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TL;DR = Show me your workspace! - The art of Thornwolf — LiveJournal
TL;DR = Show me your workspace!
It's weird. The thing I'm looking forward to most about moving is designing my ideal workspace. I want to do it right this time instead of just "making due" like I have been doing for the last several years (oh god, it's been over 5 and I've had the same crappy hand-me-down corner desk...save me!), so fortunately there's cheap furniture stores like Ikea that can make this all possible for a decently inexpensive price.

I'm a living room worker. Even if I had my own "office" space, chances are, I'll end up in the living room. I have to be in the central point of the house where all the action happens. It's close to the kitchen, chances are there's a TV in there, I don't feel isolated, and I can work WHILE people commune in this friendly space. I paint in the living room, I draw, I even do my day job stuff (I work from home, and guess what, I'm always in the living room! I rarely sit at my desk. My desk is currently an unhappy, small, pointed at the wall place). Fortunately, skorzy knows this and is completely supportive of me setting up shop in the living room, but feels I should have my own "space" that meets /all/ or at least most of my needs in order to keep my mess out of the common areas as much as possible. I think that's awesome! Him being around so many of you artists with all your individual working habits has benefitted me greatly in this regard :D

So whatever workspace I make for myself will have to fit in the living room.
I have a big computer monitor (read: one you can see from space, flatscreen) and my laptop, which I'll hook my laptop up to the monitor, so no need for tower space, but I would need room enough to paint next to my computer (yes, I do this, yes, I'm careful) but I need space to lay all my crap down so it's within easy access while I work. An issue I had while working on "Frostbite" at my computer was that I didn't have enough space to lay the actual piece flat on the desk itself (i used a wooden lap desk instead) and my colored pencils kept falling off of my desk (and it wasn't like I was using a lot of colors!)

Here are some other points I would enjoy in my workspace:
-Big, deep table with enough space for me to push back my monitor, have room for my laptop to lay flat (or flip up if the monitor's not hooked up to it) and enough room to paint at my desk.
-Table is low enough that I don't have to pump my chair up to ungodly heights to reach it.
-Preferably a swing out rack for my keyboard but I might have to build that myself
-A small, stand up mirror so I can observe my own facial expressions for drawing purposes /at/ my work station (instead of running into the bathroom and coming back out like I do now)
-Either pointable at the TV OR big enough for a small tv monitor to be put on the desk itself (or a separate stand in front of it?) if it has to be put against the wall (like a 20" or less screen, my dad has one in his office because he has similar habits to me and OMG..it solves a lot of TV related issues lol)
-2 desk lamps so I can set up light studies in the far corner of the desk , also, 2 lamps = non directional lighting for working!

This, the EXPEDIT desk/bookshelf set, (Yay Ikea!) almost fits the bill of what I want in terms of style and function, but even after seeing it in person I'm not certain that the desk itself is deep enough for my purposes:

The desk itself is $50, the bookshelves are sold separately (the shelf amount shown is $159, but they have smaller shelves for as low as $70), but the desk attaches directly to them in this case

What I can probably do is hack it with another black/brown table that's deeper, but I like those shelves (and they're also the same style we're looking at for the living room entertainment center) but the issue in that case is unless I can omit the "legs" on the other side of the table and attach it directly to the shelves like the photos shows, I'm paying $159 for use of only half the shelves because the others will be blocked by the table legs. Alternate shelving instead? Put the smaller shelf next to the desk which is essentially just a big table? Any suggestions on this from you Ikea aficionados, I'd love to hear it!

