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The Slanty Professional Cleanup Angle Method

posted in Home Jabber on March 24, 2006

I wonder, do cartoonists primarily keep their drawing tables at angles so they don't clutter up with CRAP? Because that's about the only thing I got out of my latest attempt to keep the table at a significant angle. Maybe this points to the fact that I've never taken an art class in my life, but the only argument for doing this I can remember is that it keeps your drawings from coming out "at a slant".

alec drawing

I would never have thought of it until meeting Alec (who draws unlike any cartoonist I've ever seen: nearly vertical), but I guess it can also help with back problems. Makes sense when you think about it. Crouching over for many caffeine-pumped, headphone blaring hours would definitely hurt if you've got back problems.

For me, all it does is turn me into a neurotic maniac trying to keep things from sliding off the table onto the floor. Ink bottles, cups of tea, water tubs, bowls of chili, ink-soaked brushes and nibs rolling all over, etc. But you know what? If I don't have this self-regulating cleaning schedule, my desk becomes a mental junkyard within days. Receipts, scraps of notes from two years ago that have "something decent somewhere", rags, broken rulers, all those pens I never use, three pairs of scissors, three half-finished sketchbooks "I hope to get back to someday", etc etc.

nate drawing

The only thing that really separates a $150 drawing table from a $10 goodwill table is that it ELEVATES. That it's CONFIGURABLE, right? And there must be a POINT for that elevation.. I have often tried to lift up my drawing desk to a respectable angle, feeling like it's the first step of "getting real" with my drawing. NOW I'm going to be a badass cartoonist, respected and envied, door dented from all the voracious, high-faluting illustration solicitations. My computer will collect dust and become a quaint reminder of my most recent temporary infatuation with technology. "Imagine that! I used to write BLOG ENTRIES once a week for YEARS! Hahahaha, what the hell was I thinking? How is THAT going to upgrade my obituary?"

Yet my computer has rubber feet, and is just about the only object that can sit comfortable on my (uselessly) elevated drawing desk. Go figure.

2 comments on this entry

Nate (I love that picture of me :) Yeah, I got the Alvin FOLD-O-MATIC which will be the only drawing board I use for the rest of my life. It can go from 0 degrees flat to 90 degrees vertical (and everything else inbetween) at a variety of heights. And it's SUPER easy to adjust.

I've taken to actually setting it to different slopes and hights depending on what I'm working on. If I'm doing a watercolor painting I make it flat (so the colors don't bleed down the page) but if I'm penciling it goes back to like 80 degrees (for my bad back). Also sometimes lately I've put it WAY up so I can STAND while I draw!

The flexibility is really great and I know I will never be able to go back to a crappy non-adjustable drawing table. It was the best $300 I ever spent!

Alec 3/25/06

Also, check out these awesome back-saving contraptions that Dave Cooper uses...

Alec 3/26/06

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