Makeshift Figure Drawing Studio

Makeshift Figure Drawing Studio

For this grant period, one of my goals was to start doing private model sessions. Doing so would allow me to pose my figures exactly how I wanted to fit my artistic vision. However, this is an expensive pursuit because I would have to both hire a model and rent a studio space. The solution was to turn my parents’ garage into a makeshift figure drawing studio to save on the studio rent and be able to draw on my own time. I am grateful that my parents were both art majors and were willing to help me out. I also got some helpful advice about lighting from my mentor, Kevin Grass.

Garage studio
Garage studio

Here’s how I set-up the studio:

Model stand

One of the features I wanted to incorporate in the studio was a model stand. I prefer to stand up while I draw, so having the model be on a stand instead of just the floor allows for a better view. My dad and I built this out of some scrap wood and it worked really well. It consisted of a long rectangular box with an additional piece of wood in the middle for support.

Building a model stand
Building a model stand

I was able to borrow some spot lights from a friend, which were perfect for the space. I turned off the overhead lights, covered the windows with paper, and had one light shining on the model and the other behind me, illuminating my paper. I’ve found that having one main light source on the model is ideal for creating dimension. It also reads as more dramatic.


I used a cheap plastic display easel, which proved to be a little too flimsy. It ultimately got the job done, but next time I’ll be bringing my nice sturdy, wooden easel. The downside is that it’s a bit of a pain to transport. I may opt to get a metal easel that folds up in the future to make it more portable.

Space Heaters

My parents’ garage has AC but no heat, and it happened to be cold that day. We used some space heaters, one of which was borrowed from a neighbor, to make the model comfortable. We had them running for a few hours ahead of time to ensure it would be warm by the time the model got there.

Here’s my drawing from the first model session I had in the garage this past Friday. I’m looking forward to the future drawings I’ll do in this space!

Figure drawing from life
Charcoal and chalk on newsprint 18″ x 24″

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