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A picture of Mariel Cartwright

Mariel Cartwright

Art director, lead animator (Indivisible, Skullgirls)

in animator, game, mac

Who are you, and what do you do?

I'm Mariel Cartwright, and I work in video games as an artist and animator. I'm currently art director, lead animator, and head of story on Lab Zero Games' new title, Indivisible. Previously, I was lead animator on Skullgirls and Skullgirls Encore/2nd Encore, animator on Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game, and I also have done a lot of freelance on the side for studios like Wayforward. I've also dabbled a bit in storyboarding and comic illustration.

What hardware do you use?

I use a 2011 17" MacBook Pro at home, and... some kind of PC at work. I was recently able to breathe new life into my Macbook by swapping out its HD with a SSD - it almost feels like a brand new computer again. I also had the 2008 and 2005 17" MBPs; I'm sad they don't make them anymore.

At home, I draw on a Cintiq 13HD, which I have mounted to my desk with an art easel and an Ergotron LX arm. The 13HD doesn't come with any options to properly mount it, which is a shame because it's the perfect size to be very mobile with the Ergotron. But the DIY solution works! (this is the guide I used).

At work, I draw on a Wacom Intuos Pro. I definitely prefer drawing on the Cintiq, but the Intuos works great too.

And to keep me on task, I use my iPhone to maintain a calendar, and recently also just bought an Apple Watch to keep me on schedule and poke me when stuff happens.

And what software?

My artwork is almost exclusively made in Photoshop. I'm asked frequently about what brushes I use, and I really only use Photoshop's default hard round brush at varying opacities; only sometimes will I go into any more unique brushes. My animation is also done in Photoshop; it's really not made for animating and is a giant pain to use, but I've gotten used to it.

I also use Manga Studio for artwork on occasion, but mostly to do clean linework or comic page layouts. For whatever reason, drawing clean lines is WAY easier in Manga Studio, so sometimes I'll rough something in Photoshop and ink it in Manga Studio if I need it super clean and tight.

We also use Maya at work for 3D modeling, and TextPad for scripting. We also use Basecamp and Slack to organize and schedule everything.

I've long used Evernote to write down pretty much anything, and I've recently started using Fantastical to schedule my day and collate my different calendars.

What would be your dream setup?

I've always used laptops as my main computer because I needed to take everything from home to school or work and back, but now that I actually have a work setup, I'm kinda aching for a home setup that stays put. So maybe a big Cintiq, a couple monitors above... and maybe also my smaller Cintiq, still, for times I just want to sit differently.

I mean... I'd also just like to be able to work in bed, and have my monitors mounted above me so I never have to move or leave. That'd be nice.