This Studio Sunday, let’s take a peek inside a studio that Alison Bechdel recently worked in. Bechdel is an American artist and comic book illustrator. She has written and illustrated both serial comics and graphic novels, including Fun Home and Are You My Mother? The artist’s subject matter is often autobiographical, looking at her relationship to her parents and her own struggles with growing up and coming out as a lesbian.
Bechdel is pictured here working in a studio in the castle Civitella Ranieri in Italy, during an artist’s residency in 2014. The studio almost has the feeling of a classroom, with floors that look carpeted – an interesting touch where art materials are concerned – and a big table on top of which are piles sketches, books and the artist’s laptop. It’s a very studious, academic sort of room. Sort of office-like, in a way, like the studio of David Shrigley. It probably works well for artists like Bechdel who are producing illustration, research and writing in combination.
A number of the artist’s large-scale drawings are up on the walls. It looks like she’s working on life drawings, with figures in the middle of performing various yoga poses. I wonder if these are intended as standalone artworks, or as studies or sketches for later appearances in comics.
The one thing that I find is missing from the studio space is books! It always seems like illustrators tend to have a lot of books in their studio spaces – just take a look at the workspaces of Daniel Clowes or Jean Giraud, who both have walls of books behind their desks. I’m sure that Bechdel’s home studio is similarly well-equipped – perhaps there are also books in this studio, just in a different room, or out of the camera’s view.