years ago I came across Mark's blog, "How to Be a Children's Book Illustrator" and his 

self-paced online course. I had both art and illustration experience, but I wanted to learn some

specifics about illustrating children's books. Little did I know that I would learn from an amazingly 

talented and generous teacher and join a vibrant and supportive community of illustrators.  

When I took the course, the structure was  slightly different, but the two main things I got out of it

are still there: 

1. Key drawing and painting tips that I use every day. Every time I take an art class, I learn a new technique or get inspired in new ways. Mark's course is jammed with valuable and concrete tips, such as (1) his drawing and design tips, including the "scribbled start" to drawing, and (2) his lessons on color theory and the use of a restricted palette. I had studied color theory before but I truly had an "aha" moment when I learned about "dueling colors."

2. Being part of a supportive online critique group. Students are invited to take part in an ongoing series of monthly critiques, where others help critique their illustrations. I still stop by sometimes to get my work critiqued or to be inspired. Every time I've had a piece critiqued, I've been able to improve it. Students are also part of a listserv where people exchange links, articles, and discuss topics of interest.

Sylivia Liu (read an interview with Mark on her review post)

"...A sense of freedom I've 
never known before."
"Your course has given me a new burst of energy and
excitement. I feel like a child again playing with the
paint and my own imagination, but with a much firmer
foundation. I can now actually understand why a
painting I gave up on didn't work. It's amazing.
It's a sense of freedom I've never known before.

Thanks again,
Linda Bray

As an illustrator, everyone expects you to draw, draw, draw, and then draw even 

more.  What most people don't know is that even once a publisher expresses interest

in your work, you oftentimes are still competing against several other very talented 

artists for that book contract. There are many, many stages in the life of the artwork 

of a picture book before it ever gets to that final stage of publication. 

Last year, I  fortunately ran across Mark G. Mitchell’s Online Course on Children's 

Book Illustration.  I was very impressed. Little did I know that this

course is taught by SCBWI's own Mark Mitchell from just around the corner in 

Austin. Of course,  I had to check it out - and what I saw really  blew me away. The 

publishing business is all  about heart and technique - and Mark's course,

"Make Your Splashes - Make Your Marks," covers issues vital to the children's book 

illustrator. It addresses gestural drawings, backgrounds, thumbnails, storyboarding, 

deliverables to the Art Director, book dummies, structure and flow, and

many other vital components of the children's book illustration process.

I was already planning to take the course, but - here I am - truly excited- that I won 

the  online course, "Make Your Splashes - Make Your Marks," at a silent auction at 

the Austin SCBWI conference on February 18! GO ILLUSTRATORS!

Carolyn Dee

Southwest Texas SCBWI Newsletter

Thanks so much for the time you took to explain and 
suggest everything in your email!

I never cease to marvel at the really rich, important things
you offer your students.


Hi Mark, Hope all is well! Me everything is going smooth, well I decided it's time for

me to go back to school so I'm in the Fall semseter.  Quite happy about it. It's been

jotting in my head the last three years.

..Anyways just wanted to let you know some recipes Illustrated got accepted on the

draw and cook website and my easter theme one will be included in the Spring 

collection yahooo. Here a link to it and also thank you for your course it helped me 

alot in developing myself as an artist.

Tamara Campeau

"I'm still in touch with some of those students and we look back at how far we've come since then."

    "When I took Mark's class, I was at best a doodler with a desire to draw well but without the background or drive to work really hard towards my goal. The class environment was very supportive, with students taking their cues from Mark's way of finding the good in your work and his gentle way of helping you see where you could improve."
   "I'm still in touch with some of those students, and we look back at how far we've come since then. But I remember that class as my first real step towards taking my art seriously. More than that, with Mark's help I created a piece that is still in my portfolio and which still draws great reactions from people who see it."
Erik Kuntz, writer, iillustrator, teacher designer and comics artist, Austin, TX

"My first introduction to children's book illustration and it's still the most helpful resource I've ever tried."

   "I'm contacted from time to time by illustrators who are starting out or need a jumpstart and want to know where to begin. If they are remotely local, I always highly recommend your AMOA class. I took it over 8 years ago (WOW) as my first introduction to children's book illustration and it's still the most helpful resource I've ever tried. I learned SO much."

“Now that you may be offering it online, the "local" bit won't matter!"

“I have always felt like you taught me how to do a jigsaw puzzle--taking the mystery out of the pieces of the process and giving me the technical know-how so I could put it all together and focus on the creating.

Laura Logan, Illustrator, Austin, Texas

"...It was fantastic."

    "If there is anything you want to learn about illustrating children's books, Mark Mitchell is the teacher for you. I took his course at Laguna Gloria Art School in Austin and it was fantastic. He taught us everything: laying out the book, making the drawings, creating and using a color wheel based on a four-color process, using water color techniques, getting published, and marketing your book. Mark appears to be very laid back, but he has a real knack for organizing and presenting information, and he gives excellent feedback to help his students build their skills. I am so looking forward to his online class."

Linda Seder, Artist, Austin, Texas

"A huge sigh of relief.."

   "In all of my research (on-line and in books) in the last several years, I have never come across a clearer, more work-able approach to color that can be applied practically to a painting...and I have looked far and wide for this information, recognizing that it was of major importance.... The need for a sustainable, predictably successful approach to color, for illustration as well as fine art, became crystal clear to me when I switched from oil painting to watercolors...the old 'keep messing with it until it's right' approach just was NOT working with watercolor... (Is this the 'shadow' side of watercolor's wonderfulness...unforgiving??)

"As you predicted, the results are immediately recognizable. I heave a huge sigh of relief!

"In HUGE appreciation,

Susan Sorrell Hill, Artist, Northern California

Imagekind Gallery

"I really enjoyed Mark's approach. It was inspirational!"

Lisa Stora, Austin, Texas

"...A Wealth of Practical Information!"

   "Mark Mitchell is a delightful teacher. Each class brings a wealth of practical information yet coupled with plenty of time for releasing your creativity to produce viable images. His sense of humor makes the time fly by and you quickly forget how bad your back hurts from sitting on those bar stools!"

Diane Carr, counselor and life coach, Austin, Texas

Illustration by Sir John Tenniel 

"Art school in a teacup!"
-- The Mad Hatter, Wonderland

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Draw and Paint for Children's Books
Make Your Splashes - Make Your Marks!
A self-paced online course on creating effective illustrations for children's books magazines and other media for kids. 

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