Jeff Stone Watercolor Doodlewash Featured Image

GUEST ARTIST: “Making A Mark” by Jeff Stone

My name is Jeff Stone and I’m a Commercial Artist out of LaSalle, Colorado. This term has faded from popular vocabulary a bit, but it was a term used as I grew up and I feel it suits me best. I am lucky to work with many hats including Graphic Designer, Illustrator, Educator, and Artist. Bottom line, I make images for others, hence Commercial Artist.

Going back and forth from the graphic and fine art worlds I find myself working with ideas and concepts to help develop an end solution; be it for a customer or my personal work. Art and Design are all about solving a problem. No matter the medium – be it a logo, a website, a poster, or watercolor, it’s about finding the best solution.

How is the work balanced? How is it laid out? How does it work across different platforms? Is the typography done correctly? Are the marks interesting? Is there a high level of craftsmanship? Answers to these questions determine if a work is successful.   I believe this is what fuels my love for illustration.  It is a mix of both the commercial and fine art worlds. Throughout my life I am filling in blank space with images. Creating is a major part of my life and thankfully sharing those ideas helps pay the bills.

I find myself drawn to line and how it’s used to define or suggest an image. I want to see the artists’ hand at work and I hope to show mine with the works I produce.  I find just as much interest in the way a Calvin and Hobbes’ bedroom is drawn as in the Mona Lisa. I love looking at visual images with distinctive marks. My work is successful when a distinctive mark is left on the canvas.  Value in marks. Value of the marks. The value is in My Marks.

I stray away from the idea of fully rendered images, I want to see an artist’s hand and the choices one makes. I am interested in the marks made as well as the ones left out. Watercolor lends itself perfectly to this mindset.

Most of my work with watercolor is figurative and portraitures. My favorite setup is starting with Crescent illustration boards and masking tape for clean borders. I lay in light pencil with a 4H lead. For most works, I use a limited color palette. Blues and Browns find their way into a lot of my works.

I usually lay a wash of a muted form of my lightest color. Lay in midtones and darks next. Then push and pull these values and tones. I may need to darken an area, pull out some color in another spot. I use paper towels a lot to lay over and blot areas. I strive to get layers of colors to show through one another.   That is the beauty of this medium and I want to expose that as much as possible.

Knowing what effects you want will determine how you work. Wet on wet, dry brush, fading an edge with water to get an outcome of your choice. A favorite outcome of mine I call “puddles” are the hard edges left after the puddle dries.

Thank you for your time viewing and sharing with me in my works. I enjoy any conversation about art. I am inspired daily with verbal and nonverbal conversations around so many fantastic images that artists share on places like Doodlewash, Instagram, and Facebook.

Jeff Stone

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12 thoughts on “GUEST ARTIST: “Making A Mark” by Jeff Stone

  1. Great post. I agree with quite a bit of what was said about wanting to see the Artist hand in their work. The brush strokes and percieved flaws make me ask questions about who made the peice. Those kinds of questions almost always have interesting answers that give secondary meaning to the art itself.

  2. Jeff, it’s a pleasure to meet you here and see more of your work as I’ve been enjoying it on the Doodlewash Community site. I really like the way you capture the personalities of your subjects without being heavy handed and overworking the art. Just beautiful.

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