What’s on your drawing desk?

An orderly workplace is crucial for creativity.

For an illustrator, that means a well organized desk, plus good storage to protect your projects. On the road to going pro, getting your desk set up is step one!

Desk setup, version 5.0

I’ve set up this desk at least five unique locations. Each time, I tried new things, made adjustments, and by now I’ve got it right where I want it.

Remember: order equals creativity. It may sound counter intuitive. Most people picture artists as free associating, disorganized people. And that’s sometimes very true. As I’ve advanced in my career and approached my work from a more professional place, I’ve gotten less chaotic and more orderly.

On the spectrum from order to chaos, I’d say I’m about 60/40. Progress!

Okay, so it doesn’t look that neat…

To create, you have to know where your tools are. That might be pencils, paintbrushes, paper, or digital files. When your desk is perfect, you don’t waste any time looking for stuff. Everything has its place. Proper storage for me means visible. I have mostly clear plastic boxes that let me organize everything so I can see it. Each box is a different type of project. Paints, comics, robotics, gardening, yadda yadda yadda.

A luthier’s shop may seem disorganized, but if you just look a little closer, everyhing just might be alphabetized. Or maybe the luthier was just messing with you! We’ll never know.

When I had the desk set up in my tent, I did away with any objects of ‘sentimental value’. They’re just not necessary. That eight square feet of desk space is my most important property, I don’t want to cover it with anything I can’t use.

Left is a parlor palm/satin pothos, center is an unknown succulent, and the right is a pink flamingo lily

Last year I was super into plants. I can’t give that up just yet. This time, I’m including plants on my desk. This gives me extra light, and puts the plants in a location where I can check on them regularly. I’m just trying not to go too crazy and end up with a desk that looks like Jumangi.

Speaking of Jumangi, we’ve got wild animals down there!

How organized is your drawing desk? What ratio of chaos to order do you have? I’d love to hear from people and see how you’ve adapted your desk to be your own.

That’s all for today. I just wanted to share my new setup. I haven’t done a ton of work yet, but I’m getting everything all set up for productivity. So stay tuned, there’s more to come.

Thanks for reading.

-Sam, SCLeccentric furniture organization division