Thursday, January 24, 2008

A Question about Storage

In the Comments Section a few posts ago, Little Chin Burger asked: "But it got me to wondering, you create such a high volume of illustrations, as do Ted and in the world do you guys keep track of all these works and how do you file them so you can keep track of them? I'm am curious to know."

Stacy's response:

I have a few methods of storage....

I store my screenprinted posters, large sheets of watercolor paper in a flat file cabinet like this:

I got the cabinet off Craigslist for $150, I think. They can run up to $250 or more.

I usually work several jobs at one time, something that a freelancer has got to do to pay the bills.
To keep track of those jobs, I store all sketches, print-outs, notes, etc. in a plastic cabinet like this:

Each drawer is labeled with the name of the project, so if I am looking for a sketch I did for my Meghan Rose project, I go to this storage unit and the sketch/e-mail print-out/paperwork is most likely located in the drawer labeled "Meghan Rose".

For finished paintings, larger sketches and finished artwork for books that have been published, I put them into drawers like this:

In my studio, I have around ten of these drawers stacked up against the wall.
Each drawer is labeled and right now I'm working on a project that has a large amount of paintings, sketches, etc. so the top drawer is dedicated to that one project.
I like that they are plastic, so in case my studio floods (I have a basement studio), the water will never reach the paper.
And for further protection, the bottom two drawers are (basically) empty.

Here's a photo of a corner of my studio from a while back (some things have changed):

As you can see I have more plastic drawer units to hold pads of paper, bristol board and sketches I want to come back to later.

I would love to have a fireproof safe with all my work in it, but they're hard to move because of their weight and they cost a lot.

Digitally, I save all my files in different versions....non-flattened Photoshop files, flattened Photoshop files, high-resolution files and low-resolution files all in folders and subfolders for each job. I save a back up of every job on a CD and DVD. Then I save a back-up on two external hard drives. Once a week, I save everything I've worked with on my computer to an external drive. And make a back-up. Just in case.

All of the storage units mentioned above can be found at:

  • Office Depot
  • Office Max
  • The Container Store

    Wes' response:


    Good question. It can get messy if you aren't on top of it. I've been forced to try and be better about it.

    For the paper originals I have all these ikea wood shelves. Each shelf represents a current project and for the digital I keep everything for each project in a folder with various sub folders. It's nice to have it scanned in because then I can stash away the original. I then have a color system of labeling the files so I'm aware if files have been finished. Everything is instantly backed up into two external drives.

    I have accidentally saved files when they were reduced for the web and that's a pain.


    Ted's response:

    File??? Keep track??? I easily made a thousand drawings last year, and I'm really not sure where they are right now.

  • I'm terrible at organizing. Last year my hot babe wife spent some time making large envelopes out of brown paper to store my art, which has just been piled in boxes for years.

    She also bought me this thing, which probably has a name, and it is excellent for keeping my jobs more organized.

    That's about all I have to say about that.

    Readers: Tell us about your storage methods in the Comments section.
    We'd love to hear how you store your artwork, sketches, etc.!


    1. Most of my filing is on the floor, in piles that radiate away from my chair. And the view from my studio windows looks much like Tracy's, but the vehicle is a beige van, not a sporty red thing. I do have all my CDs neatly shelved, though.

    2. Tracy is my twin brother.

      Hey Richard, since all your work is on the floor, how about grabbing a handful of your work, shoving it into a large, sturdy envelope and mailing it to me.

      Then I can continue drooling over your work, but more in person.

    3. If you want to trade artwork, I'm up for it!
      Just send me an e-mail!