It doesn't look like much, I know. Mismatched furniture, bare walls, empty-looking shelves. But this is where I go to make art, and I love it.
I moved my art materials into it a year ago and started drawing straight away. I couldn't wait to start. Decorating the place didn't feel important to me; the studio would develop naturally through the work that was being done in it.
I moved my pencils and inks within easy reach of the table. Later, I did the same with a shelving unit that was being thrown out of the storeroom next door. It came in handy for storing paper and projects that I'm currently working on.
Three large boards abandoned by the previous occupants proved useful: I turned the whiteboard into a project tracker and weekly timetable; the pin board into a social media plan (just saying it makes me want to kick myself in the head); and I transformed a huge wooden board into a doodleicious mural, which brightened up the place (see below).
Conversely, the layout of the studio has changed the way I work. Initially I worked mostly from photos on my laptop at the table beneath the window, but now I spend most of my time at the easel drawing from printed photos. It's better for my eyes and posture, and I like to be on my feet so I can stand back from my work, walk around, dance when it's going well, or walk out when it's not (as far as the kettle).
A surprise addition to the space was my craft fair stall. I erected a pasting table and prepared the layout in advance of Christmas fairs. I thought it looked nice; like a little shop display. So I kept it as a permanent feature.
Today I moved a new desk into my studio. When I say new, I mean second-hand. My friend Ivor donated it. I'm very grateful. It means I have more desk space to deal with the admin side of the business. And it frees up one square table to join another beneath the window. The battle for space between inks and papers and brushes and pots of water is over!
My studio will never be finished. I'll add things and I'll remove things. I'll decorate the walls. I'll probably ruin the carpet. But whatever happens to it, the most important thing is that I make art in it, and experiment with art materials, and develop my skills, and make art outside of it too. Because it's a base. HQ. Not where my adventures end, but where my adventures start.
Richard Pettitt, cartoonist.