Registration OPEN for Julie Liger-Belair’s New Class!

Dream Bubbles, Scrappy Blablahs & More
Mixed-Media Collage with Julie Liger-Belair
Class Dates: April 4-14, 2023

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In this class we’ll be exploring collage on paper and wood using different techniques. Once we’ve sourced and created our collage papers, we’ll begin with “Scrappy Blablahs” — fun little characters made from the scraps in your studio and great creative warm-ups. From there we will move on to “Dream Bubbles” where we add more sophistication, story and paint!

Finally we’ll spend the last week building large “spirit house” paintings on a cradled wood panels, exploring the layering of painted and collaged elements to create a piece both visually rich and symbolically charge. I love houses and they appear often in my work. They can symbolize the place where we are most comfortable, most ourselves… a place of warmth and protection or sometimes a place where we might feel trapped. These paintings are a way to explore some of these ideas for yourself and have fun with symbols using all our media.

I hope you will join me!


P.S. We are adding an optional Zoom “work session” with Carla on Saturday, April 8th, where we will all work on Julie’s assignments together.

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Class Itinerary

Lessons are prerecorded and will be available at 1am PDT each lesson day on the following schedule:

Lesson 1 – Tuesday, April 4
Lesson 2 – Wednesday, April 5
Lesson 3 – Friday, April 7
BONUS Zoom Work Session with Carla – Saturday, April 8, 10am-12noon PT
Lesson 4 – Tuesday, April 11
Lesson 5 – Wednesday, April 12
Lesson 6 – Friday, April 14

Lesson 1. We will source and prepare our papers and make hand-decorated elements. We’ll be painting some larger papers, but also using up all the paper scraps we may have laying about to make some floral/botanical elements for use in our collage projects. I will also be introducing stamp carving and printing as another way to make patterned paper.

Lesson 2. Our first collage project will be to make a ‘scrappy blablah’. This is a really fun, smaller collage project that has fewer elements to combine so one can just play around with different possibilities. I really love this project as a warm up in the morning to get my creative juices flowing.

Lesson 3. We’ll be making some ‘dream bubble’ collages. This is a more complex project than the blablahs as we will be using up almost the whole surface of the page to create a sort of dream/surreal world. We’ll be using paints as well as collage for this lesson.

Lesson 4. In this lesson we will be starting our ‘spirit house’ collage/paintings. We will be preparing the wood, considering the imagery we want to use and starting our backgrounds. We will explore the use of stencils to add yet more pattern to our pieces.

Lesson 5. We will be continuing our pieces by adding more details around our houses using some of the floral/botanical collage elements we made in the first lesson. I’ll be discussing the different ways we can add layers and details.

Lesson 6. This lesson is all about how to finish our ‘spirit house’ pieces. I’ll talk about the media I like to use on top of the paint and paper to add finer details and patterns to make our pieces visually rich.

For a full list of the supplies you will need, see the tab titled “Supplies” located just under the video screen above.

A limited number of scholarships are available. To apply, click HERE.

Registration is OPEN for Katie Vernon’s First Class with us, Creative Illustration Workout!

Creative Illustration Workout
Teacher: Katie Vernon
Class Dates: March 7-17, 2023

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In this class we will stretch and work out our creative muscles through artistic exercises that I regularly use to face a blank page. You’ll push yourself to combine a variety of media, look to new places for inspiration, and expand your (weird, funny, poignant, etc.) artistic voice.

Each of these exercises gives you a taste of making work that could be used in a variety of illustration markets., and I’ll show examples of how the art I’ve made through these exercises has turned into projects ranging from greeting cards to children’s clothing.

Get out all of your supplies as we make pages and pages of illustrations with watercolor, acrylics, colored pencils, crayons and more!

Please join me!


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Class Itinerary

Lessons are prerecorded and will be available at 1amPT each lesson day on the following schedule:

Lesson 1 – Tuesday, March 7
Lesson 2 – Wednesday, March 8
Lesson 3 – Friday, March 10
Lesson 4 – Tuesday, March 14
Lesson 5 – Wednesday, March 15
Lesson 6 – Friday, March 17

Lesson 1 – Using one base shape to create different illustration icons
Push your creative muscles to come up with a variety of icons all starting with the same shape. Try to find connections between the icons that create moments of wit and whimsy.

