Studio Tour: early 2018

As an artist, I’ve always taken a keen interest in other folks’ studio setups. I feel that there is always something to learn from seeing other people’s work areas – whether it be tools they use, their computing setup, or even their favorite work chair. I love that stuff.

As it’s been a while since my last studio tour write-up, the time seems right to share my latest setup. Everything you see in the photos below is current as of late January 2018. To preface things, my studio is in my home. It’s roughly 170 square feet in size. Let’s start with a panoramic shot.

From left to right, we’ll start with a rack of Hotwheels cars, flanked above by two classic issues of the Marvel GI Joe comics series. The comics are framed with Ikea NYTTJA frames.

Next up is my office closet, which is filled to the brim with toys, books and graphic novels (including several Marvel Omnibus editions). Below the shelves are assorted comics boxes and office supplies.

Moving past the closet and a filing cabinet is my Macbook Pro station. I use a mid 2014 Macbook Pro with 8GB of RAM and a 250GB solid state drive. These days, I run the MBP in clamshell mode. I use an external Apple extended keyboard and Allreli gaming mouse with it.

The Macbook Pro is connected to two external displays. On the left is an older HPZR24W 24″ model (running in portrait mode) and a newish Dell 25″ 2515H. The HP monitor is 7 years old and still runs well, though there is some screen burn-in.

Next up is my main computing setup, a Hackintosh running macOS 10.13.2. This machine is connected to a Wacom 27QHD Cintiq and another Dell 2515H display. All displays, save for the Cintiq are on Loctek mounting arms. The Hackintosh has only two new additions since I first built it. The first is a 500GB Samsung SSD and an extra 16GB of RAM, maxing out the machine to its 32GB limit.

The Cintiq rests ontop of a FlexiSpot desk riser. The riser includes a dedicated keyboard holder, which comfortably holds my Das Keyboard and Venus gaming mouse.

When I occasionally need to sit down, I use a Boss Drafting stool. It’s comfortable to sit on and good for my aching knees.

Next to my keyboard and mouse is a custom mount for my Blue SnowBall microphone and Sony MDR-7506 headphones. Behind both sits the Hackintosh.

For desk space, I employ two standard school cafeteria style tables, positioned into the shape of an L. Why use them? They’re tough, easily configurable, durable and relatively inexpensive (about $50 at any office supply store). My main work desk is on LiftYourTable risers to accommodate my need to stand for periods of time.

The center of my room has a Sparta 52 inch two blade indoor ceiling fan. I bought this for the looks, when we first moved into our house many years ago.

Underneath my secondary desk are a few older machines. The G5 (with its side to the wall) sits idle, with no hard drive. The PowerMac G4 and 6500/225 both work, but are only fired up on rare occasions. My 2008 Mac Pro operates as a server for my files as well as a workstation for my daughter to use. The Mac Pro is connected to a Dell U2412M display.

For printing, I use a Brother networked laser printer (model HL5450DN). To its right sits my Eero wi-fi router and my cable modem, perched above two stacked Apple IIGS CPUs. In front of the router are two Sterilite bins, for paper and art supply storage.

Next up is my comic book spinner rack, which features a smattering of classic issues and a few new ones.

To its right is my animation desk. I use this desk for old school analog drawing. I use ink, brushes, Col-Erase pencils and Micron pens on Bristol board paper. I’ve placed my animation desk away from my computing setup to distance myself from potential distractions. On the desk are an assortment of pens, pencils and brushes. I use the Bestek charger to keep my iPhone 7 charged up while I work. On the desk is an OxyLED desk lamp. On the far left is a Millennium Falcon desk novelty lamp.

Finally, on the back wall sits two quarter century old EPS speakers (they work great!), a Fender mustang amp, and my trusty Fender Stratocaster electric guitar. The speakers are shared between a Dayton Class T amplifier and my old Mac Pro. There’s also an assortment of posters and art to keep me inspired.

Do I anticipate any changes to my setup this year? That all depends on what Apple’s new Mac Pro looks like. In the meantime, I hope you’ve enjoyed taking a tour of my little studio. Time for me to get back to work!


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  • Matt StriebyReply
    February 1, 2018 at 11:04 am

    Thanks for the tour! Always interesting to see how others set up their studios. Good for ideas, too.

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