Nearly two years ago I did three little drawings of cats. This one is the largest and, if I remember correctly, it’s 5″ by 6″. They’ve been kicking around my studio ever since. I was hesitant to frame them because the frame, glass, and mat are either a pain to do myself or expensive to buy. So I came up with a new way the display drawings that I’m very pleased with. I especially like it for small drawings, but it would work for larger ones also – you’d just have a hard time displaying them in an easel like this one.
My first step was to cut the board for the backing. To size the board, I added a 2″ margin all around the drawing. So this board was 9″ by 10″. I cut it from 1/4″ thick hardboard (I’m lucky enough to have the woodworking equipment to do it) and applied spray primer (from the home improvement store) on both sides and the edges. Next I painted the board. The black is plain Burnt Umber. The front is more complicated as I built up color and texture with several layers and a variety of techniques. I was looking for a finish that would be visually interesting but wouldn’t compete too much with the drawing. The light streak that shows down the right side is a bit of iridescent silver that I applied all around the edges with my fingertip and then “pushed back” with a wash of Burnt Umber.
By the way, you may notice that the car’s eyes look very slightly green. That’s because I added the lightest possible coat of green colored pencil to the eyes. The rest of the drawing is graphite.
I protected the drawing with a good coat of spray workable fixative. then tore the edges for the look I wanted (helps to draw on a bigger piece of paper than you think you need!). To adhere the drawing to the board, I dampened the drawing, applied a coat of acrylic matt gel medium to the board, and pressed the drawing in place, rolling out any air bubbles. When all was dry, I applied a few coats of acrylic varnish.
Now I have a piece of art that I can either hang on the wall or display on a tabletop easel, and the “framing” was not expensive or difficult!