Creative workspace: Shyama Golden

April 18, 2017

The workspace

I have my workspace here in my apartment, although I also work part-time from an office in SoHo. At my home workspace I share the space with my boyfriend, Paul, who's a filmmaker and also works out of an office he rents nearby. 

Our space at home is about the size of a closet and it's the one room I haven’t attempted to 'Marie Kondo', so it’s packed with my art supplies, our cameras, and all sorts of prints and books. I keep a lot of art supplies 'just in case' I ever use them again. We built all of the shelving and desks in the space ourselves to maximise the utility of the space, and I wall-mounted my display to save even more space.

Shyama's workflow

A year ago I bought an iPad Pro with Apple Pencil and Procreate App which brought a welcome change in my workflow. For almost seven years I'd been using Cintiq to do all my digital illustration work. Besides the numerous cables and the weight of it, the colours were dull and the low pixel density made it difficult to catch areas of a drawing that were inconsistent. The one thing I loved about the Cintiq workflow was Kyle T. Webster brushes for Photoshop, which an illustrator friend introduced me to. They are life changing, but ultimately the iPad with Apple pencil was just better hardware for me. I went back and reworked all my older digital work with on the iPad as well. 

For vector illustration I think Cintiq is still better, but some of the apps which allow you to use the iPad as an external monitor are closing that gap pretty quickly. I know not everybody will have the same experience, because I’ve seen incredible work from artists using industry standard Wacom products — but for me, after a week of using the Procreate App on the iPad, something just clicked and it felt really natural by comparison. 

My usual process for illustration work is drawing directly on the iPad, sometimes with references pasted on the art board in Procreate, and sometimes on an external monitor. I probably draw in bed more than I should! 

I like to combine digital with old school techniques. For example, recently when working on a watercolour, I was considering adding a pink wash over the painting — I tried it out in Procreate first to see if it worked before physically (and irreversibly) painting it. I also now do studies for my paintings in Procreate, as I can get a texture that’s close to oil paints with the 'oil pastel' brush they offer.

One day I’d love to have a more minimal and airy workspace as I did in Texas, but at the moment I’m too busy making new things to worry about it too much!