ANYWAYS! Artists, people who use your desk as your ultimate command center, what does your workspace look like? Photos, suggestions, etc, I wanna hear em! I wanna do it right this time around when it comes to organizing my workspace, and I'm sure a lot of you have thought of some clever things I couldn't even fathom when it comes to saving space and making the most out of your work area.
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henriekeg From: henriekeg Date: March 18th, 2010 01:12 pm (UTC) (Link)
My workspace (aka bedroom) is definitely not a good example of how it should be, but if you're interested anyway I can take some photos. Should clean it up first though so you can actually see it :P
I definitely agree on the mirror, I still need to get one myself. Leg space is also really important! If you can get a lightbox built into your table, there's nothing more handy if you work traditionally :)
henriekeg From: henriekeg Date: March 18th, 2010 01:21 pm (UTC) (Link)
Found some photos of my desk on twitter:

I usually draw in front of my screen on top of my tablet, so I can look at reference pics. I can take some photos of my shelfs, but it's basically just four ikea shelfs full of comics and animal books. I only own two art-related books or so. In front of it is a smaller shelf where I keep my paper and drawings (by myself and from others) my art materials are pretty much scattered all over my room, but I mostly use the same materials and those are just in a mug on my desk. The rest of my room is filled with plushies, figurines, more comics, a bed and a dog XD
rileycostello From: rileycostello Date: March 18th, 2010 01:34 pm (UTC) (Link)
The only picture I have is of my desk before I changed stuff around on it (different storage options, etc), but you can see the basic idea (I have two really big monitors now on stands): http://www.failedtonotice.com/NewCornerDesk01.jpg ; http://www.failedtonotice.com/NewCornerDesk02.jpg ; http://www.failedtonotice.com/NewCornerDesk03.jpg with the real important part being the storage that I have underneath (which has also changed a little, but not much- thanks, fire flooding D:)

Your idea is a lot better in my opinion especially if you like being in the area where stuff goes on (personally, I like to work on art in a private setting, for the most part- less distractions). What you could probably do is get the bookshelves and get a different tabletop in the same finish (a lot of the tables have the same finishes)-- the desk in my picture is actually concocted of two of the same style of table top but just different lengths and held together at the seam with straight brackets.

The two tabletops and the legs are definitely from IKEA but I can't remember the name of the table. It's the cheaper set they have (for the smaller length and legs the total comes to like, $60 or something), but it works just fine for my purposes.

Maybe if you took their longer table set up and attached it to the bookcase with the same brackets (would likely fit) and then you could either add an "L" to the end (similar to my desk) in the same fashion (straight brackets underneath), or could add a longer table to it (they even have rounded ends you can add for a more presentable look if you want). That way you have lots of leg options too- I would think that the long solid end of the expedit desk would get in your way more than anything.

That having been said, the tabletop isn't TERRIBLY deep (and I doubt you'll find one at IKEA that is very deep at all), but if you had more space to put other stuff then it might work out better for you. The setup I envisioned in my office was monitors in the corner, scanner on the left, and then all that workspace on the right (I'm right handed).

What's happened to it now is I do a lot of schoolwork on my desk on the right side right now (and keep a desk calendar there for my assignments), but it still provides a lot of workspace for me.
thornwolf From: thornwolf Date: March 18th, 2010 01:46 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ooooh an L shape might work indeed! And I remember that tabletop last I went to Ikea, I'll have to look into it again (I like the dark finishes, I don't know if that one comes in it but they're bound to have something similar). I notice you have those little plastic drawers on the top of your desk, aren't those awesome? I've started putting my watercolor tubes in them. My previous method of storage? Plastic zip lock bags inside of grocery bags :P So yeah, improvement!

I like your dual monitor set up there. I think if I needed to I could probably set up my laptop to be my second monitor if I flip it open, I'd have enough space. And DEFINITELY need space for the scanner, between your's and Henrieke's set ups I realize I totally forgot that aspect in my list!
mistahbojangles From: mistahbojangles Date: March 18th, 2010 02:02 pm (UTC) (Link)

Drawing space

I can show photos of both my home and work drawing environment.


