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Posted by Tom, April 11, 2014

Where I Work: Benji Davies

This is the latest instalment in an occasional series of blogposts, in which some of our authors and illustrators share their favourite spots for work. Today Bizzy Bear illustrator Benji Davies takes us inside his studio…

This is my studio – I’m fairly new here. Six months in and I’ve still not managed to put any shelves up or hang any pictures on the walls. Just left of this photo are stacks and stacks of books, other people’s work, vintage and new, waiting for their new home to be completed.

Before I was in a large open plan space, where I lived and worked, with a distracting lounge and kitchen all around me and my studio. But no longer. The new studio is more compact but more peaceful and hopefully more productive. Time will tell.

It’s still part of my home though and tea-making is a staircase away. I live with my wife who is a fashion designer. Her studio is downstairs so its very much a live-work house and we get to meet by the kettle.

The plan chest is off ebay and was supposed to be a way of cataloguing old work neatly but quickly became more of a stuff-it-and-see system. The key to a good working space for me is to keep things simple and efficient, or at least fool myself into thinking they are.

Two desks; one for digital the other for real pencils, paper and paint. The square one, my iMac atop, is my dad’s old family kitchen table which he ate around as a boy and still has meat-mincer clamp marks under the table top edge where my gran used it for cooking. It has a great cutlery drawer with a brass handle where I stash all my ink cartridges and other stationery nick-nacks. On the right, an industrial sewing machine frame that I salvaged from my wife’s old studio, makes my drawing desk. I stripped all the cabling and fittings and had a new top made, but kept the lamp and rewired it. But I need a better chair – the inherited Ercol is not so ergonomic.

The room itself is a simple white box so its nice to surround myself with objects that have a bit of history. I would hate everything to be shiny and brand new (except the technology). I think the familiarity instantly grounds me to the space and my work, and I settled much faster when I moved.

The two latest volumes in the Bizzy Bear series, Zoo Ranger and Knights’ Castle, are out now – you can buy Zoo Ranger online here and Knights’ Castle here.

Previously in the series: Helen Peters, Caryl Hart, Elys Dolan, G. R. Gemin, Olivia Tuffin