Where They Draw

Blog showcasing the work spaces and tools of artists

Curated by Jordan Shiveley

Submit to: jordanshiveley@gmail.com

just keep workin’

Studio is where the art is. 
I draw and paint and sew and build in my four-foot cozy “treehouse”. 

(you can see what i’m working on over at my tumblr, or at my website, www.melissasuestanley.net)

Today I’m just super excited because I finally picked up a massive piece of homasote! 

And now I’m going to go play with my staplegun and a sheet of Arches.  Whee.


Melissa Sue

Raighne and Meghan Hogan of 2d Cloud

Raighne & Meghan Hogan

Raighne and I first shared a studio in a tent in the desert (which was attacked by wild javelinas and destroyed by a microburst). Since then we’ve moved back to the snow and cold of Mpls, gotten married, started a small press publishing company with our friend Justin, and made a lot of books!

Raighne Hogan

Raighne Hogan, co-publisher of 2d Cloud. He’s standing in our old studio in the Thorp Building in NE Mpls. Lots of cartoonists work there, including Big Time Attic & Zak Sally

Raighne making Beard Growing Contest mini-comic

Raighne making his mini-comic “Beard Growing Contest” in our old Thorp Building studio. 

Raighne's Giant Drafting Table

Our current studio! Here you see Raighne’s drafting table, and on it you see his lightbox, drafting easel, various tools and growing pile of papers. Amongst those papers, you glimpse a package filled with cds storing Chris Adams’ ”Strong Eye Contact” book we’re publishing next year, and Will Dinski’s 2d Cloud prints. Whenever you can no longer see his desk, I clean it.

Raighne's computer desk

Raighne’s computer desk, on which you also see his scanner, three different hard drives, and my wacom tablet (his is out of order). This is where he conducts 2d Cloud business and finishes the art process he begins at the desk. He wears headphones but often forgets to turn on the music.

Raighne's drafting easel, various brushes, pens, et cetera

Raighne’s drafting easel his grandfather (or mom’s ex-boyfriend’s dad to be exact) built for him, various brushes, pens, et cetera. Whenever my brushes are too beat up to use or too weird I give them to Raighne. He likes to make textures on paper and these brushes are good for that.

Raighne's tools.

Raighne’s tools. He loves rapidograph pens, brush pens, and his Yasutomo Sumi Ink Stick and Grinding Stone. Underneath the ink cartridge box is a canvas cat puppet that he uses to clean his brushes on.

Meghan Hogan

Introducing Meghan Hogan, aka Startled Maggie and 2D Cloud’s Assistant to the Regional Managers. Here I am designing my flying saucer crochet toy for Schmancy’s Plush You show.

Meghan's Startled Maggie setup

This past winter, I commandeered a corner of Raighne’s studio and his drafting easel to draw the first issue of my “Startled Maggie” comic. Here you see my storyboarding sketchbook on the left and a 3 ring binder with my finished pages on the right. During the making of this comic my health was compromised by the flu, a sinus infection, an allergy attack, a head injury, broken eye glasses, and the shingles, but I still made my deadline with weeks to spare!

Meghan's Tools

My tools for my “Startled Maggie” comic. A jar of 2B pencils - my favorite from the time I was 12, various pens, a kneadable eraser, and a double barrelled pencil sharpener that makes up for its ingenuity by barely working.

Meghan's computer desk.

This is my computer desk, above which you find a table easel, a storyboard in a 3 ring binder, two OTT-LITE’s (with full spectrum lighting!), and this Moby Dick poster by Tom Neely. Under the desk you’ll find a box of canvas panels covered with palettes, a hard drive with scans of my comic pages, and a bin full of great horned owl paintings for my upcoming comic

My giant easel.

My giant easel where I do my painting.

Meghan's Tools

My tools. Golden Heavy Body Acrylics, cheap Utrecht brushes, my trusty plastic palette knife, beloved Loew Cornell Storage Cups, a waxy paper palette, cheerful picnic napkins, and a dirty Shiva Plastic Brush Basin. 

Well that’s it. My next job: to get 2d Cloud co-publisher Justin Skarhus to take Where They Draw on a tour of his studio!

Carmel Jenkins

My converted dining room to art studio
This is my studio space which I have been using for the past 8 years. It is meant to be the dining room of my 2 level townhouse but why waste a good space for just eating. The space holds a gigantic architects cabinet holding more than 1000 drawings (and weighs a ton). On this cabinet holds all my materials…brushes of various sizes, oil paint, acrylic paint, house paint, ink and hundreds of endless shapes of charcoal (my favourite medium) and the rest of the area is reserved for painting and drawing on my easel. In the times I need to do a massive piece I simply put it across the wall. Any remaining space is storage for pieces I love and couldn’t bear to part with, older works, unsold works and pieces that I have done recently. For the first 6 years I used this space I managed to completely ruin the timber floor even though I repeatedly used newspaper to protect the surface. Marks are everywhere and whenever I had inspections when I was renting I tirelessly tried to remove this evidence. Never worked. I always get embarrassed when customers or friends come over to visit as it is the entrance room. It is a organized mess 24/7.