Lesson 2 – Imaginary Plants
Put away your flower books and get inspired by an adjacent art (culinary, architecture, dance, etc.) for your imaginary plant. Play with mixing media to create interesting textures and forms.

Lesson 3 – Drawing one item in lots of ways with lots of different media
Learn why certain icons are better than others for this exercise that lends itself to perfectly to creating a surface pattern.

Lesson 4 – Sandwich Illustration
Using a pull-apart layout, this lesson creates an informative (and delicious) editorial-style piece.

Lesson 5 – Imaginary Monsters
Using a few prompt words as your guide, bring an imaginary monster to life.

Lesson 6 – Finding a Story
Looking through all the bits and pieces we’ve created in the previous lessons, search for a story to tell that involves at least two of your images.

Registration is Now OPEN for Lewis’ New Class – Begins Feb. 7, 2023

Mixed-Media Painting with Lewis Rossignol
6 Lessons
Class Dates: February 7-17, 2023

Recently I have begun making larger, more colorful paintings and in this class we will work with vivid colorful mediums that lend themselves really well to working fast and loose. We’ll allow ourselves to make mistakes, maybe even making them on purpose so that we can practice trusting the process. We will just let the ideas loose and see where they lead with a focus on creating interesting texture, variety and composition.


Class Itinerary

The lessons will be available by 1am PT each lesson day on the following schedule… once the lessons go up, you can access on your own timetable.

Lesson 1 – Tuesday, February 7
Lesson 2 – Wednesday, February 8
Lesson 3 – Friday, February 10
Lesson 4 – Tuesday, February 14
Lesson 5 – Wednesday, February 15
Lesson 6 – Friday, February 17

Lesson 1
For this lesson I will introduce the tools we’ll be working with throughout the class. Then we will start two smaller drawings that will help us get familiar with the tools for the bigger pieces later. These drawings will be very child-like so we won’t be using any reference photos. I’ll show you how I use paint markers to create nice textured backgrounds to work on. After this we will begin our drawings by drawing the main subjects only.

Lesson 2
In this lesson we’ll be moving back and forth between the two smaller drawings to finish them. You’ll see why it’s good to have at least two drawings going at a time as the mediums can take a little time to dry. I’ll demonstrate how I let the drawing come together by making quick decisions, not overly fussing as these mediums make it very easy to make changes as you see fit. We’ll also work a little bit with shading, and color.

Lesson 3
Today we are starting our two larger drawings that will make a nice set. We’ll start by creating two different colored backgrounds full of texture and slight color variants. Then we will begin the line work for the grid drawing. I’ll demonstrate how I like to use a few different colors for the line work for variety. I will also let you know how lists can be helpful in this type of work to help keep you moving quickly once you begin. Finally we’ll talk about how using flux and obliteration is a much more realistic way to work then what you may be used to.

Lesson 4
For this lesson we are going to line out our “chaotic drawing” to get it to the same level as the grid. I will demonstrate how I choose where to place things, and the importance of varying your size and spacing within your composition. After this we’ll get to start using more color within our grid with our paint markers. I’ll show you a few different ways to make your line drawing stand out from the background using different levels of contrast to make sure your focal point isn’t lost.

Lesson 5
As our pieces start coming together we’ll continue adding color to both of our pieces. I’ll demonstrate what I do with areas that aren’t working for me, and how to trust your gut. We’ll also totally cover parts of our drawing in order to improve the overall composition. You’ll see how I follow my intuition when drawing, and hopefully learn to trust your own.

Lesson 6
We are going to finish our two large pieces today. I will show you how I use areas of black and white to up the overall contrast and composition. Then we’ll add some collage elements to our pieces. I’ll also demonstrate how I use crayons and woodie pencils to add more color and texture to my work and finish the composition. Finally we’ll give our pieces a nice unifying feel with some gloss medium.


Click HERE for the supply list, more information and to sign up!

Registration Now OPEN for the 2023 Yearlong Class!

2023: Year of the Rabbit
24 Lessons (12 prerecorded video; 12 “live” via Zoom)
Only $198.

Hi! And welcome to our 11th yearlong class!

We started with the Year of the Giraffe in 2013 and some of you have been with us since then… thank you! We are so grateful to have this special place all year long to grow and encourage each other through the ups and downs of the creative process!

