10 Reasons to Use a Drawing Board
Here’s 10 reasons for why you should be using a drawing board when creating drawings in pencil, charcoal, or any drawing media. Are you making these foolish drawing mistakes?
After years of working with students whom were serious about their artwork, I have seen it all. Well maybe not all, but I’ve seen enough to generate a giant list of all the problems young artists encounter when not using a drawing board. Here goes!
10 Reasons to use a Drawing Board
A drawing board provides a firm surface on which to draw. Drawing on soft surfaces can cause your drawing tools, especially sharp pencil tips to rip through your paper. Yikes!
2. Ghostly Lines
When you draw directly in your drawing pad you are drawing on several layers of paper. This creates a fairly soft drawing surface. When you draw on a soft surface you are creating depressions in your paper. These grooves in the paper show up later as ghostly white lines when you shade your drawing in. Use a drawing board and you will minimalize the amount of ghostly white lines in your finished drawings.
Drawing is difficult enough to get proficient at without throwing in many random hurdles. Using a drawing board provides consistency. You’ll get the same feel to your drawing surface each time you sit down to draw. Imagine trying to get better at basketball but each time you attempt to practice the hoop is a different height and the floor is made of a different material.
4. Folds, Bends & Curls
Because a drawing board is rigid it is less likely that you will accidentally fold, bend, curl, rip, or otherwise ruin your drawing paper. Lightly taping down the corners of your paper to the drawing board’s surface will help you keep your artwork in tip-top shape, especially when drawing very rapidly or working under less than ideal conditions such as outdoors on a breezy day.
Because a drawing board is rigid you can use it to get comfortable. Once your drawing paper is secured to the drawing board’s surface you can work at any angle you wish, not just flat as if you were confined to a table. With drawing board in hand you can take your artwork anywhere and easily get comfortable!
6. Viewing Distance
When your drawing paper is attached to your drawing board you can easily prop your drawing up and look at it from far away. You can’t easily prop up a loose piece of paper. Even drawing pads tend to be flimsy and bend when compared to the rigidity of a quality drawing board. Looking at one’s drawing from about 6 feet away is very helpful for critiquing one’s progress.
7. Safer Storage
Lose drawings definitely come with many risks. They can get folded, bent or simply get blown around and land in liquid or worse. Drawings on paper need to be stored flat if they are not secured to a firm surface. If your drawing is taped to a drawing board you have the option of safely storing your drawing vertically. This will limit the amount of dust that falls on your drawing. You’ll also find it easier to store your drawing-in-progress once you can store it vertically on the board.
8. Hands Off!
When your drawing is attached to a drawing board you can handle the board and not the paper. Typically, the less contact you have with your paper the better condition it will stay in.
9. Botched Proportions
Drawing flat on top of a table while seated may work fine for a small drawing. As the size of your drawing increases you will inadvertently introduce incorrect proportions into your drawing. The reason being is that the top of your drawing will be physically farther from your eyes. This will fool you into drawing elements larger towards the top of your paper (because they are farther away and look smaller). When using a drawing board your can prop up your drawing so that it is perpendicular to your line of sight. Using any other angle risks introducing incorrect proportions into your artwork.
10. Ruined Pads
It’s tempting to work right out of a drawing pad. For your most serious work this can be detrimental to not only your current drawing but future drawings as well. Your pencil points can create indentations on the papers underneath causing those dreadful ghostly lines again in subsequent drawings to come. Furthermore, the act of leaning on a soft drawing pad can permanently dent all the sheets of paper within the pad. If you insist on keeping your paper in your drawing pad, at least slip a drawing board in between the current piece of paper you’re drawing on and the new sheets below or use a stack of smooth paper you use for this sole purpose. This will protect your sheets of paper from scratch marks and denting.
The Cost of a Drawing Board
Buying a drawing board is hands down some of the best money you’ll spend. It takes time to create artwork and there’s nothing worse than spending time on a drawing only to ruin it in the process. The good news is you can buy a drawing board for less than $20 or even make your own for less.
Here’s how I have always made my own drawing boards.
It takes the right tools to do any job well. Use a drawing board and you won’t regret it!
Feel like adding to this conversation? Leave a comment below!
Years ago, #9 was the “HIT HOME” for me. I was too good for a board until I realized the discomfort of a flat table, the drawing pads, and not realizing the bigger the drawing, the more I needed to the drawing to be perpendicular to my line of sight! Thank you for this article. I can testify that because of the use of a drawing board, I can draw for hrs and with proficiency. TY
I see we’re “on the same page” ha ha I couldn’t resist it! Thanks for commenting and I couldn’t agree more 🙂
hi! thanks for the article, do you have any recommendation of light and portable drawing board? I am looking for one but cant find a suitable one.
Neither could I, that’s why I’ve mostly made my own. I explain it here: http://helloartsy.com/drawing-boards/ look for “Making a Drawing Board” on that page and at the bottom I even have a downloadable blueprint for getting a bunch of standard sizes out of a full sheet of masonite. I prefer the thickest available (1/4 inch) and of the “tempered” kind because it’s sturdier.
Great post! I happened onto your site with a google search for DIY drawing table, then found my way here.
One other way to get a cheap drawing board for smaller projects is to buy a bamboo cutting board at Walmart. These are hard, solid, flat, portable, and cheap.
Do you need a cover for a drawing board. I have a “healing” pad that I use so I don’t need another one. But I see that I can purchase a protective cover. Advice, please. If you recommend some kind of cover, would appreciate a recommendation. Thanks. Your posting has proved very helpful.
I’ve never used or heard of using a cover for a drawing board Kathy. The only modification I make is occasionally slip a sheet or two of paper underneath my actual drawing paper to make the surface slightly softer.
Thank you! I guess makers of covers just want to sell their products—and I nearly bought one without asking questions. Regards, kathy