GUEST ARTIST: “Blame Beatrix Potter” by Odd Jacobson

Watercolor Illustration by Odd Jacobson - Doodlewash

Hi! I’m Odd Jacobson. I began life in California and moved to my family farm in Kansas when I was 14. I am the second youngest of twelve kids; nine older brothers and two sisters.

I’ve loved drawing since I was small. My brother Jack, also an artist, noticed I would look at trees and hold up a finger, close one eye, and trace their outline in the air so I could draw it when I got home. I was five when he stated to our Mom that I would be an artist.

Watercolor Illustration by Odd Jacobson - Doodlewash

Manta Ray Lighthouse

Most of my family are artists. There were always unfinished art projects or expensive pens strewn over my siblings’ rooms. My brother Wallace would give me failed line art to color in – I don’t think I ever owned a coloring book.

I became interested in watercolor illustrations because of Beatrix Potter. I told my mother, and she got me a beautiful watercolor kit for Christmas when I was 8. I began teaching myself how to watercolor through books and online videos.

When I was 12, I learned about the Golden Age of illustration, and I began inking my art. I dabbled in comics (because of Bill Waterson), but I had so many stories in my head I wanted to paint that my art naturally began drifting towards illustration.

Watercolor Illustration by Odd Jacobson - Doodlewash

Merboy In Teapot

I experiment with gouache and digital art, but I still favor the transparency and textures you can get with watercolors. I like that with a splatter of paint and a sprinkle of salt you have flowers.

I use Schmincke Horadam watercolors for my main palette, and I have multiple colors from Daniel Smith and Winsor & Newton. The palette I use for sketching, or small and fun illustrations, is a Mijello Mission Gold set.

I ink with sepia ink and a dip pen – I like the variety of line width you can get with a nib more than pens.

I’ll usually start with an under painting of brown and build up the values that way (I love using Schmincke Horadam Transparent Umber for that) and then put my colors on top. I love how neutrals make a saturated color pop so much more.

Watercolor Illustration by Odd Jacobson - Doodlewash

The brown under painting also unifies my colors wonderfully, allowing me to jump in and not have to worry too much about color choices, or figuring out tonal values since I already did it! It’s a load off my mind, since I’m very poor at planning out my art.

Watercolor Illustration by Odd Jacobson - Doodlewash

I’m inspired by fairy tales and stories; the strong image of a scene or a character sends me straight to my drawing table.

I love writing, and most of my art is scenes and characters from my stories.

An art piece will usually start with an image in my head of a character on an adventure, and the image will get stronger and more detailed, until finally, I have to put them in a painting.

There are many artists who inspire my art…

I love Edmund Dulac’s colors, his storytelling, and his meticulous attention to detail.

I love the intensity and drama of Caravaggio’s work, his powerful use of light and shadow.

I love the way Bill Waterson and Ernest Shepard use ink.

But I will always blame Beatrix Potter the most for inspiring me to try watercolor.

Odd Jacobson
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Recommended5 recommendationsPublished in Featured Artists

Creator of Doodlewash® and founder of World Watercolor Month™ (July) and World Watercolor Group™. Sharing daily watercolor illustrations and stories while proudly featuring talented artists from all over the world! If you’d like to be a guest artist on Doodlewash.com, contact me!

32 Comments
  1. Sandra Strait 4 weeks ago

    Odd, your paintings do make me think of the Golden Age of illustration – it’s beautiful and brings back fond memories of the many books I had as a child. Thank you for sharing your artistic journey with us!

    • Odd Jacobson 4 weeks ago

      That is so kind – thank you! I obsess over the golden age and I hope one day to have half the magic Edmund Dulac does in his illustrations.

      Thank you for reading about my journey!

  2. Sharon Bonin-Pratt 4 weeks ago

    Odd, your paintings are enchanting, each brimming with story. So many details to enjoy, so infused with imagination. Though I know of many artists who begin an oil painting with a burnt umber base, I’ve never seen a watercolorist use this technique. And you do it well. It’s hard to believe you are only 23, having accomplished this enormous portfolio of whimsical creatures and scenes. It’s been a pleasure to see your work. You have a long, wonderful career ahead of you – best wishes.

    • Odd Jacobson 4 weeks ago

      It’s embarrassing to admit, but I got a little emotional reading your comment – makes me feel like I’m on the right track!

      I learned the burnt umber base technique from William Stout http://www.williamstout.com/news/journal/?p=3 and I’ve used it for most of my illustrations ever since.

      I really owe so much for my parents for encouraging me. If not for them, I think I would be years behind on art, I’m sure I would’ve given up a while ago.

