The Moveable Art Studio

Three months here... Nine months there

Always expecting, and always the unexpected.

Ian McCallum

So, I'm back in my Cape Town Studio.

That sounds so glamorous, when really it isn't.

I've been thinking a lot about where people do their creative work. A lot of writers and illustrators believe they need a specific room, the perfect place, in order to write, draw or paint. It's only in that magical, fertile, serene place that inspired ideas will form and come to fruition.

That isn't really possible for me at the moment because I travel a lot. My friends and family are scattered around the globe: Canada, Britain, South Africa, Swaziland, The Netherlands, Namibia. I need to be on the move

if I want to spend time with them.

So, my studio isn't a room, it's a satchel; I carry it around everywhere I go. It's filled with my art supplies, my computer and my scanner. I call it my "moveable studio." (like moveable feast) No matter where I am, I can get down to work at a moment's notice.

My "perfect place" to write or paint is actually wherever I am at the moment. My imagination takes hold and I'm transported into a world of stories and drawings. I don't even notice that I'm perched at a fold-out desk in a guest bedroom, or spread out over someone's kitchen table.

In the past year (since my last birthday), I've completed illustration jobs from tables and desks in Cape Town, London, Bologna, Amersfoort, Steinbach, Manzini, and Swakopmund. I have pictures of all the places except Bologna. It never occurred to me to photograph the hotel bedside table where I drew roughs in my down time between visits to the Children's Book Fair.

After all there is no such thing as a perfect place. There's only our imaginations, and the imagination can be used anywhere!

Where do you work?

I love to know how many of you have proper studio spaces, and how many of you work on kitchen tables, floors, or any other horizontal surface that might be available.

Here's an example of my basic art supplies...

My kitchen table in London

The Guest Bedroom in Amersfoort

The Basement in Steinbach

The Guest Bedroom in Manzini

The Kitchen Table in Swakopmund