View Full Version : Using an Easel With Paper Question

08-14-2010, 11:33 PM
Up until now I've been drawing with my pad of paper flat on my desk. I have an easel that I normally use for my paintings and I want to be able to use it to draw on paper too.

So I have a piece of glass that was from a frame that I have in the easel, but now I'm wondering how I can attach the paper to the easel? It's probably a silly question but I really don't know what I should do. I thought about taping the corners, but then there would be white triangles in the corners of all my finished works. I also thought about using binder clips to clip it at the top, but I want the paper to be in the middle of the glass.

What are some other ways I could attach the paper to the glass while I'm drawing? Folded tape behind it maybe?

Jo Castillo
08-14-2010, 11:43 PM
I turn over the paper and put artist's tape on the edges with about 3/4 inch sticking out. Then put it on a board or foam core that is larger and tape the pieces sticking out to the board. Then you can paint to the edges. I have a video on my blog. It is on the sidebar called, Preparing Surface for use on Easel. Works well for all things so you can paint all the way to the edge. I use it for Pastelbord, too. Have fun! (for canvas I screw it to a board)

08-14-2010, 11:47 PM
Just watched the video, very cool! That is perfect, thank you so much!

08-15-2010, 12:16 AM
May I make a suggestion? I would be hesitant to use glass as a support to paint on, even if it is temporary. If you apply too much pressure, the glass can break (it probaby will), and we all know how unsafe that is.

I use foamcore, which is light weight, sturdy, and pretty inexpensive. You can buy a large 1/4" - 1/2" thick piece at Michaels or AC Moore, and just temporarily tape your paper to that. You can cut it with a utility knife to a smaller size first, if the size you buy is too big for you. Maybe in half, so you get two pieces. It can be reused over and over again. I does get a little ugly, but who cares, as it is just for a temporary support. I usually have a few going at once, as I am usually working on more than one piece at a time. You can just leave the artwork taped to the foamcore until you are done.

You will probably enjoy working on your easel more than at your desk, as pastels are more like painting anyway. If you can set your easel to tip a little forward, and put a piece of aluminum foil along the bottom of your foam core before securing it (sort of like a tray), you will trap most of the dust before it gets to the floor. Tipping the easel forward a little also keeps your work from grabbing the dust as it falls off the paper (as you paint, it is inevitable that dust falls). It actually keeps your artwork cleaner.

I hope this gives you some ideas to work with. :D

Jo: Great taping idea. I don't always paint to the edge, sometimes I like to have an unpainted edge, especially if I'm matting, but sometimes I don't mat, and this would be great to use. Thanks for showing us this idea! :thumbsup:

08-15-2010, 12:22 AM
Thanks for the suggestion Chris! I thought about the glass breaking but with the way my easel is I doubt it will break. There is a wood support running across the glass behind it and it's pretty thick and sturdy glass. I'm really light handed too when I draw but it is only a temporary solution until I can find something better. I could probably put one of my canvas boards behind it to brace it even more.

08-15-2010, 11:50 AM
Wendy, while the glass works fine for you, you could test if you'd prefer a softer support, as pastel marks look very different depending on if the surface is hard or soft. A foamcore board has a very nice slight 'give'.

I've used glass too (worked fine), but then I 'cushioned' or 'padded' it with about 5 layers of some cheap drawing paper, and then put the pastel paper on top.

08-15-2010, 02:58 PM
I use blue masking tape, and tape the paper all around the edge to the support surface, with the tape going about 1/4" onto the the paper. When removed, this leaves a nice border around the piece, which I prefer to painting right to the edge. The blue tape releases easily from the paper.


Deborah Secor
08-15-2010, 03:55 PM
I do what Dan does, except the blue tape doesn't work for me. It puts a bright blue "mat" around the artwork that influences my color choices too much for me. I use white Artist's Tape or black masking tape. The 1/4" edge makes it easier to handle my artwork, and I can easily cover it with a mat or frame edge when framing it. In other words, if I'm using a 9x12" frame, I cut the paper 9x12" and tape off 1/4" knowing it will not be seen.

Personally I like a nice firm board with no give. I guess it's because I'm not a delicate painter! The Masonite boards with a handle hole and clips on them are quite lightweight but firm, and large enough for most of the paintings I do.

08-15-2010, 05:54 PM
Charlie - Thanks for the tip! I will definitely check out some surfaces with different levels of softness/hardness. I usually draw on the paper while it's still in the pad which I'm thinking would be softer than the glass.

Dan and Deborah - Putting tape around the entire edge may work for some pieces that I do, but I typically like to go all the way to the edge. For my charcoal commissions, I like to go to the edge unless specified otherwise by the client and for my personal work I like to do the same. Thanks for the tip!

Deborah Secor
08-15-2010, 06:27 PM
Understood, Wendy--but just in case someone else reads this thread in a search for answers, I thought I'd post how I do it. I also use bankers clips (http://www.google.com/products?q=bankers+clips&oe=utf-8&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a&um=1&ie=UTF-8&ei=hFtoTMn3IsG78gbE7qjGBA&sa=X&oi=product_result_group&ct=image&resnum=1&ved=0CCoQzAMwAA) and relocate them, when I want to paint to the edge. :wink2: