I recently installed caster wheels on my drafting table. Like most old illustrators, I’ve had the same drafting table for like 25 years. Got it back in the late 90’s through a series of fortunate events while in art school. Was able to get my hot little hands on a nice adjustable Bieffe table that’s been part of my studio set up ever since. It’s a big heavy awkward thing that I’ve always set up and kind of left where it was.
It’s a great table, but over the years I cant lie, I’ve found myself using it less and less, mostly because nowadays the computer and iPad tend to take precedence if I’m drawing something.
Recently though, I was working on a gig that required making a large pencil drawing. I still prefer to draw on a flat or angled surface (as opposed to a vertical easel). Realized I was probably looking at spending a week or so at the trusty old table.
After getting it all set up to draw, I realized that the best lighting was above my easel on the other end of the room. I’d been thinking about putting the desk on wheels for years just to make it easy to clean around/beneath, but this presented the opportunity to finally take action! I hopped on amazon and found some heavy duty locking rubber caster wheels that fit the same holes as the rubber feet that were attached too the desk.
Installed them immediately, and oh boy! It’s been really cool being able to wheel my desk around and work in different areas of the shop. It made the drawing a lot easier and frankly kind of a nicer experience because I could wheel myself over to the windows when it was sunny, over to the easel if I needed bright light, and even in front of the tv when my stories were on.
Also, I share a studio with two English mastiffs, which if you are familiar, have a habit of shaking drool all over the place, all the time. By having the table on wheels, it was a lot easier to position things out of the line of fire which successfully kept random drool from slapping across it (which has happened more that a few times previously)
All in all, it’s been a really cool low cost way to update and renew an old standard piece of furniture.
Don’t really have much I can show art-wise at the moment, but here’s a little painting recently started of Bob, one of our mastiffs. He doesn’t like having his picture taken, so it can be a challenge to get a good reference shot of him, but he was hanging out in the boys room the other night, and let me snap a few good pics I thought were cool and could work off of. He’s such a character with that big floppy face.
Started with a rough basic block in and just did a transparent underpainting so far. Quick and dirty so far, Hoping to take it a bit further once its dry.
Wanna try to do a few larger paintings this year. Also gonna make more of an effort to get out and paint outside more. Might even wheel the table out once the weather gets nice again!
You guys have any fun art plans/resolutions for 2023?
Great article! Is that a Herman Miller chair…also how high does your chair go and how low? I have a Herman Miller…BUT mine does not go that high…I work big at times and have to sit on a ton of pillows or stand for a really long time. I have back issues and really need to get a more flexible chair. Let me know what chair is featured and how high and low it can go…Thanks so much!
it IS a Herman Miller BUT with an aftermarket drafting base! you can buy them online for like 150 bucks. totally worth it. I’m with you, its the only one I can do long stretches of time sitting in. at the lowest its base is about 2 feet high, if its raised its just under 3 feet. it has the foot rest you can adjust as well.
heres a link to the place i got mine from
Thanks so much!
I miss my Bieffe. Had to get rid of it long ago due to a series of moves and life events. I did get my hands on a similar Italian made table from a brand called Arnal. It is a smaller version of my Bieffe, which suits my space better now. Other than the size, they are identical in design and quality.
that’s good to know! I love this table, its beaten to holy hell but it still works great. I used to burn through those shitty cheap drafting tables every couple years until I managed to get ahold of this thing. its a tank. A ROLLING tank now! haha
Thats a great idea to put wheels on a draft table, I didn’t even know that’s was possible!
As for resolutions, I’ve decided to make them on a monthly basis this year and change as I go. I’m still struggling to make realistic goals for myself. I’ve been wanting to try to finish my over decade long dream comic with inks and watercolors but everything’s been kicking my butt lol.
Thanks for sharing! A nice table makes such a difference. I also love seeing how you render out the dog with such simple strokes, and yet it looks so lifelike.
I plan to illustrate some more stories, get faster at composition, and get help from my husband (after he’s back from work) more often to take care of our toddler in the evenings so I can create more art. It’s going to be a great year!