Drawing and 2D Design Studios Health and Safety Guidelines

Practicing studio safety is a combination of four factors: having knowledge of the materials you are handling, understanding the environment (space) in which you are working, being aware of emergency procedures, and practicing common sense in any given situation.


Most of the materials that you will be using in this class have relatively low levels of toxicity, unless ingested. Eating and drinking is only permitted in designated areas.  If you have questions about materials, there are MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheets) forms located in binders in the room.  These outline the potential hazards of all materials you are using.  Pay special attention to the following:

  • Aerosols, including spray fixatives and spray adhesives: these contain fumes that are both toxic and flammable.  They should only be used outside.  Do not use them in a dormitory or apartment – not even in the hallway.  When spraying outside be careful that you are nowhere near a ventilation intake source.  Spraying near this will spread the fumes throughout the building.  It is also important to know that spraying fixative around an infant or child has been known to cause serious injury or death because of their delicate respiratory system.
  • Dust: when using charcoal, pastel, or any drawing material in a situation that produces a lot of dust (sanding to sharpen charcoal or conte, smearing etc.) do so only in a well ventilated area – avoid breathing the dust.  Additionally, it is advised that people not sleep in the room with dusty drawing materials (charcoal, pastel, etc.) present.  No not blow on your drawing to move the dust onto the floor.  Do whatever you can to keep the dust particles from being suspended in the air that you breathe.
  • X-acto Blades, mat cutters, etc: wrap that sharp end of a used blade a few times in some masking tape so that the person dealing with the trash does not get cut.  For your own safety, cover the blade with your kneaded eraser so that you won’t get cut if it is stored unprotected in your art box.
  • Markers: When using markers for drawing, be careful about the fumes given off by them.  If possible, stand/sit near an open window.


  • Do not work alone after hours, particularly at night or on the weekends.  You will be given permission so that you may use the drawing studio when classes are not in session.  If working at night or on a weekend, work with colleague in the class, bring a friend or roommate who can read or study while you work.  If you must work alone, make sure that someone knows where you are, and what your expected schedule is.
  • Know general safety procedures, evacuation plan, location of fire extinguishers, alarms and eye wash stations, etc.