An Illustrator’s Guide To Creative Space

Photo by Adam J. Kurtz

ADAMJK can tell you

Adam J. Kurtz's first creative space was a DIY table made from a piece of wood and IKEA legs. "I had to choose between that or a dresser," he says, "so my clothes were just kind of stacked up inside the closet." The graphic designer and author, better known to his thousands of followers as ADAMJK, has since stopped stacking his clothes in the closet and made a full-fledged career out of his designs and drawings with a new stationery collection, two books, and a capsule collection with home goods store Fishs Eddy. Hey, you can't go wrong with Daria-esque musings printed on saturated colors.

A creative space to call your own is vital, as Oprah would say, to living your best life. Not only is there a romance to an artist's studio, there's also a real practicality to it. Kurtz graduated into a two-bedroom apartment in Brooklyn, New York, that he shares with his boyfriend. (And a two-bedroom by New York City standards means there is one normal-sized bedroom and a second one that can squeeze in twin-sized bed and not much else.) The second bedroom became their home office of sorts, one that allows Kurtz to work freely and that he considers a creative space. "I need to get in the right mindset for a proper workday," he says. "For me, that means leaving the apartment for coffee or the post office, then coming back home again. That's my commute, and then I'm at the office, and it's time to work." By that definition, a creative space is about the harmony it inspires in your mindset and vice-versa, how they balance one another out.

Of course, it would be fabulous to have those sun-soaked, exposed white brick Hollywood indie artist studios, but how boring life would be if we all created in similar spaces because really, "a creative space is about what [you] can accomplish," as Kurtz says. "It's about feeling empowered to walk in, sit down, and know that [you] have what [you] need."

Here, in his own words, is Kurtz on how to find a true creative space of your own.

Photo by Adam J. Kurtz

What defines your creative space?
As a graphic designer, a desktop computer or monitor is always going to be the central focus, but I also need my favorite pencils, notepads, sticky notes, and my scanner. Everything I make is drawn by hand, with a real-ass pencil, on real-ass paper. I think that intentionality matters.