[BEHIND-THE-SCENES] This One Item Saved My Neck – And It Only Cost Me a Dollar

I had finally found the old sketch I did of Kelly the Mythical Princess that I wanted for a picture reference. It was in my black, hardcover sketchbook and surprisingly had the date on it. I could've sworn I drew her sword as well, but that could have also equally just been my intense imagination.

In order to make it easy to reference as I drew her for the first time since 2019, I took the clipboard I had with my word list for Japanese clipped to off from a dollar store photo display and used . . .

I had finally found the old sketch I did of Kelly the Mythical Princess that I wanted for a picture reference. It was in my black, hardcover sketchbook and surprisingly had the date on it. I could’ve sworn I drew her sword as well, but that could have also equally just been my intense imagination.

In order to make it easy to reference as I drew her for the first time since 2019, I took the clipboard I had with my word list for Japanese clipped to off from a dollar store photo display and used it to hold up and hold open my sketchbook instead.

That’s when it occurred to me – this little dollar store item that I got for $1 USD plus tax has been one of the most helpful items I have ever had and I haven’t even acknowledge it yet!

And that’s why I want to share it in this post – so you can also see what I’m talking about and appreciate this mighty item. It’s clearly the unsung hero of my equipment. It’s simple (and cheap) too!

The Braided Display Easel

The wonderful piece of equipment is black braided display easel I had purchased from a Dollar Tree originally for the purpose of displaying my planner. It was annoying having to keep looking up and down at my planner, plus it took up too much room when it was flat, so when I saw the easel, I figured…hey, why not?

Turns out it was helpful for other things too, which is great because I ended up swapping out my planner for a bullet journal instead.

There’s nothing particularly special about the easel. It’s a sturdy piece of metal, painted black. It looks like they twisted two pieces of metal together to create it. I’m sure you could buy them anywhere that has a good variety of items for displaying photos.

Examples of Usage

As I have said previously, I originally bought it to display my planner. I wanted to be able to look at my planner straight on, without having to look up and down every single time I wanted to reference it. It worked beautifully for that purpose and kept everything all nice, neat, and gave me a lot more room on my desk.

Although I do not use it with my bullet journal because it’s significantly smaller and I’m writing in it significantly more than I did with my planner, you could display your bullet journal as well if you have one and that would be a benefit to you.

I did store away the easel for a while because I didn’t have anything I was actively using that would have benefited from using it. Then I started making my spreadsheet for my vocabulary list for the Japanese language and realized it would be great for displaying what I printed and the definitions I rewrote. I clipped the pages (well, 12 at a time) to a clipboard and put the clipboard on the easel. It works perfectly.

When I was first making the spreadsheet, I actually had to keep looking down at the paper. As you might be able to imagine, my neck didn’t like that all that much. Once I procured a clipboard, I propped it up against my second screen. That worked significantly better, but the ideal of metal laying against my soft-to-the-touch second screen made me uncomfortable. So, when I finally found where the easel was buried in the corner of my work area, I fished it out and used it. It definitely was for the best…and looks aesthetically pleasing too!

As for my most recent usage, I used it to prop open and hold my sketchbook. I needed it open so I could reference the drawing while working on a new piece of artwork featuring that specific design of Kelly. Just like my planner and the clipboard, it helped clear space on my desk and prevented me from having to look up and down every single time I wanted to reference it.

Why do you need to reference your own drawing?

Unless I have been drawing the character and the design I’m drawing them in many, many, many times, I need to reference how I draw them. I forget things, even if I made them.

I don’t think this is unique to me either – that’s why people create character (model) sheets – so they can remember what they drew when the forget (in addition to helping others draw their character).

And What About Things That Close Easily?

If I have something like a small book that just doesn’t stay open easily, even on the easel, like a paperback book that I’m trying to take notes from, I just place a large binder clip on the spine to hold it open and put it on display. While not good for the spine of the book, it helps tremendously with taking notes.

You might be able to get a smaller easel as well, but I haven’t tried that (yet).

And This is Why I Thought of You

I thought this was a pretty helpful piece of information.

I can imagine you might be struggling with a similar problem, whether it’s for art, taking notes, or something else.

If you are, perhaps this is the (cheap) solution you need. If so, I’m happy I was able to help you!

Cool Shiznit for You to Do

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