The Latest Issue of CP Magic

The latest issue of CP Magic is now available and waiting to inform, entertain, and inspire you!

CP Magic July 2020 Magazine Cover

What’s in The Latest Issue of CP Magic

Featured Artist

Carol Leather is the featured artist for July. She came to colored pencil art in her 50s and has found a unique way to combine her loves of animals, photography and art. The result? Beautiful portraits and wildlife art.

She also provided a lovely tutorial on Stonehenge paper. Her step-by-step descriptions, illustrations, and tips will help you draw birds… or anything else you care to draw.

Monthly Columns

This month’s CP Clinic focuses on reference photos. Specifically, is it ever possible to get more than one good piece of art from a single photograph without all the artwork looking the same.

The reader art crit column, Making it Better, helps a reader evaluate a portrait of a light-colored dog and the artist’s struggle to work from light to dark.

The latest obstacle in The Great Art Adventure, is something we all deal with sometimes and that some of us deal with on every drawing!

About CP Magic

CP Magic is a monthly digital publication written by a colored pencil artist—yours truly—for colored pencil artists at all levels. That’s you!

Each month features an artist interview and tutorial so you can meet the artist and see how they work. Other columns include the Great Art Adventure, CP Clinic, Making it Better reader crit, and a featured photo.

Get your copy of July 2020 CP Magic today.

April 2020 CP Magic Magazine

Now available: the April 2020 CP Magic magazine, jam-packed with good information.

CP Magic featured artist is Colorado artist Dan Miller. I’m also delighted to introduce a new, monthly column and a reader gallery this month.

April 2020 CP Magic Magazine

What’s in April 2020 CP Magic

First the artist interview. Featured artist Dan Miller is also an excellent writer, so he tells in his own words about his life as an artist, including how he discovered his favorite subject, and unique style.

After that, Dan walks you step-by-step through a brand new tutorial. He explains how he chooses subjects and creates sparkling landscapes, so you don’t want to miss it.

The tutorial includes full-color illustrations, and clear, easy-to-follow descriptions. Dan also shares tips on how to choose and simplify your subject.

Plus a new column beginning this month. Artist and art coach Carol Bond provides monthly help and encouragement to all of those who need it. I’m certainly looking forward to her words of wisdom.

Dan Miller writes about his life as an artist, how he got where he is is today, and what enlivens his art.
See how Dan creates sparkling, stylized landscapes that maintain the character of his subjects.
Artist & art coach Carol Bond debuts with tips for achieving creative confidence.

The Reader’s Gallery makes it’s debut, and the featured photo for you to download and draw for yourself.

And don’t forget the Before-and-After Clinic and Making it Better reader art crit columns.

About CP Magic

CP Magic is a monthly digital publication written by a colored pencil artist—yours truly—for colored pencil artists at all levels. That’s you!

Each month features an artist interview and a tutorial so you can meet the artist and then see how they work. Other columns are the Before-and-After Clinic and the featured photo.

Back issues are always available.

Get your copy of April 2020 CP Magic magazine here.

The Challenges of Being an Artist

Time for another artist interview. This month, CP Magic is talking art with Carrie Lewis, discussing some of the challenges of being an artist.

The Challenges of Being an Artist: Talking Art with Carrie Lewis

Carrie has been painting and drawing since she was old enough to hold a crayon. In the late 1990s, she began doing more colored pencil work, which is now her primary medium.

She blogs regularly about all things colored pencil, and publishes the monthly e-zine for colored pencil artists, CP Magic.

She’s currently in the process of designing a new course.

Carrie is the featured artist for the March 2020 issue of CP Magic, where she talked at length about her art story, as well as presenting a landscape tutorial on Pastelmat.

For this post, Carrie talks about the things that have given her the most challenges as a full-time artist.

The Challenges of Being an Artist

CPM: Thank you for agreeing to share a little bit about what it’s like to be an artist. How long have you been an artist?

Carrie: I don’t remember ever not being an artist. I have a photo of a drawing I did in crayon on the bottom of a dresser drawer, but I don’t know how old I was at the time. The earliest drawing I have was drawn when I was 7-1/2 years old.

CPM: And you’ve been doing art ever since?

Carrie: Pretty much, other than two periods when I stopped. I’d say I’ve spent fifty years (more or less) making art. Mostly horse portraits, but some for myself, too.

