The Magical Mystery Tour

I’ve always been fascinated by a cartoonist’s work space.  I love seeing what stuff they have there, how their drafting table is set up, the books on their shelves.  I was lucky enough years ago to visit the Charles Schulz museum and there was a replication of his studio.  It was pretty cool.

So I thought I’d throw some pictures up of what my studio looks like.  I’m lucky enough to have enough room in my house to have my own studio, but for various reasons I call it “the cave”.

This first picture is what my cave looks like when standing in the doorway.  It’s not a very large room, but it’s large enough.

This is the view when I sit at my table.  On the board there I usually have the page I am working on, or just finished.  The pages propped up are the previous few pages.  I refer to previous pages quite a lot so I make sure I get little details right for the sake of continuity.

Some tools to point out: on the left of the board I have various templates.  I use straight edges a lot but I also a lot of circle templates.  Where do you think Uptown Girl gets that perfectly round head?  There’s my iPod, my DSi and a couple books I refer to constantly: a dictionary and ‘Far Arden’ by Kevin Cannon.  He’s a hero of mine and I love what he does with textures.

On the right there’s various Micron pens (sizes 5 and 1, mostly).  Some cheap Flair pens, scissors and a glue stick (I am constantly replacing panels and cutting and pasting revisions right onto the page), Speedball ink, two different brushes, a white-out pen and other tools.

Right above my desk is this:

A couple lamps, some framed Kevin Cannon art (I told you he was a hero of mine), the artwork for the back of ‘Uptown Girl’ volume…3(?) and some little drawings of Uptown Girl dancing that I thought would be fun to animate…if I knew how to animate.

Drawing is such a solitary thing that I need to listen to something while I draw.  When I am tired of music I play a movie I’ve seen a thousand times or listen to commentaries on DVDs.

Yep, that’s Optimus Prime guarding my DVD player, alongside some little plaster statues and wooden heart my daughter Sophie painted for me.

To the left of my table is all this stuff:

All the stuff on the shelving thing on the right is all the artwork I’ve done over the past several years.  I have boxes and boxes of more artwork in the basement.   On top of the shelf thing are all the ‘Uptown Girl’ comics, collections and other stuff.  The shelf on the left is filled with books by Will Eisner and Jack Kirby.

Many cartoonists have a pretty extensive book collection, and here’s most of mine:

And that’s not everything.  There’s still boxes of stuff in the garage.   The shelf thing on the left side of the picture is where I have CDs, DVDs and DS games.

Above the shelves of books is more framed art.  Strangely enough I have only one piece of my own art hanging in my house.  Anyway, here’s some artwork by Kerry Callen (Halo and Sprocket) and Craig Thompson (Blankets, Goodbye, Chunky Rice, etc).  I met both of those guys years ago and I was lucky to get some original art by them.  Under the art are the books I am working on.  The big stack on the left is the completed ‘Big City Secrets’, all 264 pages waiting to be scanned.  To the right is what I have so far for the second original ‘Uptown Girl’ graphic novel.

And right next to that are a couple pages from ‘Batman’ by Doug Mahnke and Tom Nguyen from the “Under the Hood” storyline.  These two pages are the first pieces of original art I ever owned.  Right next to that is an original drawing by James Kochalka (American Elf, etc).

So…that’s my cave.  I’m lucky to have the space, and I’m lucky to have the books and the art that I crammed in there.

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