Lifebook: getting to know Jane Davenport

Having a best selling mixed media book.  It isn’t for everyone, but Jane Davenport, the aussie artist that seems to be made out of butterflies, does just that.

Her lifebook lesson was the one I looked out for, counting the weeks.  That is one of the reasons I love the Lifebook arrangement: so many different kinds of artist sharing their flow, their work and techniques.  You get a whole lot of bang for your buck, and afterwards you can make up your mind about which direction you want to take your art in.  And at that time, you can register for a one man/woman lead workshop with confidence.  You already had a taste and you know what to expect in teaching style and such.

You can visit Janes website here to see her work. She has some video’s on there too.  You will see immediately…  that girl can draw!  So I was as intimidated by the lesson as I was excited.  To be honest, I think that is a good thing, because it shows you where the borders of your comfort zone lie. If you feel a bit icky, sweaty like “how am I ever going to do this”…  That is when you learn.  It is not always successful, but remember that practice does make perfect.

So that is exactly what I did.  I practiced.  I started out by just drawing the girl in pencil in a sketchbook. Trying out different hairstyles, different dresses, even different sizes of girls 😉  Then the next step was intimidating too: adding color.   Wasn’t I going to mess things up.  Ruin it?   Well, a step never taken is a journey ruined as well. So there I went.  First with training wheels on, in my little journal, to ease up the stress of working on a ‘real piece’ on watercolor paper.  Silly, I know…


Jane advises to use colored pencil, because you have to deal with what you have drawn and so you learn.  I started out with a acrylic paint background, lots of stenciling to get it interesting.  And then I drew the girl in colored pencil.  Scary stuff.  And then I gessoed around her.  It wasn’t the first time I had tried something like that, remember the “don’t stop till you get enough” page for the Documented Life Project?  That’s pretty much the same thing, but then with black gesso and a stencil as focal image.  After doing this page, I was rather pleased with myself.  But then I had to get it onto a big page… For real.


This is how she turned out, complete with wild Jane-hair.  Lovely isn’t it?   I really learned heaps doing this lesson.  So afterwards I bought the ‘Beautiful Faces’ book by Jane Davenport.  I have done some exercises that are in there and read a bit on how she feels about supplies.   But to give a ‘review’ that is worth the name, I would have to dig into it more.  When I have, I’ll keep you posted of course.  The book looks good, that’s for sure!

Nice talking to ya!  Have a great weekend, enjoy!


5 thoughts on “Lifebook: getting to know Jane Davenport

  1. Magnificent work, Krisje! I love both your versions of the lesson. You did a great job and really had nothing to fear. Perhaps your trepidation even helped you. I also bought the book after Davenport’s lesson and am eager to try some of the exercises but have not had the spare time yet.


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