One of my favorite things about reading about other illustrators is finding out what their work space looks like. When the book Artist to Artist: 23 Major Illustrators Talk About Their Work, published by the Eric Carle Museum, came out I think I was one of the first people to purchase a copy. I was so excited to see what the work space of some of the illustrators I have always admired such as Robert Sabuda, Quentin Blake, and Leo Lionni, looked like. (If you don’t own this book, I highly suggest you pick up a copy today!)
I have been thinking a lot about my studio space lately, mainly because I am about to start a new book, and every time I begin a new project I go into ‘Scary Type-A Dinosaur Mode.’ I want everything to have its perfect place, with a label of course, and maintain a neat and tidy appearance. I have determined that the only reason that I go into this mode is because of my medium, cut paper and mixed media. For someone who is as much of an organizational freak as I am, you would think I would pick something like colored pencils or pen and ink: minimal clean-up and an overall tidy work space. But no, when I start a book, I begin to hoard paper. A lot of paper. So much paper that by the time the book is finished it looks like a paper bomb went off. There are scraps everywhere! In fact, I distinctly remember going to dinner one night while I was in the midst of finishing A Garden for Pig, and a friend of mine removed a scrap of paper from my hair, which is curly, but still paper should not be nesting inside of it! Needless to say, my studio space is filled with lots of paper in all shapes and sizes.
When I moved in May, to the house I currently live in, I acquired very small studio space upstairs. In fact if you are over 5’7″ you will not fit in it. This can behelpful when I need to get work done and therefore physically excludes people from being a distraction. I like to think of it as my Alice in Wonderland studio. Every time I go in it I think of the scene when Alice grows so rapidly her arms and legs go flying out the window as she can no longer fit inside the house. So I thought I would include some photos of my very tiny, Carroll-esque studio space.
This is the very small entry way to my studio 🙂 Notice the hobbit size requirement in order to get in.
My ever growing collection of children’s picture books, all of which I love dearly.
My color-coded paper bins (the result of ‘Scary Type-A Dinosaur Mode’). In a perfect world my studio would include those amazing print drawers that they have in printmaking studios. Some day…
And of course, a place for Pelly.
A studio motto.
Although my studio is very small, and I hope to have a larger space in the future, I love how cozy it is. And most importantly, I have been extremely productive in it since I moved, so here’s to small spaces and being creative.