Artist in res­i­dence

Bul­gar­ian il­lus­tra­tor Svetlin Veli­nov on why his stu­dio is both his castle and his prison.

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My stu­dio is in my home and my home is my castle. This is a great ad­van­tage to me on one hand – and a sig­nif­i­cant disad­van­tage to me on the other, be­cause dis­trac­tions can re­duce pro­duc­tiv­ity.

The other risk is that the castle might turn into a dun­geon, which is why I try to find a bal­ance by trav­el­ling, com­mu­ni­cat­ing and tak­ing a rest from my work. When you have a job with­out spe­cific work­ing hours, you can easily turn into a vic­tim of your own good in­ten­tions.

Ev­ery artist must ex­press them­selves through their work. This only hap­pens when the sur­round­ing en­vi­ron­ment is in har­mony with your per­sonal pref­er­ences. In my work­place I’ve op­ti­mised my lay­out so I have ev­ery­thing within reach of a small move­ment of my chair. My desk is big enough for all my tech gear, but also has enough space for me to draw with tra­di­tional media when I want or need to.

I used a tablet for the first time in 1996, which makes me a bit con­ser­va­tive. De­spite the fact I own a whole ar­se­nal of fancy tablets, my favourite is the con­ven­tional In­tuos 5 L. This is the one I use the most when I’m in my stu­dio.

For a year now I’ve owned a Cin­tiq Com­pan­ion, which en­ables me to draw when­ever I want. This is a great change for me, be­cause no mat­ter how co­zily you’ve set up your work­ing space, some­times the iso­la­tion is too much and you need to find a safe haven from your castle. The abil­ity to work ful­fill­ingly on a mo­bile de­vice is a big ad­van­tage and I rec­om­mend it for bat­tling the bore­dom of the fixed work­ing place.

My 30-inch Dell isn’t new, but it’s rock solid and serves me very well. It can all be

up­graded, of course, but first I have to fi­nance the re­place­ment of my Cin­tiq 24 HD. The low res­o­lu­tion, weak back­light and ma­trix of the mon­i­tor, plus the lack of bright­ness and sharp­ness of the im­age, meant I couldn’t take full ad­van­tage of this oth­er­wise great work­ing tool. I have huge ex­pec­ta­tions for the new model and hope that soon it will be on my desk.

Peo­ple who con­sider their pro­fes­sion to be a vo­ca­tion are blessed. My work as an il­lus­tra­tor and con­cept artist puts me in this cat­e­gory: I have the op­por­tu­nity to travel all over the world, work on in­ter­est­ing and fun projects, and face a con­stant chal­lenge to sur­pass my­self, so that I can keep up with the re­quire­ments of a con­stantly chang­ing in­dus­try. It makes the job dy­namic and keeps me away from rou­tine. Nice, huh? Svetlin is a free­lance il­lus­tra­tor and con­cept artist based in Bulgaria. You can see more of his work at www.veli­

I’ve al­ways felt the need for a good op­tion for mo­bile work. This Win­dows tablet – a Sam­sung 7 Slate – was a good com­pro­mise on the other more ex­pen­sive and much heav­ier (at that time) so­lu­tions for mo­bile work, be­fore Wa­com brought the Com­pan­ion into the world. My Dell 3007WFP 30-inch mon­i­tor has been with me for many years. It still serves me well and doesn’t show any signs of need­ing to be re­placed. I bought a Cin­tiq 24 HD three years ago, but I’ve never quite got used to it. How­ever, I do in­tend to get the Cin­tiq 27 HD – I’m full of hope for it. My work­ing space has to be com­fort­able, spa­cious and able to fit all my gear. I have a cus­tom desk with an en­hanced ta­ble that’s wide and deep enough to work com­fort­ably. My Wa­com Com­pan­ion is a real com­pan­ion! Fi­nally, a good mo­bile so­lu­tion for artists on the move, even if it’s just so I can work un­der the thick shades in the gar­den un­re­stricted by power is­sues.

A Be­hind the Iron Cur­tain work­shop took place in Bucharest, Ro­ma­nia, in 2010. This is a signed card by Kekai Ko­taki, who was one of the in­struc­tors, along with Stephan Mar­tinière, Mark Go­erner and Alex Alvarez. It’s im­por­tant for me to find time for doo­dles, as you can see in my pile of sketch­books.

There’s al­ways one close to hand. I’ve painted a fair bit of art for Magic: the Gath­er­ing in my time. Although it doesn’t re­ally ex­plain why I’ve got a card shop ex­pand­ing in my stu­dio! This is a sou­venir from Magic: the Gath­er­ing Grand Prix in Bei­jing 2014. A box of cards and a dragon – a sou­venir bought with my last few yuans at the air­port. These fold­ers on my book­shelf may sug­gest a bit of tidi­ness in my work, but it’s quite a mis­lead­ing im­pres­sion. I have a white­board to re­mind me that I can al­ways find in­spi­ra­tion for paint­ing out­side my stu­dio. If the board be­comes a paint­ing, a new blank white­board takes its place.

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