The Fabricator General: Rating Your Workspace, or Your Desk Sucks, Part 2

In our Fabricator General series, we cover large projects or those with lots of building and construction and custom work. This week, we’re talking about existing work spaces and how to improve your space.

Welcome back! Since our previous article on building a better work space, I’ve gotten a lot of requests around critiquing and improving others’ work spaces. So in the interest of helping everyone out, I’ve asked people on the Goonhammer and Independent Characters Discords to post their desks for some observations. I want to stress that if something works for you, I don’t intend to say it’s wrong. I believe there are things to prioritize after working in a number of different work spaces and I’m going off what has worked in my experience.

Your own desk area is likely to resemble some of these.  If you feel an example is representative of your area, great.  If you want to get direct feedback feel free to post a link in the comments.  I will commit to following up to questions and comments in the comments area.

Alright, let’s get into it.


What I like: I can see a permanent setup for paint that seems to be organized.  The light I do see appears to be neutral.  There is more than adequate space for work.  This is a great way to exploit a limited space, setting something up with limited space is hard-mode and this is solid.  I’m sure the painter moves his mat and light to the center of the desk while working, and that would be quite comfortable.

What I’d change: The lighting could stand to have a secondary source, either overhead or to the right of the work space.  Existing light is strong but angled, it may be tough to work around existing shadow.  If this painter doesn’t move his mat it seems like working that close to the wall may be a little awkward, particularly if your right arm is dominant, and there appears to be a shelf where I’d want my legs to be.  I gather that this painter works on singular, assembled models, and I imagine batch painting would require more working space.



What I like: The light is out of the way, there’s no obstruction to motion.  I see everything I would need to work is present.  Organization is a little sprawling, but everything is visible and out of the way.  Seems to make good use of the space available.

What I’d change: Light is singular. I gather it to be neutral, but it’s hard to tell as most of the material is yellow hued.  I like to have my work in progress models covered to avoid dust.  You’re probably going to have a bit of an artificial limit on your results with that pallet.  My #1 priority would be to at least try a wet pallet and a close #2 would be another light source.



What I like:  Two light sources placed well.  This is someone who is painting-handle rich.  Light appears to be neutral.  This is enough space to batch paint or work in assemblies.  This is a solid setup.

What I’d change:  The light stand on the right seems like it could potentially get in the way.  I think shelving, particularly vertical, wall mounted shelving, would give you a huge return on investment.



What I like:  The angle for your light source seems to be positioned well. It appears to be over the shoulder.  I like the shelving.  There’s a lot of space so organization isn’t super important.

What I’d change: Where your paint is currently kept seems like it would get in the way. The light is positioned well and may not need redundancy, but it seems very yellow and a little weak. I would want more structure. If that little Tupperware behind your washes is your water pot I recommend dumping your water at least six times a year. It looks more like a wash itself.



What I like: I definitely prefer spaces that serve a singular purpose.  Lots of shelving and storage, lots of space.  I like the dedicated paint rack and brush rack and it’s nice to finally see what looks like another wet pallet.

What I’d change: You seem to have more paint than rack, only one light on a short arm means you’re probably working somewhere dimmer than ideal or contorting your body.  I’d say another paint rack and light source, maybe a clean water jug and a dumping bucket and this is an ideal setup.


Independent Characters:

What I like: Great use of vertical space.  I like the shelving.  The lighting seems like the best option available.  I can’t stress enough how impressed I am with how you’ve maximized a limited space.

What I’d change: Can you manage any more depth with your desk?  This is a great use of limited space, but if you want to take it to 11, I’d be tempted to utilize that far wall by either attaching magnets for tools  or a lighting source.  Can the existing fixture drive multiple 5-6k bulbs?



What I like: Very utilitarian.  Honestly, I like everything.  This a a great minimalist setup and I struggle to find a specific thing to criticize.  I am making the assumption that the light is very good in person; the light in camera appears to be off but there still looks tol be a strong, neutral light source.

What I’d change: Spend the money on paint and tools IMO.   You have the bones of a great setup, it’s time to flesh it out.



What I like:  Yes.

What I’d change: You should trade spaces with me.  I want those windows.  This photo is not work safe.  I guess more shelving?  I hate you.


What I like: I’m with you re: vertical space.  I count at least 4 varied light sources.  This space has strong dad vibes and seems eminently practical.

What I’d change: I assume the light up top is adjustable, but purple isn’t my first choice.  This may be a me thing, but I do prefer a dedicated painting space to a mixed setup.  That chair doesn’t seem super supportive or comfy to me I guess?  I’m nitpicking.



What I like: Natural light from multiple angles behind you is the dream. Good, large surface area. Judging by the depth of that desk and the solid backing there’s likely a lot of shelving.  I’d prefer a  cutting mat, but glass is easy to clean as well. The space, at least, is clearly organized.

What I’d change: Unless you only paint at a certain time I’d want an artificial light source as well.  Seems expensive to be painting on.  Eagle needs another head.  What’s the purpose of those weird wicker-backed chairs?  What’s the plan for water?  For some reason this photo causes me to feel deep-seated frustration, embarrassment and resentment.


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