I'm going to do something a little different from what I usually do. For this blog, I'm going to cover a certain illustrator's quest for optimal ergonomic comfort, by analyzing how he went from a commercial products . Hamada Yoshikazu is a relatively well-loved manga illustrator on the web. He has a small following on Reddit and has a pretty fascinating YouTube channel where he plays games and streams his drawing process.
From years ago, I've always been struck by how DIY-y his work setup was. It's definitely not something anyone can buy walking into IKEA. It looks like pretty much everything is handmade to his personal optimization. From his work habits, it's obvious that he wants to continue drawing comics for as long as he can. And to do that, he needs his workstation to be as ergonomic as possible.
Although I feel a little bad about ripping his images and using it for this blog post, I feel like I need to visually show his awesome process right here.
Mr. Hamada's original setup, circa Sept 2014. Note the generic, low-set office seat.
His new (2015) setup, with a higher chair. Much better than the short one, the weight is distributed more than his derriere.
He raised the drafting table even higher, and got himself a better cushioned bar stool. With the new added height, he can work standing up as well.
Mr. Hamada added a board, so even sitting on the barstool, he can plant his feet to a ground. This posture is textbook ergonomic "ideal" for an office environment where all the body weight is distributed properly. A smaller foot step was also added, giving him an additional posture while working standing
This is an interesting customized seating. With this setup, Mr. Hamada's body weight is distribute "outwards" rather than downwards, saving him from the uncomfortable and unwanted pressure from a compressed spine.
Mr. Hamada then built a wall to lean on, and designed it in such a way that the angle can be adjusted and flattened when not in use. He also added an adjustable ground, so even with the lean, his foot can be normal to the wall. And to top it off, he seemed to put some cushioning or anti-stress fabric to the contraption.
Looks like Mr. Hamada took some ABS tubing, covered it in fabric, and used it to make another seating device. Although this one seems to be a little dubious in nature, I guess it can be a good butt massager?
Apparently, this is his current setup. Though I'm a little disappointed that he went with a slightly more conventional design, simple is probably for the better, I guess. In any case, this is a fine example that one must try the unconventional, because who knows what works and what doesn't unless all options are explored.
I've originally came across a post on Mr. Hamada's workstation on Reddit's r/manga, and decided to post and input my two-cents.
And for those that are interested in Mr. Hamada's other unconventional DIY projects in a nice, simple album:
[Link Here] *Last image is NSFW
For a final word, I'm a long-time sufferer of intermittent back pain due to sitting in front of the monitor all day. I should get an initiative and do something like Mr. Hamada. I should try building a chair that I would like to sit in for a long period of time... But in the meantime, it's important to watch ones' posture while working. There are some fantastic ergonomic and anthropometric bibles out there, but they are rather expensive. Although that and a Mass Production guidebook are some essential additions to a designer's bookshelf -- highly recommended to buy it.
Here are some free yet rudimentary ergonomics and anthropometrics PDF to get started:
[All Steel Office]