Artist in res­i­dence

Cory God­bey’s stu­dio houses his col­lec­tion of knick-knacks, Tolkien books and ter­rar­i­ums.

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Wel­come to my stu­dio. My workspace is lo­cated in the walk­out base­ment be­low my house. Since it’s mostly un­der­ground, the stu­dio stays cool dur­ing the sum­mer and I keep a fire go­ing dur­ing the win­ter. I love work­ing from home, be­cause I’m not-so-se­cretly a her­mit, and pre­fer the com­pany of my wife and son, along with our gang of cats.

Beyond the door is my out­door stu­dio: gar­dens, woods and a tree­house. Be­fore I get to work each morning, I spend a lit­tle time out­side, walk­ing the paths through the woods, check­ing on my bird feed­ers and wa­ter­ing the plants. Later in the day, you might find me in the tree­house, an­swer­ing emails or tak­ing client calls.

In the main room I have my work­sta­tions: a draft­ing ta­ble un­der the win­dow with am­ple nat­u­ral light, and a sec­tion of desks for dig­i­tal work and ad­min­is­tra­tive tasks, a large scan­ner, and sev­eral flat files. Whether for clients and per­sonal projects, my work is typ­i­cally a mix of tra­di­tional and dig­i­tal, so it’s help­ful to have th­ese work­sta­tions sep­a­rated but close at hand.

The fire­place and sit­ting area is where you’ll find some sketch­books and art ref­er­ence scat­tered about, and usu­ally a cat or two ly­ing on top of what­ever I’m try­ing to work on. The wall of built-in book­shelves is per­fect for show­cas­ing my favourite books and var­ied col­lec­tions. Off the main area, a smaller room is used for as­sem­bling and ship­ping prints. My con­ven­tion ma­te­ri­als live

in a stor­age closet, and the bath­room is handy for rins­ing out brushes.

Hav­ing the proper set-up for an artist is just like choos­ing any other tool. You have to find what works best for you and make it your own. Feel­ing at home in my stu­dio helps me to cre­ate bet­ter and work smarter.

Cory cre­ates fan­ci­ful il­lus­tra­tions for books and films. His award-win­ning work has been fea­tured in the likes of Spec­trum: The Best in Con­tem­po­rary Fan­tas­tic Art and The So­ci­ety of Il­lus­tra­tors. See his art at www.cory­god­

Artist in res­i­dence 24

Any proper her­mit knows a fire­place is es­sen­tial. You can lurk around the woods gath­er­ing fire­wood, poke at the em­bers when you’re in a foul mood, and even cook over it if you’re try­ing to avoid hu­man con­tact. I also use the fire­place to burn bad draw­ings when I gather work for my an­nual fire sale, much to the cha­grin of some of my fans. In an­other life, I might have been a ter­rar­ium maker. I love th­ese lit­tle worlds, made from moss and stones and bits of branches con­tained by glass. One time a small spi­der got into a ter­rar­ium and died, but not be­fore it had spun tiny webs over the dead moss. It was the spook­i­est ter­rar­ium ever. Mor­dor’s own ter­rar­ium. If you’re ever vis­it­ing my stu­dio in per­son and I in­vite you to sit by the fire to dis­cuss Tolkien mythol­ogy, make a bee­line to claim the chair. The old set­tee is ter­rif­i­cally un­com­fort­able.

Ac­cess to some quiet green space is es­sen­tial for my san­ity and cre­ativ­ity. I’ll me­an­der around my gar­den, cof­fee mug in hand, dic­tat­ing emails while I check the growth on re­cent plant­ings. The tree­house of­fers more seclu­sion, per­fect for when I’m deep into plan­ning for a fu­ture project.

The crown jewel of my man­tle is an orig­i­nal oil paint­ing by An­nie Stegg Ger­ard. I’m in love with her mas­ter­ful de­pic­tion of a uni­corn foal, and my de­light in the sub­ject mat­ter is matched only by my de­sire to steal all her paint­ing se­crets. The wall of built-in book­shelves serves to show­case my col­lec­tion of art books, favourite nov­els and var­i­ous knick-knacks. My favourite shelf houses a se­ries of leather-bound Tolkien books. My wife is an ex­cel­lent dec­o­ra­tor and some­times I swipe items she has styled on our other book­cases. So if some­thing looks good here it’s prob­a­bly thanks to her. Off the main stu­dio is a small side room and it’s one of my favourite spa­ces in the house: my game room. I’ve been a life­long col­lec­tor and en­joy hav­ing the space to dis­play the var­i­ous trea­sures I’ve amassed. At the end of a long work­day, I might un­wind by play­ing a lit­tle clas­sic Nin­tendo. This map cabi­net is very old, made in the 1800s. Its new func­tion is stor­ing draw­ings, paint­ings and paper. What I love most about this piece is that it has a twin, which lives with my good friend and Mouse Guard cre­ator, David Petersen. On top of the cabi­net I have lit­tle shrine to Swedish fairy tale artist John Bauer, who’s been one of the great­est in­flu­ences on my work. Hav­ing the work of tal­ented artists grace my walls is a true de­light. I pre­fer to col­lect orig­i­nals, but have been known to pick up a print from time to time. I’m cur­rently dis­play­ing pieces by Omar Rayyan, Wylie Beck­ert, Tran Nguyen, Gary Lip­pin­cott, David Petersen, Ni­root Put­tapi­pat, An­nie Stegg Ger­ard, Charles Vess and more. I’m al­ways get­ting some­thing framed, so the col­lec­tion ro­tates as needed.

This hand­made leather mask was made by ar­ti­sans Shane and Leah Odom. It watches over my scan­ner and some­times I put it on just to make life more in­ter­est­ing for the stu­dio cats. (No, I don’t.) I was hon­oured to win the Spec­trum Gold Award for my piece, The Fish Mas­ter. It will for­ever be one of my most prized pos­ses­sions.

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