My name is Jody Linn and I currently live in Winnipeg, Canada, working as an artist and illustrator (follow me on Instagram, Facebook, and visit my website!). As a child, I was definitely not one of those kids who was always drawing or painting.
I opted for sewing and shop courses over art in high school, and my formal art training now is through City & Guilds in Textile Arts, not painting. I have worked as an office administrator, a professional cook, and a conservator/curator for the Costume Museum of Canada, as well as a variety of odd jobs (emphasis on the odd).
At the Museum, however, a large part of my job was cataloguing the garments in the collection, including a full color illustration. While my C&G courses had given me some exposure to watercolor, I knew that my skills weren’t where I wanted them to be and signed up for my first online class in fashion illustration.
It was still a rocky love affair! Learning new techniques as I needed them, I found watercolors to be too unpredictable and difficult to control for my comfort, even though I was enamored of the beautiful color that they could produce. It wasn’t until taking a class with Sandra Bowers that I found my way to wet on dry techniques, and that is where the passion (finally!) kicked in.
By applying light, thin layers, I am able to build up the color saturation where I want it and not just where it happens to pool. Shadows and light become achievable and each new painting becomes an exciting challenge in figuring out which techniques to use and what order to use them.
Most of my pieces start with a pencil sketch from a reference photo, I try to sketch from actual objects as well when possible but I find it easier to get interesting angles and composition using a camera first. I’ll start painting usually by laying down a base of color in each section; I do like to use wet on wet techniques for this first layer to give some interesting shadows and undertones. After that foundation is dry, I can start adding new layers of color and texture as I need.
I started out with a simple Winsor & Newton pan set, and a variety pack of brushes; while I do still use that pan set when I’m sketching out and about in the world, I mostly use tube and liquid watercolors now. The brushes that I reach for the most are all round with a fine point, sizes 3,6, and 12 usually, and every piece has at least some detail work done with a 3/0 spotter.
Why food now instead of fashion? In addition to indulging my lifelong love of cooking, there is a more practical reason: I never run out of subjects to paint! No matter what palette or season, no matter what painting style, there is a food that fits, probably a variety of them. Despite this fascination and the amount of time that I work with it, I still take classes and workshops wherever I can. I try to learn from as many people as possible and experiment with any technique put in front of me, even if I’ve never had an interest in it before. In my experience, there’s always more to learn, and it’s never too late to start. You never know what’s going to open a new door!