Whether you paint in oils, acrylics or watercolors, or draw with colored pencils or pastels, you need some sort of support to hold your painting surface at the correct alignment. Using improper or ill-fitting devices can hamper your ability to create your art and can also be uncomfortable or injurious.
A proper easel or table for your style, preference or even physical limitations is important. Whether you work in a spacious studio or a corner of your bedroom, find an easel that fits both your needs and budget; you’ll be happier and more creative when you surround yourself with the proper equipment.
Choosing The Right Easel
When it comes to selecting an easel that’s suitable for your work, you’ll find a zillion options. You can narrow down that selection by answering a few questions. How much can I spend? How much space do I have? Do I need portability? Do I want to stand or sit while painting?
Most of us are on budgets, so finding the best price is always a challenge. Similar styles of easels can vary greatly in cost and quality. Compare apples to apples and research the pros and cons of various easels. Do you really need an easel that can hold very large, heavy canvases? Will you be taking your setup outdoors and need an all-in-one easel/painting taboret?
Think about what and how you paint. An easel can be a long-term investment and a constant companion, so take your time deciding on an easel that’s right for you.
Desktop easels are great for smaller-sized paintings. You can use them on a desk, so you can sit while painting, or place them on a counter and stand while you work. They’re also good for painters who have limited space. You can use them on any flat surface and are easy to transport to classes or move from room to room.
Artists who must sit to work because of physical limitations or artists who spend hours doing fine, detail work often find this style of easel preferable to larger floor models.
Floor easels can range from a mammoth piece of furniture that dominates a room or a light-weight tripod that folds down to take up only a few inches of space. There are basically two styles of easels: H-frame and A-frame models, with countless variations and amenities.
If you’re planning on creating heroic, larger-than-life pieces, consider an H-frame easel. Well-built models can hold very large, heavy canvases and can come with loads of adjustable clamps and gears for securing large supports safely.
Taking up less space, weighing less and far more portable, A-frame easels are more popular than H-frame easels. Sure, owning a hulking behemoth H-frame easel is a common day-dream for many artists, but they take up loads of space and can be very costly and unnecessary.
A quality A-frame easel can hold substantial weight and size. A light-weight, traveling A-frame easel is easy to store and carry. This style of easel is the choice of most artists, both student and professional.
French Or Travel Easel
If you’re an on-the-go artist who often paints plein air or spends a lot of time wrangling supplies to and from workshops or classes, a travel easel may just be the choice for you.
These all-in-one paint centers allow you to carry everything you need for a painting session in one compact and easy-to-move unit. The legs fold up and there’s storage space for paints and brushes. Made of either aluminum or wood, these versatile easels have countless options that may be included, such as a palette, canvas carrier, wheels, shoulder strap or water bucket.