My first studio was a little (child-sized) table in a corner of my room. I was about 10 years old, and I wanted to draw cartoon characters.
A few years later, I graduated to a small drafting table, complete with an adjustable angle. I kept my drawing tools in a caddy on top of a file cabinet. I drew comics.
I don’t have any of that stuff now, but it was great to have my own little spot to draw in. It was my own little world.
A Dedicated Space
What was great about it was it was a dedicated spot for making my art. I think that’s important for anyone pursuing anything creative. Just like arriving at the office puts you in a frame of mind to get work done, or even putting on your gym clothes can mentally prepare you to work out. Settling in to your work space can get you ready to do your work.
Your workspace might be in the living room, and you set up your easel after everyone else in the family has gone to bed. Maybe you draw at the kitchen table. Or set up an easel in your apartment’s kitchen and turn on the exhaust fan while you paint with oils and hope the landlord doesn’t find out. If you’re lucky, you might have a spare room to turn into your studio. Or a backyard shed!
Sure, I’d love to have a huge studio with gorgeous lighting like the things I find on Pinterest. (Yes, I have a whole Pinterest board that is just pictures of amazing art studios. I know. It might be a problem.)
Even if you have to set up and tear it down every day, carve out your space and make it yours. Because having a dedicated space will help you get in the zone and stay there. Put up quotes and photos of things that inspire you and make you want to do your best work. If you’re right-handed put your brushes, pens, paints, whatever on the right side so you’re not reaching across to get to things.
The idea is to make it a place you are comfortable and ready to activate the creative side of your brain.
What Not To Do
It’s entirely up to you to go around lighting candles and putting on great music and all that. Personally, I think that would be more of a distraction and, if we’re honest, really another way of procrastinating. Remember that time on The Simpsons when Lisa decided to write a book? (The Book Job)
Yeah, she got sidetracked trying to make everything just right. Meanwhile, her dad and brother and a bunch of other people managed to write a best-seller in shorter time. But that’s beside the point. The point is to not get distracted trying to make your work area “perfect” but to just go ahead and do the work.
All right, so what can you do right now?
Without going into a lot of detail, the first few things that come to mind are things like the following:
- Find a corner and set up a table or easel there. It doesn’t have to be fancy!
- Convert a spare room into your studio
- Use part of the guest bedroom
- Your former “dump zone” (you know exactly what I’m talking about.)
- Convert the dining room and eat in the kitchen instead
- Take over the garage (make sure you have proper heating, cooling, and ventilation)
- Get a nifty table that can fold up and store things
- Use a cart to store your supplies on, which can easily be moved around
My question to you:
What are you doing to make a space to work?