Let’s hear from Jennifer Watson, instructor for our
NEW Colored Pencil Workshop on October 29…
Ginger: How do you describe your style of artwork?
Jennifer: I love realism, and often try for borderline photorealism. My goal is the double take: I want my pieces to look like artwork, but I love it when people have to take another look to make sure they aren’t looking at a photo.
G: Have colored pencils always been your medium of choice?
J: Colored pencils are a recent love of mine! I’ve always loved working with graphite pencils, but I didn’t pick up colored pencils until April 2015. I’ve owned a large set of Prismacolors for several years, but it had just been sitting with my art supplies. I did a search for “colored pencil technique” on YouTube and got started.
G: What favorite art supplies do you use?
J: My favorite colored pencils are Faber Castell’s Polychromos pencils–they layer nicely, blend smoothly, are light fast, and have a great concentration of pigment in the color core. As an oil-based pencil, they’re a harder pencil and can hold a sharp point longer than a wax-based pencil; oil-based pencils are also more translucent than wax-based pencils, and it’s easy to “glaze” a color on top of others, similar to how one might work in oils or acrylics. My paper of choice for colored pencil work is Fabriano Artistico extra white hot press 140lb watercolor paper–the watercolor paper is very sturdy and stands up to all the techniques I use; the hot press finish is smooth enough for detail but also has enough tooth to take plenty of layers.
Other favorite supplies:
- Caran d’Ache Luminance colored pencils (wax-based, light fast, AMAZING) – building my set, I love these pencils!
- Derwent Drawing Chinese White (one of the best white pencils out there)
- Staedtler Mars Lumograph (graphite pencils)
- Staedtler pencil sharpeners (the double tip barrel sharpener is great, and the simple, bare, manual sharpeners that come in a 4-pack are surprisingly good.
- Liquitex Basics (acrylic paint – for a “student grade” product, these are fantastic)
- Fredrix blue label canvases (great brand for canvases, and the blue label are smooth and great for fine detail)
G: What artists or illustrators do you admire and why?
J: I have always loved M.C. Escher – his imagination, his attention to detail, and his ability to make the viewer question reality always intrigued me. I even named a piece of mine “Three Worlds II” in a nod to my favorite piece of his, “Three Worlds.” I like to joke with people that I’m anxiously awaiting the year 2042, which is when his works will enter the public domain and can be incorporated into my work.
Two of my favorite current artists are Lisa Clough (Lachri Fine Art) and John Middick (Sharpened Artist). Both of them are very talented and skilled, and both of them work so hard to help other artists improve—Lisa’s YouTube channel has become something of an empire, John has begun an online colored pencil academy, and the two co-host a weekly colored pencil podcast. I’m blessed to know both of them personally and to count them among my art mentors.
G: What colors are you drawn to?
J: All of them? ☺ I love drawing from wildlife and nature best, though–I’ve replaced my green, blue and brown colored pencils most often.
G: When you’re not drawing, what do you most like to do to enjoy life?
J: I sing ALL the time–even while I’m drawing. I record with 3 different choruses (Florida College Alumni Chorus, Sumphonia, and the upcoming Concordia Sacrae), and I’ve recently begun taking voice lessons, which is something I’ve always wanted to do. I also enjoy reading (usually audiobooks during art time!), walking, kayaking, inline skating, and visiting Walt Disney World.
G: (a) What are you proud of in your artistic path to this point? (b) What artistic accomplishments do you yet reach for?
J: a) In a broader sense, I’m finally embracing the talent with which God has blessed me and developing it to a level I hadn’t previously thought possible, and I have a confidence in myself that I’ve never known before. For years, I told myself (and believed) the lie, “I’ll never be as good as that” (whatever “that” was at the time). I settled for what I already had and didn’t try for more. I greatly prefer what I have now!
—As far as specific achievements go, I’m blessed to have received recognition in more than half of the contests/shows I’ve entered, including Best of Show at the 2016 Florida Strawberry Festival with a graphite piece, “Ceduna.” (Fun fact: that was my first show!) I was also very happy to be asked to submit a tutorial of “Ivan” for the October 2016 issue of Colored Pencil Magazine.
b) My goal is to turn art into my career and a full-time job: I’m testing the waters on YouTube and Patreon, I have a couple of workshops scheduled, I’ve begun giving private lessons, I’ve been asked to complete a few commissions, and I hope to sell more of my original works and prints. I’d love to create fine art for Disney someday!
G: Where is your work represented? Where can fans find you online? Where can I find you in person at shows?
J: I regularly enter pieces into the shows down at the Old Hyde Park Art Center with Tampa Regional Artists. I don’t have an official website yet, but www.thearteest87.com will redirect to my Fine Art America page, which functions as an online gallery for me. You can also follow me on Facebook–my art-related posts are always public.