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