Thursday, September 30, 2010

State of the Studio

Here's what the studio looked like back when I had hair and a shar pei. I was probably twenty-six, twenty-seven when I drew this. Man, I hated working with watercolor.

So Karen's class started unexpectedly and I'm up here in my bathrobe listening to her say, "Now keep your butt clenched, and sweep from your knee." The ease and relish with which she leads her classes will be swiped and used in the novel...

While I'm up here, I may as well do a post on what I need to do for the studio. Honestly, these posts are more for my benefit than yours... I should just write 'em down in a notebook or something, but here they are.

Anyway. My life has a pattern of big hauls interspersed with long droughts. My response is to sock aside most of any haul for future living expenses, set aside a bit for a temporarily increased standard of living, and then make a few big investments in my infrastructure. So part of what I'm going to do is to improve my studio.

The first issue is the big window in the above drawing. You see how it's filled with a pine tree? They cut that sucker down a couple of years ago and it has been plain and fancy hell. The heat, the light fading my books, the backlighting of my monitor making it difficult and unpleasant to work in the afternoon -- it's been bugging me a lot for a long time. It's also going to be hell of expensive. That window is big, it's set on a slant, and it's over a spiral staircase. Installation hell. But it's time to drag the blueprints down to the store and get the ball moving.

Right now the studio is properly set up for writing, digital image work, and playing guitar and bass. I need to make it work for drawing, painting, using the drum pads and keyboards, and recording music.

In order to draw while at my workstation, I'll need to get a stiff foam pillow shaped to hold a drawing board at the proper angle. This will also allow me to edit manuscripts here instead of in bed, thus ending my paranoia that I'll inadvertently pull a Clarence Thomas and deliver a pubic hair along with the deleted passive tense. "No, I did not mean anything. It's probably from the dog or my wife or something. Stop looking at me like that."

And while I'm at it, I'll have a similar pillow made at an angle suited for holding manuscripts while I'm word-processing revisions. Currently I use a regular pillow folded in half, and occasionally it springs up and hurls paper about to comical effect.

Getting the music station set up properly will be nice. As it is, it's an awkward eyesore that blocks access to the bookshelves and threatens to tip over. I want a stand for the keyboard.

I do wonder if I could get a rolling table of some kind for the computer keyboard and mouse and such, or if there's such thing as a keyboard stand with space for such gear.

I want a folding table of some kind. When I do ink blots and such I go out on the deck and crouch and it hurts and I'm tired of it.

I want to get my working computer hooked into the sound system, and I want to be able to work on our recording computer from my workstation, and I want to have the drum pads and keyboard ready to plug in and play at a moment's notice, rather than being too much trouble to get around to. I've had a low-end pro recording setup for a decade and I can't do anything with the damned thing. Since I'll probably be doing more spoken-word stuff in the future, it would behoove me to be able to record myself.

I'm also going to get a stereo. A real, grownup component stereo that works. I am fed up with buying boom boxes at yard sales. It's hurting my faith in human nature. "Yeah, it's fine, works like new, we just got a new one..." Liars! I know that all the music in the world is available for free on-line, yeah, yeah. But I don't care. I just don't do it, much as it seems like a good idea. So I want to play my stupid old records and CDs and tapes and let the MP3s go fuck themselves.

I need to do something about the floor and I don't know what. But the floor is raw plywood and it's starting to splinter. Any suggestions would be welcomed.

I need to have my light table set up so I can put it fully upright to use as a surface for story blocking, and back to a proper drafting angle. Right now it's at a perfectly useless angle.

I don't have a printer -- but I do have a very interesting idea revolving around the acquisition of one. I'll tell you more about that soon.

And I need to get the lighting situation sorted out. I still don't have a decent drawing/reading lamp, and that's a necessity. And I need to either find out how to get the subwoofer fixed, or get rid of it and put in a shelf instead.

Shwa. Man. And that's not all I have to think about... But when all that's done, the studio will be a better place to work. I've already cleaned the damned thing up, so the worst is over. And honestly? This kind of thing really does make life a little nicer, especially when you appreciate it.

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