Painting while living abroad has been…challenging. It’s all fine and good to be traipsing off across the world, but without being a professional and responsible illustrator, the train derails very quickly and the whole thing ends. Mostly, I’m happy with how I’ve fared.
All of my art directors live in different states. Apart from conventions, I don’t see them. 99% of my communication is via email. If I can turn out quality work, get it in on time, and can answer email, I may as well be in the next town over or
On my end, it’s another story entirely. Losing my formal studio space is something I’ve never quite gotten over. The past 2 years I’ve come to refer to my method of working as guerilla illustration. I’ve worked, with the barest materials possible, in corners of rooms, on kitchen tables, in bed in a spare bedroom at my parents’ house, in a bathroom (!), on two of my friends’ couches, in a cube at the offices of Sigil Games Online, in hotel rooms, and while sitting at my table at a convention or two. I have borrowed printers from two friends, Ben Thompson’s Wacom tablet and scanner, and have used the Kodak Photo Kiosk at a Target store to scan sketches and put them on cd when no scanner was available. I’ve been unstoppable, at the cost of a few more gray hairs than I had when I started. Working in such fashion is actually very stressful and often frustrating—working up the creative spark can be tricky enough without being hamstrung by being in an unfamiliar or hectic environment. But I figure if artists could work quite literally in the trenches during two World Wars, I’ve got nothing to complain about. And in the process I’ve honed my discipline, increased my ability to focus for long periods of time, and generally improved my workflow. Who would’ve thought?
Art supplies are extremely hard to come by in some cases. I really took for granted the availability of art supplies close at hand within the states.
I have used my mobile as a dial-up modem, tethered to my usb port in
Since moving, I’ve taken to labeling each drawing or painting with the location where it was painted. It’s sort of fun for me to do, and if you happen to purchase any of these and wonder why the back of a painting reads “Pienza, Italy” or why a drawing says, “Austin, TX” as a couple certainly will, now you’ll know the how and why.