      Thank you so much, this was really such an encouraging comment to read!

  3. LoriCtoo 4 weeks ago

    So enjoy your work! Magical. You are very talented.

    • Odd Jacobson 4 weeks ago

      Thank you! I’m glad you find it magical – I try very much to make it feel magical!

  4. Zertab Quaderi 4 weeks ago

    Absolutely magical!

  5. Delores Azary 4 weeks ago

    I really enjoyed your paintings! Thanks for posting!

  6. Les Grindey 4 weeks ago

    love the color and your story of your family love the sunflowers one great

    • Odd Jacobson 4 weeks ago

      Thank you so much! I owe all my artistic-ness to my family 😀

  7. Lisa 4 weeks ago

    I love your work! The sunflower painting breaks my heart. It is so beautiful!

    • Odd Jacobson 4 weeks ago

      Thank you! Of the paintings here, the sunflower one is the most recently done – I think its my favorite so far, I’m very proud of it!

  8. Lin Powell 4 weeks ago

    I loved reading your story and seeing your art. You are so talented. So glad I am finding these wonderful guest artists on Doodlewash.

    • Odd Jacobson 4 weeks ago

      Thank you so much! I’m really grateful to doodlewash to give me the opportunity to show my artwork to people!

  9. Laura (PA Pict) 4 weeks ago

    I love your artwork. It’s so charming. I love the warmth that the brown initial wash creates, even in the blue hued works. Thanks for sharing.

    • Odd Jacobson 4 weeks ago

      Thank you! I prefer warm browns just about more than any other color – if my illustration isn’t warm it feels wrong to me 😀

      Thank you for looking!

  10. June Hadaway 4 weeks ago

    Really beautiful. So nice of you to share

    • Odd Jacobson 4 weeks ago

      Thank you!! It was very kind of doodlewash to let me share 😀

  11. Sharon Nolfi 4 weeks ago

    I love your imaginative style! Thanks for sharing your story and art.

    • Odd Jacobson 4 weeks ago

      Thank you so much! I really try and put a story into everything I paint 😀

      Thank you for looking!

  12. Patsy Burroughs 4 weeks ago

    Odd, not sure what I love more, your story or your art! Large families are rare these days but I love them and so glad yours was so supportive. Your work is wonderful, and I too was ‘drawn’ into watercolor by BP! I have found several books about her (that are rare) and enjoyed reading about her life. I also have the movie about her, “Miss Potter” that I have watched many times. I am old enough to be your G-Grandmother so I have to say, ‘You’ have inspired me to get into my art. For me it is a stress release and pure fun, no career , just enjoyment. Good luck and much success with yours, as I see you are very talented.

    • Odd Jacobson 3 weeks ago

      Thank you so much! I adore my family, I owe all my artiness to them – I wouldn’t have pursued art if not for their encouragement.
      Oh, those books sound lovely! I’ve read dozens of articles about her online, but one day I should buy a biography about her.
      I love the movie ‘Miss Potter’!! Anytime I feel discouraged about something in my life I watch that movie and it lets me borrow some of her courage 🙂

      I’m so pleased to know I’ve inspired you! I’ve been inspired by so many artist online and in the world, it makes me happy to know I could pass some on as well.

      Thank you again for such a wonderful comment!

      • Patsy Burroughs 3 weeks ago

        Charlie, you are most welcome and, you too are an inspiration with your blog, great art.

        • Author
          Charlie O'Shields 3 weeks ago

          Thanks, Patsy! 😃💕 But this comment was actually from one of my featured artists! I share the stage here on Doodlewash with people way more talented than myself. 😉

  13. Viki Banaszak 4 weeks ago

    Your artwork is wonderful! I have not tried to do an underpainting before. Then again, I usually have no idea of what I am doing. LOL

    • Odd Jacobson 3 weeks ago

      I recommend an underpainting – it really simplifies the process, at least to me!

      And thank you! 😀

  14. Janneke Booister 4 weeks ago

    I love your fantastic creatures, you make me believe you really did see them somewhere in this world 🙂

    • Odd Jacobson 3 weeks ago

      Thank you! I try to make my strange creatures seem as ‘normal’ as possible for the world they live in!

  15. Marva 3 weeks ago

    How awesome! Love your paintings and I’m very impressed at how much you’ve studied on your own. I’m also a self taught artist but haven’t read as much as you have, I’d better get busy. Loved your article and I’m now following you on instagram.

    • Odd Jacobson 3 weeks ago

      Thank you! I do much better learning on my own then being taught because I have such low ability to focus when someone is talking :/ Unless its a video, then I can play back what someone said 80 times if I need to!

      Thanks for following, I appreciate it!

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