Thank you for visiting my website! I’m Jason Savinkoff, and I live in Ottawa, Ontario. I’ve created this website mainly to share my work, to get feedback, and to have a convenient portfolio. If you’d like to comment on anything you see here, please feel free to email me.
My first art course that featured undraped models was in late 2004: the “Dare to Draw” course at the Ottawa School of Art. The course was conceived by Carol Weidman, and designed for people who had never drawn from life before. We drew on much larger paper than I was used to, using media that I’d never heard of, and it was the first time I’d done gesture drawings. We were taught to capture the spirit of a pose in a maximum of three lines.
In 2007, I enrolled in two programs at the Nepean Visual Arts Center: an introduction to figure drawing, taught by Kerri Weller, and an open studio, with no instructor. Getting out to draw two times a week for four months really helped advance my skills. Kerri is immensely talented, and she taught us how to draw ‘shadow shapes’ and how to translate proportions from a model to the page. I finally learned why artists are always holding up their paint brushes at arms length with one eye closed!
I stuck with the Sunday Studio sessions for most of the next three years. The format was generally a series of five 2 minute gestures, two 30 minute poses, and one 50 minute pose. It’s always a challenge to complete a drawing in 30 minutes or less, and even 50 minutes is often not enough. Most of the drawings on my site are unfinished, and there are quite a few that I really wish I could have finished properly. But I’ve chosen not to continue working on the pictures once I get home, preferring to let them stand on their own as a snapshot in time.
I started attending the Sandy Hill figure drawing group when Sunday mornings became too busy. I now try to make it out every Wednesday night. This is another open studio with a great turnout and great value for the money. They follow a similar series of poses, with five 2 minute gestures, one 20 minute pose, and three 30 minute poses.
For those that are interested in the types of media I use, I’ll describe some of it here.
I’d always been partial to using graphite for drawings, as it’s very easy to control and blend. For details such as facial features or hands and feet, it’s usually the best option. I actually really like using mechanical pencils for very detailed pieces. The downside of graphite is that it’s shiny and doesn’t give a lot of contrast, and I really like having dark shadows.
For greater contrast, I use either conte crayons or charcoal pencils. Conte is a bit less messy, and I’ve been experimenting with using different colours. It usually blends really nicely. I only use the Conte A Paris brand.
Charcoal pencils are great, though I haven’t quite got the hang of sharpening them without snapping them into little pieces. It’s also more challenging to keep a drawing from smudging when it’s done in charcoal, since I’ve tried to resist the urge to use chemical fixative.
I use a variety of blending stumps for rendering. My Mom was the one who first showed me how to blend crayons with a piece of kleenex. I won a huge stuffed bunny for an Easter colouring contest using that technique, so I’ve employed it ever since. Thanks, Mom!
I use kneaded erasers, though I try to use them sparingly. They’re also great for warming up your hands before a session.
When it comes to approaching a drawing, I generally try to get a good line drawing first before I start any rendering. I often struggle with proportion, and it’s easier to correct a line drawing. I usually start by defining the shoulders and working downwards.
Thanks for reading!