Drawing Boards, Easels and Erasers
Drawing boards must be used, at least in the studio. They should be light and not too thick. Half Imperial size is the most convenient. Don’t use a makeshift board if you
can help it. Buy the best drawing board you can afford and look after it. Don’t use it for cutting on, keep it clean and use masking tape to hold your paper firm rather than drawing pins. Bulldog clips are good too. Keep the surface smooth always. You must have a smooth surface underneath your paper.
An easel that will serve both for painting and drawing is what is required and one that can be folded up and used for outdoor work as well, better still. The artists’ supplier can supply most needs here. If you can’t afford to buy an easel – with a little ingenuity you can draw quite well resting your drawing board on the back of a chair (see illustration) or, for oil painting, prop your canvas on a shelf.
I wouldn’t bother too much about erasers. If you make a mess of a drawing all the rubbing out won’t make it any better . You begin to rely on them to help you out of difficulties and this makes you lose confidence in the long run. Far better to make a mess and then do another drawing. It won’t take long to realize that an eraser’s main use is in an emergency, for cleaning up a mount or a drawing for framing. For that I would recommend a putty rubber. But for drawing, keep them out of sight.
Care of Equipment
Not everyone will be fortunate enough to have a spare room that can be used as a studio. Whether you have or not, care of your equipment is a good habit to acquire. It needn’t spoil your fun to wipe your nibs, stack your paper neatly and put your drawing away in a folder or portfolio (it is a good idea to date your drawings so that you can see your progress). And it is easy enough to put all your crayons and chalks in appropriate boxes (old coffee cans, etc.). Pencils and pens are neatly stacked in a jam jar. Care with the simple tools of drawing will help you later on when you begin to paint with the more complex equipment of oil paint. This is the only firm rule I make. Now to have fun.