Each year we change up the theme, and this year we are going back to our roots a bit with “Year of the Rabbit.” Unlike our giraffe class, however, we will be drawing and painting more than just rabbits! We will be working in all media and the projects will center mostly around animals, faces, flowers & plants and some patterns and abstraction. But we will use the rabbit as an anchor image throughout the year of drawing, painting, collaging, writing, sewing, printing and creating together.

I will be teaching all of the lessons this year and if you’ve taken a yearlong class from me before, you know roughly what to expect… lots of fun exercises and mixed-media projects designed to recover a more joyful, childlike approach to creating.

Additionally, I’m hoping you will join me in my quest to use up every art supply I own! Just kidding… but I want this year to be a year of experimenting, exploration and not buying a bunch of new art supplies.

Here’s what you get:

12 Main Lessons – First Friday of Each Month
Drawing, Painting, Mixed Media
All of the main lessons will begin with a “rabbit warmup” exercise… draw, paint, collage the rabbit!
Then, there will be a more in-depth project/assignment. Here are some planned lessons:

– Grid People Paintings

– Alcohol Ink Symmetrical Drawings
– Photo Montage Paintings
– Lacy Lions on Wood
– Mixed-Media Comics
– More is More: Reworking old or abandoned work

12 Zoom Sessions – Third Fri/Sat of each month (except Feb)
Making & Working in Our Books Together
Our monthly  1.5-hour Zoom sessions will begin with a warm-up exercise, then Carla will demo that day’s project or book technique, and then you will work in small groups on that day’s assignment. Some planned demos:

– Making book pages; binding
– Alternative edges and decorative elements
– Pockets & Foldouts
– Drawing in the bound books (connecting pages visually)
– Packing Tape & Rubbings
– Gelli Plate Techniques

I’m really excited for this year and really hope you will consider joining our group of like-minded creatives from all over the world!

Carla (and Steve)


Some Project Samples

Alcohol Ink Symmetrical Drawings…


Reworking old or abandoned work…

Lacy Lions on Wood…

Photo Montage Paintings…

And the mixed-media artist’s book that we will add to all year long:


Nuts & Bolts

• The odd-numbered Lesson Videos will be available the first Friday of each month.

• The even-numbered Zoom Sessions will be on the third* Friday/Saturday of each month: 5pm PT Fridays and 11am PT Saturdays and will be recorded for those who can’t attend the live event. (*except February)

• Community Forum. We will have two private forums (Facebook and Padlet) to share our work and be inspired by the work of others.

• No art experience necessary… really! Just jump right in.

• We have kept the price the same since 2014 because we want this class to be accessible to everyone! That said, we understand hard times and don’t want you to miss out if finances are truly an issue. If you would like to apply for a scholarship, click HERE.

• Thank you for being here and I hope you can join in!


General Themes

– “Chase” Rabbits (Ideas) and let go
of expected outcomes!

– Use up supplies we have on hand.

– Experiment!

– Learn new mixed-media techniques; Revisit
old techniques in new ways.

– Gain confidence in your unique style!


Click HERE to sign up!

Registration is now OPEN for a New Painting Class with Betsy Walton

Symbolic Portraits
Teacher: Betsy Walton
Class Dates: November 1-11, 2022

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In this class we will build poetic figurative paintings with open-ended narrative elements. During the first week of sketchbook explorations, I will show you my warm up ritual and walk you through some exercises around symbolism, communicating mood and emotion with abstract elements, and developing a sketch for your painting. We will also play with mixing colors and make a beautiful color swatch reference piece… and you will draw your color inspiration from this in your final painting.

In Week 2 we will  start by preparing your wood panel and then you will take your sketch to a final acrylic painting. I will share my typical process of building the painting in many different layers, each one becoming more detailed until the image is complete.

I hope you will join me!


P.S Scholarships are available. Click HERE.

Detail from above painting:

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Class Itinerary

Lessons are pre-recorded and will be available on the following dates:

Lesson 1 – Tuesday, November 1
Lesson 2 – Wednesday, November 2
Lesson 3 – Friday, November 4

Lesson 4 – Monday, November 8
Lesson 5 – Wednesday, November 9
Lesson 6 – Friday, November 11

Lesson 1 – Connect with your intuition and explore mood visually using colors and shapes
Learn a ritual for starting your work session. Use your sketchbook and colored pencils to visually explore emotions, moods, and big themes that resonate with you.  Review the list of symbols for future lessons. 

