Photos by Forest Zachman
I was lucky enough to attend the Jon Foster Workshop at the Watts Atelier in Encinitas, CA! Jon Foster taught us all of his tricks and secrets. I felt extremely lucky to attend. He covered composition, value, reference, and gave two demonstrations.
The first day he gave us a slideshow of his current work that he has done for Star Wars to Buffy to Anne Franks concept design. After which, he showed us a technique he uses when stuck or needs a more exciting composition. Basically he looks away from the page while sketching and uses a graphite or prisma stick to create random marks on the page. After which he looks for things in the marks to make a new and interesting composition. Jon gave us the assignment of nine thumbnails for a Moby DIck book cover along with Sparknotes. I went out to lunch with Chris. He was gracious enough to lug me around Encinitas and give me a tour. Chris works at Rockstar Games as a 2D Texture Artist and he is amazing at it.
During the second day Jon gave us an oil sketch demonstration. He told us that it was important not to turn painting into a finish medium only. Often he just sketches in oil for fun. Some examples are actually in his book Revolutions: The Art of Jon Foster. In reality Jon gave us three demos in one but would finish halfway and scrub it out. I don’t think he realized it but it was torture watching those beautiful sketches disappear. They are only to remain in the attendees’ memories and those that got a snapshot while they lasted. Jon showed us different techniques he uses, one was scratching in form with a business card. After his performance he critiqued our thumbnails and gave us a ton of advice.
Some of the other artists took me for some Hawaiian Food. Asa Uemon, Patrick Ballesteros, Dzu Nguyen, and a cute LA artist named Stevie Lewis I owe you guys/girl a special thanks for taking me along with you. It was delicious food something I could definitely get use to.
On the third day we changed the workshop location to the new building of the Watts Atelier. Jon began with a digital demonstration which lasted the entire morning. It was a Jon Foster version of Beaker. He blew right through it using his Wacom Intuos 2 6×8 (I believe), Photoshop CS, and Corel Painter 10. He showed us his tips on masking, brushes, color balance, etc. After which he showed us the correct way to shoot reference. He said to spend at least one hour shooting the pictures. That did not include setup of lights and model. He suggested getting multiple shots and sewing them together to make it a better picture. That pretty much ended the workshop.
I had a great time hanging out with Jon Foster and meeting everyone. I learned a ton and I hope to stay in contact with those that I met. Who knows maybe one day after I graduate I’ll take a few classes at Watts Atelier!