Saturday, May 17, 2014

Organizing and Storing Art Magazines

How many of you have tons of art magazines stacked all around the place or in boxes, and you don't have any idea what to do with them or how to store them? You don't want to throw them out or give them away because they have great articles, demos, tutorials, and pictures that are incredibly inspiring. So, what do you do?

I struggled with this question for years, but I finally figured it out. I got some of those plastic stackable milk crates (the long kind that are about 12" x 12" x 17"). I have a lot of magazines of many different titles, so I needed at least five crates. I divided up all the magazines by title, then put them in order by date. I put the heaviest ones in the crates on the bottom such as International Artist, Art Collector and Western Collector. However, as I feared, magazines are so heavy, you cannot stack the crates directly on top of one another or the crates will collapse. As you can see in the photo above, the crates have warped and started to collapse. That was before I came up with the idea of putting wood in between the crates to add support.

However, what I really want to do now is build a six-cube case so I can fit six crates inside (one crate per cube), and then I don't have to worry about the weight of the magazines. My friend, who built my custom closet shelves for my studio, is going to help me build it. In the meantime, this method is working beautifully.  The wood is adding just enough support to keep the weight evenly distributed across the crates and helping them not to collapse.

Now, if I need to go looking for a particular title, or specific magazine, it is at my fingertips. No more cramming the magazines into boxes (have you ever lifted a box full of magazines?) and having to go through the entire box before finding the one I want - right at the bottom of the box. I am so happy with this method, and it looks so much neater in my studio than magazines (or boxes) everywhere.  Try it, you'll like it!

Friday, May 9, 2014

Pencil Storage

I am currently working on three different pieces, all in pencil, but neither are ready for a "work-in-progress" article yet, so instead I am continuing on with my little series on how I organize my studio (as per request by one of my readers). Today I am covering how I organize and store my pencils.

My favorite piece of storage equipment is my 120 pencil display by Prismacolor (in the photo above to the right)! I actually got that from an Ace Hardware Store. I used to work at one in N.C., and they do have art departments. Well, not all of them do, but I have heard of some that have huge art departments! The store I had worked at were cutting down on the number of pencils they carried, so they bought a new Prismacolor display with far fewer slots for pencils and so did not need the full size display any longer. I was able to buy the display complete with all the pencils in it that they could not display in the new case (about 300 pencils total) for only $30.00. Now THAT was a deal!

There is an Ace hardware on the Outer Banks that carried Carb-Othello pastel pencils and I loved to go there and restock my supply. I went one day and found out they were no longer going to carry pastel pencils and did not need their pencil display anymore. The manager actually gave me the pencil display - free! That's the little display case in the middle (to the left of the Prismacolor display). Unfortunately, no pencils came with the display. The store had pretty much sold out of their stock of pastel pencils, so no more pencils to buy.

All the drawers to the far left, next to the Carb-Othello pencil display, have more colored pencils as well as my watercolor pencils (Inktense, Neocolor II, Prismacolor, and Derwent), charcoal pencils, tinted charcoal pencils, and Graphitetint pencils. I have a little container of Prismacolor art sticks and some battery operated pencil sharpeners on the table top. On top of the drawers I have a few more pencil sets, such as Lyra Skintone colored pencils, Walnut Hollow Oil colored pencils (great to use on wood), and a woodless colored pencil set. In addition, I like to try new colored pencils to check their quality. I have a complete set of Soho colored pencils (which is a brand made especially for Jerry's Artarama) and Dick Blick colored pencils. The Dick Blick colored pencils are pretty good, though not  buttery soft like the Prismas. They're really more like Polychromos and they have a pretty good lightfast rating for most of the pencils. Jerry's brand I'm not as keen on. What I need to do is use the three primary colors of each brand and create a whole picture, then compare them side by side. Also, I have a few Pablos, and many Polychromos that I love to use, and the complete set of Derwent Coloursoft colored pencils. However, my favorite is still Prismacolor with Coloursoft and Polychromos a close second.

Finally, I have three pencils easels, each one carries approximately 125 pencils. One is for Prismacolor colored pencils, one for Polychromos and Derwent colored pencils, and the third for Derwent pastel pencils. These pencils easels are a great way to organize and keep your pencils, especially for quick and easy access. The easels are also very useful for travel or for plein aire drawing.

So, that is my pencil organization and storage! I hope this is helpful for some of you.