We talk a lot here on BrushThralls on what to paint and how to paint. We’ve even touched on the whys (The who should be obvious) but in wandering back through our catalogue of articles, I’m not sure we ever discussed where.
Where should you paint? How should you set yourself up to achieve the maximum effectiveness out of the space you’ve put aside for your hobby? Ultimately there is no clear and concise answer because we’re all different people with varying needs. But I thought that today I’d share with you my space (my painting space, not the creepy website) to hopefully give you guys some ideas on how you could arrange your own space to increase your productivity.
I realize not many people can dedicate as much space as I have to painting, but I do use a lot of tricks to attempt to stay organized. I say attempt, because this is the cleanest you will ever see my work area. My wife is half convinced I decided to write this article as an excuse to clean my desk. She may not be 100% wrong.
So this is my work area. As you can see it’s good and jam packed with stuff and most of it within easy reach. I use a cheap computer desk with the monitor stand positioned off to the side. I like that I have lots of cubbies to hold various cra… I mean materials. I’ve developed a few tricks that make my life easier. Let’s zoom in a bit and see what I’ve got going on.
The very first thing I have is my safety glasses suspended from my lamp. I have 2 pairs just in case I misplace on in a wave of metal carnage. The lamp itself is a swing arm halogen architect lamp. I like this kind because it’s bright, and can easily move to any position I may be working at on my desk. Whether you like a fluorescent or other incandescent type of bulb for your painting needs, consider finding one with the swing arm. Flexibility in your paint space is a must. This can allow you to better utilize your space, and help alleviate various aches and pains by allowing you to maneuver to another position.
Tucked away behind the hustle and bustle of my normal work area is where I keep all my reference material. It’s not uncommon for me to need to refer to an existing model if I’m working on a new paint scheme or a conversion. I find having solid static examples to refer to gives me the ability to explore a bit more. So I have the privateer catalogs and a few No Quarter magazines where they won’t get damaged.
I the first of the cubbies on my desk I have various tools that I want out of the way on a general basis. Drill bits, X-acto knives, pens, etc. They are all within reach but not where I’m liable to cut or stick myself. The next compartment over is where I keep my various glues and my entire stock of pinning rod. I have two short PVC pipes where I can easily access various gauges of rod at once. (I’m not nearly as good at putting it back) The upper one contains brass and the lower styrene. Styrene rod is only good for non-structural aesthetic uses, so don’t go pinning with that. Also in handy reach is my Ziploc tub of basing materials. This is the filler I use for all my bases once I’ve completed any of the more complex basing I might do. I like the tub because I can pretty much dunk a figure in swish it around and get basing materials in all the nooks and crannies of the base.
Under my lamp is where I hide my Dremel it’s always easy to access and by hanging I run less risk of damaging any bits I may leave in the collet. I also keep my supplies of rarely used craft paints and casting agents for when I’m working on terrain.
Next to my desk on the left I have a wheelie cart. It was a twenty dollar plastic cart that I picked up at target. On the top of the cart is all the tools I’ll used on a consistent basis; Hemostats, greenstuff, files, sculpting tools, and my “block o’ doom” contraption for various Dremel bits.
The top two drawers are perfect for keeping paint handy and out of my way at the same time. I keep like paints together. The top drawer contains my Vallejos, which are separated by color families for easier retrieval of a given color. The drawer was just tall enough to allow me to store them standing up. Below that is my P3’s and the final two contain… junk. Everybody needs junk drawers.
Now the best part of the cart being on wheels is so I can move it! My miniature display cabinet was built in such a way to hide two shelves worth of stuff. In this case the bulk supply of my basing materials, my primers, spray sealers and what ever other various bits I’ve collected. I like to keep my working supplied of materials in small easy to move containers. So I store the bulk parts out of sight until needed.
This small chest of drawers is what sees constant and active use as I work on any given project. The most important drawer is my tools. I’m reaching for this one more than any other so I’ve made sure to keep it in a position where it’s always clear to be opened. This has all my pliers, angle cutter, wire benders and saws.
The next one contains all my airbrush gear and the final one here all my basing materials. I mentioned that I like to keep small bits on hand. My wife uses a makeup that comes in handy little containers. When she’s done with them I use them to store all my leaf litter and pre-mixed static grass. If you don’t have access to something like that on a regular basis, check out beading supply stores. I’ve seen similar clear containers for cheap.
The real trick to a good work space is dialing it into your needs. If you’re constantly fighting with your space and adjusting how you work to get anything done, then you might want to reconsider a dedicated space built just for you. A little investment of time and money in your environment can reap great rewards in your painting progress!