Saturday, June 21, 2008

Glass completed

Broken glass
graphite on mat board 7 x 12
copyright Jeanette Jobson

This is the completed drawing for a glass tutorial that I've finished. Well, almost finished. I have to clean up the image a little and finish some explanations of techniques then its done. Oh and the formatting. See? There's so much to do!

People often have problems finding me when they come to visit, even if the directions are fairly straight forward. Today I was playing around on Google Earth and found they give an option now of saving or printing an image. This image gives you an idea of where I live and my surround of trees, trees and more trees, interspersed with rocks and ponds or lakes. The images of some areas aren't as developed as others on Google Earth, but you get the general idea. The house is the light grey area on the right, the barn the dark grey on the left and the greenhouse further up centrally in the fields.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Classic art toys

Garden visitors
graphite 11 x 14
copyright Jeanette Jobson

I don't know of any saved record of my drawings or paintings as a child. I think that was before the trend arrived for parents to save every gum wrapper and scribble that a child produces from cradle to high school and beyond.

I was asked when I started to draw and the question made me think about some of my earliest memories of drawing. Not structured academic drawing, but simply drawing or creating for pleasure. I remember from the age of 5 or so always colouring or creating something and that stayed with me as time passed. When other kids were outside playing, I would be the one inside creating and decorating theatres out of shoe boxes with elaborate sets, characters and backdrops.

There were also a variety of toys that I had which fed my need to create. These may bring back memories for some or be completely new to others.

When children's Give A Show projectors were the rage in the 1960s, I had one. Not content with the slides that came with it, I scrounged pieces of hard cellophane from packaging, created cardboard slides and drew my own stories on the clear surface. I wish now that I could see some of those early efforts at around age 10.

Etch A Sketch. Remember those? Yes I had one and used it til it wore out. Here's an online version for those who want to try their hand at producing something. Was this the early version of the graphics tablet?

Visit Etched in Time to see George Vlosich III's amazing Etch a Sketch art.

You can still buy Etch A Sketch toys.

Spirographs came into existence in the late 1960s and they fed right into the psychedelic patterning of the 60s. I recall making endless patterns in colour or black and white with piles of patterns stacked up in my bedroom or posted to the walls.

If you want to create patterns, or treat a child in your life the Spirograph is still being produced. Check out Ebay for lots of spirographs for sale.

Obviously, toys that bring out creative skills tend to become classics and are used by generations of families and have appeal to both old and young. With the tendency for the thinking to be taken out of life these days and the McDonald's 'instant' gratification needs, we often overlook basic, simple toys that help minds develop ideas and explore possibilities.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


Kiora- 17 months old

I've been doing more writing that drawing these last few days as I try to make inroads into some drawing tutorials that I've been putting off. The drawing part comes fairly easily, but the writing is more of a challenge. Once I wrap my head around the task, I can get into a similar zone as I do when drawing and the words flow. About 1500 so far on the first tutorial. Another 500 or less perhaps and I'll be done.

I need to always remember to scan or photograph at high resolution and leave that image on my computer, as the high resolution of a minimum 300 dpi is the standard for printing crisp images. I am so used to reducing resolution for blog images that I often forget to leave the high res image intact.

I have a few more tutorials in my head and I'll play with those once this is out of the way. The drawings can be built up fairly quickly; the writing takes a day or so of solid concentration then formatting on top of that, which for some reason, I always struggle with. I like to just fit things in where they'll go. However, there is a standardized format that I must stay with and thank heavens I have a lovely editor who is very kind and helps me a lot with that. Let's hope she understands my speed in production lately which is slow, slow, slow.

Above is a photo of my grand daughter who lives quite a distance from me. I don't see her often and quite miss her at times. She's at the walking/exploring/active age and this photo shows the glimmer of intent in her eyes I think. This image may well become a portrait soon.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Good bone structure

Duck skull

This is the remains of one of the small ducks that a fox caught a year or two ago which was found in the woods a week or so ago. Although it may seem a bit gruesome, I quite enjoy examining and drawing skulls and bones. Since my year of anatomy, I developed a new found respect for how a living creature is constructed. It really is quite extraordinary how a living thing works so well with every part having a function.

