Inside Russ Cox’s art laboratory

Today I bring you a peek  inside Russ Cox’s art laboratory. This man has an amazing and imaginative style I have always admired. I am endlessly fascinated by how other artists create their art and where they do that creation. I hope you enjoy the tour.

Inside Russ Cox's art laboratory Overall

Howdy readers of Wendy’s blog! I am very honored to share with you a peek into my studio space and some of the equipment I use. As you can see in the above photo, I am in a very small space in my house. I kind of like that everything is within arm’s reach, although with my 6’5” frame, I tend knock stuff off desks and tables. Yeah, grace is not my strong suit. The goal is to move my workspace into the basement at some point this year but I need to do some work down there before I can move. But for now, I will show you where I pretty much live.

Inside Russ Cox's art laboratory IMG_2917I keep most of my supplies (pencils, paint, tape, etc.) in this Craftsman stackable tool chest. It has wheels so I can roll over to my drawing table when I need to use stuff from it. The thing on the floor next to it is a paper shredder. I have to keep a piece of cardboard on it since our cats like to sit on it and somethings turn it on by doing so. The last thing I want to do is explain to a vet how a cat’s tail got mangled.

I also keep my banjos next to me. If I get stuck on a problem or need a quick break, I grab one and play for a bit which usually helps to sort something out. If you re wondering what type of music I play, it is old time or clawhammer tunes. The doors behind the banjos lead into my closet but will ignore them and move onto something else.

Inside Russ Cox's art laboratory IMG_2904

There is a section of wall that I mounted these hangers onto and they allow for me to hang out work in progress like sketches, storyboards, and final art. They are called Trapease Display Rails and work like a x-ray holder. The good thing about them is that they don’t damage the paper. I believe I got them from Dick Blick. The clock is a vintage early 60s style.

Inside Russ Cox's art laboratory IMG_2905I do most of my drawing and sketching on the light box which I got it from a printshop that shut down. The size of the glass is roughly 24×21. I always keep my pencils, pens, sketchbooks next to it. Just in case something comes stumbling through my brain that is interesting. And yes, I keep a small tv in my studio for late evenings or just to have on as refrigerator hum. Sometimes you need to hear people talking, besides the ones in my head, since I am alone most of the day. Oh that is Oliver, aka “B”, my art director and paper weight. He keeps me in line when my wife is at work.

Inside Russ Cox's art laboratory IMG_2910The large screen iMac is used for my internet, email, photo/color correcting, and most importantly, my music.  The small box underneath it is my backup drive which just called it a day. Time for a new one. I also keep my iPad and iPhone hooked up to this iMac. I guess it is the hub for my electronics.

Inside Russ Cox's art laboratory IMG_2909I have a second Mac hooked up to a Cintiq that do all of digital drawing and color on. This Cintiq is the first generation model. The pen has been glued and taped together so many times that I call it Frankenpen.  I am going to need to replace the tablet soon. Monoprice has a new model out that is really nice and a lot cheaper than a Cintiq.

Inside Russ Cox's art laboratory IMG_2908As we continue to move in a circle, we come to my printers and scanner. The Epson WF-7520 is scanner/color printer combo. It does a great job at scanning and the prints are okay. I have started experimenting printing out drawings on watercolor paper and then painting on top of them.  The Brother HL-2270DW is my laser printer and the workhorse of my printouts. I wish it printed larger than 8.5×11. Oh well, one can’t have, nor afford, everything.

Inside Russ Cox's art laboratory IMG_2906We come to my drawing table which is usually covered with all kinds of stuff (mail, books, bills, promo stuff, etc.). I have gone back to painting traditionally. It is  something that I really missed. I normally use a combination of watercolor, gouache, colored pencils, regular pencil, and pen & ink. I am still experimenting with different papers but I am really liking a thick cold press. I mix my paint in the metal trays which helps keep things clean. Plus I really hate plastic. Oh, I should mention that the lamp is one that gives you accurate lighting for painting.

Inside Russ Cox's art laboratory IMG_2907As the tour comes to a close, we will end it with my bookshelf. You will find all kinds of stuff on it, from picture books to vintage themed books to music to other artist that I admire. I also have a few knick-knacks on it. The stuffed tiger was made by my good friend, Jennifer Carlson. She saw one of my sketches and turned it into this wonderful creature. It is one of my favorite things that I own.

I should mention that I store paper, samples, and other large items like easels in our basement. There is large flat file that my paper is kept. My oil paints and supplies are down there as well so it helps get me out this space if I want to do some stuff just for me.

Well folks, that is my tiny, cramped workspace. It seems to be working for me and I feel at home in it. When I get my new space together, maybe I can come back and share it with you.

You can check out my work at http://www.smilingotis.com and find my book, Faraway Friends (written and illustrated by me), at a local bookstore or Amazon. I’ve also illustrated the Freddy the Frogcaster series (Regency Kids), Puppy Pirates series (Penguin Random House), Merry Moosey Christmas (Islandport Press), and many other books online or in a brick and mortar shop.