Updated webpage

Good morning! I just purged (I don’t like that word!) a bunch of old images from my webpage to start all fresh and clean. I also streamlined it so that I only have my contact page, sketchbook and homepage. I’m hoping it will be easier to manage. I also have a lot of images on Instagram so people could find more images there. It is my first official day of summer and I need to call the dentist. I’ve been putting it off for longer than I should. In the art world, I am thinking about purchasing a new laptop as mine is so slow. I am looking at iMac laptops. I’m very happy with my iPad and would like something that could work easily with the iPad. I want to be able to access the full photoshop program to edit my watercolor paintings. I think I need to make this purchase pretty soon so that I can work on stuff for my art show Alley Art Fest in Aurora on August 31. I’m going to print copies of digital and watercolor. I also want to try printing vinyl stickers. I’ve been in training for two days and just finished teaching last Friday so I am in a transition from crazy busy to relaxing. Thanks for reading my mind purge ;). Hope you have a great day!!

The 100 day project

I’ve decided to join the 100 day project. I have about 20 days done now. I thought I’d take a few moments to reflect on the project and my current progress. So, in order to ensure that I’m doing the project, I numbered each page in a small Cannon sketchbook full of mixed media paper. I leave it on my kitchen table along with my favorite set of watercolors, pen, water brush and some assorted pens and markers. I have a blank page ready for each morning. While I eat my breakfast, I do a quick sketch or hand lettering or watercolor in my sketchbook. I’m not looking for anything polished in anyway. I’m not using digital art. I think it’s important to just get something down. As a result I have drawn or painted everything from Aquaman to an Old Bay Spice jar. I post the picture right away on Instagram. When I go on vacation in a couple months I think I will bring correctly numbered pages with me. That way I won’t have the bulk of another notebook.

Snow days and art

Because of my job and the fact that I live in the Midwest, I have the occasional snow or cold day. This week, I’ve had three of them. I find that I have been able to get a bit of artwork in. When I have a long cold day and nothing else that has to get done, I’m relaxed and can focus. It’s nice to have this time and I will have to make them up in June so I may as well appreciate it! 😀

Store closing

So, I have a Whole Foods, World Market and HomeGoods not too far from my house. Not too bad of an afternoon out. My mom and I would get groceries and then eat at the hot bar. Then we would shop at HomeGoods and World Market. Well, last night, we did this exact thing. I had a great time at HomeGoods. They still had some Christmas stuff. I found an adorable blue teapot from Mason Cash. Then we went down to World Market. My mom was looking for some storage stuff for her art desk. Well, this World Market is closing and reopening down the street. I was at first excited about the great deals. They had a lot off of what they had left…50, 60 percent off. Then by the time I reached the back of the store, I was a little sad. See this store is where I purchased my first real brand new sofa. Like a real grown up. With a matching chair and foot stool. I had to arrange for delivery and everything. It felt very powerful. I also purchased my outdoor table there along with many smaller things. When I got back from London and was sad that I missed London, I would go there and buy cookies from London. Anyway, the new store may be great. It may be better. But I felt that I was walking around from a dear friend I’d had for sometime.

Shopping and inspiration

I had been taking a class at the art Institute in Chicago. It was a great class and I loved it. Then I took an online watercolor class. I don’t want to be a Debbie Downer but I have been a little down lately. I miss my art classes. I had hurt my back and hadn’t completed an advent challenge on Instagram. I had not done any art for weeks. So, today, I went shopping at Blicks! I got more paper, more pastels and more watercolor. I started watching some art videos again. Along with all that I got a huge set of soft pastels for Christmas. I have plenty of new supplies to last the whole winter. I’m hoping to start doing some You Tube videos of painting. I hope to do some more Skillshare classes too. I feel like I’m ready for the New Year, new art and a renewal in my love of making art!


Oh the dreaded contest! I never thought I’d have a love-hate relationship with art contests. I’ve entered all sorts, art store contests where you have your art framed and follow specific hanging guidelines to digital contests. The best thing is that contests give you practice to follow specific briefs. They get your work out into the world. The part I always struggle with is maintaining my confidence and not compare yourself to others. It’s hard to not get down about not winning. Keep on trying!


Inspiration can come from anywhere! Here is a photo I took on a trip to the local pet store. How cute is he! He reminds me of a lovely picture book all about guinea pigs with the cutest illustrations. It’s Dick King Smith’s book, I Love Guinea Pigs. I find keeping images on my iPhone seems to help keep track of inspiration because I always have my phone!


iPad article

I am so excited about my new iPad! I had some money from my taxes and I had been thinking of buying an iPad Pro. After a ton of research I decided to get the new iPad instead.  It works with the Apple Pencil and most of the same apps. It was cheaper.  I love it! I have been working on learning the Procreate app. I have Skillshare and have been watching the videos.  I love the Apple Pencil and am getting used to using it. I’ve had other styluses and this one is definitely better. One of my favorite things is to sketch with it like a pencil with the graphite 6B or HB. You can use the side of the pencil to produce a thicker line and shadings.  I am very happy with it. 

Happy New Year

Welcome to 2018!!! It seemed like 2017 was a collectively crappy year and everyone is ready for a new year. Do you write New Year's Resolutions? I don't anymore. I have some long term goals that seem to be taking more than a year to complete. :)  This year I am starting my own Society 6 store. You can check it out! I have a few prints up for sale right now. I hope that you are ready for a fresh start and wish you all the best in the new year.  Thank you for reading my blog. Keep watching for more posts and check out my society 6 store.