The one suggestion I would make is to make an arrangement that has some open space for placing paper and book stacks while you're drawing as you don't want to have a space too small that those items end up on the floor. Additionally I've found that it helps to have the desk in close proximity to the various tools / reference items which you might call upon so that you can stay on task without having to get up, -an important thing for me as getting up is a surefire way for me to lose focus. Having some drawers / shelves / or racks nearby are good to contain pencils, erasers, etc., and a waste basket is important to catch eraser shavings and to empty the pencil sharpener.
henriekeg From: henriekeg Date: March 18th, 2010 02:06 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Drawing space

Oh I definitely agree on the waste basket! I'm exeptionally lazy when I'm drawing, and even though my wastebin is right next to my desk, it's too small and has a lid so stuff still ends up scattered all over my desk.

Reading the comments in this post definitely makes me want to redo my whole room.
From: magpie_dragon Date: March 18th, 2010 02:58 pm (UTC) (Link)
This or something very similar, is what I have. I got it...at least two years ago now, so they don't seem to have all the cool stuff that they did when my parents gave this to me. I have a 14x14in shelf thing on a swing arm with my monitor on it, if I need too the monitor can sit where it is but not obstructing any desk space (swining it out away from the desk). I don't have a giant monitor, my 22in just clears the underside of the top shelf when I have it on the swing arm thing. You could easily get a giant monitor on the main desk itself and push it back to get maximum desk space.

The main desk space on mine (though that link looks more shallow) is longer than my arm length, which seems pretty deep but I think it would be fine in a living room setting. On the shelves I have a small tv, my dvd, vcr(yeah...) as well as a dead all-in-one printer that I hope to replace with a regular scanner. On the top I just have misc.

My tower is currently on the floor, but there use to be an attachment thing that you could have to raised off the floor but still bolted to the side leg.

The best possible thing is that the frame is metal, so I can stick things all on the sides with magnets. Lists and more lists and little doggie face magnets. I'm pretty amazed something like this came from ikea. Its not a bad place but in my family we USE(abuse) stuff, not just have it look all pretty. Ikea things don't usually make it very long.

I would take a picture for you but currently I am typing on my keyboard which is the only clear space other than a 3 inch span for my mouse. I am messy.

The link might not be the same desk exactly, but if its anything like mine I find it very functional. If I needed to I could easily work most anything I want to do from this desk. It makes a pretty cool command center for me.

I suggest going to ikea and testing out their display stuff if you can. and flopping on the beds is fun too.
From: magpie_dragon Date: March 18th, 2010 03:52 pm (UTC) (Link)
desk picture

I cleared off some stuff...and I realized I still have this open in my browser in the image. The desk won't ever be not cluttered, too many little bits and things.

it seems so small in the picture, which is probably the angle. It doesn't feel that small. I also lose lots of desk space with the bins of things. I use to have a three drawer rubbermaid thing under on the left side, but I swapped it for the little desk with folding sides.
likeshine From: likeshine Date: March 18th, 2010 03:03 pm (UTC) (Link)

this is the kind of desk i have in my orlando office:

along with a drafting table and a setup for a computer. bookshelves. posters. A+ workspace :) and that is why i miss it so much, lol.

here, i have this:

i cant wait to get back to orlando.
thornwolf From: thornwolf Date: March 18th, 2010 03:30 pm (UTC) (Link)
LOL I had the same exact workspace (plastic table) you have now when I was being a hermit in Havasu. Complete with one of those outside plastic chairs XD I feel your pain.

I think that's the same drafting table set up Keovi has, not sure,but that is really nifty.

I like having a tilted surface for drawing but for that I tend to just have my lap desk I tilt up against my computer desk. I need lots of computer space because I have total internet ADD and I can't JUST draw XD
(Deleted comment)
thornwolf From: thornwolf Date: March 18th, 2010 03:32 pm (UTC) (Link)
Eek, image not found for some reason! Relink plz? I'm curious to see!
alexf0x From: alexf0x Date: March 18th, 2010 03:26 pm (UTC) (Link)
Well this is mine.

