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I’m just putting the finishing touches on my current drawing and I thought it would be a great idea to show you how I set up my table ready for drawing. When I’m working I like everything to be exactly in the right position so that I can just grab it at a moment’s notice without even thinking, so I’ll walk you through how I set up my table.

My Table Easel

Small Table Easel

Small Table Easel

First of all let’s begin with my table easel. I love my table easel because its easy to stand up, fold down or lay flat.

What’s on my Table Easel?

Table easel with artwork taped on 4 sides

Table easel with artwork taped on 4 sides

On my table I have the current drawing that I’m working on. I’ve taped it in on all four sides (using masking tape) so that it sticks to the board (and doesn’t move). I also have my reference photograph which is just clipped to the board.

My Right Handed Setup

Over to my right (because I’m right-handed) I keep all of my pencils, my craft knife, a pen eraser and an electric eraser. I’ve also got a lovely (mop style) paintbrush which is really good for brushing any excess erasings off my page. In addition I have a (small) ruler and a really large ruler here as well. This is because I’m working on a perspective drawing at the moment, I need a nice long ruler (for all the perspective lines).

Whats at the front of my desk?

In front of me I keep reference materials (for my current project). In this case I have my rough sketch that I created when I first began the art work. I’ve also got my wonderful perspective drawing that I prepared for this study ready for the final artwork. I just keep those handy in front of me so they’re easily accessible and I can reach them when I need some more information about my work.

The Computer I Use

Microsoft Surface Pro 3

Microsoft Surface Pro 3 (in normal desk mode)

The other place I have my reference material is on my computer screen in front of me. I really love my computer. It’s a Microsoft Surface Pro 3 and i really like it because:

  • It can detach from the keyboard
  • The screen can stand up (next to my table easel)
  • It’s got a beautiful screen resolution (a nice clear picture).

I leave that sitting next to my easel so I can refer to it easily (which I find is really good and handy).

The Paper I Use

Saunders Waterford Paper by St Cuthberts Mill and Derwent Sketching Paper

Saunders Waterford Paper by St Cuthberts Mill and Derwent Sketching Paper

What else have I got? Oh I’ve got paper (to the left side of my table easel). I like to keep a little pad of printing paper right beside me and also a pad of best quality paper ready for completing my artwork. I choose to use St Cuthberts Mill Saunders Waterford as the best quality paper for my final artwork.

I also have a little pile of just plain ordinary printing paper. I love to have that handy just for rough sketches or ideas. It’s just cheap paper and I know that I can use a lot of it if I want to. If I’m after a paper that’s got a slight bit more texture and is slightly thicker and nicer to work on (for rough sketches or ideas) then I use my Derwent sketchpad.

Additional Items I keep on my Desk

I have some sandpaper ready for sharpening my pencils on if I need to, or for cleaning the tip of my paper stump. I’ve also got a plastic eraser, some putty erasers and my smaller Derwent hand held sharpener. This (smaller sharpener) is really handy for when I need a shorter but very sharp tip. I use my Derwent Superpoint Sharpener for creating a really long sharp point which is great for various techniques in graphite pencil drawing.

Derwent Super Point Sharpener

Derwent Super Point Sharpener

Different Setups for Different Mediums

What I’m describing here is my graphite pencil drawing setup but there are different ways that I set up my table depending on which medium I’m using. I work with three mediums; charcoal, graphite, and colored pencils. My colored pencil tin is also sitting here on my desk ready for the changeover when I move into colored pencil.

Protecting my artwork

I also have a sheet of Glassine that I like to just pop on top of my image to protect it while I’m not working on it and I also stick a little piece of that to my hand which is very helpful (for keeping my paper clean as I work).

Coloured Pencil Storage

Pencil Buddy Storage by Derwent Products

Pencil Buddy Storage by Derwent Products

For my colored pencils I love my little Pencil Buddy (a pencil storage solution from Derwent Products). This is a wonderful item because I can store the pencils I’m working with in it very quickly and easily. There’s a really amazing fibre inside the Pencil Buddy. I’m not sure what it’s made of but it’s really clever because it just holds your pencils in place..

Sticky Tape

I also have some sticky tape which is very handy when I need to tape drawing papers together or when I’m taping my reference photos with some clear tracing paper over the top, that’s if I am seeking out the main construction shapes in a drawing. So sticky tape is important.

My ‘Spares and Useful Items’ Tray

I have a tray sitting on top of my drawers (to my right) filled with spare items to replace the ones that I’m using on my desk. This is so I don’t have to go scrabbling around looking for them in my drawers. In this tray I have spare eraser refills, a Sharpie Texta pen if I need that, scissors and different pieces of sandpaper (both rough and smooth). These are just items that I use and that I don’t actually have room for on my desk so I keep them up there (on top of my drawers) nice and handy.

My Spares and Refills Tray

My Spares and Refills Tray

More about my Drawers and Equipment Trays

I have two sets of drawers. In the top drawer I keep a wonderful little tray. Its actually a knife and fork holder from a picnic set. In here I keep all my charcoal equipment. When I’m ready to swap over from graphite to charcoal I just pull this little tray out. Its very handy.

My Charcoal Tray

My Charcoal Tray

I’ve also got a tray for graphite pencil equipment in there and when I’m finished my graphite pencils I’ll just pop those back into the graphite tray. It’s a really great way of swapping around the mediums.

Colored Pencil Storage Drawer Open

Colored Pencil Storage Drawer Open

Of course when I’m ready for colored pencil I normally set my colored pencils up right in front of me. I’ve got a wonderful set of draws that I like to use specifically for them. I normally store the colored pencils that I’m using for a particular project in a separate tray that fits in the drawers so they’re all set out nicely and neatly and I can choose them at a glance.

..and for cleaning up

I also have some paper towel to keep handy. Paper towel is really good for wiping up and cleaning my desk area.

Lighting is Important

Angle Poise Style Lamp with Daylight Bulb

Angle Poise Style Lamp with Daylight Bulb

I have a really good bright light source (an angle poise style desk lamp with a bright daylight bulb). I do prefer natural light so as often as I can I open the window and the curtains right up to let the natural light in.

My Bookcase

My Book Case

My Book Case

Behind me you’ll see my bookcase where I have so many wonderful art books. I’m continually adding to that collection and they’re very handy. I can just grab an art book to refer to right when I need it.

Thats my Desk!

So that’s how I set up my desk for drawing. If you have any questions about the way that I’ve set up my desk please just ask. How do you set up your desk for drawing?  Add a comment below. I’d love to hear from you.

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