eol - ex oriente lux!  Tutorial: drawing and sketching basics

Drawing Board and Chair

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You can draw everywhere. At tables, on bags, into books, on walls...

The traditional way of drawing and sketching small formats is sitting on a chair with a drawing board, in front of you another equal aligned chair. The drawing board is lying on the lap and the seat-back of the chair standing in front. The drawing paper is stuck on the board with tape. Often several layers of paper are fixed on a board with thumbtacks. Several layers of paper make the board softer, in this way you can vary the hardness of the drawing underground. After some time you will experience the hardness, you like most.

This hardness will depend on the used pencils, the types of paper and particularly on your individual preferences. The board has to be smooth, because unevenness will appear as disturbances of the drawn lines.

The board I use is 60 x 80 cm, there are somewhat larger or smaller boards in use. The format of the papers, on which you can draw while sitting, should not be larger than 50 x 60 cm. If you want to make larger drawings, you should place the board to an easel and you should work while standing.

There are several reasons for this. One reason is, that you can’t move enough your arms, drawing a big picture while sitting. But more important is, that you need a certain distance to an object (like an picture or drawing) to perceive it with one look. If your distance is to small, you can’t see it at once, you always have to look at several parts of the object to get it and you are loosing the overview. When working at an easel you can step back to get a larger distance to control the drawing. So, when doing a large drawing you are always running forward and backward in front of the easel, performing a kind of dance.

Most old original drawings are relatively small (e.g. drawings in the “Kupferstich-Kabinet here in Dresden). Even drafts of large frescos were made in small formats. The reason was the same, in a small format the whole artwork could be viewed at once and this guaranteed, that the draftman had full control over his composition during drawing. Later the drafts were copied and increased, for example with the “grid-method”.

Of course you can draw very well without a drawing-board. Having no board is no reason not to draw. A table with an even plate will do it too.

And mind §1!

A short hint: If possible you should get the light from the opposite site of your drawing hand. On the foto the light is falling from the draftsman's right side on the paper and he is drawing with his right hand. This is not ideal as his hand is making a shadow on the paper just at the place where he is drawing.



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