Artist in residence
Bulgarian illustrator Svetlin Velinov on why his studio is both his castle and his prison.
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.velinov.com.
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.