Artist in res­i­dence

Up­stairs down­stairs The Hugo Award-win­ning artist re­veals how she works on both floors of her home… when her cat al­lows her to

ImagineFX: Sci-fi & Fantasy Art magazine - - Contents - Julie is a free­lance artist from north­ern Cal­i­for­nia, whose clients in­clude Wizards of the Coast, Pop­u­lar Science mag­a­zine, Si­mon & Schuster, Pen­guin Books, and Tor Books. Her art­work can be seen at www.juliedil­lonart.com.

Julie Dil­lon on how her cat is both a help and a hin­drance in her dual-room home stu­dio.

My work desk is my home-within-my-home, the place where I spend most of my day, and as such I try to make it as com­fort­able as I can. I’ve shuf­fled around the fur­ni­ture and art el­e­ments over the years, slowly ad­just­ing them un­til I get it just right, and I like how it’s set up cur­rently.

I do all my art in Pho­to­shop with an In­tuos4 tablet and a dual mon­i­tor setup on a PC. For me, mak­ing a work area is pri­mar­ily about at­mos­phere, mood and com­fort. I try to make sure I’m set­ting up a place where I can get in a cre­ative mood and fo­cus on my work for sev­eral hours a day, with­out get­ting burned out or ir­ri­tated. The room is usu­ally kept rel­a­tively dark to avoid glare on the screen, and I have a lot of soft light­ing to cre­ate a nice mood.

I work at this up­stairs desk for most of the day and then in the evening I tend to go down­stairs to watch TV while con­tin­u­ing my work on my lap­top.

It’s nice to have a change of scenery in the evening, and there are some tasks that I’ll save for when I’m on my lap­top (any­thing that doesn’t re­quire ex­tra con­cen­tra­tion or care­ful colour cal­i­bra­tion).

I feel I should dis­close that I’m gen­er­ally not al­lowed to keep any­thing on the top of the book­shelf. If I hap­pen to stay up late work­ing, my cat jumps up on that top shelf

and an­grily shoves off ev­ery­thing in sight, un­til I get the hint and shut the com­puter down. He’s bro­ken cof­fee mugs and has made a gen­eral mess on many oc­ca­sions. It’s so nice that he cares so much about me get­ting enough sleep.

This is Strider from Sideshow Col­lectibles’ LOTR col­lec­tion. I jus­ti­fied the pur­chase by telling my­self it’s an art ref­er­ence. But it just sits there look­ing pretty. I bought this for a fa­cial anatomy class – it’s a re­ally use­ful ref­er­ence. In the class, we added clay to flesh out the face, but I’ve never man­aged to get it all off. These are a few fig­urines that I’ve had for­ever and a quick Google search tells me they are World of Krys­to­nia fig­ures. I have a va­ri­ety of sculp­tures and stat­uettes that I’ve col­lected be­cause I just like the look or shape of them. I just hap­pened across this crys­tal ball, and thought it would make a fun ad­di­tion to my work area. I like to put can­dles be­hind it and see how the light in­ter­acts with it.

A print by Ciru­elo Cabral I got at SDCC. I thought it was par­tic­u­larly lovely. A lot of his work is more de­tailed, but I like the looser brush­strokes here. I used to play pi­ano a lot, but gave it up to pur­sue qui­eter cre­ative out­lets. Re­cently I got an elec­tric key­board and I can play again, with head­phones. I took a piece of man­zanita wood, LED lights and translu­cent Sculpey, and made a mush­room log with lit­tle glow­ing mush­rooms. It adds to the at­mos­phere. I have a lot of book­shelves, but this one has some of my favourite books. They’re like old friends, and it’s nice hav­ing them around and near at hand. This dragon is a sculp­ture from Pur­ple­catCreatives on Etsy. I re­ally like her style. I re­ally en­joy the per­fume oils from Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab, and I like to have a few of my favourites nearby to wear while I’m work­ing (the rest of my mas­sive col­lec­tion is in my room in a drawer). This was gor­geously sculpted by An­drew Cawrse. It’s been very handy, but I just re­alised I’ve been lazy and haven’t prac­tised from it as much as I meant to.

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