I’m happy to say that I am the proud owner of this place now so no more inspections. I often wish for a studio space outside of my home but then again I also like the fact that I can revisit a work whenever I like.

On the topic of twitterpation!

You can follow us on twitter: @jmshiveley and @GrimalkinPress for art, comics and general all around chicanery


Submissions Note

Lately I have been getting lots of submissions that I would love to feature on this site. Unfortunately they have all been with corrupted image files or missing the images completely. So please, I want to show your studio space but take the time to make sure your image files are good and uploading correctly.

Joe Decie

This is my current, temporary drawing space. Working here means that my family have no place to sit and eat but that’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make. It’s an absolute mess. I could kid myself and say that one day I’ll have a neat and organised studio, but it’s never gonna happen. That’s not the way I work. It is clean though, strictly no food stuffs here.

The space in divided into two distinct zones “wasting time zone” and “drawing zone” Much as my computer is necessary for my art, I kind of wish it wasn’t in the same room I draw it, because it’s oh so distracting. Although the room looks a state, that’s mostly piles of notes. My brushes, ink and nib pens are always easy to find. But I do seem to lose pencils.
My drawing tools are as follows: G-Nib pen, Winsor & Newton Indian ink, Rosemary and Co Kolinsky Sable brushes, Arches HP paper, Epson scanners, Tombow eraser, 2H pencil, Apple computer, Wacom intous3, DIY lightbox, Canon G11 camera, notebooks, cheap copier paper, kitchen paper, scrap of old t-shirt.

Mike Shea

I’ve been in this space for almost a year now and it’s the best place in the world. When we moved into this apartment I was all like “no way this room stays PURPLE” but now I’m way into it so whatever. I just got rid of my old drafting table in favor of this desk and a drawing board that I can lean against the front of it.

I mostly work on bristol board with Faber Castel Pitt pens, Microns, Hunts Crowquill 702, and a couple Winsor Newton Series 7 brushes. I’m also into watercolor and gouache and I do a lot of digital stuff. But good ol’ pen & ink is where it’s AT.

main pic


Computer station stuff. There’s a Wacom tablet stuffed in this desk too, that thing is the jam.

computer stuff

Drawers full of pens/pencils/brushes/inks/gouaches/trash

brush drawers

Storage for drawing portfolios and books and stuff.



comic shelf

old sketchbooks: 1 part interesting + 2 parts embarrassing = still totally valuable practice and experience


moar comixxxxx I think I drew those logos when I was like 9

moar comics

toys are important. Also make sure your friends bring you scorpion booze from far off lands

scorpion booze

Thanks for visiting! Check out my main Tumblr here if you want:

Mike Shea Tumblr

Peace, dudes!

Robyn Rognstad

For the first time, I have a room all to myself to call my studio.  It is in my apartment across from my bedroom.  I say “all to myself” as no other artists are working in this room, but I do share the room with two little distractions muses.  Please excuse the small bits of hay everywhere!

I tried to clean up a little for these photos, but according to the rabbit code, sight of a broom requires immediate tossing of timothy toward the nearest floor.  Recently my work has been dominated by quilting, therefore my studio is predominately the “sewing station.”

This table setup is popular within my immediate family:  Two file cabinets topped with a 30” x 80” hollow interior door— instant desk.  Organization is not one of my strong points, though I think the lack of storage solutions is part of the problem.   I also can’t determine a good spot for my iron, so this is where I iron …

The arrangement is such that the iron cannot be plugged in without closing the door and the cord passing in front of the closed door.  This is probably some sort of safety hazard, but so far I’m just pretending it’s my little way of living life on the edge.

And finally, the drawing area.  The drafting table belonged to my father when he was in college, and it’s pretty awesome.  The bench doesn’t technically go with it, but to me they almost look like a matching set.  At first I wasn’t sure I would like the bench to sit on while drawing, but it’s actually nicer than the pink folding chair at the sewing machine.  I have a lot of pens, which is why I am not allowed in an office supply store for the next decade or so.

J.T. Dockery

When a married homeowner finds himself in dutch with the wife, and agrees to couch-surf to provide that all-hallowed “space” that partners in relationships ask for, it can be a sad thing to be a roving cartoonist, adrift from the studio at home, hoofing it in the cold Lexington, Kentucky winter.  I don’t have any pictures of the original studio in my home, oddly.  But we start with the first actual table, in my now hobo lifestyle, that was, at least, semi-permanent, in which I was apartment and dog sitting for a friend who graciously provided for me a table to use for the two weeks I was there.  I am using my preferred bristol 2 ply plate finish Strathmore 500 series.  Somehow stars and gravity were aligned so that I could balance my trusty Koh-I-Noor .35 rapidograph upright on the surface of the table (not sure I’ve ever managed that before or since).  I’m working on “The Organ-Grinder,” “Wakefulness,” and “Creekwater” here.  That is an Elmer Batters book propped open for photo reference.