This picture is old though! I've since got a proper chair (not that stupid stool with pillows to prevent my bum from going numb). The desk though is an IKEA desk (sorry I've forgotten the name off the top of my head), designed for artists and designers. It can be raised to an angle and set with a set of racks and pins in the two legs. The desk also features a bottom lip for holding art, and a frosted glass section that can be used as a light box (you have to get the light though!

there's enough work space for two keyboards, 1 or 2 paper, the legs can hold a small desktop tower (as you can see I got my big cooler master cosmos PC case under it), or assorted small computer or art equipment. A monitor on it full time was going to be a problem if I wanted to work on large read media works in the future (not to mention I couldn't use the tilt), So I had that mounted to the wall via a VESA panel mount.

Oh and cost table + legs (as they were separate items) £120, Monitor mount £15.
alexf0x From: alexf0x Date: March 18th, 2010 03:39 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh quickly looked it up it's the VIKA/ARTUR system.


Cost state side $160USD
fainder From: fainder Date: March 18th, 2010 03:37 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hmm, I love seeing people's workspaces as well! And setting mine up and changing it around and all that X3 That desk you posted looks goooood, with all the shelves so close by it must be comfortable to keep your supplies if you work a lot traditionally!
Personally, for some reason I love angular desks... though I could never make too good use of them, since the corner always turns out filled with crap and unreachable.
Anyway! As I was reading through your entry, I remembered of something that turned quite useful to me. I lived for around 3 years in a one-room flat where I used to have my desk set facing a wall and another smaller table behind it, so that I could place stuff on it and I could just turn round and get it. Good to keep the main desk uncluttered and still have all you need right at hand. Mostly, I kept my lightbox on there and moved it on the main desk, in front of the computer, when I needed it. Also, it was very useful when animating because it provided extra desk space to keep different piles of paper separated.
Other than that, I can't think of anything particularly clever.. My current workspace is nothing fancy at the moment, as I've been working all digital for a while so I don't have much stuff laying around
..I'll go hunt for photos now
from_memory From: from_memory Date: March 18th, 2010 04:00 pm (UTC) (Link)

Work space

This setup is still in progress. I have another desk in which I'm currently installing a lightbox, so it's MIA at the moment.

I really like the setup you're looking at. One thing you can never have too much of is shelving space. The dark finish looks good.
fainder From: fainder Date: March 18th, 2010 04:02 pm (UTC) (Link)
Only one I could find of the place I was talking about, is pretty old, I moved things around many times after it was taken X3 But shows what I meant:
I had a small shelf by the desk with books and supplies, too.

I had taken a photo of my current place right yesterday, but left my camera home today so I don't have it. The only ones are these I took when I had just set it up, so it looks a little better at the moment. Ignore the pc on the right, it's my father's. Drawing supplies are in drawers and/or packed up in boxes because, as I said, I've been working all digital in these months. Though now I may be doing some traditional work so I'm considering bringing my animation disc (sorry, no pics yet) here instead of the selfmade lightbox I have, simply because the animation table is inclined which is better for your shoulders x_x

Last, this is home. I don't really work here, I just keep some stuff in case inspiration strikes or I need to do stuff and for some reason can come to my 'studio' (I have set up my working place at my father's house, where I had a free big room, since there is no dsl available at my home... and I wanted an excuse not to live and work all the time in the same place anyway)

BTW, sorry for coming here totally out of the blue and writing paragraphs in your journal like this XD I was taking a break and I LOVE talking about workspaces and seeing people's desks
curiodraco From: curiodraco Date: March 18th, 2010 05:00 pm (UTC) (Link)
I know the feeling! I love having everything within reach at one central "command center" xD here's my set-up when it's clean... you can imagine that it doesn't look *exactly* like the photos at this point ;3


That includes my stuff and art supplies from my artsy roomie-friend. It's fun living with another artist.. and dangerous xD

My set-up before this one was monstrous xD desks on all sides with those supplemental desk-shelf things, an entire wall of shelves on one side holding almost everything you see in those photos.. I kinda miss it lol.

