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How Do You Set Up Your Studio?

After two big moves and a house, we are finally getting ourselves settled in. Thank you for holding on and enduring the silence while we were in continual change without pause. I feel so much better having my studio all set up and back to the way I want things to be.

Which brings up a good question, how does one get their studio space setup to be effective, efficient, and inspiring?

I tackled the topic of what's important to me in my studio space, so I'd like to take the time to explore the idea of getting things "just so" in your space.

First and foremost, I always go back to the all important foundation question: what tools do you use regularly to make your artwork? This is certainly the first and most important question. When I was getting my newest space all figured out, it was a fluid question at the time - I had broken my laptop in the course of moving and so my mainstay (digital artwork) was put on hold for a while. I had to sort and re-sort out what it was I liked to use (at least right now. I love so many mediums!) That helped me finally settle on where to put them and how to organize myself. For the past few months, I had fallen into the easy, no-mess, ready-to-pack-back-up go to of ink pens and markers.

When it came to figuring out how to setup the room, I knew I would want my drawing tools within easy reach, but out of the way from my drawing area. I set up my shelves on the wall along side my desk, so that I can literally just swivel out of my chair and reach for things as I need them. It leaves my desk space clear or clutter, but allows me to be able to get to what ever I need easily. The driving factor for me here is that I like to see my options when I'm drawing, so I ended up taking them back out of their carrying cases and into mason jars on my shelf. I put everything out in a way that I can see my markers, colored pencils, pens, and measuring tools. This gives me the most efficacy in my decision making. When I sit down to work on a project, I want to figure out what medium I'm looking for, or if I feel the need to draw from another medium as I'm working, I like to just be able to look over and scan through my arsenal without wasting time or energy. And even then, it took some time to sort out how far away from my desk to put them, and how big the jars should be, and what should get grouped together into each jar. I also had erasers, rulers, and other assorted tools that I used to prep my paper and get it to a finished quality after the drawing was done. All of this really came down to figuring out how to keep myself clean and organized without causing any possible distractions. (OMG it's too easy to get side tracked by things you see - or don't see that you needed, and then you're looking for things, or doing something else entirely because it made you leave your work.) Help yourself out and get an organized space that makes you do as little as possible to get what you need while you're working. It's so important to have what you want at your fingertips!

The third and also important piece to the studio puzzle is knowing how and where to put your reference materials. Do you use a lot of books? Or cut outs and prints? Are you a digital librarian? If the third, then having an organized digital library on your computer is your most important task. Keeping things in folders and knowing where to find certain subjects is the key to not getting sidetracked and wasting time. If you're more like me though, you like to see hard copies of what you're drawing from. I have an assortment of art books, animal, bird, plant, and natural parks in my book collection. I also keep print outs of a lot of my favorite online finds. I put my prints on 8.5x11 sheets and put those sheets into page protectors which are all stored in binders on my shelves. Each binder is a subject matter, and is kept right next to my books for easy access. I often pull from both books and prints, so I like to have it all together. This makes it easy to find what I want, and to pull it out and put the prints on my desk without them getting damaged from being too involved in my art process haha.

So this is how I was able to get myself set up and feel so happy about my studio space: I figured out what I use regularly, I organized it visually so that I can easily find what I'm looking for, and it's all near my desk so I don't have to go anywhere and get distracted!

Good luck and enjoy your work without worrying anymore!

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