Court Jones Blog
New 'Oscars' illustration for the Union-Tribune 
Friday, February 17, 2012, 10:49 AM - Caricatures
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It's that time of year again where critics and publications are making their predictions for the Academy Awards. So the San Diego Union-Tribune once again asked me to do an Oscar-themed illustration for the cover of the Night and Day Weekend section. The composition was left up entirely to me. But unlike last year's illustration, which only showed the critic's choice for the best actor and actress, I wanted to include all of the major contenders for the Best Picture Oscar itself. And with the limited time I had to work on it, I needed a way to represent the films as a whole, in a simple way, and not make it look like I was focusing on just the actors.

In order to avoid having to draw and paint full bodies or complicated backgrounds, I came up with the picture frame idea, with Oscar himself playing the role of the critical viewer in a gallery or museum who is contemplating his choices. And each gold frame has elements which reference each nominated film in some small way. I kept the frame for "The Help" simple because it seemed appropriate that a movie about domestic workers have a less fancy frame. Still though, this illustration ended up being quite an exercise in rendering shiny gold surfaces.

And I'm so happy I finally got a chance to caricature Owen Wilson. What a weird schnoz!

This was done entirely in Photoshop.




And here's a larger version, without the copy.


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Some new oil studies 
Monday, January 23, 2012, 09:57 PM - Paintings
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I finally am back in a head painting class at the Watts Atelier. It's good to be painting from a live model again. Quick studies like this help loosen me up and keep me focused on economizing each brush stroke.



And this is a small 8 x 10 inch study of a crow from a photo I found somewhere


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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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