6 Must Have Stations in Every Working Art Studio
As a professional artist, I have created art in many different studio set-ups. These spaces were not glamorous and have ranged from my dorm room dining table, to a makeshift desk at the foot of my bed in a rental house.
I used to run my art business from one single table. It was my office space, my drawing space, and my painting space. Receipts for each quarter used to float around in my purse and shipping supplies where stuffed under my bed. Each day, I would have to rearrange my art table to accomplish the task at hand, wasting precious time where I could have been actually creating art to sell.
For the last two years, however, I’ve had the privilege of utilizing a room in our home as a full-time working studio. To optimize organization and productivity in this small studio, I’ve separated the space into 6 high functioning stations that I feel every working artist should have in their own studio for creative ease.
1. Shipping Station
This station is imperative for a working artist. In my studio, I have an L-shaped office desk. This gives me a space for my client calendar, computer, and printer on one side and a shipping station on the other. The desk has a filing cabinet drawer which is where I can organize my tax paperwork, receipts, and client sketches into quarterly file folders. For the shipping station side of the desk, I have a lay-flat large paper cutter and shipping scale. Above the desk, I have repurposed a magazine shelf into a place to store my shipping materials including a roll of brown wrapping paper hanging from a shower curtain rod and some drapery brackets, mailing boxes, stickers, and bubble wrap.
2. Drawing Station
I encourage you to read “A Rockwell Portrait”, which is an intimate biography on the life of the artist, Norman Rockwell, by Donald Walton. This is where I read how Rockwell used to always set his studio up with a table for drawing and a separate easel for painting. Since I normally have about 5 projects moving around in the studio at all times, I saw the potential benefit this type of setup would create while working in different stages on many different projects at once. My drawing table is a glass top drafting table where I keep all of my pencils and pens for sketching. If you’d like to purchase this exact one I have go here! I also keep my light box set up on this table for easy access when designing new projects.
3. Painting Station
It’s so important for your physical health to have an easel in your space that allows you to sit up right or stand with good posture while creating art. If you are a painter, having your work at an upright angle provides less of a chance for a piece of dog hair or dust particle to land in your paint while you’re working. The new easel I have in my studio is very special to me because it is custom designed and built by my dad and I. Check out this post where I outline that custom build. If your space doesn’t allow a stand up easel, there are many great options for table top easels over at Michael’s that you can set up on any flat surface in your home or shop. You can purchase the exact one I like to use here!
4. Research Station
Although YouTube is a helpful resource for technical art questions, I’m an old soul and still turn to my art course books from college for help. It’s always been a dream of mine to have a bookcase in my studio and now I am able showcase my collection of antique poetry books I like look at when I have a creative blocks. My studio bookshelf also holds all of my past sketchbooks which I still look to for inspiration from time to time. The mid mod chair in my studio is my favorite place to peruse these books and acts as a professional area for clients to sit during a consultation for a new art project. Of course, they may have to fight for chair space because it’s also my dog Milner’s go to spot for afternoon naps. Quick tip: When shopping for a bookshelf, be sure to check the weight rating per shelf. I knew I would have a lot of weight on mine so this bookshelf works perfectly allowing up to 120 lbs per shelf! You can purchase the exact bookshelf I have here!
5. Storage Station
I used to have canvases and big pieces of rusted metal just stacked up on the ground or behind furniture. I couldn’t ever see what items and canvases I had in my stash. Moving furniture and sorting through piles of junk to find the perfect canvas quickly killed my initial inspiration to start a new project. There were also may times when a new canvas would get damaged from being squashed up against another canvas in the pile. Thankfully, my studio has a closet in which I’ve organized to store my blank canvas and metal objects safely for future projects. The easel my dad and I built actually houses the majority of my blank canvases now. More on that here!
6. Supply Station
I purchased a sturdy cart with wheels to store my paint supplies and solvents. I wanted this cart to be able to hold my paint pallet close to where I’m painting and have everything I need for mixing paints at an arm’s reach. Although I have a whole room dedicated to my art practice, it’s still a small space, so having a cart on wheels allows me to push it out of the way when I’m not painting. I purchased my cart through amazon and it is not only super study and functional but very stylish! You can purchase one for yourself here!
I understand that not everyone has the privilege of have an entire room to dedicate to their art practice. However, these six stations can be worked into multifunctional spaces throughout your home. For example, a book shelf doesn’t have to be completely art related or located in your actual studio. And your office desk may also function as your drawing table for a while, just as mine did. With small studio spaces, it’s important to get as creative in the functionality of the layout as you would in a creating a new piece of art. Your studio set up will look different than mine. Our workshops are like fingerprints, unique to each craftsman, but I hope that these basic work stations I created in my own studio can help you organize your own space into a functioning and creative studio that you love to spend time in.
Cynthia winchell says
Who did you inheriate all those awesome organizational skills from???? Lov you baby! Great article!
Kate Cook says
Definitely my Mama! Thank goodness! Thank you.
Marrion carden says
Very nice! Makes me want to be more organized!
Kate Cook says
Thank you! I would be a mess without it! lol!