Make Comics Forever!!

Make Comics Forever is a forum for cartoonists dedicated to improving their productivity. This is not a forum for wimps! This is not a forum for flakes! We are here to share tips and techniques on how to produce more work and better work. Become a comic-making machine! Join the discussion now! To become a member, email a request to robyn @

Sunday, October 23, 2005


A veritable treasure for most of us. I used to dream (still do) of one day having my own studio workspace that was grand and spacious, able to house easels, desks, drawing tables, computers, etc. Let's face it, a decent space to work in is a luxury for many of us, especially if living in a large expensive urban environment like New York City. After getting married and getting ready for a baby, it became even more difficult for me to make a workspace that was functional, and yet provided a relaxed and inviting environment to work in. Even if all you have is a small corner of a small apartment, its possible to make a workspace that invites you to sit down and be productive. This little setup, although small has provided me with one of the best and most utilized workspaces I've had in a long while. Everything I essentially need is close at hand. Its a meager example compared to many others I have seen, but it works for me. I'm curious about your own workspaces. What sort of environment do you strive to create that promotes productivity?


At 6:31 PM, Blogger Drew said...

cooolio. here's where i worketh. the dvd player is for music listening purposes only. i would never dream of watching anything while working.

you can also just click ma name and it's under my profile.

At 10:34 AM, Blogger CamChes said...

Nice. Thanks Drew. For some reason I find it very interesting to look at peoples workspaces, even though it is often just the same mix of drafting table, chair, and tabouret. Over the summer my wife and I travelled up to Stockbridge to view the New Yorker show at the Norman Rockwell Museum. His barn-sized studio on site thrilled me. Decorated with trinkets and collectibles from many of his world travels. Because of copyright concerns, they wouldn't let people take photographs..too bad. Beautiful spot though.

At 1:24 PM, Anonymous Matt Nolan said...

When it comes to work space, the most important thing for me, is natural light. For an entire year I sat in a small little room, with no natural light, and I would have to say that was the most un-productive Ive ever been. This year my rooms even smaller, but I have huge french windows, everyday I wake and feel able. I mean tools, pads, and electric lights can all be organised and placed in places, but in a dark little corner all its going to do is spice up an allready gloomy workspace.

Its all about the light.

Love the blog.

At 1:54 PM, Blogger Cedric said...

Thanks for sharing. If anyone is interested, here's a few studio setups by the folks at (a terrific forum, by the way):

At 5:40 PM, Blogger Mikhaela said...

I have a pretty good setup in the corner of my bedroom--large drawing table next to a bookshelf full of supplies. The drafting table can't face the window because the computer desk is in front of the window, but it gets natural light sideways.

But somehow the drawing table always seems to attract all my dirty clothes, and I end up sitting on my bed or couch with a lap desk to actually draw a lot of my cartoons. It almost feels like I'm napping, even though I'm working.

At 6:05 PM, Blogger dfgdfgasg said...

I appreciate what you guys are doing. Has anybody considered starting a message board strictly for cartoonists trying their damndest to cartoon?

At 3:45 AM, Blogger Chuck Forsman said...

I wish I had an e-mail address for the contributors cause this is off topic but I would love to see a post about comic schooling. What are your experiences with it? Where did you go (SVA,SCAD,KUBERT, etc.)? Is it worth it? Did it help you get other non-comics work to survive?
The reason I because I am considering accruing a huge amount of debt and going to the cartooning program at SVA (assuming i get in) and would like to know thoughts of cartoonists that have gone to such a school.
Feel free to ignore this if you feel it strays too far off topic, but i thought i'd give it a shot as I am having trouble finding much info on this topic from working artists.

Oh, and my work space is a mess. I currently use it mostly for my college art assignments when i am pulling all-nighters as i am doing right now. Eraser boogers are everywhere.

Well, back to work.

And thanks for making my new favorite blog.

At 8:48 AM, Blogger CamChes said...

Chuck, before you make any kind of decision about cartooning programs, make sure yiou fully investigate the Center for Cartoon Studies located in White River Junction, Vermont. If you click the link to the right on the Blog page that says "Go CCS We're the Best", it will take you to the main site for CCS. It is a brand new school, entirely dedicated to the serious study of cartooning. If I were going to spend money on a cartooning program today, that is where I would spend it. Hands down.

At 9:09 AM, Blogger dfgdfgasg said...

-Except CCS is unaccredited and ou can't get state or federal loans because of it.

At 9:23 AM, Blogger CamChes said...

Luke is right, you're basically screwed in terms of financial assistance (for now at least), but I think in terms of content, faculty, and strength of direction, this school is unique and very strong.

