Painting for life Healthy habits punctuate the day inside the illustrator and concept artist’s Philadelphia-based studio
My work areas are scattered throughout my house. I paint in my living room, where I can play a movie in the background. Since I paint standing up, it’s nice to have the couch behind me where I can take a break, and I have space to back up far from the painting to get a better look at it.
I keep lots of art and reference books and comics nearby for inspiration, and I have a drawing desk in the corner. I like to draw flat rather than at an angled drafting table because it’s easier on my wrist. My computer work area is upstairs in the studio I share with my boyfriend (fellow artist Anthony Palumbo). My workflow goes back and forth from traditional to digital to traditional sometimes, depending on the project and how much time I have. I have Bluetooth speakers for streaming music appropriate to my current project, to keep me in the mood.
In a typical day, I wake up between 8 and 9am, put a few strokes on the painting I’m working on, and then make coffee and a smoothie for breakfast. Putting even the smallest bit of work in before breakfast keeps my work on my mind and makes me much more productive all day.
I used to sleep late and then stay up very late working, but it was making me unproductive and causing repetitive stress injury to my wrist. I’ve changed a lot of my habits to become healthier, such as getting around nine hours of sleep, eating healthy food, exercising, and taking regular breaks
to stretch. I use a break timer and take a break every 45 minutes, during which I do little household chores like washing the dishes. This helps keep me from getting repetitive stress injuries, and by the time I stop work for the day I can relax, read and play games. Winona is an illustrator and concept artist. Her clients have included Wizards of the Coast, Kabam, Planet Moon Studios, Flagship Studios and Warhammer Black Library. See her art at http://winonanelson.blogspot.co.uk.
This is an ergonomic standing mat, so my feet don’t get too sore from standing while I paint.
At my drawing desk, I use a drummer’s stool. It helps me sit upright so I don’t get a sore back. At my computer desk, I have more favourite art books, a mirror for easy hand or face reference, and space to set up and do small paintings. This is my drawing desk. I used to just have a board and sit at my computer desk, but I started to get really into Copic markers and built this area to make room for all my marker supplies.
When I’m working on smaller pieces, I tape them to pieces of foamcore to raise them to a better height. I use a long mahl stick I made from a broomstick with taped-up socks on the ends (don’t worry, I washed them). I use my phone to find reference images, and tape it to the foamcore as well so I don’t knock it down.
My taboret usually looks like this. The two jars contain turpenoid, my favourite painting medium. It’s a mixture of one-part stand oil, one-part Damar varnish and three-parts turpenoid.