Court Jones Blog
Facial Anatomy Class at the Watts Atelier 
Wednesday, January 04, 2012, 02:37 PM - Classes
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Beginning January 11, 2012, I will once again teach "Drawing Facial Features and Expressions" at the Watts Atelier, in Encinitas, CA on Wednesdays from 2:30pm to 5:30pm. For the first half of the semester, the class will focus on learning the proper construction of the individual facial features as well as how idealize them for portrait work and how to use your new anatomical knowledge to improve upon poor photo reference.

The second half of the semester will focus on the anatomy of the facial muscles and how they work to create the expression of emotions. Along with the internal anatomy, we will learn what the seven basic expressions are and how to draw them so that they read as authentic in your drawing or painting. This class is a must for anyone who would like to improve their portrait or caricature skills and to infuse more personality and emotion into their subjects.

The class will run for ten weeks and costs $385. As always, registration for classes at the Watts Atelier is open to anyone. There are no portfolio reviews or other registration requirements. Read more info and register for the class on the Watts Atelier website.

This class probably will not be offered again for another year, so if you are interested, be sure to inquire at the school or contact me with any questions.


Here is a group of ear studies in oil I did last week.


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Traditional Corporate Christmas Card 
Wednesday, December 14, 2011, 10:20 AM - Paintings
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Right after the Pacific Magazine cover, I began work on another traditionally wrought subject--this time for a high-end shoe manufacturer. He wanted me to create an illustration that looks like it could have been done in the 1950s or '60s, but featuring his shoe brand. We had these printed on a few hundred greeting cards and shipped out to his retailers.

Gathering the photo reference for this presented some challenges. Namely, I couldn't think of anyone to pose for me who has a real vintage look in their faces and hairstyles. It's hard to explain, but I think people just looked different back then. At least the types of people you saw in ads and movies had certain characteristic traits. So I shot photos of the models in costume, along with the props in a living room setting with consistent lighting and then found some vintage stock photography of models faces from mid-century. The faces gave me particular problems, because I had to change the lighting and angles slightly to make them seem to fit on the bodies in that scene. I ended up totally repainting the mother and father's faces once each because they didn't quite work the first time.

Also, the dog I photographed was a completely different breed. But the client really wanted a chocolate lab puppy.

This was drawn in pencil on smooth bristol and then painted in Photoshop.




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A Family Christmas Card 
Tuesday, December 06, 2011, 10:24 PM - Caricatures
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It's not too often that I get to do a commissioned job that is edgy and macabre. Most people want something very flattering and inoffensive. Especially when it's a Christmas card. But the Nykoluk family is an exception, in many ways. They requested something along the lines of an Addams Family ink drawing for the cover of their Christmas card this year. I was already somewhat acquainted with them going into this, so I knew I could have a little more fun with it. The parents are both artists themselves. One's a graphic designer and the other designs tactical equipment and apparel. And they are very creative in their daily lives--from their original and intricate Halloween costumes to creating tiny themed lunch sculptures for their kids.

And I got a chance to really explore some ink hatching techniques. It's such a difficult and delicate medium that forces you to plan out every single stroke. The angle, length and thickness of the line, as well as its proximity to every other line are what create the illusion of value and form. But when it's done right, it's a very satisfying type of art to look at. The lines also help create a sense of motion that other types of rendering might not have.


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A Magazine Cover for Christmas 
Sunday, December 04, 2011, 09:40 PM - Paintings
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I recently finished an illustration for the Dec. 2011 cover of Pacific San Diego Magazine. This was a job I was really excited to do, because I don't often get asked to create a traditional/non-caricature illustration. They wanted something along the lines of a Norman Rockwell, but with a modern San Diego setting. And with a hot girl, of course. So I started sketching ideas by thinking about Christmas time in San Diego and how our climate and landscape might make for a different kind of yuletide image than we are used to seeing. I also referenced a book I have on Haddon Sundblom's classic Santa/Coca-Cola advertising art to study how Santa is traditionally depicted.



I chose the backdrop of the Hotel del Coronado, because it's one of our few really well-known San Diego icons, and the beach idea seemed appropriate. Once I had the setting and background in mind, I tried to place myself in the moment and figure out how someone might celebrate the holiday season in that environment. So the idea of the sand-snow man came to mind. The Hotel del usually has standard white Christmas lights on it's main cone shaped tower every December, but I thought it also looks a bit like a Christmas tree already, so I took those decorations a step further.

And then I figured if Santa were here, he would do as most tourists do and take advantage of the warm weather and beaches. Oh, and he would definitely surf.



Since I knew this would be a realistic traditionally drawn illustration, I took my own photo reference for almost everything and tried to do things "right", which included, photographing the location, buying/borrowing props and wardrobe, and hiring models. I drew everything out in pencil on a large board, but the painting itself was painted digitally with Photoshop, and a little bit of Art Rage Studio for the impasto paint effects.

I also did a few comic panels in ink and watercolor for the inside pages of the magazine, which you can view entirely online here: Pacific San Diego Magazine - December 2011






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Hey Man. At least I'm housebroken. 
Saturday, November 05, 2011, 11:30 AM - Caricatures
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Just wanted to have some fun with a little oil caricature study of The Dude. 12 x 16"







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