Sunday, February 13, 2011


Tim’s first studio

I’ve created my artwork in a variety of spaces during my career.  As an employee at Hallmark, I worked in a small cubicle next to many other artists in small cubicles.  As a freelance artist, I’ve worked in: a kitchen, bedroom, garage, basement, laundry room and for the past eleven years, in a space actually designed to be a studio.

Hallmark artist cubicle

I’m not sure that it matters where I work.  I’ve painted some of my best images in small, tight quarters.  Maybe it’s different for each artist and depends on the type of art that’s created.
I think that it’s important to have a space set aside for creating your art, where you can feel comfortable, focus and be inspired.  It’s nice to work in a space that minimizes distractions but over the years, I’ve found that it’s sometimes unavoidable.  Good lighting is also very important and allows you to see color more accurately.  Years ago, a drawing table and cup of coffee were the only things I needed but through the years, that has evolved into a need for storage space, a work table for cutting, sculpting, assembling, etc., along with a computer and files (for the business side of things) and book shelves for my books.  A drying rack comes in handy when working on many illustrations at once (children’s book projects) and an area for projecting images (sketches) with an overhead projector.  A cup of coffee is still on the list.

The kitchen studio worked when I was single.  I ate at restaurants most of the time so the kitchen was available.  It was easy to grab a snack and I could clean my brushes in the nearby sink.  After I married, the kitchen wasn’t such a good idea.  Then, an extra bedroom was a much better place to work.

Soon after college and marriage, my wife and I moved from Ohio to Kansas City and I worked at Hallmark.  I also maintained a studio in our house, where the artwork for my first two books; The Toy Circus by Jan Wahl and Pajamas by Livingston and Maggie Taylor, were created in an unfinished basement room.

 Basement studio

After years of working in all kinds of spaces, I’ve landed in a nice, big studio with good lighting, storage and a coffee maker, of course.  It’s everything I could imagine as the ultimate workspace and it’s been great.

 Current studio

I appreciate having such a nice place to work but the next studio will likely be smaller and that’s fine with me.  As long as I’m comfortable, inspired and can focus on my work.  There are pros and cons to each studio and the challenge is to adjust and be creative in whatever space we have.

Well, back to the drawing board.