Thursday, 12 January 2012

The Power of Books

The clearing out continued. We found loads of books we didn't want (and the bookshelves are disconcertingly and temptingly bare now...)

I've been experimenting with the standing desk thing for about a month now, with a pile of phone books* as a sort of mini-desk on top of my desk, and this seemed like a logical next step.

Look how much stuff I can fit under there now!

Why a standing desk? Well, it really does seem to be a more comfortable way to work, especially if we're talking hours and hours of deadline illustration. I work much faster; it's hard to slump at my desk and stare off into space wondering what I'm doing there. There's no getting comfortable and then realising that I need something from the other side of the room, and it's sooo far away; I'm already up, might as well get it.

This is particularly annoying when I'm sewing, but drawing, too, is better with a standing desk. Drawing is a whole-body activity, or at the least a whole-arm activity. Lean on the desk, and you start drawing from your wrist, not your shoulder, producing ever-so-slightly lopsided figures, especially ovals and circles. In addition, drawing people without a good reference is tough - it helps if you can mimic their pose or posture, feel how it feels in space, get a sense of the distance between their hands, or how their hips would sway if they leaned over. If I'm standing while I'm drawing, this happens almost unconsciously. If I'm sitting, it doesn't happen until I've wasted a good long while struggling with a pose, then finally get up to test it, sit down again to draw, stand up to check, sit down again.... You get the picture.

*What do mean, you don't keep phone books? Best paper for paper mache, handy when you need a clean surface for glueing something, and I'm sure there are a million more uses. 


Lesley said...

Hi there! Been reading for a long time but I don't think I have ever left a comment before.
The standing thing is a good idea. Better for you than sitting. I saw a wonderful documentary about the US writer Philip Roth a few months ago, and he stands up at a tall desk to write his novels, by hand.

painted fish studio said...

awesome idea! in college, we worked on drafting tables standing up, and it's still my preferred way of working, especially when i'm cutting and punching paper. but my dining room table isn't high enough, and my back gets "stuck" hunched over. i feel so old... maybe i just need to change my working space.

Danya Ristić said...

Ha, again - interesting! Thanks for sharing these thoughts. Doesn't that mean, though, that you would have to be like Nigella and get a pair of FitFlops, so you can bare to be on your feet all day? And the title of your post in relation to its contents just killed me!

Alisa : Ink Caravan said...

That makes so much sense. I hate that hunched over feeling and the regular visits to the osteopath to fix my protesting shoulders. Hmm you have me thinking now...

Actually, I used to work in an animation studio where watching animators posing in extraordinary ways while they worked was one of my favorite things. It definitely was a whole body thing and completely hilarious! But they never had back issues. : )

ps. Happy New Year Jesse! x