Looking closely at the tip of the bill there are a series of small holes where nerves ended. Ducks are constantly sifting through mud or grass and the ends of their bills are very sensitive to any change in texture or movement, sensing food.

I will draw this skull in the next day or so, but have a few other obligations on my plate right now. I laid a handful of fresh cherries on the table after supper with full intentions of drawing them. Somehow or the other they got eaten instead. They were good however and there are plenty more to draw.

I need a few deadlines to push myself into action. I'm getting lazy. There is an exhibition on June 29th that I haven't yet decided to put pieces into or not. I should for exposure and potential sales, but do need a couple of pieces framed in order to do that and don't have the correct frames on hand. I know its an easily solved problem, but lethargy is over taking me this week. There is always tomorrow...

Monday, June 16, 2008

Creating tutorials

Glass tutorial update
copyright Jeanette Jobson

I think I must either have too much going around in my brain or not enough as I can't seem to keep going to the end of a project without another one sneaking in beside the first. Tutorials seems to be rather like that with me, maybe because they take up so much left brain and right brain activity and the switch between activities is quite difficult to master well.

My tutorials are a combination of drawings in progress and explanations of techniques and processes to get to the final image. It is a lot more difficult than I had ever imagined it would be. Drawing is something that I do without consciously thinking about how I'm doing it. It just 'happens'. I need to make a very conscious effort to articulate just what I am doing with a pencil. Pressure, softness or hardness of the lead, what I am observing, what lines I am placing, all these things come into play.

The drawing part of a tutorial is easy. However, it is punctuated frequently by stops to take progress photos and that is fraught with problems. I prefer digital images rather than scans so my images are only useable in daylight hours. In winter I end up using the scanner as I am mostly able to draw in early morning or evening when its dark. I have to make myself stop and take a photo when often I'd much rather keep on drawing. It really does break my concentration from drawing, having to take a photo or scan, upload it, tweak it, resize it, etc. That can take 10 minutes or more away from drawing and its difficult to get back into the drawing zone again sometimes.

The other end of the scale is when I get so involved in the drawing that I forget to take progress shots then realize I've gone too far, then have to redo a step. That's probably more frustrating than stopping to take an image.

Once drawings are complete, the real challenge comes. How to write the information that guides the person through the piece? I aim at a beginner audience, explaining each step as I go, trying to remember that what is simple or common to me, may be totally new to someone reading the tutorial. I used to think, before I did any tutorials, 'how hard can this be?' Pretty hard. Try describing exactly how you draw something or build values. In a live class I can demonstrate what I'm trying to explain. On paper or online I can only use words and images to get that technique across.

Finally, formatting needs to be complete to ensure everything looks the way it should and images are labelled in sequence. I seem to swear a lot when I'm formatting tutorials. You put an image in place, add words and everything moves, no matter how you lock down things. Yes, formatting....sigh.

The headaches and angst of creating a piece seem to disappear once it is complete. It sits in my binder of tutorials and I leaf through it, still marvelling that anyone would want to read it, let alone learn from it.

I have another layer or two to add to the glass before its complete but above is the piece to date from line drawing to its current state. Drawing glass is like putting together a puzzle for me. All those little shards of light and shade and the subtle changes in values that go along with it are such fun to draw!

Sunday, June 15, 2008


Donkey study
graphite 11 x 14
copyright Jeanette Jobson

I have wanted a donkey for as long as I can remember. Why? I have no idea except that they are sweet gentle creatures - or at least the ones I have encountered in life so far are that way. A woman in the next town has a donkey, along with her horses and I drive there everyday. I make a point of watching out for the donkey, who never seems very happy. He stands well apart from the horses with his ears back, looking rather dejected. It seems horses and donkeys don't mix well.

I'd love to offer to take him, but then I'd need another donkey to keep him company and donkeys are hard to come by in Newfoundland. I'll keep looking though.

Here's an old photo of me and a donkey friend on the Aran Islands, off Galway, Ireland circa 1975 or 76.