Virtual Studio Tour

September 12th, 2006 | Posted in General

Some time ago on a message board forum for caricaturists somebody started a thread suggesting artists post pictures of their studios. The thread was a big hit and lots of people posted shots of their workspaces, from corners in their living room to big areas and rooms all devoted to studio space. It was a lot of fun and very interesting to see what kind of environment artists create in which to be and feel creative. One interesting thing, I have yet to see a cartoonist’s art studio area that does not have at least a few toys in it. Many are filled with toys, figures and other play stuff. Maybe it’s because cartoonists are kids who never really grew up… but I am no exception. I posted some pictures myself in that thread. That was years ago, so I thought it would be fun to take some new pictures and give everybody a little virtual tour of my exceptionally cool studio!


My drawing table. It’s nestled between a homemade light table on the left and a desk surface on the right. Very cozy and lots of level places to put art materials, references and other things I need handy access to. Above the board is a giant corkboard with lots of stuff on it. You can see my original Mort Drucker of me in the upper right. I’ll have some close ups of some of this stuff below.


Here’s the corkboard. Various doodles and some smaller art I like to look at. There’s a small Mort original right above the lamp, something I bought at an NCN convention. Also there is an original Sam Viviano of “Shakespeare in Love” that Sam did for me during a lesson I attended of his. A few things I’ve done like my Minnesota Twins magazine cover, one of the NCS shirt artwork prints with some of the cartoonists signatures on it, some Alfred E. Neuman/superhero dolls, etc. Most of the space is covered by drawings my kids have done and art they gave me. My kids think it’s normal to have their art hanging on the same wall with original Druckers, Vivianos and Hirschfelds. They have no perspective.


Here’s my computer workstation. That’s my Cintiq in the corner… I pull that out to the edge when it’s time to color something digitally. My shelf above it is full of knick knacks and cool stuff.


Here’s the shelf and some artwork. Caricatures of me by Mort Drucker and Al Hirschfeld… some priceless stuff. The other picture is a reproduction storyboard of a Batman Animated cartoon by Bruce Timm, with a cutout of Bats and the Joker. It’s signed by Mark Hamill, the voice of the Joker (and Luke Skywalker, of course). I bought that at the now defunct Warner Bros. Store. Other goodies include a few Alfred statues, some awards and such, a few sculptured caricatures of me including Heather Bren’s brilliant “Tom bobblehead”, the obligatory lightsaber, a brick from the original Main Street USA from Marceline, a big Batman bust, a mini “Golden Nosey” lapel pin I was given after serving two years as president of the NCN and a model of my beloved BMW Z3.


Close up of the computer. No, that’s not a Mac. It’s a Dell running windows using a MAC OSX theme. By the way my studio is never this clean except right after a huge project when I have an obsessive/compulsive need to clean it… or right before I take pictures of it for an Internet blog post.


The far corner of the studio. My original Kr?¬?ger is next to the door. I got that guitar for a wedding present but never get time to play it. The cabinet has art supplies in it, and the bookshelf is way too small for my needs. That’s my Batman costume on the right.


Close up of the bookshelf. I got all the Russ Cochran EC hardcovers in slipcases off of eBay. Great stuff. Lot’s of Minnesota Twin’s bobbleheads, which I get from the Twins for all the work I do for them. You can just make out my Superman belt on top of the EC books. That’s for this year’s Halloween costume… I’ll write about that later. The bat symbol is an alternate for my costume.


Here it is… the Batsuit. There is a long story about how I assembled this highly authentic looking “Panther” style suit that is a duplicate of the one Val Kilmer wore in “Batman Forever”. That is also for another day, likley as Halloween approaches. Yes, it comes off that mannequin and is fully wearable.


The fourth corner of the studio, and the Bat-shelves. Years ago I caught the eBay bug and ended up selling hundreds of pages of original comic art I had done on “Married…with Children” and used the money to buy old sixties Batman toys. My flat files are stuffed full. You can see the kitchen cabinets and countertop I put in to hold art supplies and give me more surface area to put stuff. The rack next to the window houses DVDs. I’ve got a little section just for movies I’ve done parodies of in MAD, which means I own duds like “Van Helsing”, “Tomb Raider” and “Behind Enemy Lines”, but I’m too much the completist not to have them.


