Author: Mark Mitchell

Can you find the missing pencil? Mary Sullivan paints with a wacky Wacom

from “Hidden Picture Playground” (“Highlights for Children” magazine) There are a few things you should know about illustrator Mary Sullivan. She is a yoga instructor. She has a dog named Scout and cats named Rasta and The Cheat who often keep her company in her studio when she’s working. She draws all the time. She’s not driven to draw, she says. She just likes to draw. But — and this is important — she does not much like to paint. Not with a real brush, I mean. She does paint with the brush tool,  in Photoshop, on the computer. That speeds things up a bit. And it’s a good thing because in recent years her workload has grown and grown and grown  — to include hidden pictures, puzzles, stories, poems, nursery rhymes, books, covers,  cartoons and even kids’ comics — for the Highlights Magazine Group, Boyds Mills Press, Phonics Comics, School Zone Publishing, Scott Foresman Co. and other clients.  Last year she was signed up by the Kid Shannon Agency of New York, which means that her assignments won’t be slowing down anytime soon. From “Innovative Kids” Mary graduated with a B.F.A. from the University of Texas at Austin. As a child she had dreamed of being a fine-arts painter maybe one day.  But early in her college career she was told point blank that she was not a painter. She was an illustrator. She was devastated– then relieved, because she was already starting to see that she did not care that much for applying pigment to canvases....

Read More

Childhood seen: Children’s book tells a story of a painting

Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose by John Singer Sargent Last year my friends at the Susan Salzman Rabb & Associates Literary Publicists sent me a children’s book by Candian author Hugh Brewster. A former editor for Scholastic, Inc., Brewster has written on many subjects for young readers —  including the Tsar Nicholas’s daughter Anastasia, the Titanic, World War Two and dinosaurs. Here he tells a story of the great painter John Singer Sargent and a work that he completed over nearly two months in the small English village of Broadway in 1885. The painting is one of the most beloved of the late 19th century and launched Sargent’s career. But Brewster focuses on the drama of a little girl, Kate, who almost got to pose in the painting, but at the last minute didn’t,  for various casting reasons (related mostly to her age. She was only four.) I reviewed the book in the February, 2008 issue of American Artist magazine. You can read it below, as well the inteview that Brewster recently gave to this blog.  “Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose: The Story of Painting,” with paintings by John Singer Sargent, by Hugh Brewster Reading level: All Ages Format: 8″ x 9 1/4″ (203.2 x 234.9 mm) 48 pages Published: September 2007 by Kids Can Press, Toronto Review by Mark G. Mitchell When his once-promising career as a portrait painter blew up in his face with the unveiling of his picture of Madame Pierre...

Read More

Drawing Mythbusters

  Illustrations and mini-lesson by Theresa Bayer Myth #1 –  Some people are just naturally born knowing how to draw, and the rest of us unfortunates will never, ever, ever be able to draw. Drawing is like music and sports. It takes training and practice. Sure, there are some people born with a knack for drawing. But the truth is that drawing is a learned skill, and that anyone who really wants to–and believes they can– can learn it. Think of Olympic athletes. They are born with coordination and strength, but to make the most of their abilities, to win the gold medal, they find the best coach they can afford, they get years of training, and they practice daily. The same is true of great artists–they were trained in figure drawing, in perspective, proportion, and composition. And they practiced. As the renowned painter of ancient Greece Apelles said, “Never a day without a line.”  Myth #2 – I don’t need a drawing class. I just want to learn how to paint. If you are in a big hurry to learn how to paint, here’s a hot tip. Take a few drawing classes first. This is because you will need to know where on your canvas to put the paint. Knowing how to get the head the right size, how to foreshorten, how to apply perspective, how to get the whole...

Read More

“Make Your Marks and Splashes”

  The core education of this membership site is 12 (home study)  lessons:  Make Your Marks and Splashes: A Power Course on Creating Effective Illustrations for Childrens Books, Magazines and Other Media for Children.   This fun, practical unique online class will provide you with the basics of illustrating for children’s books, magazines and other media for children, and will help you with all of your art-making from now on. Those editors and art directors at children’s book publishing houses want to see samples of your color work. So expect to complete some finished, full color pieces for your story. You can upload your best piece from the course to this site, if you wish.  You’ll learn all the steps in preparing thumbnails, a book “dummy” and a submission package for an editor and/or art director at a publishing house.  You’ll discover how to use visual references, transfer sketches to a painting surface and work in an assured way with color. Learn the right methods for submitting your final art (after you land that book illustration contract!) and how to effectively market yourself and your work for future assignments.  The lessons in this home study program are by Mark Mitchell, an award winning children’s book author and illustrator. (He did the illustration at the top of this post that appeared in Appleseeds.) More about the course You’ll receive a hands-on  introduction to children’s book and magazine illustration. You’ll gain an exceptional understanding of the children’s book market and how to...

Read More

Develop your artistic confidence here

Illustration by Mark Mitchell from The Trail North by Charlotte Baker Montgomery (Eakin Press) Congratulations! You’ve landed on a blog and an education-community site intended for you. You won’t find another site quite like this. Here you have art lessons. But they’re more than art lessons. More like revelations. You’ll find design and drawing tips. But they’re more than tips. They’re keys to easily tackle most picture-making challenges that you may face. You’ll learn how to draw without “learning how to draw.” Anyone can do this, with a high interest level, the right information and a little bit of “right practice”.  You’ll get these here. You’ll find painting instruction  — but a unique kind that can free you as it encourages and dares you to explore several painting mediums, with brush or mouse. You’ll discover how to grow your illustration from a thumbnail “seed” to a living-breathing, full-sized sketch–  and “make a scene, fusing the  skills of the draftsman with those of the storyteller. You’ll be shown what I call the “Howard Pyle Theorem” (to remind you that illustration is a special kind of theater) and the “Lynne and Tessa” factor, which proves how story imagery can reach beyond the frame and maybe the page! In monthly interviews you’ll meet successful children’s book illustrators and see how they work.  They might share some trade secrets with you. You’ll find news roundups of the field,  mini-lessons by guest artist-instructors, exposure to the books, blogs and projects of your fellow illustrators. You’ll find an online community and support group and a clearing house for an astounding array of resources and information. And gradually you’ll be able to...

Read More

A Drawing Secret

Yes, please! I want to know the "crazy best" drawing secret!

Join us on Facebook!

Video art lessons!

Richard Robinson Painting Instruction

Click here to watch the video.

Recent Comments