Photos + Video

Slanted worktops save the day. And the Neck!

People who draw a lot know that the neck and the shoulders need to be spared. Working on a flat surface inevitably causes problems in the long run. And still all artists know the pain because many of us don’t sit behind slanted drawing surfaces enough.

Drawing Table Hack : 1 Reeves workstation + 1 Studio Designs Storage Tray in two halves = wonderful!

I was one of those. And since I work with watercolor a lot, I don’t always want a slanted work top. I don’t want any wet washes to run down into other wet washes. Not all the time at least. But the Storytelling course I’m in at the moment has put me into drawing mode. And whether it’s on paper or digitally, I really needed my work surface to climb up a little.

Not just a matter of perspective, but perspective matters

Also, working on a slanted worktop improves your view on your work. The perspective simply changes when you hold your work surface upright, or more upright than flat. If you’ve never noticed, it’s worth a try to draw one and the same thing once on a flat surface and then on a slanted work surface. You’re bound to see a difference!

Work with what you have! Until it doesn’t.

I like to work with what I have if I can. So, I took out my Reeves A2 workstation, which I always have at hand. It provided a slanted work top allright, but it had become a little rickety after about 12 years. And also…my pencils would keep rolling off…bounce on my desk…and then onto the floor. It would break so many leads. Super annoying. And costly too, considering last week two Luminance pencils fell onto the ground and broke their leads. Which was when I needed a solution INSTANTLY!

Metal Storage Tray, foam inset and mesh swivel cup + Reeves A2 drawing table

So, something new then?

An art store I order from regularly had beautiful drafting tables on sale. They were functional, kinda slick and had awesome options for storage on the sides. I immediately imagined all my problems solved. Only…I didn’t really have space for another table in my studio. And I didn’t want to get rid of my wooden reading table, nor of my piano or of the bird. Then I figured I could saw a piece out of my desk and shove the new drafting table right in there. It was an option. But then again…working with watercolor so often…my gut feeling said ‘no’.

Not old, not new…hack time!!!

When the gut feeling says ‘no’, other things start stirring. And I noticed that the storage trays I noticed on the sides of the drawing tables were also for sale without a table. They weren’t cheap. And way too big for my Reeves workstation. But if I could cut it in half and fit it to the sides of my drawing board…..?! I ordered one to see if it would work and then noticing the weight of the tray I realized it would be too heavy for the rickety workstation. So I took out the wooden stick that held it together and replaced it with a round steal 8mm beam And my husband screwed a small wooden beam on top of that to spread forces over left and right stand equally. It had made the table so strong we could sit on it!

Metal Tray storage on the side of the A2 Reeves workstation with the cut foam inset for copic markers and the mesh swivel cup. On the left small drawing chest with inks, cellphone holder and water.

The Cherry on the Cake

The next day the storage tray arrived. It looked amazing. Super sturdy, heavy and high quality. Great! Only, the cups in it didn’t swivel the way I had expected. Although that turned out to be no problem at all. And the metal saw went through it much more easily than expected and a little sanding paper took away any sharp edges. So within no time I had the perfect drawing board on my desk and my desk was still in one piece. Also…the tray comes with foam art supply holders. I felt they were too big for my liking. No problem. We sharpened the meat knife and that too went through it like butter.

Only one problem left to sort. Can I pick your brain a little?

The only thing I’m looking to fix now, is a little something to hold my ink and small water jar horizontal. Working on it! But if you have a good tip…it’s more than welcome!

Video time!