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February 14, 2008

essentials & influences - sven

by sven at 7:00 am

Our friend Dayna Collins started a meme a while back, asking what your influences are and what tools/materials are essential in your studio. Gretchin's already responded... The meme seems like a lot of fun, so I've wanted to answer too -- but it's also been challenging.

For influences, I came up with an initial list of 60+ musicians, artists, thinkers, etc. who've shaped who I am and what I do. Too many! So, finally I decided the only thing I can reasonably do is say who's influencing me right now. Maybe that makes this more a list of preoccupations... But here goes.


  1. Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way: the practice of morning pages

  2. Chris Baty's No Plot? No Problem!: emphasis on generating page count while writing

  3. H.P.Lovecraft's At The Mountains of Madness: which I'm trying to adapt to film

  4. Ron Cole: exploring film distribution strategies

  5. Jamie Caliri: how he uses digital still cameras for animation

  6. The Animation Show of Shows: a compilation of award-winning animation

  7. Barry Purves: combining theater sensibilities with stopmo

  8. Julie Taymor: her knack for pairing cultural iconography and story

  9. Nick Hilligoss: foam latex puppet how-to

  10. Ten Tiny Dances: a model for brief motion experiments

As for "studio essentials," there was a temptation to list very specialized sets of tools/materials. For instance: what materials are essential for making puppets -- or what tools/materials I use for painting. I decided that the spirit of the question should be more along the lines of "what stuff do you keep around just in case?"... Like if you suddenly asked me to build something, what would I most likely pull out of my bag of tricks?

For this one, I'm cheating and upping my list to 20 items. ...So there!

Studio Essentials:
  1. safety: 3M brand carbon-cartridge respirator and wrap-around safety goggles

  2. hardboard, AKA masonite: 1/4"-thick stuff is good for constructing nearly anything

  3. foam insulation board: excellent for carving, can be layered to make thicker sheets

  4. 1"x2"x8' lengths of pine: good to keep some on hand

  5. abundant supply of fasteners: wood screws, 18 ga. wire nails

  6. cool-melt hot glue gun: finger burns are much less severe

  7. cordless electric drill: it's not a Sven project til there's been drilling!

  8. miter saw: for cutting perfect 90 degree angles (and other angles)

  9. electric jig saw: combined with 8' straight edge, avoids need for scary circular saw

  10. micro cut-off saw: phenomenal for chop cuts on anything 1/2" dia. or smaller

  11. small vise which can clamp onto the edge of a table

  12. clamps, clamps, clamps: c-clamps, corner clamps, gator clamps, extra-long clamps

  13. small needle-nosed pliers with built-in wire cutter

  14. hex key set (swiss-army-knife-style): every key you need, all in one place

  15. rulers: 5" plastic see-through ruler, 12" steel straight-edge, 8' aluminum straight-edge

  16. small self-healing cutting pad and X-acto knife

  17. 1" wide white post-it tape: good for labels, many other purposes

  18. sand paper: medium grit, good for wood and metal

  19. delta ceramcoat acrylic paints: cheap and plentiful

  20. storage box for paints: being able to see all the colors in one glance makes them much more usable

posted by sven | February 14, 2008 7:00 AM | categories: miscellany