How to set up a home art studio for the pencil artist

The Home Art Studio: Keep it Simple. Keep it Functional

Desk and easel in a home art studio

All that’s needed in a simple home art studo is a desk, chair, sketchbook and pencil

There are many ways to set up a home art studio and so many supplies to choose from. Easels, chairs, tables, desks, and lighting are just some essentials. But the choices can be overwhelming and expensive.

Luckily as a beginner you don’t need all the high end studio equipment to produce quality art.

In this article we are going to help you to set up your own home art studio without the stress or the expense.

There are three things to consider for the home studio: space, lighting, and seating

The Space

Many artists struggle to find the space needed to draw. As a pencil artist you don’t much space or any space at all. The space can be a part of a larger room sectioned off with a screen or curtain.

A small closet, or a small cubby hole can be great options as well. If you are one of the fortunate few and have more space,  then a spare bedroom or home office can suffice.

The important thing is making sure that the space is conducive to a creative environment without too many distractions or poor lighting .


To render accurate shades of gray from dark to light, the space has to have adequate lighting to illuminate the work space to differentiate the various shades of gray.

Natural lighting with a northern exposure provides the most consistent lighting throughout the day. The glare from the sunrises and sunsets makes it hard to render accurate values.

What if you don’t have a northern exposure or a windowless room?

Then, incandescent lighting is the only option. Just make sure the light is evenly dispersed either with a shade or ceiling mounted light fixture with cover. Floor lamps positioned on either side of the drawing area should provide optimal lighting.

Try to use warm lighting in the 2700 K range. Do not use white light that is used in clinical environments they produce too much glare. The subtler shades of gray must be seen to produce accurate drawings.


A range from 2700 K to 3500 K will illuminate the workspace with the proper brightness.


Drawing Desks or Easels 

There are many surfaces to draw on, desks, easels or a combination of both. Desks with a built in easel such as the one below can be used for drawing, painting and writing.



Do you need an easel ?

Not necessarily but….

It’s important to have the work at eye-level to provide a distortion free view of the drawing. A drawing/painting easel is the practicle choice to use for holding a piece of art. Eventually you are going to want to get one.

In this illustration, the easel is positioned slightly below eye level and at just short of arm’s length.

An easel can be set at various angles and heights to the size of your project. There are many easels to choose from and some of them are small enough to fit on a table and large enough to stand on the floor.

I encourage you to check out the easels at on your local arts and crafts store. Make sure the easel can be easily adjusted and that it provides good stability for your work. Make sure you have enough room for larger easels. The bases can be quite wide and take more room than you think.

The size and type of easel is dependent on the size of the canvas or paper used. Obviously, large formatted paper or canvas will require a floor standing easel and for smaller pieces a desk easel could do the trick.

Drawing Boards

Pieces of plywood from the lumber yard or home depot could be used in lieu of easels.

In fact that’s what I use.



This 18 x24in board was purchased from Amazon. They are lightweight and provide great stability while propped up against another chair or desk for drawing.

Stand or Sit to Draw?

To sit or not to sit? That is the question

Answer: It depends. Some artists like to sit while they draw using an easel. Others like to sit using a drawing board. Still, others like to stand no matter what. There is no right or wrong way. Just make sure the drawing surface is at eye level and you have enough room to draw and view the model or object.

I like to do both sit and stand so instead of adjusting the height of the easel I just adjust my height from standing to sitting


There are many chairs that can be used Including stools. again Just make sure what you’re working at is at eye level

Lots of artists use stools so that they can easily change positions. Some like using chairs with good back support. It’s up to you and your comfort level on what you want to use.

Make sure to have FUN when drawing!

Don’t get overwhelmed by all the choices in equipment out there on the market. You don’t need all the high end supplies to draw.  Just stick to the basic equipment and you should be fine.


To Recap:

What is included in a home art studio?

Keep the space simple

The basic home art studio can be a kitchen table, home office or a spare bedroom. Even a closet can do the trick. Try the local library, coffee shop or the park. Even the lobbies of public buildings can offer a decent spaces to draw in.

Here’s a basic list to get you started:

  • Desk
  • Chair
  • Easel
  • Any room, corner, cubby hole will do


You can always draw with sketch book in your lap while seated on a park bench.


Remember, only hard work and dedication will produce quality art. Not fancy high end equipment or an ideal home art studio.


Final Thoughts

High end equipment will not improve your skills and may give you the illusion that the right equipment is needed to produce quality work. It is only with hard work and practice that your drawing skills will improve.

Please,  let me know in the comments sections about your home studio setup.



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