At 11:47 AM, Blogger Chuck Forsman said...

Yes, in a perfect world where i have a rich uncle, CCS would be my only choice. It looks like such a perfect place and I would love nothing more then to go there. But of course I'm poor and I think a degree would help me get more jobs to get by. Maybe by the time I am ready to transfer from my current school, they will have gotten accredited and I can can apply there.

Thanks for the replies.

At 2:30 PM, Blogger David H. said...

Great site!!!

At 1:54 PM, Blogger dfgdfgasg said...

- Yeah, I really wanted to go too, but a) I thought I might be too old and b) No way could I afford it.

At 9:46 AM, Blogger robyn said...

Holy shit! I'm away from the computer for a few days and I miss out on a terrific discussion!
About my work space, I recently moved from New York City to a small town in Vermont. I have my own apartment with my tools spread all around - computers and laser printer, screen-printing set-up, and drawing table. The only problem is it's consistently messy and the apartment has basically no natural light. It's the best I can do right now.
And Chuck, talk to me (! I attended SCAD, know a lot of SVA teachers and students, and work for CCS. I'd love to talk about cartooning programs.
It's true, CCS is currently unaccredited, though we're going through the process. One of the biggest hindrances to lacking accreditation is ability to grant student loans. That being said, CCS is only $14,000 a year. It is an intensive two-year program, you will leave this school with a broad base of knowledge and experience (which I've found, is much more important than a degree.) There are certain jobs that require a degree, but a lot less than you might think.
That being said, we plan to be able to grant degrees in the near future.
One thing to consider - SVA accepts CCS classes as transfer credit. Perhaps you could attend CCS for a year or two and transfer to SVA?
I know all about student debt. My 4 years at SCAD has put me debt till I'm forty (at least.) I don't see how I'd be worse off for taking out a private loan for two years for a much smaller amount.
Chuck, another thing to consider - We will be offering a one-year program next year. We also offer summer workshops and internships, which are great ways to get to know the area, the faculty, and the curriculum.
I honestly believe that CCS is absolutely the best cartooning program in North America. The students are just inundated with knowledge about sequential narrative, writing, drawing, production, design and comic history. I think our biggest asset is our teaching staff: James Sturm. James Kochalka, Tom Devlin, Steve Bissette, and many more. We have visiting faculty every week, and they are some of the best in the business: Chris Ware, Seth, Ivan Brunetti, Craig Thompson, Alison Bechdel, etc.
For more on CCS, go to Alec Longstreth's bog:
Alec Longstreth and Aaron Renier gave an amazing lecture this week.

At 4:56 PM, Blogger Drew said...

no one's mentioned anything about Sheridan in Oakville Ontario. if you know anything about that i'd like to learn. I hear they have an excellent Illustration Program, and i plan on going there. Anybody been?

At 9:15 PM, Blogger Chuck Forsman said...


Wow! You sure gave me a lot to think about. I had pretty much ruled CCS out of my choices but the things you said sure have me rethinking the whole thing. hmmmm.

At 4:45 AM, Blogger dfgdfgasg said...

I thought it was more than $14,000..
If I manage to save every penny I make this year, I'll have about $1000 left over for food. CCS here I come!
-That probably came off more snarky than I intended.I need to sleep ( I did stay up all night drawing comcis tho!--actually, that's a habit I need to break) CCS really does sound great.

I posted a picture of my drawing space on me blog, btw.

At 2:42 PM, Anonymous Steve said...

Better late than never, but happy that I found this site.
We recently moved & I now have barely enough space on the desk for an 11x14 pad (it has to rest on top of the pc's keyboard). I have a great "nook", with lots of natural light in our living room. The atmosphere is on hold until I get the drawing table finished (yes, I'm making it). Paying the daughter's college tuition put a little dent in the budget.

At 6:14 PM, Blogger Mal Jones said...

My space is pretty much my entire apartment, sans bedroom, these days. I'm painting on the floor, designing at my desk and on my couch (thank you laptop!), photographing work on my balcony... it's organized chaos which works well for me.

My space needs to be "clean" even though it's a "mess". No dishes laying around, no clothes laying around, that sort of thing. That stuff tends to distract me while I'm working, so it's gotta go.

I just posted some shots of my in the "workspace" thread at Warren Ellis' message board

At 6:44 PM, Blogger Casey Buck said...

Wow. Just found out about this site and I'm excited for it! Could help me out of my slumps and trials a bit! Anyway, m'space is pretty much anywhere I can access my music and sit comfortably with good light, with a good pencil in hand, and sometimes with friends at me side, doing the same. Good stuff guys, keep it up.

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