Craig El­liott’s stu­dio

Art or­der The Amer­i­can artist tells us about his well-or­gan­ised work­ing setup and ex­plains why he prefers a room with a view

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Most work­days are spent at the com­puter or the easel. I look at the gar­den through the win­dow next to my com­puter and en­joy a bit of na­ture while stuck in­side work­ing.

I’ve tried com­puter set­ups with two or three mon­i­tors, but have found that one

very large dis­play – an Ap­ple 30-inch – serves me best. I can look at my art as large as pos­si­ble, and see flaws more eas­ily.

I have three places to draw: my con­vert­ible ta­ble and two an­tique por­ta­ble draft­ing ta­bles. These have heavy cast-iron tri­pod legs, so they don’t move or wob­ble when I’m draw­ing. One has a ro­tat­ing top,

and the other has a shelf that stays level no mat­ter what an­gle I tilt it at.

I usu­ally use the one with the shelf to put my oil pal­ette on. It’s the ex­act same model that Nor­man Rock­well used for a pal­ette stand when he painted.

I have a lot of sup­plies and ref­er­ences, and keep them very or­gan­ised. I would never be able to find any­thing if things were in heaps every­where. My plas­tic bins have la­bels nam­ing their con­tents and are mostly kept near the area of the stu­dio in which they’re used.

One side of the stu­dio has a sort of allpur­pose ta­ble, built by my grand­fa­ther, with draw­ers full of small tools and sup­plies. I draw and paint por­traits be­tween this desk and the easel, be­cause there’s no space for some­one to sit with the easel against the wall.

To keep me en­ter­tained dur­ing long days of work, I have stereo speak­ers hooked to an amp that my com­puter can run. They’re great for mu­sic, pod­casts or Net­flix. I also have two flat-panel TVs mounted on ad­justable arms so they can be seen from any spot in the stu­dio. Il­lus­tra­tor, vis­ual de­vel­op­ment and fine artist Craig lives in Los Angeles, Cal­i­for­nia. He’s worked on films for Walt Dis­ney An­i­ma­tion and DreamWorks. You can see more of his art at www.craigel­liottgallery.com.

My collection of sculp­tures and ma­que­ttes, in­clud­ing sev­eral porce­lain anatomy fig­ures from Italy. They’re great for quickly dou­ble-check­ing mus­cle struc­ture. Two print­ers pro­duce Gi­cleé prints for shows and for sale on my web­site. One prints smaller 13x19in prints while the other, to the right of me, prints very large prints for over­sized limited edi­tions. The desk to the left of me is a con­vert­ible ta­ble built by my grand­fa­ther for me in col­lege, which can be used flat for things such as sculp­ture, or tilted at any an­gle for draw­ing or paint­ing. This is a stan­dard rolling tool chest with draw­ers that you’d find in any me­chanic’s garage. It’s great for stor­ing art sup­plies be­cause of the mul­ti­ple shal­low draw­ers, which can hold all my tubes of paint.

My two pyra­mids are Gold and Sil­ver awards from Spec­trum Fan­tas­tic Art, and nearby are a Gold and Bronze from the So­ci­ety of Il­lus­tra­tors’s Il­lus­tra­tion West 52 con­test, to help in­spire me to fur­ther heights. These large mag­net­icdry erase boards are for ref­er­ence while paint­ing or to pin ideas to This dimmer switch op­er­ates ei­ther a large halo­gen lamp, or an ex­pen­sive photo light called a Source Four. This light has the abil­ity to widen or nar­row the beam, and ac­com­mo­date go­bos and coloured gels. Here’s my 30-inch Ap­ple Cin­ema Dis­play – its hefty screen size en­ables me to spot those el­e­ments that are work­ing in my WIPs, and those which still need a bit of tweak­ing. I use this ta­ble when work­ing on jew­ellery, minia­tures, re­pair­ing elec­tron­ics or small ma­chines, sculpt­ing or small metal-smithing. It’s my most flex­i­ble area in the stu­dio. Here I have a lit­tle room to pose a model, in this case my girl­friend Tooba. I use a por­ta­ble easel that rests on my cast-iron tri­pod draw­ing ta­ble.

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