A close up of the shelves. That’s a copy of Life Magazine with Adam West’s signature on it. That cost me $20.00. Not for the magazine as I had that already… just for West’s signature on it. I hope it bought him a couple of stiff drinks in the hotel bar that night. Among the toys I had as a kid and reacquired thanks to the magic of eBay: a Batman and Robin talking alarm clock (“Jumpin Jehosephat Batman, we’re needed again! Right Robin, we have to wake our friend. Golly Jeepers Batman, I’ll make the call! OK Robin, wake them all! Time to get up and out of bed! Good boy Robin, very well said!”); Batman tin lunchbox, several Mego Batman dolls including the elusive removable cowl first version; the awesome original Corgi Batmobile (with complete packaging); Captain Action Batman outfit; the original Aurora Batman model; 1966 Batman Ideal helmet and cape set and the holy grail of Batman collectibles: the Ideal Batman Utility Belt (sadly incomplete and not in a box, but one in that condition is worth many thousands of dollars). Too many other cool Bat-Toys to list here.

Finally, my favorite studio toy. This innocent looking bust of Shakespeare should look familiar to fans of the 60’s Batman TV show:


A simple flip of the head and flip of the switch and… no, the bookcase does not roll aside to reveal poles to slide into the Batcave on, but it does turn on my light table!


It’s amazing I get anything at all done in here. So many toys to play with!!!


  1. That Shakespeare bust is priceless… I’m just picturing you flicking it on and off just for the fun of it in idle moments away from the drawing board..

  2. ManlyArt says:

    Great studio. I’ve just recently discovered your blog and have been enjoying it immensely. Keep it up!

  3. Matt. says:

    Really amazing room. However, I think you should get an adam west batman suit. It’s much more sporty than the other one.

  4. SteveH says:

    Looking great Tom, I am in desperate need to revamp my own small studio space, clear out all the junk and redecorate and then put it all back with new storage and in some kind of order! It’s on my to do list but hey, there’s a convention to get too! Where are the stash of nibs btw? LOL!

  5. Pete says:

    Thanks for taking the time to show us around your studio Tom. I’m a painter/decorator living in Wales/UK and learning caricature by studying great sites like yours. Thanks for inking lessons. Awesome!!

  6. Marc Dobis says:

    I see that you have the 1966 Ideal Batman helmet and utility belt in your collection. I recently came across the same plus the cape in my parents basement. Is there an informative book on what those toys may be worth? I don’t plan on selling them,but it would be nice to know their current value pending condition.

  7. Tom says:

    There is a book called “Collectibly Batman” but it does not list pricing. It all depends on the condition and such. I am not aware of a pricing guide for these kinds of collectibles. I know the ideal utility belt in mint condition in the original box has been known to sell for over $10,000.00 . Mine is an incomplete and somewhat play worn toy, worth far, far less. The Helmet/cape likewise is worth a lot in the box. I have a box but it’s damaged, and the helmet has some wear as well. Still it’s probably worth $400 or so.

  8. Marc Dobis says:

    Thanks. I check into that book. Ironic though, my parents will be celebrating their 50th anniversary in two weeks and my Dad said we will open a toy box (huge toy storage truck he hand made when I was 6) when my sister comes in for that weekend (I live next door). It’s been packed under a lot of old things for the last forty years and hasn’t been opened since. I remember having those little Munster dolls, Beatle toys, Hot Wheels track, games, god knows what else is in there. It will be a treasure chest of memories and perhaps some items that may be worth a buck or two. I’ll report back after the find. My Dad gave me back my red line Hot Wheels collection (74 cars) when I turned forty in 1998. He put them in a padded shoe box in 1970 and saved them. Most of the cars are in good to excellent condition (I was a neat kid) and put them all in a lucite case that’s in my office. It really brings back those good ol days of the late sixties. Lately I’ve been collecting Beatles memorabilia and have some rare 1/18 diecast cars. I’ll always be a big kid, my Dad is the same way. That’s what keeps you young.

  9. yondaime_kazekage says:

    hey tom, did you sleep upside-down as batman does? lol


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