Author Topic: FUN102 - Your workspace  (Read 5063 times)

Pa Kalsha

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FUN102 - Your workspace
« on: December 11, 2016, 09:51:47 AM »
Desk layout
To cut a long tutorial short, every artist has a different workflow so there’s no “right” way to lay out a workspace. That said, some ways that are better than others and, as with most things in art, what works for you is something you can only really learn by doing.

Obviously, the first thing you need is a work surface. That can be a wooden board propped against the edge of a desk or a table easel, all the way up to a specialist drawing table. In terms of working space, make sure to give yourself enough room to work - at least the size of an open tabloid newspaper - and try not to let too much stuff encroach into that area.
Astute readers will notice I suggested starting with a drawing board instead of a regular table; that’s because working flat can introduce perspective errors, and propping the work up at an angle closer to how it will eventually be viewed reduces the likelihood of making those mistakes. Drawing boards, especially, are great because you can use them for sketching away from your desk (in a museum, a gallery or in bed)

As you progress, you’ll build up a collection materials, equipment and reference material. Add in cups of tea and sandwiches, and your workspace can get chaotic very quickly, so start organising stuff early!

Keeping your workspace as mess-free as possible means having lot of storage. Some things that might be useful are:
  • A set of desktop drawers, a shelf or bookcase. You can buy specialist art caddies, but a (clean) tackle box or even clip-top boxes or VHS cases - if you can find one! - with labels on are just as good. All you need is somewhere to collect your tools and materials, so they don’t get knocked under the furniture and lost.
  • A pencil pot. You can buy specialist ones but you don’t need them; I use a tall mug.
  • Pin boards are a great way to collect and view references. I find it more useful to be able to see everything at a glance than to rummage through folders (either in my desk or on my computer). That said, you can create pin board documents on the computer fairly easily if that’s your preference, or use an online service like Pinterest.
  • A bin is less of a recommendation and more of a must-have. Get a proper bin (not just a plastic bag or something) for collecting pencil shavings and scrap paper.
  • A book rest is useful when you’re using references or reading how-to books.
  • A mug or bottle with a lid. Staying hydrated is important, but the only thing worse than dipping your brushes in your tea is spilling it over a recently-finished piece!
  • A floor covering, like a painter’s plastic-backed drop cloth or a plastic tarp.
    It’s difficult to overstate how important this is if you’re doing a lot of work with paint and ink, especially if the room’s carpeted or you don’t own the property. Dropping paint is a matter of ‘when’, not ‘if’.
  • Speaking of spills, if you’re working with liquids - ink, water, tea - get some paper towels. The blue paper towels that come in rolls are cheap and come in bulk and it’s better to have them and not need them than to run out as you’re frantically mopping water off the table.
  • Good ventilation won’t be an issue while you’re working with pencils, but as soon as you start working with anything that produces fumes (ie: stuff that smells), save your health and open a window or get a fan.
  • Finally, you need your space to have good lighting. Dim lighting can give you headaches and eye strain and the wrong colour light can change your perception of colour, making your picture take on a tint you didn’t plan for. Light and lighting could be a whole tutorial unto itself, but we'll just cover the basics.
« Last Edit: December 11, 2016, 09:55:01 AM by Pa Kalsha »


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Re: FUN102 - Your workspace
« Reply #1 on: November 30, 2017, 07:21:39 AM »
Hi Pa, those are some fantastic tips. Right now my desk is an absolute mess and it's mostly because I have nowhere to put anything!

I think it's about time I sorted this out and got some drawers or something.