This set up is pretty much what you described for yourself.. it's in the living room, the TV is a glance away.. the only problem I've found with having my personal working/arting/playing space in the central part of the apartment with room-mates, is sometimes.. I just don't want to be bothered.. and it's hard to focus on relaxing in a mind-numbing video game with chatter or whatever distractions going on constantly around me. But that's not so awful really.. there's a lot of direct sunlight that gets in here, and it's not *always* busy with people all over.
I'm a sucker for nice desk set-ups, office furniture, and optimizing having everything within reach and still be functional xD I love using those plastic drawer bins to organize everything, I've found them to be infinitely useful.
autumn_sunrise From: autumn_sunrise Date: March 18th, 2010 07:14 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ahhh man, I wish I had my own workspace to give you tips, but as it were, I still live with my parents, so I'm rather confined to what space THEY give me! And that can make it very difficult to work, as I truly believe a place to create must have creative and inspiring things within it, and lots of light. ;)

However, I will say...the moment my parents crash at night, guess who sets up shop in the living room? *halo!!!* I love working in there, too. XD
thornwolf From: thornwolf Date: March 18th, 2010 07:20 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ooooh I know what you mean XD My stepdad HATED it whenever I set up shop in the livingroom. First was "WOM" the halogen lamp goes on. He hated me having that light on because it's so bright so if I didn't want really snide comments, I'd have to use the yellow/really poor lighting the shaded lamp gave me. Then if there's an ongoing project I'd have to break it down every night! Very impractical.

Right now I live on my own, I just recently had a roommate (not anymore though) who was also an artist so fortunately the "Creative Chaos" was understood to a point we both agreed to, which worked out! But I'd still like to be able to have a designated workspace that was comfortable enough that I'd actually use my big monitor instead of being just on my laptop all the time XD It's not good for my neck!
squeakstorm From: squeakstorm Date: March 19th, 2010 05:41 am (UTC) (Link)
Hi! Shy lurker here who uses livejournal mostly to watch for art updates from people whose work I enjoy...but I'm also a desk/organization nut and thought I'd chime in on this. :)

I've got this desk here...


...and it's the best desk I've ever had. I'm an animator, so I'm always going back and forth between my laptop, my lightbox, my main computer, my reference books, and my thumbnail drawings...somehow this desk manages to keep me sane. Keyboard goes on the swing-out rack of course. Then there's the biggest section of the desk, which allows me to "hide" my laptop, lightbox, and a stack of drawings underneath the shelf above it, where the monitor sits. I can easily pull any one of these items out when I need it, then slide it back under to get it out of my way when I need the main desk space to draw/for books/etc. Monitor goes on the next level above it....if you're just using one monitor, it might work as-is. I upgraded to two widescreen monitors and had to remove the two smallest top shelves on the right and left side in order to have both monitors fit. I don't really miss that space too much, I used to use one for a small printer and the other for fun stuff/books. Wheels on the bottom of the desk are optional; I didn't put them on and the height of the desk is perfect for me.

Not sure if it would meet your painting needs at all, or any of your needs for that matter. But I highly recommend a desk that has a similar "shelf" the monitor sits on and allows you to slide your other stuff underneath it easily....it's made all the difference in my organization.

Admittedly though, some of the desks mentioned above with the built-in lightboxes have me green with envy, heh. Anyway, just thought I'd share that bit of desk geekery!
thornwolf From: thornwolf Date: March 19th, 2010 12:08 pm (UTC) (Link)
OOOooooOooOooo Furniture Porn :D

That is a NICE desk, and has just about everything I need! Coupled with some bookshelves on the side something like that might work. The only thing I foresee being a problem is pointing it at the TV. If I put that against the wall and had a separate end table with a TV monitor, that might be doable, because that kind of desk looks like one that is best suited for being against the wall on the back end, but I might have to go check one of these puppies out in person. Thanks for delurking! :D
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