Art and Motivation #1: Workspaces

I’ve been suffering from some pretty low moods lately.  There are days when the very idea of sitting down and picking up a pencil is too exhausting to contemplate.  Fortunately those days don’t come as often as they used to, and I’ve become a little better at dealing with them.

I’m certain that I’m not alone in this problem, so I thought it might be helpful to someone out there to share how I deal with the annoyances of art block and its causes.  My goal is to post something on this subject at least once a week, whether it’s just a quote that inspires me or long, rambling entries like this one is likely to be.  If anyone finds this useful or has advice or questions, please don’t hesitate to ask in the comments!

For the first post, I’ll be talking about the importance of having and maintaining your own space for art.

The most important thing for me has always been to have a space that’s meant for art and nothing else.  Sometimes I won’t even use this space; I’ll decide that I feel more productive sprawled across the bed with a sketchbook, or perched on a chair in the living room with my laptop and drawing tablet, listening to my husband talking politics.  The most important thing is just to have that space, to know that it’s there and it’s completely yours.  Back in the US, I had a whole room for this purpose.  Here in London, I have a desk in the corner of the bedroom, and that’s just as good.

It’s also very important to keep this space neat and organised, especially when I’m not working.  I used to have a mug that said “A clean desk is the sign of an empty mind.”  That’s true, to an extent.  A desk covered in scraps of paper, various pens and markers, and pencil shavings is definitely a sign of productivity.  But when the project ends, it’s time to put everything away again, otherwise when I’m not working, my desk tends to become a magnet for clutter.  It attracts abandoned sketches, junk mail, and lots of other things that have no business being on a desk.  One look at a mess like that in the morning, and I know I’m not going to get any work done, even if most of my drawing is not done at the desk.  Between projects, a clean desk is a sign of POTENTIAL.


This is what my desk looks like on a good day.  All of my supplies are within easy reach.  Books or other resources I might need are standing by, including something to drink and a snack.  It’s easy to forget to eat when I’m feeling motivated!

To get inspiration for your own work space, I recommend looking through the art studio tag on Tumblr or doing a Google image search.  I’ve reblogged a lot of nice spaces on my Tumblr here.  Sometimes just looking through these photos is enough to make me want to get up and draw!

This was going to be a much longer post.  I was going to go over planning techniques, but there are deadlines to meet and dinner to cook, so I’ll cover that next week.  Again, if you have questions or suggestions, let me know in the comments!

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