I had my first time completing Inktober, this year!  I was thrilled. It was very difficult to complete my assignment some days.  The prompts that I used were from Instagram.  They were all adjectives like mysterious or fat.  I would do a quick Google or Pinterest search and then a quick sketch.  I wouldn't allow myself to use graphite but I do have a gray Derwent pen that I would use and then go over with a black pen.  My favorite image ended up being a landscape with a boat in the background.  For this one, I used acrylic ink and painted it on.  I rarely spent more than half an hour on a sketch as I wanted it to be a brief exercise.  I did watercolor on most of the days in October, as well.  I found that after watercolor, the sketching seemed so much more confined!  It was a great challenge.  I look forward to next year!

The art show

It's been a couple of weeks but I didn't get a chance to write about my first art show!! It was a success!  I even sold some notecards.  I had a beautiful table and I'm glad I put so much time planning my table before the school year started.  Here was the bad thing; bubbles! Big giant science bubbles that were being blown right into all my art! It would have been funny if I wasn't being so crabby!! The bubbles were moved down and it really was a great evening in the end.  Got some really nice comments on my art work. 

Ellis Island teacups

This month our assignment for MATS (Make Art that Sells) Bootcamp was to design a teacup or mug with an image from Ellis Island.  We are given trend boards with color themes, ideas to collect references and quotes.  Have I mentioned how much I am loving Bootcamp?  While looking through reference photos, I was inspired by the images of children who were sent to America during the World Wars.  Parents sent Jewish children and others to try to get them away from the attacks in Europe.  Some children went with siblings.  Others traveled in large groups of other children.  Just imagine for a moment, sending your child across the world.  The trip on the ship was at least a week.  Imagine being one of these children, just old enough to go off to school on their own and being sent across the sea.  Some photos show children smiling from ear to ear.  Others show somber faces.  It was quite interesting.  One photo that I know will stick in my heart for a long time showed three little ones maybe three years old.  They were examining the tag around their necks.  These were their id tags.  They looked like cardboard tags, like Paddington's tag.  My heart broke for these families.  I created an image of a teacup and teapot set that stacks.  It's meant to be a souvenir to remember these brave children of Ellis Island.  I posted the image on this site, too.

Alphabet book

I've written about motivation.  I find it very helpful to have a daily task to post on Instagram.  Lately, I started the 100 days project.  I began doing a sketchbook page each day.  Then, inspired by other artists in my MATS Bootcamp class, I began doing an alphabet page each day.  I am currently on M already!  Each page is done in Jane Davenport watercolor.  I am painting a type of fruit of veg for each day!  My favs so far are asparagus and guava!  It has been so much fun!  I've been sharing on my facebook page Christine Benda Illustration and my Instagram by the same name.  I should also say that I am loving Bootcamp!  I've never done it before.  There is an assignment a month.  Last month was roses on a gardening themed journal with a quote.  I can't wait for June's assignment!

Art motivation via Instagram

So my last blog was really about struggling to find motivation.  I have to say I have found a great free motivator on Instagram. There are many prompts out there for sketchbooks.  I have been using these prompts all winter.  When I look back at my sketchbook, I see that daily sketchbook work has helped me create some awesome pieces that I can use for other pieces.  My favorite was the month challenge for December. That is a busy month but having a daily challenge really helped motivate me!

Making time for your art

I spent the month of December doing a watercolor each day.  I learned a lot about myself during that time.  I've learned that has become increasingly difficult to take time to do my art. I'm not sure if it's because I'm not taking a class or if the pressures of teaching are taking over or if I'm watching too much tv.  I'm not sure.  I will say that somethings have helped.  Posting my work on Instagram helps.  I also wrote my own prompt sketchbook.  I labeled every page of my new sketchbook with a thing to draw or paint and did a page a day.  I did good at that during most of January.  I even ordered business cards, postcards and stickers with some of my work.  Now I have to figure out who to send these to.  I guess I feel a little lost at what to work on next with my art.  Do you ever feel that way? 

The start of school and the pause of art

In the beginning of the school year, my art time is very limited.  We are entering our 5th week of class.  As a first grade teacher, I'm just beginning get my head above water.  Last week was the first time that I've sat down with my watercolors for a while.  It felt good to get out the brush and water and let it move around on the paper.  There is something so therapeutic to watercolors.  Today I finally got back onto my webpage and worked through some of the things I'd wanted to do here.  I have new things I still need to add but I made a start.  Next month I am beginning a children's book illustration class with Lilla Rogers.  I am so excited for this class!  I am trying to decide if I want to take another online class through CalArts.  Maybe just one class is a good idea for the fall. 

Global Talent Search

I've just completed my first ever entry in Lila Roger's Global Talent Search.  It is a contest where the final prize is representation with her agency.  The assignment was great! You were to design a teacup, saucer and napkin for a bakery that was opening a tea room.  You could do anything. There wasn't a theme. You were to work in your own style. I designed at least 5 different sets before I chose one. The judges pick just 50. Honestly, there were so many great entry I doubt I'll make the 50 but I'm glad I tried. It was a fun project!