For mere line drawings, it is unnecessary to use the best drawing-paper; and since, where much is used, the expense will be considerable, it is desirable for economy to procure a paper of as low a price as will be suitable for the purpose. The best paper is made in England and water-marked "Whatman." This is a hand-made paper. There is also a machine-made paper at about half-price, and the manilla paper, of various tints of russet color, is still less in price. These papers are of the various sizes needed, and are quite sufficient for ordinary drawings.
A drawing-pin is a small brass button, having a steel pin projecting from the underside. By having one of these at each corner, the paper can be fixed to the board; but this can be done in a better manner with mouth-glue. The pins will prevent the paper from changing its position on the board; but, more than this, the glue keeps the paper perfectly tight and smooth, thus making it so much the more pleasant to work on.
To attach the paper with mouth-glue, lay it with the bottom side up, on the board; and with a straight-edge and penknife cut off the rough and uneven edge. With a sponge moderately wet rub all the surface of the paper, except a strip around the edge about half an inch wide. As soon as the glistening of the water disappears turn the sheet over and place it upon the board just where you wish it glued. Commence upon one of the longest sides, and proceed thus: lay a flat ruler upon the paper, parallel to the edge, and within a quarter of an inch of it. With a knife, or anything similar, turn up. the edge of the paper against the edge of the ruler, and put one end of the cake of mouth-glue between your lips to dampen it. Then holding it upright, rub it against and along the entire edge of the paper that is turned up against the ruler, bearing moderately against the edge of the ruler, which must be held firmly with the left hand. Moisten the glue as often as it becomes dry, until a sufficiency of it is rubbed on the edge of the paper. Take away the ruler, restore the turned-up edge to the level of the board, and lay upon it a strip of pretty stiff paper. By rubbing upon this, not very hard but pretty rapidly, with the thumb-nail of the right hand, so as to cause a gentle friction and heat to be imparted to the glue that is on the edge of the paper, you will make it adhere to the board. The other edges in succession must be treated in the same manner.
Some short distances along one or more of the edges may afterward be found loose; if so, the glue must again be applied, and the paper rubbed until it adheres. The board must then be laid away in a warm or dry place; and in a short, time the surface of the paper will be drawn out, perfectly tight and smooth, and ready for use. The paper dries best when the board is laid level. When the drawing is finished lay a straight-edge upon the paper and cut it from the board, leaving the glued strip still attached. This may afterward be taken off by wetting it freely with the sponge, which will soak the glue and loosen the paper. Do this as soon as the drawing is taken off, in order that the board may be dry when it is wanted for use again. Care must be taken that, in applying the glue, the edge of the paper does not become damper than the rest; if it should, the paper must be laid aside to dry (to use at another time) and another sheet be used in its place.
Sometimes, especially when the drawing-board is new, the paper will not stick very readily; but by persevering this difficulty may be overcome. In the place of the mouth-glue a strong solution of gum-arabic may be used, and on some accounts is to be preferred; for the edges of the paper need not be kept dry, and it adheres more readily. Dissolve the gum in a sufficiency of warm water to make it of the consistency of linseed-oil. It must be applied to the paper with a brush, when the edge is turned up against the ruler, as was described for the mouth-glue. If two drawing-boards are used, one may be in use while the other is laid away to dry; and as they may be cheaply made, it is advisable to have two. The drawing-board having a frame around it, commonly called a panel board, may afford rather more facility in attaching the paper when this is of the size to suit; yet it has objections which overbalance that consideration.