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
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.