In the Studio with Janel

J Maske head shot

I live in a small bungalow-of-sorts with my husband and two rats in an older neighborhood in Waukesha, Wisconsin. It’s only one room wide, and is nothing but windows, so the lighting is great! It’s also super cold, but I think maybe you can’t have both windows and warmth.

Studio Corner  Supply Table

My studio is a corner of the dining room, where I have a big computer desk and my drafting table from high school. I recently painted the top of it with chalkboard paint. I’m hoping the chalkboard will be helpful for working out layouts. I worked with charcoals a lot in college, and I’m a bit more comfortable with masses than lines.

Over on my computer desk is my old G5 Mac. It’s so old I can’t update anything anymore, but I have CS2 running on it, and it works fine. The print above the monitor is my husband’s (from the game Borderlands).

On the other side of the dining room is my table of books and supplies. Okay, I just put the books up because of this blog post. The table was a total disaster and my art books were everywhere, so I thought I’d make things nice for the photo! The cork board has a few relics from past endeavors: some Medúzy tags for the plush cats I briefly had on Etsy, a shrinky-dink necklace I made of my house, and a drawing I really liked from when I wanted to be an architectural illustrator. The best thing on there is a quote from a very useful book called Art & Fear: “The most important talent may be the talent for practice itself.” It’s a good reminder when I think I can’t cut it.

Anya and Moxie (the rats) live in the middle of the dining room, but I won’t show you their house because they are destructive little critters and it shows. But I’ll show you a picture of the two of them, because they are adorable and I love them!

Moxie & Anya

They have part-time jobs as models for every animal I draw.

In the summer, I like to work out on my front porch. It’s enclosed, and it’s bright and cheerful. Here’s a picture!

Front Porch

This coming summer, my mom and I plan to fix my garage up into a work space. This is what it looks like right now:

Future Studio

I think it’s tipped.

This is my sketch of what I want to do with it (please forgive the perspective wonkiness):

Garage Sketch

I’m so excited to maybe finally have some space to move around!

Anyway, you’re probably thinking, “gee whiz, it looks like she never works! Where’s the mess??” Well, there are a couple of reasons for the neatness. Obviously, I wasn’t going to post pictures of my messy cluttered house for all the internet to see, so I straightened up. My house is small and full of books and legos. Yup, books and legos, oh and stacks of mail, everywhere! I like my work spaces neat and orderly so I can feel calm and think straight. The other reason (the biggie), is that I do most of my drawing while sitting on the couch. I work at a computer at a desk all day long. The last thing I want to do is sit at a desk all evening, too! I’m not going to show you my couch.

Oh, I think I was supposed to touch on how I work also. My usual process is to spend waaaaaay too much time planning and researching and collecting reference photos (like weeks), and then try to cram the drawing and the computerizing into a couple of days. It’s not a good way to do it, but I really really like research!

So that’s about it. Thanks for reading!

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5 comments on “In the Studio with Janel

  1. wow Janel… your soon to be studio will be awesome!!! I’m sure of it… all that space just for you :)
    I know what you mean… I wasn’t home in Milan (I was al my parent’s in Bogotá) when I wrote the post so just took pics of my stuff, but if I had been here I would have had to put all my mess in order for the photos, hahahaha. oh! I’ve just realized I forgot we were suppose to talk about our creative process too :S oops! I was actually convinced I was suppose to include that on our first challenge post (and was planning to do so) LOL.

    Anyway… back to you.
    Love how you have a space (even if not huge) for every task: research (computer desk), sketching (couch), serious drawing (drawing table I guess), exploring, testing, crafting (book desk maybe?). oh! and your two rats are really adorable? Are they are really rats or hamsters?

    • Janel Maske on said:

      MaJo, you should sneak in a picture of your home work space in a future blog entry. We’d love to see it! I noticed in your post that you use an iPad…I use mine for some design work, too. What’s this scanner app you mentioned?

      Yeah, they’re rat rats! I had hamsters as a teenager, and they were super cute, but they weren’t affectionate like these rats are.

  2. I liked this post very much, Janel. You’ve got spaces to work coming out of your ears! Maybe an advantage from living in the midwest — a little envious of your snow too. Your new garage turned workspace will be lovely… you can open those big doors and let all the outdoors in. The little rat babies are cute, I’ve had friends say they can be quite cuddly. Looking forward to your first design— I too LOVE the research and can tend to get very caught up in it.

  3. Holly Helgeson on said:

    Hi Janel…I mean Wisconsin neighbor! HAHA…I love your honesty! So refreshing to know that you cleaned up your space before you took the pictures! I did that too! I love your different creative stations…I have a wonderful front porch where I love to sit and draw too. Your future studio looks amazing. I agree with Nicky…wonderful big doors to open up and let in fresh air and sunlight! Anya and Moxie are adorable little critters too! Can’t wait to see your entry for Design Challenge One! Thanks so much for the tour!
    Holly :)

  4. Janel your rats are really really cute! I love your designs with them- especially the one with them flying kites! Your place looks awesome and your plans for the studio are great. Wisconsin is looking a lot like Toronto at the moment… whoa the snow! My home is also the site of lego and book explosion… what’s not to love about lego and books, really? Thanks for the great tour and I really look forward to seeing your design next week!

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