Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Creative Spaces 2: The Workstation

So you may ask yourself: What does Metron, one of Kirby's Recording Angels, have in common with the oaf? The answer is simple. We're both all about the chair.

Here's the deal. My back is bad; I can't sit or stand too much without experiencing elevated levels of pain. Too much can put me down. So I needed to create a workstation for myself that would let me work comfortably. This meant laying down. My first was based on a laptop, a media cart, and a homemade chaise lounge.

But the laptop got old, and I found myself unable to do art on it. So when I came into a small inheritance a few years back I decided to drop some bucks on a new setup. This is the single biggest investment I've made in my life and it's paid off for me, so far. This is my guilty secret -- I do a lot of poor-mouthing for good reason, but when I had money I spent thousands of bucks for one of the nicest workstations I know of.

A few years back I had a stay in a hotel room that included a recliner. During that stay my levels of pain were reduced considerably. The recliner was better for my back than any other furniture I was familiar with. So I knew I wanted to work from a recliner -- but how the hell do you do that? I got a vague mental image of what I wanted and hit the internet.

So here's the computer. Yeah, I'm a Mac user -- when I started off you needed to have a Mac if you were going to do graphics.

The biggest problem I faced was mounting the monitor. I searched diligently for monitor mounts and stands -- and when I found this one I knew it was the way to go, since it offered me the option of mounting the computer itself on the same stand. It's quite stable, knock wood, and it lets me get the monitor exactly where I want it. It's a Mack Bailey product. Can't recommend it enough.

And the monitor itself is a real indulgence. It's a Cintiq, which lets me use a stylus directly on the screen. I'd hoped it would let me ditch paper entirely; this has not been the case. But the Cintiq has become an important part of my workflow, especially when it comes to 'painting' and making selections. Saves me a lot of time and produces superior results.

After shopping around and test-sitting a number of different recliners, this is the one I settled on. Interestingly enough, it's called a Perfect Chair. It's disturbingly comfy. Unfortunately, the company's a bit of a pain to deal with -- very, very slow in delivery. In fact, I'm still waiting on my foot support extension.

But this chair has changed my life completely -- I'm easily five or six times as productive and my chronic pain has been greatly reduced. Without this I wouldn't even be able to consider full-time work. (Which I don't have. Which I want.)

And here's the finishing touch. I have small tables mounted on the sides of the chair to hold a split keyboard from Comfort Keyboards. This allows me to touch type in an ergonomically acceptable fashion. Got my little Wacom on the right side and I'm good to go.

So you want to know the secret of my productivity? The most comfortable place in the world for me is my workstation.

Tomorrow we'll take a look at some of the decorative touches that make my studio disturbing. Won't you join me? There'll be dead bugs and straight razors!


Peter Bond said...

I am loving seeing all these aspects to your space! How does the keyboard work? Is one hand above the other when you type?

Sean Craven said...

Ah! Confusion!

That's the number pad on top. The right side of the keyboard is on the right side of the chair, the left side of the keyboard on the left. One of the 'tables' per side.