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In 2017, I sold my house, moved into a motorhome, and drove it from where I was born in Indiana to where I live now in Tucson. It was one of the most exciting, stressful, life-changing, and totally worth-it things I’ve ever done.
But it wasn’t all rainbows and kitten farts. I had to make many sacrifices to get it done, and one of those sacrifices was space. While no longer having closets full of junk doesn’t bother me, I miss having a dedicated space for artmaking.
In my house, I had an office that doubled as a studio. In contrast, my current living space is around 400 sq. ft. My artmaking area has been significantly diminished, and I’ve had to get creative with the supplies I use.
Keep reading below to find out what art supplies I recommend for small spaces!
These pastels are water-soluble. You can draw with them and leave them dry or activate the pigment with water, which makes the result look a lot like watercolor paint.
They come in a nice flat tin so they can be kept in a drawer or thrown in a bag, and they last a long time because you don't need to use much of each pastel to put down a lot of pigment.
This chunky Sakura mechanical pencil has been my sidekick for many years. It's large enough to be ergonomic but small enough to store in a bag, pencil case, or drawer.
The rubber grip keeps it steady in your hand without impeding your ability to make marks, and the twisting eraser core at the top gives you a lot of room to play and make mistakes. The refillable graphite sticks make marks that are easy to see and erase cleanly.
These visual journals are a great way to create and store artwork while saving space. They are spiral bound so you can flip to the page you want and start drawing or painting and then close up the book when you're finished.
They come in a variety of sizes, paper weights, and paper types, but I've found the 140lb. watercolor journals to be great for both watercolor and mixed media applications. The paper has a nice texture and enough weight to it to handle lots of paint, ink, and water.
This little set of watercolors is not only a space-saver but great value for the money as well. I've had my pocket box for around two years and I still haven't run out of paint.
It comes with a small paintbrush that's nice enough to get the job done, but I don't use it much because the bristles aren't wide enough to get good washes of color.
The paint itself features bright pigments that mix well and look great on the page. If you're a watercolor artist who's on the go or working in a small space, this is a great paint set to add to your supply list.
When I don't feel like dragging out my bigger table, this small folding lap desk is my go-to tool. The legs adjust to about any angle you could ever need for any setup, and the top has a lip on one side, so your supplies never go flying off the top edge.
The only critical thing I could say is that if you have long fingernails like me, adjusting the legs can be difficult as they have tabs that must be pushed in before the legs will move and snap into position.
Overall, this adjustable desk offers a lot of options and portability for drawing, painting, and creating in small spaces for the price.
These pens are great for hand letting and adding more definition to drawings. I've also used them when painting rocks.
Their small size lets you store them just about anywhere. I keep mine in an old tablet case with my other drawing necessities.
The tight snapping caps and large ink reservoirs keep them going for a long time, and you can usually snag a set of eight for under $20. I like the 8-pen set because it comes with enough tip sizes and shapes without being overwhelming.
While I have often wished I could afford a separate studio space, figuring out how to paint and draw in limited space has helped me exercise my creativity and explore other mediums.
I hope this post inspired you not to let a lack of space keep you from creating!
I’m a Tucson, Arizona-based writer and artist. My work combines nature, bright colors, and a hand-drawn feel. My inspiration comes from the Sonoran desert, my weird sense of humor, and my struggles as an artist with a technical day job.
My backyard is the wild west and I love driving my Jeep up mountains. I live in an RV with my husband, and when I’m not writing or creating, I enjoy photography, knitting, learning web development, and playing video games.