Artist in res­i­dence

An­i­mal skulls and stuffed birds perch along­side an­tique fur­nish­ings in­side the crea­ture de­signer’s grand stu­dio space

ImagineFX: Sci-fi & Fantasy Art magazine - - Contents -

My sur­round­ings have al­ways been ex­ceed­ingly im­por­tant to me, with light and airi­ness an es­sen­tial. I’ve al­ways been a small town girl and a history buff, so I’ve al­ways been drawn to old build­ings with a past.

Thus, my stu­dio is in a gable of an old Queen Anne Vic­to­rian, circa 1897, where I also live. For north­ern Cal­i­for­nian stan­dards, that’s a pretty old house! I love the soar­ing ceil­ings and the beau­ti­ful mold­ings, and have fur­nished it with an­tiques of that era. Down­ton Abbey suits me just fine!

My stu­dio is or­gan­ised in such a way that ref­er­ence is al­ways at hand and draw­ing space is max­imised. This is cru­cial when one is an an­i­mal artist and crea­ture de­signer. The more na­ture ref­er­ences you can sur­round your­self with, the bet­ter, and my com­puter (iMac) and Cin­tiq 22-inch are po­si­tioned to act as ref­er­ence boards or view wildlife videos as needed.

My draw­ing ta­ble faces a mag­netic bul­letin board set up on an or­di­nary pre­sen­ta­tion easel to post fur­ther ref­er­ences, as well as cur­rent projects that I’m work­ing on. I can easily switch gears us­ing my swivel chair and work dig­i­tally on my Cin­tiq af­ter do­ing ba­sic tra­di­tional work on my draw­ing ta­ble. In ad­di­tion to this core setup, my scan­ner (Ep­son Ex­pres­sion 10000XL), printer (Ep­son Ar­ti­san 1430), pho­to­copier (Kon­ica Mi­nolta Bizhub 181, which I lease for a low monthly fee), and flat files for art stor­age, nes­tle across from me in the win­dow bay.

There’s also a closet, which I’ve con­verted into book stor­age – I have even more books down the hall – and I have four me­tal fil­ing cab­i­nets or­gan­ised ac­cord­ing to zo­o­log­i­cal clas­si­fi­ca­tion, chock full of an­i­mal ref­er­ences.

The closet is mir­rored, so I can easily ref­er­ence my­self for ex­pres­sion and ges­ture.

A stu­dio be­comes very in­di­vid­ual, and mine is no ex­cep­tion. Atop two of my fil­ing cab­i­nets are some of my an­i­mal anatomy col­lec­tion, in­clud­ing a large skull of a draft mule. Perched against a wall is a lit­tle Cal­i­for­nia quail, found in an an­tique store.

Above my Cin­tiq are old prints (in­clud­ing the Thief of Bag­dad movie poster - so in­spi­ra­tional!) and another small fab­ric bul­letin board, with cards and me­men­tos that are im­por­tant to me. My lit­tle Whip­pet Timmy is very much the guardian of the gate and mas­cot. He spends much of his time snooz­ing in the stu­dio, or al­ter­na­tively beg­ging to be pet­ted. What­ever pose he strikes is al­ways beau­ti­ful, and I’ve used him as a model for many, many projects.

Ter­ryl is an in­ter­na­tion­ally re­garded an­i­mal artist and crea­ture de­signer. You can see her work at www.tale­sofamalthea.com.

I have all my cur­rent projects to hand in my workspace. My draw­ing board is flanked by my com­puter and Cin­tiq, and my ref­er­ences and books are within reach. An old toile-cov­ered fab­ric board above my Cin­tiq acts as a repos­i­tory of cards, art and other ob­jects that mean a lot to me for many dif­fer­ent rea­sons. My com­puter and draw­ing set-up is in an L-shaped con­fig­u­ra­tion. I have a tilt-ta­ble draw­ing board per­pen­dic­u­lar to a flat ta­ble that ac­com­mo­dates my Mac and 22 inch Cintig. I’ve found it use­ful, switch­ing back and forth be­tween tra­di­tional and dig­i­tal.

This Thief of Bag­dad im­age has been in­spi­ra­tional to me since child­hood. It sym­bol­ises all sorts of pos­si­bil­i­ties. You en­ter the stu­dio from the par­lour. The lace cur­tains are pe­riod and have a swal­low mo­tif. My draw­ing ta­ble is right be­hind the easel that holds a bul­letin board. Horses are very im­por­tant in my life, and my favourite sub­ject to draw. Thus, I have another col­lec­tion atop my other two fil­ing cab­i­nets that my friends call The Shrine. There are all man­ner of horses, uni­corns, ze­bras and any­thing vaguely equine grouped to­gether – and it’s al­ways grow­ing. Across from my draw­ing ta­ble are my scan­ner, printer and dig­i­tal copier, as well as my flat files where I store my art­work. Timmy, my whip­pet, is a won­der­ful lit­tle friend and com­pan­ion. Here are some of my anatom­i­cal mod­els and spec­i­mens – they of­ten come in very handy for my work.

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