Lesson 2 – Symbols Exploration
Pick an environment, a mood, some plants and animals to explore in your sketchbook. Draw from memory or references and research the symbolic meaning of each symbol (optional).

Lesson 3 – Adding the Figure & Color Mixing
Explore figurative drawing in your sketchbook. Consider using references and/or selfies. Think about using the figure’s poses, accessories, etc.  to reinforce the mood or narrative element you wish to convey. Practice mixing colors and make a sheet of swatches for yourself.

Lesson 4 – Composition & Structure
Prepare your panel for painting by sealing it and gessoing. Add some washes for background colors; pencil in the composition.

Lesson 5 – Paint the Big Shapes
Refine your composition as you go and think about elements and placements that you want to work towards.  Make changes as you go.

Lesson 6 – Details & Finishing Touches
Continue with smaller shapes, adding layers to make things more opaque or to add texture, and work towards high level of detail for the focal points of the composition.

We hope you can join us! Details HERE.

Registration OPEN for Anita’s New Printmaking Class

Hi everyone!

Registration is now open for Anita Lehmann’s newest class, “Creative Printmaking by Hand!”

I love monotypes and I love working with Anita! In this class she makes monotype printmaking accessible to anyone… and you don’t need a press! And like all of her classes, she combines her clear teaching style with a spirit of inventiveness and freedom. We will roll, wipe, scribe, dab, fingerpaint and design in seven creative lessons!

In this class we will:

• Experiment with the printmaking process of monotype in black + white and color
• Work with color and value to evoke mood
• Discover new shapes + lovely, creative mark making.
• Find texture to create depth of surface, space and perhaps mystery
• Launch your imagination: creating prints with surprising + unique qualities

Class begins October 4th… details and sign up HERE!

Dear Julie: Drawing Classes for Beginners

Dear Carla,

Hi! I want to try your classes but I’m feeling intimidated because I don’t know how draw at all. Which of your classes would you recommend for a beginner? I was looking into “drawing workshop” and “sketching” but I’m not sure if those are for beginners. Thank you! —Julie

Hi Julie

Thank you so much for your email!

So many of our classes are great for people who are new to drawing! It’s our hope that some of these classes allow you to really embrace drawing as something fun to do and that the results can sometimes make us laugh, sometimes not, but it’s always exciting to “see what happens!”

Here are the teachers that have drawing classes or there is a lot of drawing involved, and I’ve put them in order of “less traditional” to “more traditional.” It really depends on your learning style and you can’t go wrong I don’t think with any of them.






I would recommend picking a class that seems most FUN to you… and I recommend this in all seriousness. Choose something that seems like it would be fun to do, not what you think you “should” do first. It will all come in time. 

But which class or teacher gives your stomach a little ping of excitement? That’s the one to start with, I think.

Good luck to you!! Write back if needed…



NOTE: I wanted to start sharing some of the questions and answers I get. 😀

NEW Paper Mache Sculpture Class!

Paper Mache Sculpture
Instructor: Michèle Landsaat
Class Dates: June 21 – July 1, 2022

Michèle Landsaat is primarily an illustrator and printmaker, and her fantastic paper mache sculptures really are a three-dimensional continuation of her illustrations and narrative prints.

Michèle finds that sculpting her characters informs her prints and vice versa, and it has become an integral part of her art practice. The simple, forgiving nature of paper mache is non-threatening way to reimagine your two dimensional work into three dimensions using basic materials like crumpled newsprint and flour and water. And, its fun! She will show us how to use Japanese paper to finish the sculptures and how to add  line work features.

Here is the promo video:

And samples of her sculptures!

Class Itinerary

The videos are pre-recorded and will be available on the following schedule:

Lesson 1 – Tuesday, June 21
Lesson 2 – Wednesday, June 22
Lesson 3 – Friday, June 24

Lesson 4 – Tuesday, June 28
Lesson 5 – Wednesday, June 29
Lesson 6 – Friday, July 1

Week 1 Lesson 1 – Sketch Your Designs & Make Paper Mache Paste Design your figure… will it be an animal, a person, or…? Some drawing tips and considerations. Make a bunch of quick sketches and prepare your paste, too.

Lesson 2 – Wire, Crumpled Paper & Masking Tape Today you will work on building the initial form of your figure. Shape with wire, using your sketch as a guide, and add multiple layers of crumpled newsprint and masking tape until you are satisfied. Smooth your surface as you go.

