I bought a new drawing board this week. I think it might be the only drawing board that I’ve ever purchased in my entire life. That’s quite odd when I think about it.

I’ve had two drawing boards that I’ve used for years and years. Decades and decades even. The first one is an actual board. It’s about twenty two by fourteen inches and is a scrap piece of one inch plywood that I first used as a drawing board in junior high. I finally retired it this year as it has gotten too chipped and splintered over the last thirty years to be very useful. A long life for a piece of scrap wood.

The second drawing board I’ve had since High School. My mother got it for me. At a garage sale I think. At twenty four by twenty inches it’s the bigger of the two and is still in use. It also came with a T-square and has slots underneath for storing the T-square. It always just got in the way and wasn’t a very good T-square so it was tossed long ago. I don’t think I own a T-square anymore since I’ve had a parallel rule on my drawing table since college. So much for T-squares.

I don’t use a drawing board much these days for drawing. I generally prefer to stand and draw and do so at my drawing table most of the time. I use the drawing board mainly as a place to put my laptop as I sit and type or surf the internet. Sometimes I’ll sit and draw but not too often. That’s probably why I haven’t gotten a new one in decades.

Over the years I have also had a couple of those ubiquitous art school twenty two by twenty six inch Masonite type drawing boards with the built in clips. I barely count those because I’ve never liked them and they don’t stick around for long. They are way too thin to be used on anything but a table and have too much bounce back if put on an easel or across the arms of a chair. That and the die cut handle and top clips always manages to get in the way. Since they’re cheap and every one semester art student has one there are plenty of them tucked away in closets and every so often someone gives me one.

My new drawing board is one of those white, super heavy, laminated, particle board drawing boards. It’s not very portable. But that’s okay because it will serve a totally different role than my old one. It’s a big twenty four by thirty six inches and is going to be used on my easel. Y’see, I’ve got it in my head to do some big drawings. I have big paper. I’ve always had big paper. I buy it in twenty two by thirty inch sheets but I’ve rarely done drawings that big. Usually I cut the paper down to a smaller size before drawing on it.

I’m not even exactly sure what I want to draw. I just know I want it to be big. I could have cleared off my drawing table and dropped a big piece of paper on that but it’s kind of hard to draw that way. An easel is definitely the way to go if you want to draw big. You can approach the drawing from better angles, literally, and see things a whole lot better.

When making one of my large paintings I’ve always drawn on the canvases which were on my easel so this really won’t be new for me but it will be different. An underdrawing for a painting is preliminary. This will be a finished drawing. At least I think so. I haven’t actually finished anything yet.

I’m may have to replace my easel one of these years because it’s not very convenient when I have to move a painting up or down. It’s an easel that I built myself right after I graduated college because I had no money for a store bought one. It has served me well since 1989 when I built it out of scrap wood. I designed it myself in a fit of inspiration and it is solid but a nice crank handle for moving a painting sitting on it up and down would be good.

This new heavy drawing will probably be more a pain to move up and down. The way I built the easel means that I have to loosen two wing nuts on the bottom beam that the painting sits on, move the beam and the painting up and then tighten the wing nuts. Not the most difficult thing in the world but not as easy as a crank handle that most professional store bought easels have. Turn the crank and the painting raises or lowers.

So there it is. My first new drawing board in a long time. Now I wonder when and what I’m going to draw.