Sculpting with chocolate

Today I spent some time at the Cocoàfair Chocolate Factory. With chocolate especially prepared for sculpting I started to create a dragon. Below are some photos of the progress.

If you have any questions about my chocolate sculpting, please contact me via eMail.



Next week I will be working on the details and finish the piece. I will keep you updated and post the final dragon.


Thinking about the best way to end the amazing old year and celebrate the new year I have decided to start with a new oil painting. Details of the progress and how I came to this composition will be coming soon on my blog. Now I just want to have some fun for the rest of the year. Thank you for your support and have a happy new year!



For a couple of month I have been working on a series of oil paintings about evolution and transformation. Many Pages of my sketchbook are loaded with ideas on these topics. Today I present the first painting of my “Cocoon” series. Below are some photos of my progress and the final result.

The final oil painting. It was intended to be a preliminary oil painting for a larger canvas. Now I like it as it is and decided that this is the final work.

Andrea Christen Cocoon


My first step to start a oil painting like the “Cocoon” is to do thumbnails for composition. After choosing the composition that works best for me in the thumbnail I start developing the preliminary drawing for the painting.


The next step is to transfer the drawing to my canvas board. My prefered technique is to cover the backside of a copy of the drawing with pencilstrokes and trace all the lines I need for the underpainting.


The underpainting is painted in raw umber with a hint of ultramarine acrylic paint.



Before I start with the oil paint layers I add rough color with acrylic paint. At this stage it looks even to me like a mess and it actually is the hardest stage of a painting for me yet.


Please write in the comment section below if you have any questions on my progress.

New Blind Guardian Merch available

It was my great pleasure and an honor to go on another ride into obsession and create two brandnew T-Shirt Designs for Blind Guardian. The band allowed me a lot of freedom and I could paint along illustrating “Valhalla” one of the alltime favourite songs of Blind Guardian fans. I’m looking forward to sing that song alongside fellow fans at an upcoming concert wearing that shirt.

In the brainstorming process for the Valhalla Shirt I did some research and came up with one of the epic battles of northern mythology which is the story of Thor fighting the Midgard Snake, his last battle right before he enters Valhalla. The intense feelings I have when I sing this song with thousands of fans and the band in unity poured into this painting. The initial painting was executed in oil on canvas.


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Final front and back design of the T-Shirt. It is now available at the EMP Online Store.

For the second shirt the band requested a crest with dragons. It is executed as a digital painting and I had a lot of fun painting the dragons, the Guardian and the metal effects. I am looking forward to the band’s upcoming songs that evolve from their own ride into obsession. Painting for one of my favourite bands is always intense and with their music is on my headphones I get the right feeling.


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This is available at the EMP Online Store too.


Cover Art for the song “Violet” by Felix Olschewski

It was my great pleasure to work for Felix Olschewski again. He had asked me to illustrate the cover for his brand new song Violet. This song kind of tickles me and it just makes me feel good. Check out this colorful song about a girl called Violet.

Here is the artwork:



Pencil and Watercolor on Bristol Board (40x40cm)

The importance of warming up

When I faced the challenge to draw 2-minute poses for the first time it was confusing and I had a hard time to focus on the important things. The first drawings looked awkward and I wasn’t pleased with the outcome. That was because I had no idea what to do first. Over time I have learned to appreciate those quick poses, because they are very important for me to warm up for the longer poses and to learn to get the gesture of the figure.

In the figure drawing group that I attend weekly now we start with long poses and I have my difficulties with the first long pose (20-25min). Since I now figured out what the problem is I try to treat the first pose more and more like a short pose and warm up by analyzing it with several quick sketches first. Most of my fellow artists in the group prefer the long pose, though, so I have to work my way around my problem. The last few times I started earlier and sketched random people in the village. That helps as well to warm up.

These are some of my drawings from the figure drawing session on Wednesday. This was the third and last pose (20min):


Second pose (20min). When I finish earlier I use the time to analize the pose in my second sketchbook


First pose (20min), warm up phase:




Figure Drawing Session

I’m very happy to draw from the model again. Below is one of my favourite drawings from the sessions. At the next session I have to warm up before the model arrives, because I discovered for me that it takes a while to get the flow to draw something like this. This was the third and last long pose of the session. I’ll post the warm up sketches soon. For the warm up I will just draw quick sketches of people at the park or in town.

Thanks a lot to the model for this beautiful pose.



Book recommendation

A few days ago I needed to trace some lines quickly. So I did it in an oldschool way by using the window. So often you correct things in Photoshop, scan, redraw etc. I’m sick of my computer from time to time and just get creative to avoid it as much as possible using traditional ways of painting.

There’s an interesting book about the techniques of the old masters I’m reading at the moment. It gives you some information of how to prepare your painting surface, make brushes, tracing paper and things like that. It was written in the 15th century as a guide for students by Cennino d’Andrea Cennini. It’s so interesting and I cherish my ready-at-hand painting tubes a lot more. Here’s the link to the book The Craftsman’s Handbook (Dover Art Instruction)


The Mother Yeast

On my last trip to Cape Town it was a pleasure to spend  some time and have breakfast or lunch or dessert at Caffe Milano on Kloof Street. Chef Giorgio Nava works on his bread and pastry with his mother yeast. The artwork below is 20x30cm, acrylics on canvas board and was a gift for Giorgio as a thank you for all the love he puts in his art of Italian pastry. I already miss that place a lot. Caffe Milano is also a nice place to draw people, I did that frequently.