Drawing Board – Uses and Benefits

The Uses And Benefits Of A Drawing Board

A Drawing Board is a flat, rectangular surface used for sketching, water coloring, pastels, architectural drawing, coloring/adult coloring, writing, journaling, and much more.  It is usually coated with melamine  or other materials for enhanced smoothness and non-absorption which provides the ability to easily wipe a surface clean of most art materials.  Drawing Boards also usually come with a clip or series of clips and fasteners to hold various types of paper in place so that they won’t move around while you work.  So that’s what a Drawing Board is, but why do you need one?  What’s wrong with a desk or a table?  Well pull up a chair and let me tell you!

Drawing Board

The Who and Why

Drawing Boards are useful to many types of artists and craftspeople whether they are professionals or hobbyists.  Most drawing boards are portable which is great when you want to draw something outside while looking at it; such as a piece of scenery, a building, a flower, or anything else.

They also enable you to draw where ever you feel comfortable; whether that be the couch, your bed, the floor, or even your front lawn.  In my personal opinion, one of the main benefits of using a drawing board is that it allows you to get away from the desk or table.  They also make a great surface for writing or journaling.

My many hours spent at a desk in my life have made me appreciate having the freedom to sit somewhere comfortable and take my work with me.  Not to mention the back problems that spending too much time at a desk can cause like compression of the spinal column (or overstretching of the spinal ligaments if you tend to hunch over), muscular tension of the back, shoulders, legs, etc. and more.

There is a ton of information out there about this due to the office desk culture we live in today so feel free to do some research on it but be warned that you may never look at your desk chair the same again.

The What –

Drawing Boards are generally made out of various materials including wood, high resin particle board, tempered hardboard, metal (usually aluminum), compressed fiberboard or cardboard and even plastic (rarely).

The top surface is usually coated with a compound (usually Melamine) that causes the surface to be extremely smooth and free of bumps.  The compound also provides durability and non-absorption to enable the surface to be wiped clean with a damp cloth after use.

Drawing boards typically come with one or two handle shaped holes cut out for ease of carrying and transportation.  They also tend to come with some type of clip system to keep the paper in place.  This may be a single press-and-release clasp at the top or a system of 5 clips all around the edges or anything in between.

Some come with an adjustable back bar which will allow you to prop the board up at various angles.

What material is best?  This is going to depend on your intended use of the board as the materials all have their pros and cons:

Compressed fiberboard or cardboard is very lightweight and great to travel with but is also a bit flimsy so you’ll have to take care of it and not lean on it while drawing.

High Resin Particle Board and Tempered Hardboard are very sturdy and make great drawing boards but tend to be a little heavier.  They tend to weigh an average of 8 to 10 pounds.  Still light enough to bring where you want to go but probably too heavy to
keep with you at all times.

What size do I need?  Drawing boards come in several sizes.  The most common are 23×26, 13×17, 18×18, and 18×24.  Keep in mind that a normal piece of paper is 8 1/2×11 and sketch pads are 9×12 (a few are 11×14).  So any size drawing board will be large enough for most tasks.  I recommend getting out a ruler and measuring out the sizes I listed to determine which size is right for you.

With or without the adjustable back bar? An adjustable back bar can be very useful in some situations.  If you are using your drawing board at a table or desk then the ability to raise the board to a proper angle can not only help you draw better but
can also reduce the risk of back pain since you won’t have to hunch over your board.  If you want to use your board on your lap then the adjustable back bar will fold flat against the bottom of the board so you can still use it that way too though it may be slightly less comfortable.  I tend to recommend an adjustable back bar.  The only real disadvantage is that boards with adjustable back bars tend to be $20-30 more expensive than boards without them.

Drawing Board vs. Drawing Table

So how do you know if you need a drawing board or a drawing table?  Well here are some things to consider:

Price – There is a quite a price difference between a drawing board and drawing table.  Drawing boards tend to cost between $15 and $70.  Some really high-end ones can cost $100-200.  A drawing table, on the other hand, costs between $100 and $400 with some high-end or custom ones costing more than a thousand.

Available space – A drawing table can take up quite a bit of space.  This works well for some people and makes a great addition to any craft or art specific work area, but could be a problem for people with limited space.  A drawing board only takes up a few square feet and, when not in use, can be stored away almost anywhere due to only being an inch or two thick.

Portability – Probably the biggest consideration will be portability.  If you tend to work at home and like a structured and routine work environment then a drawing table is probably what you want.  If you like to work on the go, or outside, or on the couch, or wherever you want then I would recommend a drawing board

Drawing Board

So, as you can see, drawing boards are a very useful tool for any aspiring, or professional, artist.  Whether you want to draw while laying on the couch or sitting by a lake a drawing board is the tool for the job.

Now that you are armed with all of the information you could ever want about drawing boards, you can feel confident that you will make the right decision when you purchase one for yourself.  Thank you for reading and I wish you all the best in all of your artistic endeavors.

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