CPM: And are you full-time now?

Carrie: As full-time as possible with so many other things also going on. To be more specific, I’ve not had an outside job since August 2009.

CPM: So you’ve been making art more than enough time to encounter some of the challenges of being an artist.

Carrie: Oh, yes! Even before I went full-time, I encountered challenges. Some types of difficulties were the same in both parts of my art life, but some where unique to each part of the journey.

Chestnut Morgan Mixed Media

The Biggest Challenge of Being an Artist

CPM: What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced when it comes to art.

Carrie: That’s easy! Making time for creating.

I used to say “finding” time to make art, but then I realized that I had the same amount of time every day. Twenty-four hours. The trick was making the time for art by letting something else go.

CPM: Does that really work?

Carrie: Absolutely. When my husband and I decided by mutual agreement to unplug the television set many, many years ago, productive time suddenly seemed to expand. It may not seem like much, but an hour a night spent drawing instead of watching TV speeds up the drawing process significantly.

Even if someone gave up just one night of television, that’s an extra one to three hours of art time a week.

If they stopped TV altogether, like we did, that’s a week full of evenings to draw. Imagine what you could do with five to fifteen extra hours a week, not counting weekends.

Rainy Day on Mustang Ridge

The trick to making the time for art is letting something else go.

The Most Surprising Challenge of Being an Artist

CPM: What was the most surprising difficulty about becoming a full-time artist?

Carrie: It was quite a shock to discover that I couldn’t paint or draw eight hours a day!

You see, I’d always had to work around a full-time job. The job was necessary to pay the bills and support the art habit. I’d been successful painting portraits most of that time, and was able to do one a month around my work and family schedule.

But when I became a full-time artist, I really expected to double or triple production. It would be easy! I’d just have several pieces in progress at the same time. I was doing oils then, and would move from one painting to the next while the others dried.

So it was something of a stunner to discover I had, at best, five hours of productive creative time in me. After that, the battery ran dry. Most days, I could work four hours before running out of energy, no matter how many paintings were in progress.

Creating is a very mental exercise and if you work standing as I did and often still do, it’s also physically taxing.

Christmas Tree-O

The Most Persistent Challenge for the Artist

CPM: What challenge has been the most difficult to overcome?

Carrie: As a one-artist-show, there are also other things to do. Blogging. Bookkeeping. Inventory control. Customer fulfillment. Marketing. It’s all my responsibility. Until I’m making enough to hire someone to do some of those things, I have to do them.

In one way, I haven’t really given up the “outside job,” because I consider all of those things to be my day job. I just don’t have to leave home to do it.

The real difficulty is not that they have to be done. That’s just a fact of life if I want to earn a living with my work (which I do.) The real difficulty is that I so often find myself back in the position of having so little time for creating art.

And I can’t give up TV, because we’ve already done that!

Siesta Time

CPM: LOL, I hear you on that.

Thank you to Carrie for being so open about the challenges of being an artist.

Thank you, Reader, as well. I hope you enjoyed the conversation. You can read more about Carrie and her life as an artist in the March 2020 issue of CP Magic. She’s also provided a stunning and dramatic landscape drawn on dark Pastelmat.

March 2020 CP Magic Magazine

March 2020 CP Magic is now available and waiting for you.

I am the featured artist this month. The March issue also includes a brand new column in addition to all the regular features.

What’s in March 2020 CP Magic

Featured Artist Interview

Among the topics in this month’s interview, I talk about the motivations of changing from oil painting to colored pencils, and the surprises that came with that change. You’ll also see how I work and organize my supplies to keep everything cat proof. Not usually an easy task.

Featured Artist Tutorial

My step-by-step tutorial is a landscape full of light and drama on Anthracite Clairefontaine Pastelmat. The tutorial includes tips on composing a dramatic landscape from an old reference photo, as well as sketching directly on drawing paper.

CP Magic March 2020 Tutorial
Landscape on Pastelmat Tutorial
Before-and-After Clinic
Making it Better Crit

Other Features

This month’s Before-and-After Clinic shows you how to draw long fur so it looks realistic, without also looking stringy. My thanks to Rhonda Gardener for her first question and for sharing her portrait before and after.

And the March 2020 issue of CP Magic includes a brand new feature: Making it Better. The Making it Better column is a reader crit column, thanks to Gail Jones. This month, I share tips on making a good drawing or water look even better. You don’t want to miss that.

