Thursday, January 8, 2015

New Year, New Studio

New Year, New Studio.

It's 2015. And as the world clamors to weigh in on the year's first tragedy, one that hits a particular place with me, I find myself wanting to be quiet about it. I have nothing to add but tears. Instead I will be talking here about more mundane things. If that's a balm or an interest for you then read on:

. . .

I had hoped to do a year-end wrap-up post, with a comic (I wanted to draw my 2014 Valkyrie one last time), but this old farmhouse got the better of me. I ended up spending my holidays renovating one of our upstairs rooms and turning it into a new studio. Until this last week I’ve been working out of the corner of the bedroom, but I’d outgrown that space and my work items had been bleeding out into places they didn't belong.

There are still a few finishing touches to be done, and I'm still waiting on my new chalkboard to arrive, but the space is mostly finished and my big wall calendar is up so that I can get a nice visualization of how the year is already slipping from my grasp.

Here are some before-during-and-after pictures:

The room started out with dark paneling, that was warped and generally yucky. It also sucked up light:

Underneath the paneling was old peeling wallpaper:

Here's me scraping away. I am crying on the inside:

Wallpaper is a mess:

Once the paper came off things started looking better and it was time to patch the old plaster walls. The paneling, it seems, was put up to avoid this job. Why fix something when you can just cover it up? Here I am patching plaster and answering little questions at the same time:

While the wall patches were drying I went out to flea markets looking for an old adjustable arm desk lamp. I didn't find one, but I did come back with a cool mirror:

Sanding the walls was a dusty business. At one point I was convinced that I had spread a dust cloud to every other room in the house until Anna explained that it was just a film of dust on my glasses:

Finally it was mopping and cleaning and laying down drop clothes and painting walls and trim. toward the end I used my 2014 calendar for a drop cloth:

Then I moved in!

And now I'm knee-deep in watercolor illustrations for my next book -the book that will come out after Little Robot. It has goblins. I am very excited.

There's so much to do.


P.S. OH! I almost for got to add: I've posted this all over FB and Twitter, but if you want a look at the cover of Little Robot or if you are interested in reading my answers to some questions about the book, then head over to the LA TImes Hero Complex RIGHT HERE.


Christina Hicks said...

It looks SO GOOD Ben. So glad you have a real space to art in.

Clare said...

Hurrah for new years and new studios! Your studio looks really nice. :)
I'm looking forward to Little Robot and whatever other books you have in store!

Anthony VanArsdale said...

Ben Hatke + New Studio = Maximum inspiration levels and Creative Wonders

Ben Hatke said...

You were building a studio space from the ground up, if I remember. Do you have any photos of the finished space?

Anthony VanArsdale said...

I've still got to put in the window casings and base boards so it looks a little "half-done" right now.

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