Unusual Essential Drawing Tools
expect to see certain things on an artist's drawing
desk: pencils, paper, erasers, makeup brush . . .
. Wait, did I say makeup brush?! Some items on my
desk may seem out of place, but they all serve a useful
purpose. Below I've compiled a list of unusual objects
found on my drawing desk that I find essential when
on and find some tools you won't want to be without!
I keep a small, 4x6 mirror at my desk to check the
perspective in my drawings. A mirror forces your eye
to see inconsistencies in the perspective, and can
help you correct them. I like having my small mirror
nearby so I don't have to leave the room to check
the drawings. My mirror has a magnet on the back,
which I find convenient since my desk has metal legs.
I can attach the mirror to the side of my desk to
keep it out of the way.
I have several soft, fluffy make-up brushes handy
for removing eraser shavings and excess graphite or
charcoal. I find them indispensable. Really any soft
paintbrush will work, but I like full, round blush
brushes better. They will not smudge drawings like
swiping with your hand. Also, brushing with some pressure
across a graphite or charcoal drawing creates some
soft blending effects. I try to keep my brushes separated:
some are used for blending and others for removing
shavings. The brushes used for blending hold some
graphite in the bristles, so I don't want to accidentally
swipe them across a work in progress. All the brushes
need to be washed occasionally in soapy water.
Well, maybe this one isn't so unusual, but you will
find it essential! I have a couple magnifying glasses
on my desk. One is the typical handheld style, the
other sits on a pedestal and has arms that clasp a
picture and hold it in place. This is perfect for
looking at reference photos and catching small details.
I use the handheld magnifying glasses to look at my
drawings if I find a flaw in the paper, need to erase
a small area, or want to critique part of my drawing.
Ok, again it's not unusual to find this item on an
artists desk since we often need to cut paper down
to size. However, it is unusual to use this as a drawing
tool, not just a paper cutter. An Exacto knife can
be the perfect tool for adding small highlights or
removing stubborn marks. This method only works on
thick paper. I prefer Strathmore Bristol 300 series
or Mixed Media 400 series paper. These thick papers
allow you to remove some of the surface of the paper
without causing serious damage. For example, when
I want to add small highlights to an eye, and the
eraser is too big, or not fully removing the graphite,
I use the point of the Exacto knife to make small
cuts in the paper and create highlights. I have also
used this method when I have accidentally indented
my paper and the graphite is embedded below the surface.
Scratching lightly with the Exacto knife loosens the
graphite and lets me fully erase it.
you have some unusual tools on your drawing
desk too? Tweet me @NHamiltonArt, I'd love to hear