My Painting Set up

Full Desk setup

A friend on Instagram was asking about the desk set up that I have for my painting. This is something I have put a lot of thought into but, tried to limit how much I spend on it. My desk set up is for my painting but also doubles as my home office space which allowed me to justify a little more spend on it.
I've tried to keep this to the more long term items so it doesn't include paints, brushes, or even brush cleaner. These are things that you will probably never 'run out'.

Absolute Essentials:

When thinking about my desk set up there are a few things I knew I'd need and others that I'd want:
  • Comfortable seating position. (I have only been half successful here!)
    • A comfortable chair with good support (this is where I have failed - your chair should be where you put most of your money. It will save your back in the long run)
    • The desk must be at the correct height. - You should be able to comfortably set your elbows on the table top to bring your hands to about the level of your mouth (slightly below your eyes and comfortable for holding your minis as you paint).
    • I recommend a highly adjustable office chair that will support your lower back. Gamer chairs are fine and comfortable but tend to promote a more reclined posture that you don't want. I plan on getting something like the mfavour Ergonomic Office Chair Mesh Chair Heavy Duty Office Chair.
    • I wanted a desk that I could easily dismantle but would be very stable so went with a self constructed IKEA job made of a Solid TableTop big enough to hold my monitors as well as my painting space. I combined this with a couple of drawer units that would provide additional storage - I was careful to ensure these would give me a desktop at the right height for my body.
  • Good lighting
    • There is no real shortcut here you should get this: Daylight Company Natural Light X-Large LED Lamp (Or something very similar)
    • As it clamps to the table it's super sturdy and uses very little space on the desk (something that I constantly struggle with)
    • The light matches daylight so that you are getting a 'true' reflection of the colours on the model.


For those of you that have an airbrush (or even several) there are some items that I really strongly recommend:

The first thing I got was an Airbrush Spray Pot, specifically: Vallejo Acrylic Airbrush Cleaning Pot. This is not an essential but it does give you a place to stand your airbrush as well as somewhere away from your booth to spray when flushing your airbrush. It's not attached to the desk and can be a little prone to tipping over (especially if the airbrush is still hooked up to the compressor and the cable is pulling it down). These days the bin and Airbrush stand in combination have superseded this one (see below).
Airbrush stand with bent wire coathanger to form the hairdryer holster

    • Aside from a stand, the other purpose of the Cleaning Pot is to flush the airbrush. It's great that it has a bit of a filter to hold vapours in the pot but it has a major problem - you can't see the colour or shape of what your spraying into it. Instead I opted for a Bin - Whitefurze Black 50 Litres Bullet Bin And Lid Black 50 Litres by Whitefurze. You want a bin that will be easy to spray into from a sitting position - so a good height and this bin has a great shaped lid to help contain the spray that comes out while still being visible.
    • A Face Mask is also an essential item in my mind. Airbrushes kick out a lot of small particles of acrylic paint (which is basically plastic) and often other vapours if you are cleaning with alcohol or various cleaners. The spray booth helps but it doesn't have the power to draw everything away immediately and will do next to nothing for the spray when you are cleaning the brush. Although a face mask may seem uncomfortable - it will help you in the long run.

    Other recommended items:

    • Whilst any old cup or even a yoghurt pot will work as a Paint pot; I made the decision to spend a couple of quid (bucks to my yankee friends) on a slightly fancier option - Paint Brush Washer, Paint Brush Drying Holder Stainless Steel Paint Brush Cleaner Washer with Drying Rack. The coil above the pot gives you a place to pin your brushes and most importantly as the bristles are aiming down - it allows the brush to drain any water out rather than leaving it to sit inside the ferrule (that metal bit) and weaken the glue.
    • Some painters love a Hair Dryer, some abhor it. I am a fan - particularly when focused on a single model and trying to get it done quickly with the same paints on my palette. You want a low power model that's not going to melt or warp plastic or resin, cheap travel models are great for this. I have an old handmedown from my wife but this is also a great option - Unibos Compact powerful professional folding travel hairdryer dual voltage hair blow dryer
    • One last indulgense is a Paint rack. With the rise of laser cutters - there are a bunch of options out there nowadays but as with everything else I want to ensure I occupy as little desk space as possible so I'd suggest a design like this one: Paint Stand for 120x Bottle Style Paints. Of course drawers are also a great option for paint storage.

    One important note. I knew at the time I was designing this set up that I would likely be moving and as a result - part of the consideration was ensuring this would be relatively easy to break down and move. (It's also the reason that I haven't invested in a better chair as chairs are notoriously difficult to move!). Painting is my major hobby and I have the luxury of being able to dedicate some space to this pasttime that allows me to spread out a little and leave things set up. I have spoke about some of the options for the more space constrained on my YouTube channel so go and check out the getting started on a budget series on there for some other ideas.

    *Disclaimer - Some of the links in this article are affiliate links - the prices are no more expensive for you but helps support this blog.

    - Raggy, signing out