Artist general advice

Comfort by design

By 29 June 2020October 25th, 20202 Comments

If you’re in an employed (and not self-employed) position, at some point you’re subjected to an ergonomic workplace assessment, health and safety briefings, and the rest. All to ensure your comfort, reduce illness and injury, and increase the amount of time per day you can be productive.

If this is something you do without answering back in an office space or on site, why would you deny yourself the same level of care when self-employed, especially when sick days go completely unpaid? You’re right, I’m a “square”, and proudly so if it results in a viable working practice.

Here’s a run down of my desk arrangement. It’s the place I spend almost my entire day, so I insist on getting it right these days. (It’s also a pastel-heavy sequence of images, as it’s what I was using when I took photos!)

Pencils/all dominant-hand implements on the right hand side. This saves time and any misaligned or unnecessary stretching. I’m not even joking. Told you I was a square.

Ergonomic desk work space


A simple shelf. This is a necessary extra floor to the bunker of weapons I have surrounding me. I use several types of pastels, pencils and charcoal, so I try to leverage as much space as my little house allows. This shelf is also an anchor point for certain things (you can see a clamp sneak in on the right hand side).
Ergonomic desk work space shelf pastels


“Certain thing” exhibit A – lamp, attached to a gooseneck with a clamp (Amazon, £13). Amazon-gly effective. I did have a desk lamp that cost me £65, touting “daylight” qualities, but it simply wasn’t as good or as versatile. There were fewer brightness options, and the range of motion and placing options were poor. Always question every purchase, especially when on a budget.

Ergonomic desk work space lamp


My dandyism. A GoPro Hero5, for future tutorials (watch this space). I bought a model that was 4 years old at the time, and 2nd hand. Don’t buy the newest thing, if the latest bells and whistles are, and will be, of no use to you.

Again, its extension (eBay, £7.79) is anchored with a clamp and manipulated with a gooseneck. Gooseneck’s a game changer.

Ergonomic desk work space gopro recording tutorials


Anti-slip sheet (eBay, £3.99). This is especially useful for tool boxes, car dashboards, and my tilting desk, which becomes yet another area to store supplies. Again, leverage all the space you can if your studio or space is small.

Ergonomic desk work space pitt pastels blending tools sponges


Tapes and a lint free cloth, for securing things in place, and clean-up. Control freaks, unite! Here are my PanPastels as well. You can get away with owning a very small set and mixing them together. Start small, and buy more individually if you find there are certain colours you can’t do without.

Ergonomic desk work space panpastel tapes cleaning cloth


Printer paper – great for mixing PanPastels. Some might say you’re making your PanPastels impure by not swapping the sheet regularly, but it really doesn’t matter. I throw mine away once every few months. Heal the world, folks!

Ergonomic desk work space printer paper blending panpastel


Tilt Desk itself (Amazon, £85). This is very important for spinal health, and there’s not enough is said about it. I want advisory campaigns, suited-up men and women walking in between desks towards a camera, etc. “We can help.”

Ergonomic desk work space tilt mechanism


Another ergonomic adjustment – furniture risers (Argos, £14.99). I’m laughably tall, and my knees wouldn’t fit under Tilt Desk without them. Wireless bluetooth headphones for listening to shouty angry podcast men.

Ergonomic desk work space elephant feet


A sandwich sourdough loaf. Some may say this isn’t workspace-related, but they’re the ones who use PLANTS to brighten a room. Fools.

Sourdough sandwich loaves


As you can see, making your workspace comfortable doesn’t have to cost the earth. Nothing is made for you specifically, unless you can adjust it or move things around to suit you. Did any addition to your workspace drastically improve your comfort levels? Leave it in the comments below, I’d love to hear it!


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