Setting up your work area is important for comfort, ease of use and tidiness. You want your pencils on the side that you write with. Most people tend to have a light source on the opposite side so shadows do not fall across the area that you are working on. Here are a couple of items to consider:
While you are working, you will want something to protect areas of work that have not been completed because the pigments in colored pencils will stain your hand if you lean directly on them. This, in turn, will lightly pigment areas of the paper that you have not colored yet and lighter colors of pencil. Of course, the paper will eventually get stained from pigment but it is easier to throw out a sheet of paper when you see it happening than trying to remember to wash your hand every-so-often to remove color from the underside of your hand.
Tracing paper is a thin, transparent sheet of paper that is usually used for tracing work. It is also a good, inexpensive way of protecting your work area while you are working. It is inexpensive and can be cut in half to make the pad last twice as long.
Glassine, or interleaving paper, is usually used by the printing industry to prevent the inks from contaminating another page and by artists to store their work. It is also exceptional for protecting your work while you are working. It is a glossy, smooth, transparent paper.
Tip: Paper towels for water spills when using watercolor pencils or to dab your brush on when using solvent.
As long as you are not working on too large of a picture, you can use a table to lay your work down on. The larger work that you do can easily be distorted when working on a flat surface. Many people prefer drawing boards or easels due to the angles that the work can be set up on.
An easel is a self-supported wood or metal frame for holding work while it is being drawn. They are sometimes used to display work. You will need a board to attach your work to while it is on the easel. There are many sizes and heights to choose from: portable, tabletop, studio, wall-mounted to name a few kinds. They can be as basic or fancy or technical as you want.
A drawing board is a large, flat board that is used as a support for a sheet of paper being worked on. Drawing boards come in all sorts of varieties and sizes. The majority of drawing boards have a large clip on them to hold the work in place. I recommend NOT using the clip and taping your work down. If you use the clip, it can leave an indentation in the paper. If you are working on an easel with paper, you will need some type board or board to tape your work to so that it has a support behind it.
Artist tape has a low to moderate tack adhesive so that you can easily remove it without damaging your paper. It can be used to tape your paper to a drawing board to work on.