Fast forward perhaps a month or two, and the only actual visitor I had in the apartment that housed the previous table, was a woman who was kind enough to allow me to have a table in her space (this may be giving away that things didn’t work out with the aforementioned wife).  The rapidograph and Strathmore bristol make an appearance again, along with my ubiquitous Moleskine sketchbook.  I can see that I am working on an illustration project that was in the end scrapped, a page of “Creekwater,” and I have an issue of “Master of Kung-Fu” of which I was copying the cover.
What was more common than having a set space to use for a few days or for a few weeks was for me to stumble into my local coffee shop and use a table there, before or after or on days off from work (I became a serious regular).  I once cultivated disdain for people drawing in public, like coffee shops, always remarking in my mind, “Why don’t these exhibitionists work in a studio like a real artist?” But like Richard Gere in “An Officer and a Gentleman,” I had no place else to go.  Photographer/artist Louis Bickett caught me in the act.  Chase Martin even filed a report on me from this period:http://www.institute193.org/blog/?p=550
Past the hobo winter, we now arrive at the following summer.  This table was in a camper that I shared for a few weeks with my dear mother, who had a teaching gig at a summer program (the camper was in Berea, KY in close proximity to said gig).  I would use the table in the kitchen of the camper during the day while she was teaching.  We have a reveal of the wite-out I always keep close at hand in addition to my motley crew of nibs that include a Hunt 102, several Gillott, and Tachikawa.  That’s Speedball brand india ink.  One can see here that I’m working on my contributions to Tom Neely’s “Bound & Gagged” anthology (along with a B. Kliban collection I was using for reference for one of my gags), as well as my collaboration with writer, Nick Tosches, “Spud Crazy.”  In the previous three images, I was holding down a job.  By the summer of this photo, I had, on top of everything else, lost my job due to an arthritic condition and had to, for the first time since I was eighteen, live with my parents in rural, eastern Kentucky.  Happy days.
Broken marriage, broken home, and broken nibs, this reporter decided after all the trials and tribulations in his home state to, once securing disabled status, split from the whole program and move to White River Junction, VT.  First permanent place of my own in about two years, reunited with my actual drawing table, which I keep flat instead of at an angle.  Here I am working on “THISEATSITSELF,” a story from the forthcoming, “J.T. Dockery’s Despair, Vol. 1.”
Speaking of, I’m also reunited with some of my oversize and otherwise books.  I like to keep plenty of tomes at hand for reference, such as dictionaries of symbols, and the always useful, for me, “Big Book of Legs.”
From the arrowhead I found when I was a kid in Kentucky dirt to the Oxford edition of the King James Bible my uncle gave me on the flat drawing, to the various things I like to hang on the walls, back to the window, I’m an advocate of keeping the mojo proper around me.  Hanging on the wall: Gary Panter original art, old Strand theatre advertisement for “Nightmare Alley,” advertisement for Mitchum in “Where Danger Lives” from a vintage magazine, 78rpm Vogue picture discs, personally inscribed photo of Wanda Jackson, first edition of the paperback original of Jim Thompson’s “Nothing Man,” and a couple Belgian versions of American film noirs.
Another angle on the drawing table.  That’s an image from an old “Adam” magazine girly calendar behind me.
More mojo:  8 by 10 of Lenny Bruce on the phone, a personal letter from Hasil Adkins, another vintage calendar girl, paperbacks including Paul Webb’s “Mountain Boys,” Cornell Woolrich, Fredric Brown, William Linday Gresham’s biography of Houdini, a sci-fi magazine with a Philip K. Dick story, as well as a Bernie Wrightson “Swamp Thing,” and a Jack Kirby “2001” hanging on the wall, etc.
Here we find the reporter in the present tense, on an extended stay in KY to take care of  some business on the homefront, again with a temporary studio but without woe or despair.  That’s an Isabey Kolinsky brush, size 3, as I’ve been more recently attempting to train myself to ink with a brush, a bottle of Winsor & Newton india ink which I am partial to more than Speedball, and I’m working on pages for Mark Rudolph’s anthology of Mercyful Fate songs turned into comics.  It is not really “Hell,” as I look out the window and see horses beyond my table.
All’s well that ends well, folks.  Currently working from Kentucky, I will return to my drawing table in my apartment in Vermont.  The next step will be to own my home again, sans wife, with built in bookshelves!  Stay tuned to this channel for further developments.