Finally, I’m including a featured reference photo you can download and draw for yourself.

About CP Magic

CP Magic is a monthly digital publication written by a colored pencil artist—yours truly—for colored pencil artists at all levels. That’s you!

Each month features an artist interview and a tutorial so you can meet the artist and then see how they work. Other columns are the Before-and-After Clinic and the featured photo.

Back issues are always available.

Get your copy of CP Magic March 2020.

Would you like to see your favorite artist featured in a future issue, or would you like to submit a clinic or crit drawing? Contact me and let’s talk about it!

February 2020 CP Magic Magazine

It’s February already, so you know what that means. February 2020 CP Magic is now available.

February 2020 CP Magic Magazine

What’s in the February Issue

First the artist interview.

I had the great pleasure of interviewing John Middick, creator of Sharpened Artist Podcast. You’ll enjoy hearing about John’s artistic journey, how he became a full-time artist involuntarily, and see how he organizes his studio and tools.

Bonus! You can read part of that interview in Talking Portraits with John Middick right here on the blog.

After that, John’s step-by-step tutorial. He used Inktense and colored pencils on LuxArchival paper. If you’ve never used this new paper, you’ll want to see how John works with it and what he thinks of it.

The tutorial includes full-color illustrations, and clear, easy-to-follow descriptions. John also included a link to the reference photo so you can follow along if you wish.

Interview with John Middick
John’s portrait tutorial
Before-and-After Clinic

This month’s Before-and-After Clinic shows you how much difference an extra hour of work can make on your next (or current!) project.

Finally, I’m including a featured reference photo you can download and draw for yourself.

About CP Magic

CP Magic is a monthly digital publication written by a colored pencil artist—yours truly—for colored pencil artists at all levels. That’s you!

Each month features an artist interview and a tutorial so you can meet the artist and then see how they work. Other columns are the Before-and-After Clinic and the featured photo.

Back issues are always available.

Get your copy of CP Magic February 2020 here.

February 2020 CP Magic Magazine

Talking Portraits with John Middick

Today I’m talking portraits with John Middick.

John is the creator and host of the Sharpened Artist Podcast, the weekly podcast for colored pencil artists.

The podcast was created in 2015 and John says his primary focus was offering encouragement to fellow artists. He accomplishes that goal by not only sharing tips and techniques for drawing, but by interviewing other colored pencil artists. Giving them a chance to be heard and encouraged.

John is the featured artist for the February 2020 issue of CP Magic, where he talked extensively about his artistic journey and other subjects. He also provided a tutorial for that issue.

But for this post, we’re talking about his favorite subject: People. Specifically, faces.

Talking Portraits with John Middick

Why Portraits of People?

Carrie: Thank you for agreeing to talk with me, John.

You draw a lot of subjects, but what I think of when I think of you as an artist is portraits. You obviously enjoy doing human portraits. What makes them so attractive?

JOHN: I’ve always been very, very interested in people, the human condition, and understanding people. Faces are fascinating.

But I think a lot of it is because I was so terrible at drawing people as a child, and I wanted to be good at it. I would try it and couldn’t figure out how artists were able to do that.

Amy, Colored Pencil Portrait by John Middick
Amy

Back in the 80s, I’d go to the mall once in a while and see artists set up in the middle of the mall. They were creating art right there on the fly, doing commissions of people sitting there or painting from a photograph or something. It was the most fascinating thing I’d ever seen in my life.

I remember someone painting a portrait. Someone’s just sitting there in front of them, and they’re painting and I was just dumbfounded. I could not believe that that was possible.

Now I feel like portraits are just one of the most compelling pieces of artwork. Obviously, it’s my opinion, but there’s just something about being able to depict a person.

And it’s not just copying who this person is.

It’s also showing the personality and showing something that you just can’t get with a camera. I’m fascinated with that.


My mom had to tell me, “Come on, we are going,” because I just wanted to stay there. I was just blown away at that.

John Middick

About Commissions

CARRIE: You do commission work?

JOHN: Yes, I do. In fact, somebody just contacted me about doing a cat. I do animals once in a while. I will do just about any commission somebody asks me to do, and I have a good photo reference. Or preferably I can take the reference photos myself.

