Lind­sey Look’s stu­dio

Look around The Amer­i­can fan­tasy il­lus­tra­tor shows us around her well-or­gan­ised stu­dio and ex­plains why she works at night

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I’m usu­ally pretty or­gan­ised. But if it hap­pens that I have tight dead­lines, my stu­dio soon starts look­ing like a scene straight out of Hoard­ing: Buried Alive.

Don’t get me wrong, I do try to clean up be­tween jobs – it just doesn’t al­ways hap­pen. I store my oil paints in a travel box un­der­neath the ta­ble, which makes grab­bing all of them for my weekly trip to my men­tor’s stu­dio a much sim­pler task.

I tend to take care of book­keep­ing (okay, fine, Face­book), emails and prepara­tory jobs in the morn­ing and af­ter­noons, be­cause it’s eas­ier for me to get back into them if I get in­ter­rupted or have er­rands to run. I save the in­ter­est­ing, cre­ative stuff for get­ting on with dur­ing the night, be­cause I some­times paint or draw for six or seven hours straight. It’s

tough to get back into the groove if I have to stop for any rea­son, and I’m rarely in­ter­rupted in the evening. Of course, since I save the paint­ing and draw­ing for the night, I usu­ally don’t stop un­til 2-3am. Or, at least, un­til I run out of clean brushes.

My hus­band and I only moved into this house a few months ago, so my stu­dio is still very much a work in progress. It’s in the Con­necti­cut sub­urbs and is very quiet. The stu­dio still feels kind of sparse to me, but even­tu­ally there will be more stor­age and art­work up on the walls.

The orig­i­nal idea was to paint the walls a neu­tral grey and leave one wall bare so I could use it as a back­drop when shoot­ing ref­er­ence, but the paint looked al­most green once it dried. For­tu­nately, it still works as a de­cent back­drop. It’s also lo­cated over an un­heated garage which, in the win­ter, makes the floors about as cold as a skat­ing rink and re­quires at least two pairs of socks to be even re­motely com­fort­able.

I keep my com­puter next to my easel so I can play mu­sic or put on a movie while I’m work­ing. All of my paints, medi­ums and brushes are kept on the ta­ble to the right of my easel. I like to use grey dis­pos­able pal­ette paper to lay out and mix my paints on. This helps to keep the paint a bit cleaner than on a tra­di­tional pal­ette, and makes clean­ing up the colours a lot eas­ier. Work­ing pre­dom­i­nantly in oils, Lind­sey is a tra­di­tional artist who counts Ap­pli­bot, Dag­ger Games and Stihl in her client list. You can see her art at www.lind­sey­look.com.

I went thor­ough a se­ri­ous dragon-col­lect­ing phase in col­lege. I have no re­grets. My morn­ing al­ways starts with cof­fee. Al­ways. My desk­top Mac is a big im­prove­ment over my col­lege lap­top and its 12-inch screen. It may not be as por­ta­ble, but it’s never failed to turn on. This Wa­com tablet is an­cient, but I still use it to sketch dig­i­tally and touch up my paint­ings in Pho­to­shop. It’s also very use­ful when I run out of bat­ter­ies for my wire­less mouse (which is all the time).

My lat­est project, a book cover for a brand new fan­tasy se­ries. I was able to read the full man­u­script be­fore I started, and I’m ex­tremely ex­cited to be a part of the project. I started load­ing my ref­er­ence pho­tos onto my tablet in or­der to use them while I’m paint­ing. It’s much more con­ve­nient and cost-ef­fi­cient than print­ing ev­ery­thing. I love the nat­u­ral light in the morn­ings, but I put these up when I re­alised my neigh­bours had an ex­cel­lent view into the stu­dio and were keep­ing track of my night-time work habits. I found this ta­ble on the street when I was liv­ing in Bos­ton. I car­ried it al­most a mile to my dorm, painted it and turned it into my paint­ing ta­ble. It’s the per­fect height for keep­ing a pal­ette on. This cab­i­net was my dresser as a teenager; it was even­tu­ally re­pur­posed as art sup­ply stor­age. Just a few of the books I’ve col­lected over the years. I need a big­ger book­case (or two). When­ever I’m feel­ing unin­spired, I pe­ruse them. These flat files are the best way to store art­work. They’re four by five feet and weigh close to three hun­dred pounds when put to­gether.

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