Illustration Station, Kidlit County, Mikesville

Stu-Stu-Studio Tour

An artist’s work space is much more than a room; it is a snapshot of how they work and a glimpse into their personality. I thought it might be fun to give you a little tour of my art studio! (cue Mister Roger’s Neighborhood theme) I am already wearing my cardigan and have changed my shoes. Here we go!

The studio is very tiny. When the landlord showed us the apartment, she called it “the nursery.” Now it’s where my art babies live 🙂 I don’t always have my laptop in here, but this room has the best light in the apartment, so I move here from my “design desk” when I feel like I’m in a cave.

The art studio is my sacred space. When you walk into the room, you actually have to walk up two steps to get to the desk. I love it; it feels like I am ascending to my altar. Making art is akin to a ritual.

Here’s the view of the street below. I like watching the passers-by. There is also a charming older gentleman who delights in feeding the crows. Notice how we live on the corner of Bellevue, Bellevue, & Bellevue. Cab drivers don’t believe me when I tell them where I want to go. The hanging ball is a gift from my friend Mo. It’s a good luck charm from Turkey, and I think the “rope” is made of horse hair.

 Here is a little drawing that my friend and former studio mate Sarah Jane Lapp made for me. When I was in Syracuse University’s illustration program, Hallmark came to review our senior portfolios. We sat through a mind-numbing slide-show of Hallmark imagery. The rep either described each piece as “cute” or “beautiful”, with an occasional “whimsical!” We were asked to leave our portfolios, and they would post a list of people they’d like to meet with. When we returned, none of the illustrators were asked back, only surface pattern designers. When I relayed this story to SJ, I said “Apparently, my work is neither cute nor beautiful,” and she was inspired to make this for me.

Here is my beloved flat file cabinet. I got this and my desk at Ikea of all places, and it has been the most worthwhile investment. On top of it is my jade plant, which I’ve managed to keep alive by some miracle (I am a black widow of all things green). There’s a print of Quiet Forest, which has always been a special piece for me. You may also spy my big jar of graphite, which all of my drawings fall out of.

This is my friend Beady. I picked him up in a gift shop in Kruger National Park in South Africa. I think he is supposed to be an ostrich, but who cares. It makes me so happy just looking at him.

My drawers are arranged like so: drawing supplies, drawing storage, paper, shipping supplies, prints, office supplies/random stuff. Yes, it IS exciting!

Here are my shelves. Ooo! What goodies do you spy? The top left 2 shelves house all of my sketch books and loose sketches. Then there’s a whole shelf of children’s books (don’t worry, there are many more children’s books in the living room). There’s a box for project samples, and a box for keepsakes. The bottom shelf has a bunch of random stuff, including several Communication Arts Illustration Annuals, which I wish were hardcover. You may also see some little prints I picked up at ICON 7 by Isabel Roxas and Nan Lawson. Most of the shelves on the right are filled with random art supplies and paper samples.

Atop my shelves are a bunch of my friends, including Wish Bear, Charlie Brown, and the Golden Girls.

Oh, and Sponge Bob hangs out on the side with pride.

Every now and then, I run into an antique frame that I must have, although I have nothing to put in it. This one has been hanging out for a few years. One of these days…

There’s a cute glass door to studio. You can see Dan’s model planes on the guest room dresser.

Of course, I need some art on the walls! I bought these two monster prints from Aiden. When his parents couldn’t afford to pay for his cancer treatments, they started selling prints of his work to cover the costs. The story went national, and I’m happy to report that he is doing very well. I think these are wonderful. They inspire me to get things done! Time is precious. We face a lot of monsters in our lives, but this little person starred the scariest of monsters in the face, and beat it with his art!

Here is a cat I made when I was 4. It’s one of my favorite things I’ve ever made.

Here is a print that my friend Chris Rollins made. He created a series of gig posters based on people’s birthdays. Chris works in several media, including woodblock, cut paper, and Photoshop.

This is my toucan friend that I bought on a trip to Mexico with my friend Mandy.

Of course, no studio would be complete without a crammed corner of old wrapped art. You could always help out and buy a piece to help me make some room. 🙂

My comic books are not always on display like this, but I had to show off my Uncanny 103! This box has all of my favorite/prized comics. The other 400 of them are back in New York at my parents’ house.

I hope you’ve enjoyed your visit! Show me where you make your art!


4 thoughts on “Stu-Stu-Studio Tour

  1. Oh this entry made my day and made me love you all the more! I love to see others’ creative processes and yours is such a beautiful little space that I’m sure you’ll miss when you move to ny!

  2. What a wonderful space…organized but not..and certainly all your own. Inspired me to try some illustrations I’ve wanted to do for some time now but never had the drive. I wish you continued success in all you do. Thx. for sharing your creative space.

  3. Benji Todd says:

    It is a great space Mike…I’m jealous. Oh, and I store my hundreds of comics at my Parent house too (maybe subconsciously I think they’ll be safer there somehow) hahaha.

  4. Pingback: SCBWI Bulletin Cover & Interview | mike curato

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