One thing that’s great about being an illustrator is that you can work from anywhere. One thing that sucks about being an illustrator, is that you can work from anywhere. Deadlines and clients could care less where your hands are creating their wares, so long as the product is delivered on time and to their satisfaction.
Since I’ve begun working almost entirely digitally, I’m faced with a couple challenges in terms of doing my illustration or animation work as best and as quickly as I can whenever I’m traveling. Right now, I’m three thousand kilometers away from my studio in Iqaluit, and my Cintiq 24HD, which I’ve not so lovingly taken to calling my “Mother of a Behemoth”, or my MoB. (Sometimes I think it would be easier to move the world around my MoB, then to attempt to move it. That thing is heavy.) In the past, I would use my little 13″ MacBook Pro with a small Intuos, and that blew blue goats. When I switched to using the sexy, large Intuos a few months ago, it’s never out of arm’s reach, and so I had to think of a combination that would compliment such a fine piece of drawing equipment. Lo and behold: the 21″ iMac! It’s my main machine now, and has plenty of power to handle whatever ridiculousness I throw at it- with ease. And its screen leaves my Cintiq in the dust, which in a previous post I mentioned is not the finest in terms of colour and brightness. So, how do I travel with the darned thing? Quite easily, actually, now that I got a cool and fairly cheap bag made just for this purpose- an iLugger. I’m able to slip the iMac in and out in very little time, and the bag also just has enough room for the large Intuos. I think it’s pretty elegant- even though my wife scoffs at me whenever we’re going through security at the airport. I do admit that it’s not as light, nor as easy to carry around as a laptop, but when I pull that iMac badboy out, I think I look pretty slick. Especially since it’s carry-on. Ooooh.
Plus, if you’re working away from your studio for more than a week or two like I am right now, a big screen is something that goes a long, long way. So, if you’re on the fence about what machine to buy and it needs to be fairly portable, don’t overlook the new 21″ iMacs. In combination with an iLugger, I have a portable studio that doesn’t leave me wanting for more screen real estate or machine power, even crunching stuff in AFX. (Nope, I don’t get paid by iLugger or Apple. Wouldn’t hurt if I did, though.)