Building the Makeshift Studio Space

In these parts, we’re now in what would probably be considered the dead of winter. While we haven’t experienced the lowest of lows thus far, it’s still cold, and so is our house. Amanda and I are total cheapskates, so we keep our thermostat set at around 63 throughout the winter and make due by sitting next to space heaters and wearing sweaters and hoodies. And, since heat rises, our upstairs stays quite a bit warmer than our main floor, so we move most of our activities up there—game consoles, DVD player, computers, and so on. If there was a kitchen and bathroom up there, we’d never have to leave.

But what about a drawing space? My drawing table is on the main floor, and it’s not really convenient to bring it upstairs. It takes up a lot of space and has to be maneuvered up a narrow staircase and some tricky corners. We’ve had it upstairs in the past, but it doesn’t work out well. So, when I found myself needing to draw yesterday, how did I get it done?

First, I tried this setup:

Makeshift Studio Space - 1st Attempt

Ah, the floor. I can get a lot of work done here, and I did. For about two hours. Then, two problems presented themselves:

1) There are a lot of really distracting electronic devices here. There’s a Wii U and an Xbox 360 within arm’s reach. Long-term, I know this setup isn’t going to work. I’m not made of stone—I’m willing to abandon a fulfilling and engrossing personal project if it means getting to play some Fallout 3 or Super Mario Maker.

B) With only some beanbags for support, my back and shoulders started to hurt from being all hunched over for an extended period of time.

But, work’s gotta get done. So what to do now?

I remembered something I had mentioned to Amanda earlier this winter. Our upstairs has a squat little closet, pictured below, where we store our boardgames and puzzles and such.

Closet/Cat Perch

It’s also a popular nesting location for the cats, as demonstrated here by Bones, and Dax looks like he might be thinking about it, too.

Now, take a closer look. It’s just a closet to the casual observer, but it has a solid, reachable top. This thing could almost be a standing desk, and I had suggested maybe using it as such to Amanda. I decided now was the perfect time to give it a shot, so I shifted my operation to the closet, and this is how it turned out:

Makeshift Studio Space - 2nd Attempt

Not bad, huh? I’ve got space to work, added a light source, I can be all healthy and stuff by standing, and I can even watch wrestling and consult art references while I draw. The only downsides are that I have to make sure I don’t bump my head on the low ceiling, and that this cannot be a permanent space—the stairs are just on the other side of the closet, so leaving anything here unattended risks having it knocked to the floor below by one of these thug cats. At least this will force me to keep the space tidy, if nothing else.

I think I can work under these conditions for the next three months.