Lesson 3 – Editing Your Form; First Paper Mache Layer Cut away and build up places to help shape your form. Add ears and other details with paper and tape. Add your first layer of paper mache with newsprint. Let dry overnight.

Week 2 Lesson 4 – Second Layer & Hanging Hooks Cut away any lumpy areas and create hooks for hanging; then add your second layer of paper mache using Japanese paper.

Lesson 5 Drawing Features & Third Layer Draw or paint a variety of features to choose from using the media of your choice. Michele will demo using gel pen, colored pencil and acrylic paint. Let these dry overnight. Also, add your third and final layer of paper mache. Let dry overnight.

Lesson 6 – Applying the Features Adhere features to final layer using paste or glue stick. Take your time with this last important step, which will determine the personality of your finished sculpture!

Go HERE to sign up!

Book GIVEAWAY! “How to Make Mistakes on Purpose” by Laurie Rosenwald!

Hi everyone!

EDIT: The winners have been chosen! The following were randomly picked: Cynthia, Katrin, Anne Schwankhart, JoAnna Crone and Susan Sutcliffe. Congratulations, and thank you, everyone!

We are GIVING AWAY We have given away five copies of Laurie Rosenwald’s brand spanking new creativity book, “How to Make Mistakes on Purpose!” We are working on a class with her which will now run in September.

To enter, please leave a comment here at the blog by Sunday, April 3rd, and we will randomly pick five winners on Monday. International entries welcome.

Thank you!

First Quarter CSP Roundup!

Hi Everyone!

I wanted to just give a rundown of the things that have happened here at Carla Sonheim Presents these first three months of 2022! Here are the top 10 things (with some art I was able to make along the way):


1. January 4, 2022. Our 2022 Yearlong Class began! This year we have 12 guest teachers teaching wonderful projects, and part of the class is me responding to the guest lessons and doing a Zoom session where we might “take it further.” Also, we are working all year on a folded-out “map,” which incorporate bits and pieces from each of the guest teachers.

My in-process “map,” which includes a tiny “burrito unicorn” (Starheadboy‘s character from Lesson 1).


2. January 11, 2022. Lesson 1 of the yearlong class featured our first Guest Artist, Starheadboy. We painted stickers to place all around town and created acrylic paintings in his style.

Stickers and an acrylic painting inspired by Starheadboy from the 2022 Yearlong Class.


3. January 26-27, 2022. Lewis Rossignol flew to Seattle to film his new Procreate class!

Inspired by Lewis, I got Procreate! And made this animation.


4. February 1, 2022. Steve and I flew to New York City and filmed five different Guest artists for the yearlong: Scott Menchin, Yvetta Fedorova, Katherine Streeter, Selina Alko and Andrea D’Aquino! It was a lot to do in four days, but was able to place a few stickers around SODO “a la Starheadboy.”


5. February 8, 2022. The second yearlong Guest Teacher went up: Katherine Streeter! She had us make many collages in her style, working both in and out of the sketchbook.

Inspired by both Katherine’s and Starheadboy’s lessons.


6. February 15, 2022. Our first “regular” class of the year began! “Bright Color Scribble Journal Painting” by Jennifer Mercede was just the thing many of us needed to loosen up and enjoy the process.

A detail from my sketchbook… my “style” but totally inspired by Jennifer’s class!


7. March 8, 2022. Our third yearlong Guest Artist went live! Stacy Milrany invited us all to go for a walk, observe carefully and curiously, and then make a series of small works inspired by the ideas gleaned from the walk. Super fun.

I have bunnies on my mind due to a project I’ve been working on a long time and hope to announce soon. So my series became inspired by my chasing rabbits.


8. March 15, 2022.Procreate with Lewis Rossignol” class begins!

A drawing from imagination using Procreate!


9. March 21, 2022. Sketchbook Revival began! For the fourth year we are sponsoring Karen Abend’s free event… my lesson was “Stylized Zoom Portraits” and I’ve just loved what everyone has created! It’s not too late to join the fun. Click HERE! (And it’s totally free.)


10. March 21-23, 2022. We filmed the incredibly talented Laurie Rosenwald (whose class will go up for sale in the next few days).

Here is Laurie in the filming studio (our garage) signing books! Stay tuned for a book giveaway soon!


Phew! We’ve been busy. I hope you have had a creative start to the year, too!