Monday, November 27, 2017

November Moments

It is a bit tiring seeing it get dark so early, and keeping motivated instead of wanting to crawl into bed is challenging.
November has just a few days left in it, but each one has been filled with days of freelance, working the main jobs, and planning projects and items for next year's shows, as well as starting to submit and fill out stuff to get into aforementioned shows.

I just got back from a midnight run to the grocery store, and having finally gotten rid of a migraine that was bearing down on my head like a vice, I figured I'd enjoy the late night quiet and update this, and work on a few things before the day officially starts.

I say that, as I glance over and see that it's now 4:30 am on Monday already...
(Left) Hallmark ornament I'd been wanting to find because it reminded me of my cat Zero. (Right) Union Station has the holiday decor already in full bloom.
I love to walk around Union Station anytime it's the holidays, about three years ago, it's what inspired the first bits of poetry I had started to write. This year has provided me with even more new works I will be putting together in another collection that will be available this next year.
Pencil and ink layouts of some superhero art for a client that wanted to have the company staff represented as Marvel and DC heroes.
I'd recently added a Wacom Cintiq to my workstation (courtesy of my buddy Ryan), and it's gone a long ways to increasing my productivity. Next up will be some new upgrades to the computer system so I can take on some new creative initiatives this coming year.

As many of you probably know, one of the two hardest things when you are doing work on your own, is taking the time to invest in personal/down time for your own sanity, which really boils down to time management and a want to do it. The other is remembering to save and invest in your own creative tools, space, and future expansions.
The process of finally creating a studio for myself was years and years in the making. Much griping, many hours thinking, and time saving, and collecting things to build it.
This past year showed me a lot in terms of wanting to control my spending because to be a successful business individual, just as much as it takes the mindset to understand buying better equipment can make things run smoother, making do with what you have on hand, searching for the best deal, being patient (especially with tech prices), and inventing/building stuff to work for you is completely necessary.

Case in point, my workstation desk.

I was never able to find a desk that was going to work, or at least be affordable enough to be able to encompass my needs. Thankfully, I had a closet door left over from a previous remodeling job, and some spare 2x4 and 4x4 boards.

The desk has evolved, as it was eventually pared up with my drawing desk I got when I was 16, which I added an extension to, and a Kallax from IKEA that I modified the hell out of to turn into a robust as hell off the floor book and art supply case. But one thing I was not a fan of was having to store my keyboard in such a non accommodating way underneath the Cintiq.

I had wanted to find one of those hide way keyboard systems like most people have at corporate workspaces in cubicles, but something about that just didn't seem like the right answer. Never mind the fact that I had some challenges with there being no real accessible lip for this desk I had built so the mechanical mouse pad arm I had installed had to be rethought on how it was put on.

But thinking about that, I managed to track down an under the desk, super simple and super strong keyboard sliding drawer that simply bolted on. But I needed to "modify" the desk...
I modified the hell out of it in five minutes flat.
The drawer is from the company Stand Ready, and is available on Amazon. I know for some people, this probably looks jarring as hell, but I loved how it fit, it works excellently, and allowed me to keep the Cintiq on the support arm it's on, but now on the desk top.
It's actually huge, but I use the spare space to also store a bluetooth keyboard.
So here is the keyboard/Cintiq/Mouse arm set up. It looks pretty bizarre doesn't it? But for me, man this is comfortable as all hell.

The mouse arm helps as a support for my drawing arm helping reduce the elbow stress and tendon issues I have been having. The keyboard is as the perfect height and stows away just like I wanted, keeping dust off of it, and both out of the way, and easily accessible for doing the keyboard shortcuts that I don't have preprogrammed on the Cintiq now.
And all installed in place now.
I guess the point of this was not to just show you all I could use a saw and not lose a finger in the process, but to also say that if you give it a chance, things do come together if you really want them to work. I'm not just talking art, because anything in life can become overpoweringly hard to overcome and work through, especially if we don't have belief in ourselves to persevere.

I didn't break the bank to do that desk mod above, but I did wait and plan to find things that would work for what I needed, to make something that really fit my mind's eye.

If I did that more often, I think my freelance and creative output would not only be more productive, but also more adventurous and rewarding.

I hope you all had great Thanksgivings, and spent time with loved ones and had safe trips.

Until next time, support your local artists, be kind to your fellow beings, and always take the path less traveled!

Mario, the Artisan Rogue
Illustrator, Voice Actor, Writer, Animal Rights Activist

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