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HOME v. AWAY: where to work?

HyenaHell at 12:00AM, May 5, 2017
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Typically I work on my comics and illustration at home in my studio. I know I'll have everything I need on hand, for one. Also I hate and mistrust almost everyone and everything, as working in the service industry for the majority of my adult life has left me with a kind of ongoing emotional trauma akin to that suffered by folks living in war zones and such. Well that's a slightly hyperbolic comparison, but ya get my drift.

I ain't always had a home studio, though, and I got a sneaking suspicion that most folks don't. But whether you're working with traditional media or totally digitally, your ass has gotta sit down somewhere. So where will it be? Now, for me, having a separate area where I work, that I can keep orderly and clear of non-drawing-related clutter and crap has always been the ideal. That way when you sit down, you've got your work in front of you, you know your purpose, and you can just focus on it. Yeah. Ideal… but, er, it's rarely been the reality, though.

For most of my life I've had to carve whatever space I could out of shared living quarters and mixed-use rooms. Sometimes that meant tryna meet a deadline or complete a project under some pretty unreasonable conditions. Also small living quarters tend to get cramped, so pretty soon your non-art life Kinda bleeds into your art area. If ya only got one table, it's a work space, eating space, depository for library books, and a place to set the glasses of water you'll knock over and break when ya trip over the books you moved onto the floor so you could work or eat. And then there's distractions: the tv, the internet, pets, partners, family members, your fridge, your drugs, your bed, the neighbors upstairs having their regularly scheduled square dancing orgy, etc.

So when working at home was unreasonable- either because I was a chaotic slob with discipline or organizational skills, or because I was surrounded by the same, or all them other reasons and more, too- I would go to coffee shops or other public places to work on stuff. Now, rolling up into someplace where ya ain't got to clean up after yourself (or before yourself either, for that matter) and just plopping down to work seems great, but it's got its perils too. For one, ya usually gotta pay for the privilege. And baristas and waitstaff aren't always pleased to see you walking in with your seventeen bags of art supplies, intent on taking up that four top for the next twelve hours on a $2 cup of bottomless coffee, ya know? That's if you can find a good spot with decent light, away from distractions. Because it ain't like the only distractions are those in your own home, dig? See, the bad thing about public places is the public. As in, all the people that aren't you, and all the annoying ticks, habits, and forms of psychological warfare that they manifest. Sure, ya got your screaming babies, your irritating voices, foot tappers, throat clearers, nose blowers (or worse- the perpetually sniffers!). I've also had a barista helpfully refill my drink without asking and slosh coffee onto a commissioned piece of art that was already a week late. Oops. That was bad. But there's also the dread personal space invader.

You know what I'm talking about, right? There you are, minding your own business. Maybe you've got headphones in. You're into your work, right? Like, totally in the zone. Then you feel it. The too-close presence of another person. Or the sudden jarring voice of a stranger: “Ooooh, did you draw that?” Fuck. It's happening. “Are you an artist?” See, by drawing where literally anyone else can see you, you necessarily consent to be an interesting, exotic spectacle open to any and all attention and questions from strangers. I used to think this particular hazard was punishment for a subcategory of the general offense of bein' a woman in public. (If you've never dared to be a woman in public before, you might not realize that by doing so, you are constantly running the risk of being hassled or having your activities impeded in degrees varying from slightly annoying to severely life-threatening.) However, my male friends tend to suffer the same fate when working on their art in public places, so I reckon it's one rare instance of equal opportunity harassment.

There's also the hassle of packing up all your junk, always forgetting the one thing you need, of course, hauling your ass to the nearest suitable drawing location, which may or may not be all that near or have hours that accommodate your schedule. But if your house has turned into an impromptu drum circle, or you have no heat and it's like, freezing, or every inch of surface area in your house is piled ten feet high with half-packed boxes and piles of the possessions of your ex that was supposed to have vacated the premises like six months ago… uh, yeah. Sometimes it's totally worth it to get like, you know, a change of scenery.

Anyhow, what about y'all? Where do ya work? Where do you prefer to work? What are some tips or tricks you have for creating or managing a work area? What are some problems you have? Let's rap!

comment

anonymous?

thunderdavid at 9:16PM, May 21, 2017

At home, we have a spare room. So I have two desk set up, one for traditional art, the other my PC/ tablet. In the same room is a small book shelf with radio and books.

plymayer at 9:09PM, May 5, 2017

Would love to be the fly on the wall.

bravo1102 at 5:42PM, May 5, 2017

I need two work areas. One to do the set-up and building and another to do the computer composition. The computer stuff is best done at work. Good works habits point to having one place where you are habitually comfortable. A zone where the moment you sit down it is all about work. Having done meditation I have developed an ability to do that anywhere. But it still helps to have one space to create in.

Banes at 9:34AM, May 5, 2017

Your writing is damn compelling! Many of your newsposts, including this one, would actually make good comics. I draw at home, and occasionally at work, but your mention of having a place specifically for drawing/writing/comic-making seems like a good idea, to minimize those Internet-type distractions.

Zaptoid56 at 8:15AM, May 5, 2017

I find the use of DMT makes where you are...where you ain't..and vice versa...but that's just me.

KAM at 6:31AM, May 5, 2017

For the most part I draw on my desk in front of my computer, or even on the computer sometimes. For a few years Toshubi and I would draw at local libraries, for the most part people ignored us. Although being the better artist, Toshubi would usually get the art questions.

KimLuster at 6:30AM, May 5, 2017

These days, I do everything at home, in the same spot!! :D I'm mostly traditional, but I had a large supply bag that could hold nearly everything I needed to at least do initial drawing and inking (I add water color after ink drawing...), but it was cumbersome and I got to where I just didn't feel like lugging it around! If I could cheaply rent a permanent corner in a local coffee shop, that'd be something... !!

ozoneocean at 6:18AM, May 5, 2017

When I was drawing in notebooks I'd set up at cafes, or just ride on my bike to the beach or some nice shady spot by he river and draw. Sitting on the train I'd get great pictures done! These days I don't have a bike anymore and I'm way too scatterbrained to work with that sort of focus anyway. I still draw when I'm out and about, but mainly just some comic page work on my tablet when I'm on the train and not looking at facebook... or when I'm waiting to meet someone in a bar. YES, I used to get harrassed, but now with my tablet they don't know I'm drawing and I can easily turn off the screen when they get close. My FAVE spot to draw right now is the couch- I line up a few good animes on the computer and watch them on the big screen as I draw.

plymayer at 1:23AM, May 5, 2017

My room at home has a place to work and an art desk. Do most of my comix are done at work though. Two day process. One day I draw them. Then they get scanned at home and worked on digitally the next day at work. I work nights and although it is a real job with real work, there are down times where I'm just waiting for something to happen.


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