But mostly I do portraits with commissions, but I’ll do the occasional cat or dog or something like that. Or a farm or something like that.

I love doing commissions, too. A lot of people don’t like it and talk about how awful it is, and there can be a downside. But there’s something exciting about giving that piece of art to the individual after it’s all completed. They love it and some fall apart.

Intensity

Carrie: I’ve had that happen to me more than once. It’s such a good feeling.

John: You can’t replace it.

Carrie: No you can’t. Sometimes it’s worth more than money.

John: I’m not getting rich on doing commissions. You’re not going to really make a whole lot doing portraits , some artists I guess would. But there’s a reward to being an artist that has nothing to do with money. I don’t know about anyone else, but I need to be stroked once in a while; to feel good about what I do.

Future Plans

Carrie: What plans do you have for future works?

John: I have a series I’m about to start working on that I’m so excited about. And I’m hoping I can execute on this. I should be able to between teaching and things I’m doing, but I want to show people with technology.

I’ve always thought it was interesting that every time we adopt some new little innovation in technology, all of us as a species start using these things in some interesting ways.

Like one time I was at one of my daughter’s basketball games. Everyone was standing up with these huge iPads. All these parents right in a row taking pictures and videos with their iPads.

Alessandra

Carrie: And now it’s cell phones.

John: Yeah, yeah, they use cell phones. Used to be the flip phone, they would bring out their flip phone at a wedding trying to take pictures.

So I’m the weirdo in the audience. I usually have my camera and I’m taking pictures of people taking pictures of people using cell phones. I’m trying to make a series now out of that because I’ve been collecting reference images for a long time.

Carrie: Is this series going to be serious?

John: That’s a good point. It could be whimsical. I don’t know. I think it will be more of a focus on the person.

I’ve got this huge folder of files, and I’m hoping I can pick out some things that are interesting enough. My challenge is figuring out how to make this about the person and not about the object that they’re interacting with.

See how John Middick drew this portrait step-by-step in the February 2020 issue of CP Magic.
John draws this portrait step-by-step in the February 2020 issue of CP Magic.

Carrie: Long-term series or just a few pieces?

John: I’m thinking it’ll probably be a long-term series. I’ve never really done anything like that.

I’m always impressed when somebody has a very nice cohesive body of work. Some of the other colored pencil artists have been working in the medium for a while. I like that. I always had that goal, but I’m always doing other things like teaching classes and writing courses. I feel like I don’t take enough time for my own artwork.

And so I’m going to try to do that. That’s where I am right now. But it’s hard to do, isn’t it?

Carrie: It’s very hard to do.

That’s Talking Portraits with John Middick

My thanks again to John for meeting with me. He has a lot more to share in February’s CP Magic, which you can get here.

Don’t forget about the Sharpened Artist Podcast, and if you really want to dive deep into portrait drawing, John’s Face Value course is just what you’re looking for. There is a waiting list for the course, but you can add your name to the waiting list here. John tells me the course opens one time per year and will be opening soon in 2020.  For more info or to reserve your spot go here!

New Magazine for Colored Pencil Artists

The first big endeavor for 2020 is a new magazine for colored pencil artists.

CP Magic is a monthly digital publication written by a colored pencil artist—yours truly—for colored pencil artists at all levels. That’s you!

Magazine for Colored Pencil Artists CP Magic Magazine Initial Cover

New Magazine for Colored Pencil Artists

Each issue features an artist interview and a tutorial by the same artist, so you can meet the artist, learn something about their work and artistic journey, AND see how they do the art they do.

I’m delighted to feature pet portrait artist Peggy Osborne as my first guest. Her monthly tutorials have rapidly become reader favorites, so it’s a special honor to give her this place of recognition.

I’m also including a featured reference photo with each issue, so readers can practice their drawing skills on something different each month. Subjects will include landscapes, flowers, clouds, and, of course, cats!

CP Magic magazine artist interview
Interview with Peggy Osborne
Magazine for Colored Pencil Artists - CP Magic Tutorial
Peggy’s tutorial of a black horse
Before-and-after clinic

Features I’m hoping to add in the future include a reader question and the answer, and a critique.

There is no subscription plan. Issues will be available for purchase when they publish and afterward.

There’s no way to buy in advance, either. I just wanted to let you know what was ahead. I hope you’re as excited about this new magazine as I am!

Get your copy of CP Magic January Issue here.