Thursday, August 16, 2007

Inside the Studio

I think my video interview with the guys from the Norman Rockwell Museum went well. Of course, all depends on which five minutes of our two-hour conversation they decide to use. I'm sure I provided plenty of "idiot blowhard" ammo if they look for it, but I trust Martin and Jeremy not to make me look too bad. After all, Martin paid for lunch afterward; how evil could he be? If you guys read this, thanks again for lunch and for coming all the way out here. I enjoyed it.

Jeremy, Martin, and the interior of my office closet. Jeremy had to open the mirrored door to eliminate a bad reflection from a 2000-watt light rig they brought with them. I'm sorry you had to see that.

That glimpse into my messy closet dovetails nicely with recent posts on a couple of other cartoonists' blogs in which they shared pictures of their "studios" and inspired me to show off mine. The word deserves quotes because many cartoonists' workspaces consist of a corner of the dining room table or patch of floor beside a couch. My set-up is a little better than that but still nothing I'd elevate to the status of "studio." It's a spare bedroom with a couple of desks, bookcases, computer and a filing cabinet. Not a big deal.

I do most of my artwork at a rolltop desk I got when I graduated from college. Drawers hold supplies and I draw on a large board propped between my lap and the desk. The picture below shows a lot of brushes. In fact, I generally only use two or three at a time; I just can't ever throw anything away. Likewise pen nibs. I've got about three good ones and 57 bad ones that keep getting mixed in with the good ones.

So here--not posed or dressed up in any way, captured in its entirely natural state--is my "studio" with a key to its contents (I know some of the green numbers are hard to see. Sorry.):

1. Etch-a-Sketches (one small, one large)
2. Watercolors
3. Charcoal pencils
4. Conte crayons, tempera. I forgot to number it, but the wide drawer below drawers 2-4 holds acrylic paints.
5. Colored pencils
6. Gouache, oil pastels, oil paints
7. Felt-tip and technical pens, non-photo blue pencils
8. Electronic parts and doo-dads
9. Legos!
10. T-shirt I've used as an art rag since I was 16
11. Acid-free artist's tape
12. Triangle, templates for drawing circles and ellipses
13. Heap o' sketch books, secret projects
14. One-quart Baskin-Robbins bucket of old brushes, magnifying glass
15. Linseed oil, plastic cement, old nibs, deck of magic trick cards
16. Bigger brushes, more pens, compass and X-acto blades
17. Electric pencil sharpener
18. White-out, Sharpie, kneaded eraser
19. India ink that I keep in a ceramic saucer ever since I spilled a bottle and ruined a carpet 25 years ago
20. Active pens, brushes, pencils, erasers, etc.
21. Drawing board
22. Paper

This is, by the way, the same desk I depicted in Mom's Cancer:

I may have tidied it up a bit for the book. I haven't actually seen that much clear desktop since at least 1992.


shrinking indigo said...

I remember that page well, and there's something about seeing your drawn ceramic plate under your drawn jar of india ink that made my eyes well up a little, now that I know why it's there.

I think it's the concept of doing something a specific way because of a traumatizing event so long ago.

Or, it's just because I'm a big, weepy, girl, but whatever.


Brian Fies said...

Thanks for the sweet comment, Amanda. You made me well up a little, too.

About ink.

Go figure.