Lisa is a multi talented artist that has worked with clients around the world. Her art is diverse ranging from realistic pet portraits to creepy skull tattoos and anything else in between.
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Lets get to know Lisa Mitrokhin
Do you remember the first thing that you drew and if so what was it?
I remember my first drawing as if it happened yesterday. It was a drawing of a shaggy brown dog, walking. I was three years old. I adore dogs, so naturally that was my first subject matter. My childish attempts at 3D effects and movement made the dog look a little bit like a paper cutout or a plastic bag billowing in the breeze, but apparently it was still pretty impressive, because since then my parents showered me with pens, pencils, and an assortment of scrap papers and other art necessities. I never stopped drawing since. Unfortunately that dog doodle got lost in travel around the time I was 11. I wish I still had it.
Do you have any formal art training or are you self taught?
Well, that’s tricky. My usual answer for that is “yes I have formal training, but I hate giving them credit.” In university I majored in fine art, specializing in oil painting, but by that time I already had almost twenty years of practice. I prefer to give credit to Leonardo Da Vinci as my teacher, as it was copying his works that took my art from shaggy dog doodles to anatomically realistic animal and human renditions.
What are your favorite things/topics to draw/illustrate?
To this day, animals are my favorite subject matter, although now I tend to use realistic elements of animal anatomy and physiology in more fantastic and surreal compositions.
Where do you create your drawings? Can you describe what your workspace looks like?
I draw anywhere and at any time. Everywhere I go, I carry a sketchbook and at the very least a ballpoint pen and a pencil with me. I like to sketch things that I encounter in my travels. At home I have a studio room where I work on commission pieces and personal projects. In addition to a beautifully organized mess of at supplies and wobbly mountains of books and papers, I have a digital art setup for illustration and tattoo designs. On my desk I have a 22 inch Wacom Cintiq drawing tablet and I use a program called Corel Painter to draw and paint using a stylus the same way I use pens, pencils and paints. The only difference is the creations are in a digital format from the start and do not need to be scanned or photographed like my analogue work, and if I need to make significant changes I don’t have to redraw the entire project from scratch. There are many advantages to also being able to do digital painting, but I won’t bore you with technicalities.
What is your drawing process like? Do you prefer to finish a drawing in one sitting, work on it over a number of sittings or do you switch between drawings that you are working on? Or do you do something else?
Since I practice many art forms, mainly illustration, commission design and painting, tattoo design (and inking), but also doll making and taxidermy, I have the privilege of never getting bored with a single project because I can just put it on hold and go work on something else. In my line, or rather lines, of work I have become very good at multitasking. So, to answer your question, no. I do not sit down and finish a project before I move on to the next. In any given week I juggle between 5 and 15 different projects. The important thing for me is to keep a calendar with deadlines and follow it.
Do you listen to music while you illustrate, if so, what are your musical tastes?
My husband is a DJ, among his many other hobbies and professions, and he has an ungodly amount of music in his collection. We both work from home and we always have music on in the background. Usually we agree on a set BPM that suits our mood and energy on that day, maybe limit the playlist to a handful of genres, and put it on shuffle.
Does your workspace/environment influence your art work at all?
Oh, absolutely. My studio space is my palace. Everything is where it is because it needs to be there for my comfort or convenience. To a visitor, my room may look like an antique curiosity shop run by a messy teenager, but in reality it is a work space perfectly structured and tuned for maximum productivity.
You have published a coloring book/s please tell us what drew you to the coloring book market and a bit about your book and your inspiration for it
I came to posses my first coloring book in 2016, quite by accident. Believe it or not, I never had coloring books as a child. Crazy, right? The truth is I was always more interested in the creation of characters than in their colors. A lot of my drawing are black and white or only partially colored. When I finally discovered adult coloring books I began playing with them by drawing my own characters into the empty spaces and coloring those. I was invited to a few coloring groups on Facebook, and not before long people began asking me to draw coloring pages for them to color. One thing led to another, and putting together a coloring book seemed like the natural path to take. Why a deck of cards though? I happened to be working on a commission portrait of a girl who wanted to be depicted as a queen. I drew her as the Queen of Hearts playing card and that inspired me to create an entire card deck and bind it as a coloring book.
What do you look forward to doing in the next 6 months in the coloring world?
I am already well into the creation of my second book, which will be quite different in style and even more unusual, and I am planning an instructional book as well. In the meantime, I enjoy participating in coloring events in the coloring groups. They really push me beyond my comfort level and inspire me to create new and better art.
What was the feeling like when you first saw your art work published in a coloring book?
Oh, I was thrilled. It all happened so quickly. My friend in the UK found out before I did. She called me long distance to tell me that my book had been published.
What did it feel like to see your art work colored in by someone else?
I’ll tell you, it is one of the best feelings an artist can experience. Seeing every new coloring is like opening a Christmas present. Every single one surprises me, and always in a very positive way. I am thrilled to see that people are creating art greater than what I think I would have done with that coloring page.
Do you color as well illustrate/draw/publish books?
I do also color. I rarely have time to color for pleasure, that is why coloring events are great for me. They have vey strict deadlines, which I respect. I don’t enter every event, but when I read the description and my reaction is “there is no way I can make that work”, I immediately enter. If it is not a true personal challenge I sit that one out. I have leaned something new and useful from every challenge I have ever taken on, and every one resulted in a cool new work of art, which in turn has opened a whole new can of art worms
It can be very difficult managing day to day life as well as publishing a coloring book. Can you tell us about your daily routine and how you manage your time?
I am fortunate to not have a standard day job. I am an independent artist, so the only work I have to compete with is the work I do for my clients. While working on the book I didn’t want to decrease the number of clients I take on each month, nor did I want to drag their projects on for longer than usual. I had to work on the book at odd times, or instead of other activities. Time management is very important to me. I almost consider it an art. A very under appreciated and underestimated art. Many people would get a lot more things done if they knew how to manage their time and had the discipline to do so.
Publishing can be a creative and a chaotic experience with a lot of learning curves along the way. Tell us the best and worst experiences that you have had creating your coloring book
My publishing adventure has only just begun. I guess the most pleasant part is seeing people actually interact with my book and make beautiful colorings. The least pleasant part is the business aspect of it. Working on my social networking, the extra time that I now need to spend promoting my book, etc. I’m not very good at that. If it were up to me, I would just live in my art cave and make art.
What is your favorite treat/reward for a job well done?
Hmmmm…. The other day someone wrote to me that I am their “hands on favorite artist of all times.” I wouldn’t trade that for anything. Art is a social creature. If I am not making it to make people happy, there is no point in making it at all. I will also take pizza and a night of playing video games as a reward any time. 😀
Connect with Lisa Mitrokhin
Where to buy coloring books and pages by Lisa Mitrokhin
Happy coloring x