Wednesday, February 06, 2008


I liked the shapes of this elegant bird and wanted to try it in colour. However I'm not very happy with the initial stages. I'm hoping its just in its ugly stage and will pass by soon.

I thought I'd try the drafting film again and soon remembered just how few layers you can achieve on this surface. However, it is deliciously smooth and buttery to draw on. I'm using Derwent Coloursoft pencils and haven't tried them on the film til now. Perhaps I'm just out of practice on this support, but I don't like the initial efforts. This may be one of those to add to the 'mistakes' drawer.

The background start is not good and the colours in the feathers is far to candy pink. Yes, I think this one will be trashed and another started. I know I can erase on drafting film, but have found it just doesn't have quite the same smooth surface after erasing, so I avoid it when possible. Sometimes its useful to just look at things on the computer screen and reality appears more clearly than when it is in front of you.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Anatomy for artists

Skull Study I
Graphite 8 x 10 Canson sketch pad
copyright Jeanette Jobson

I was a little taken aback recently by hearing a person who was drawing a figure say that they didn't know where the ribs were on the body. This was echoed by another couple of people around the room and I was inwardly gasping in amazement. I guess I figure that everyone who sets out to draw the human form in whatever format, from full figure to portrait, knows at least some basic anatomy. I guess I was wrong.

Anatomy was absorbed by me early on in my art life through studying the figure, attending life classes and having bone structure and muscle explained to me in sculpture classes. Then I got into anatomy in full detail when I trained as a chartered herbalist. For the best part of a year, I studied and memorized parts of the human body, how they performed, how they broke down. Muscles, bones and organs became a way of life in a depth I never would have imagined and I found it fascinating. Yeah, I was the geek who fell asleep with the heavy copy of Gray's Anatomy (no, not the television series) on my nose. Now Gray's Anatomy is also available online, even though I have to say that I prefer a real book in my hands, especially one so full of detail and description.

So to hear people who were drawing the figure say they weren't at least vaguely familiar with what I would call school grade anatomy was surprising to me. This put me on a quest to remedy that, at least for my drawing class participants. I want to find a skeleton or at the very least, a skull for them to draw. There are lots of images and I have anatomy books full of bones, but its not the same as the real thing. But its not as easy or as economical as you would imagine to come up with some bones on this island or even in Canada for that matter.

I've browsed all over the place and found a few suppliers where prices range from the thousands for real human skulls or skeletons, down to very reasonable prices for realistic looking copies, suitable for educational use. Just finding the right price and one who will ship to Canada on my terms is the challenge.

So if anyone has a skeleton in their closet, and want to find a home for it, let me know. It will be put to good artistic use.

Meanwhile, there are a number of artist anatomy sites online that are great for reference material and learning resources.

Fine Art SK
Frank Frazetta
The Anatomy Lesson
The Anatomists
Basic Anatomy for the Artist

Anatomy for Artists: The Human Form Revealed: The Shoulder

Monday, February 04, 2008

Pink curves and lines

I've never drawn birds much - hardly at all in fact, but I find myself drawing them off and on for the last couple of weeks. Not detailed images but contour drawings, in the hopes that one will inspire me sufficiently to continue one with it.

I loved the shape of this flamingo, all curves and smooth lines. This may be 'the one'. This is a sketch is put together at lunch time on computer paper and a horrible office pencil. Note to self: Put a decent mechanical pencil in your bag!

Most waterfowl have long graceful necks - and usually nasty dispositions. Perhaps its all the sifting around in the bottom of the lake that does it. However, as I've never been in really close proximity to a flamingo, except in a nature park, I can't really comment on what their personalities are like. They are beautifully shaped and coloured birds and I hope to capture this one on paper.

The medium will likely be coloured pencil and perhaps drafting film. I haven't used film a lot, but it really is lovely to work with and I want to give my new hellishlyexpensiveduty/brokeragefeedtodeath Derwent Coloursofts a good trial run. They are beautifully soft and go on very smoothly. Note to Canadians: Never use FedEx for delivery from the USA to Canada if at all possible. They are no quicker at getting items across the border and their 'brokerage fee' is outrageous. It negated any savings I was anticipating in buying my full set of Derwents from Blicks. Plus duty on top,which I don't mind paying. A fee to put something in a truck and warehouse it, yes I do object. $13 in duty and taxes, $28 in brokerage fees. Hmph. I paid almost as much in fees as I paid for the entire order. Life on an island. Some days...

Saturday, February 02, 2008


When a man wants to murder a tiger, he calls it sport; when the tiger wants to murder him, he calls it ferocity. The distinction between crime and justice is no greater.
George Bernard Shaw

This lovely animal was in the news not too long ago involving tragic death at a zoo in San Francisco. The tiger was being a tiger. The humans being humans. Neither had a pretty outcome and both completely unnecessary.

I have views about the concept of zoos. While they do allow intimate views of animals that would never ordinarily be observed, they also house animals in a confined, often hostile environment, especially large animals, such a tigers who have much larger territories than a penned enclosure.
Mental and physical problems arise in the animals and they often react, both as a wild animals should and as stressed wild animals should. However, humans always conclude this behaviour as out of character for the animal.

I'm always on the side of the animal.

Friday, February 01, 2008


Radio Man
Charcoal on newsprint
copyright Jeanette Jobson

I saw the reference for this sketch in the Weekend Drawing Event at WetCanvas and the 1950's feel of it appealed.

I'm a radio fan. Not music stations which, in most cases, irritate me. At least the 'popular' ones. The radio I listen to has more voices, conversations, questions, news and interviews than music. When music reaches across the airwaves, it is related to the person being interviewed or connected somehow to the situation. It isn't strident and doesn't disrupt my world.

However, it isn't what my clock radio is set to wake me with. That is one of the 'popular' stations which is loud and annoying and guaranteed to get me out of bed just to shut it off!

I continue my radio world late into the night as television holds no interest for me, except for a couple of programs a week. Late night enters a new realm with radio. There international interviews and interesting forays into others lives transport me and make me think. Without radio, I would never have known about the artist models strike in Italy the other day, along with an interview with an Italian art model. What did they do when they went on strike? What else? They kept their clothes on.