Thursday, August 19, 2010

Studio Tour

I just cleaned the studio, and thought now's as good a time as any to take some pics. Click on them for a bigger view.

An overview of my work area.  The desks were made out of old doors that were in our garage, bolted together and held up by some metal shelving units we got at Home Depot.  On those shelves I mostly keep different kinds of paper stock. My computer rig is in the corner.  Starting from the desk and moving right:  An Epson Stylus Photo 1270, which I use to print out blue line (only the blue nozzle works - I got it used from my dad); my wife's old college TV, hooked up to my brother-in-law's old X-box, which I use to watch DVDs (and, maybe twice a year, spend a couple of hours playing games);  iMac computer; Wacom Cintiq screen, where I do any touch ups and digital coloring; Epson GT-20000 Scanner; paper towels; HP Laserjet P1006, which I use to print my pencil templates, page proofs, etc.

Two of my bookshelves, along with my filing cabinet.  The bookshelf on the right holds my bigger reference books (my favorites being the 7-volume Peoples of All Nations set, which is kind of like National Geographic but from the 1910s, and Junks and Sampans of the Yangtze, which is exactly what it sounds like) and "art of" books.  A lot of the latter are animation books, but I've got some comic ones there, too, as well as live-action films.  The bookshelf on the right is all graphic novels. The filing cabinet holds work for my comics classes as well as lots of interviews with different comic artists that I've found online or in magazines and printed or made copies. The art in the middle is a drawing of Peter Crogan done by Usagi Yojimbo cartoonist Stan Sakai, and below that is a Guy Davis page from B.P.R.D.  Above the filing cabinet is a watercolor by French Belladone artist Pierre Alary

If you were to look to the right of the filing cabinet, you'd see this - stairs that go up to the regular part of the house, and another bookshelf.  The art on the wall, left to right, is a Muppets comic cover by Roger Langridge, featuring Sherlock Holmes; a print of that great Art Adams King Kong drawing; a watercolor of Super Spy character Pipe Man by Matt Kindt; a sketch of Phony Bone dressed as Captain Ahab by Jeff Smith; and below that some covers from George MacDonald Fraser's Flashman series, hands down my favorite historical adventure series ever. The books in the window are library books. On the shelf are some of my need-at-a-moment's-notice history books, mostly about Pirates, North Africa, the French Foreign Legion, the American Revolution, and 1920s China.  The bottom shelf, and a chunk of the one above it, are National Geographic magazines.

This is my mini-comics assembly area.  I have a Swingline long-arm stapler, an X-acto papercutter, and a cutting mat.  Nothing too fancy, but it works. The left half of the top shelf is about old newspaper strip collections; the right half is comics history, criticism, and textbooks, plus some animation and film texts, too. The middle shelf has my comics anthologies on it, an in-progress scratchbuilt model of a ship that will play a large role in the fourth Crogan Adventures book, and some of my mini-comics, organized but organized haphazardly.  The bottom shelf is all mini-comics, too.

My drawing desk is a table-top from the scratch-and-dent section of Ikea, bolted to the doors at my preferred drawing angle.  The scratches and dents are on the underside.  It's big enough that I can make a wide arc of my arm from one bottom corner to the other without going off, which is great, as I have pretty long arms.  To the left is a lightbox, previously owned by Shawn Crystal, Pat Quinn, and James Sturm, and which will be owned by someone after me.  The lamps are from Ikea, too, and were eight bucks apiece.  The mirror that runs across the back is so that I can make faces. On the right corner of the desk I keep the tools I use all the time - a pencil sharpener, an eraser, a tiny ruler - and some white ink.  I have their spots masked off with painter's tape and labeled because otherwise I lose them.

My cups are the only way I can keep track of my art supplies.  They're all labeled with what goes in it, whether it's new, like new, or used, etc.  This way I never have to hunt for the right tool, and I can keep tools that still have ink but may be a little dull.  The rack was built by me, with each cup-hole drilled with a doorknob bit.  It took forever, and was hard.

Lastly, I have my pipes and tobacco.  Most of the pipes are on a beautiful rack my mother-in-law gave me for Christmas a few years ago.  Now that we have a baby, Liz isn't keen on me smoking in the house anymore, which is a shame because I love having a briar between my teeth when I'm drawing pages.  Behind that, you can see my hat rack, which (now that I don't take the train every day) sees less on-and-off than it used to. The art on the wall is, clockwise from left, by Chris Wright, Paul Maybury, Richard Thompson (it's a Cul-De-Sac strip), Scott Chantler, and Nick Bertozzi.  The pipes in the frame are pre-civil war clay pipes.


Chad! said...


Unknown said...

I love seeing artist studios! I'm willing to bet that you and I would get along really good as studio-mates because of our mutual (?) love of almost-OCD-level organization haha or maybe not

Alec Longstreth said...

Really fascinating Chris. Thanks for a peek behind the scenes!

Sean McGowan said...

You have a Crogan Adventures poster on your wall! I love that series!

Ben Towle said...

Man, I wish I'd thought of the doorknob hole/cup holder idea!

MAX said...

Really enjoyed seeing your studio. Ever thought about installing a fan/vent system, like whats over a stove, over your work space so you can still smoke while you draw?

duncan said...

Man. Do you really draw sitting in that hard chair, or do you wheel the nice cushy chair over to the drafting table?

Chris Schweizer said...

Max - A fan/vent would be too expensive/impractical, I'm afraid, given the desk's location in relation to the rest of the house (it's underground and smack dab in the center).

Duncan - hard chair. Any time I'm comfortable, I fall asleep. I'm really not kidding. A hard chair keeps me hungry, to mix metaphors.