Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Studio of a Cartoonist

There seems to be a huge fascination of the studios of cartoonists and artists on the net lately. I've seen them a lot on the cartoonist studio where you can go take a peek of the famous, the not so famous and the ever hopeful.

I've never really bothered to show any pictures of my studio which is quite surprising really, especially as I love to have a nose around other cartoonists' workspace.
No, the reason why I don't like to show my studio (and I do have one) is because it's always in such a mess and as a result I spend my life in a state of constant searching.


Over the years I've tried everything to keep my studio clean. I've been advised to gather all the scraps of paper I have lying around with my ideas on and place them into well ordered files. I've done this, but most of the files got put down, and like the ever shifting sands of the desert, they became lost in 'dunes' of paper and have never been seen again---under those mounds of paper and books lay ideas for syndicated comic strips, webcomic ideas, concepts for graphic novels, comic book characters, greeting card designs and unfinished water colours. There's a goldmine in there just waiting to be excavated!


But before this post turns into another of my epic tales  I'll just get on with it. First off is a picture of my drawing board. I've had this since I was 30 and its seen quite a mountain of commissions since we teamed up. It's A0 in size and Formica over chipboard; I removed the sliding ruler as it annoyed me intensely and a friend of mine adjusted the height of the legs so I could sit under it in a normal leather backed chair rather than the draghtsmans' stool I was forced to use before---at the time of taking this picture I was working on one of my water colour caricature commissions.


Next is a close up of the desk that sits at a right angle to my drawing board. During a watercolour painting this can become quite cluttered. In fact sometimes I don't have to wait to do a watercolour to clutter it all up; it just gets cluttered.

There's the mixing dishes, used for the large wash areas, masking fluid, which I place over the main characters before I splash away with the heavy washes---then there's my mixing plate. This I use for the smaller areas and for deepening the colours or for shading. Behind that, believe it or not, is a set of six trays which I brought in a feeble attempt to file my work in an orderly fashion. I think at present they house some old cartoon books, a compass, a diary with my daughter on the front from 2004, some fimo modelling clay and a spider who died back in the 1990's. On top of it I pile the artwork I'm working on at that time before it gets taken off to be reduced and put on the computer ready for Photoshoping.

Other items of note on the desk are my skeletal hand goblets, which I use to house the water for my painting, a stereo for music or chat shows on the radio---my old and under used Rolodex, which has at least five people I've never heard of and Wayne, my buddy cartoon friend. Finally there's the artist tray, which carries all my pens, pencils, rubbers, spare nibs, brushes and ink.

Over on the other side of my studio (which is only a hop, skip and a jump over Danny, my constantly prostate and wind breaking dog) there is my computer table.

And because I write just as much as I draw--- sometimes even more so--- this has become the new dumping ground of my life.

Any new ideas get written down on random scraps of paper or in the corners of previous doodles, then placed on top of the scanner/printer and then forgotten about.

What gets me is I have a damned computer with any amount of storage space available right in front of me. All I need to do is set up a file and write the ideas down there and save it all, but I never do.

And yes, underneath my desk, that is piles of books and a box of reference material, plus a few spare plates for watercolour usage. And to the left of the table there is a high rise block of editorial cartoons and the six boxes of envelopes I brought four years ago for a mail shot campaign I never did.

Note: there are no Wacom tabs near my computer, that's because ALL MY ART IS DRAWN BY HAND!



So that's it. This is my workspace. It may be full of junk, but it's my junk, I love it and I can't work without it!





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