My Studio Space

It was time to update my 80″ x 90″ home office/studio.  I’ve looked at the peeling paint since we moved into the house eight years ago, so I’ve had plenty of time to plan on making the most of this space.  Here are my favorite features…

Giant Dinosaur
I originally made this 7 1/2-foot-tall plywood dinosaur for my son’s “big boy room.”  It is based on one of Mark Teague’s illustrations for Jane Yolen’s “How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight” — one of my son’s favorite books at the time.  My son has outgrown the giant dinosaur.  I have not.  It now looks over my shoulder when I sit at my drawing table.

(Here it is in its original location.)

Old House Charm
We have the blueprints for our house (1925).  My office/studio is above the front entry, and was originally a “sewing room.”  It has leaded glass windows (charming, but drafty).  It also has a niche in the wall where a fold-out ironing board used to be.  Previous owners converted it to a set of tchotchke shelves, and I left it in place when I updated the room.

Growth Chart
The door jamb in my office is the official spot for marking the kids’ height (I skipped this part when painting the room).

Shelf Space
I built wall-to-wall shelves above my drawing table.  They are made of birch plywood with a cherry face-frame.  The (short) bottom shelf puts supplies in easy reach, and the other shelves provide plenty of space for my vintage toys and other awesome shtuff.



(Two friends from my childhood, plus a pancreas.  Awesome!)

Magnetic Walls
I used magnetic primer so I can easily hang sketches and reference materials in view while I am drawing.  No more bits of masking tape stuck to the wall!

I wanted to have some sort of bold visual element above the desk to offset the giant dinosaur on the opposite wall.  I picked one of my favorite illustrations, scanned and enlarged it on the computer, then printed it on 11 x 17 sheets at FedEx Office.  I spray-glued it to the wall to provide a background for the shelving.

Office Mural


There are many other things that make my office a great little space: a comfy surplus library chair, Ikea storage for larger papers, LED lighting above my drawing table, and storage for illustration boards behind the door.  A friend called it “Mike’s Happy Place.”  An apt description!