Drawing easels have been around for millennia, beginning with the ancient Egyptians who created elevated platforms to write their hieroglyph tablets. Yet, to this day, artist’s easels are still used more commonly than you think for drawing and painting ease.
What is The Best Artist Easel?
As the name suggests, an artist’s easel is defined to be a lot like a car model, is essential, it all comes down to practicality and purpose. You can go cheap or expensive, but the real question is how it suits your drawing activity.
There are many styles to choose from. There are so many easels on the market right now. This guide will help give you a clear idea of what kind of easel is better for you and why.
Just like all the materials you use for drawing, an easel needs to reflect your style with plenty of purposes. Then, after all, is said and done, I’ll give you lots of insightful tips on which easels will enhance your ability to draw with ease and confidence.
What Kind of Easel Should I Buy?
I suggest The H Frame easel has several advantages over light wait portable alternatives.
Firstly in my experience, it is suited to the mounting of more significant varieties of hardboard or canvas. This is excellent for artists or college students looking to produce more ambitious artwork in size, weight, and scale.
Artists, teachers, or students can take advantage of larger studio spaces without worrying about storing larger heavy pieces of equipment.
Here is a complete list of the several Easels you can Buy. Describing the numerous aspects and features available:
|Meeden Artist Easel||H Frame Easel||13.1kg||Wood||0-90 Degrees||237cm|
|Daler-Rowney Portable Easel||Portable Easel||0.76kg||Lightweight Aluminium||No Tilt Function||84 cm Board|
|Meeden Studio Sketchbox Table Easel||Table Top Easel||4.08kg||Beechwood||0-130 Degrees||Holds Canvas Size up to 34″|
|Martin Rolling Wooden Bench-Style Artist Easel||Bench Easel||962g||Elmwood||No Tilt Function||Holds Canvas Size up to 24″|
|Coronado Large Wooden French Field Easel||French Easel||5.3kg||Beechwood||0-90 Degrees||Holds Canvas Size up to 34″|
|Meeden Artist Portable Field Easel||Field Easel||2.01kg||Lightweight Aluminium||0-90 Degrees||Holds Boards up to 15.5″|
|Lea Radial Easel||Single-Mast Easel||6.7kg||Oiled Beechwood||Tilting Facility Available||240cm x 182cm|
|Belle Vous Wooden Tabletop Art Display Easel||Display Easel||740g||Wood||Tilting Facility Available||23cm x 30cm|
In a nutshell, easels are priced differently based on the size and materials used to construct an easel. You might be looking at buying a Ferrari-level easel or some bargain-basement easel. Whatever the case might be, look to your gut instinct for a design that fits your schedule and style.
Are you using it for traveling or for using it at home? Perhaps you might like a portable easel that can be taken everywhere?
Before you let that money in your pocket burn a hole, the number one rule is always going to be quality over price. Find materials that will become a lifelong partner for your drawing needs. Before you learn which is the best drawing easel for your money’s-worth you want to know what it can do in return.
Let’s start with the workhorse of the industry that is found in every prestigious art studio or drawing school. The H-Frame easel is named for the rectangular shape that allows more options for artistic activity.
These are much sturdier than most easels and will obviously be heavier from the material used. Most of the professional versions are made from wood. Even when they collapse for transport, H frame art easels are harder to move around than A-frames.
There are also single-mast easels that make transport faster than H-frames often will. But if you’re looking for a studio-quality easel that allows you to make precise drawings and adjustments to canvases, an H-Frame will give you more features for holding art supplies and fine-tuning the height level.
Expect that any H-Frame is going to be a lot more expensive than any other easel you buy.
These are loads of fun no matter what type you buy and are meant to take with you on location. The legs are adjustable and work just like a camera tripod does. They also make an excellent tent frame for little kids when you’re not using it for drawing- true story!
I highly recommend getting a portable easel when you go to the park or on vacation to do drawing in the wild.
Many of these designs are compact enough to fit into their own storage bag and can fit all of the drawing supplies you bring along.
Depending on the model you buy, the price will be very affordable and is still light enough to carry it less of a burden.
Don’t let this general term scare you, as it’s really used to describe an art easel that is used for drawing or painting. It doesn’t fall into a specific category for all the obvious reasons.
Depending on the type of easel you want, if you ask someone in an art store about art easels, they’ll show you a complete selection. This is good but doesn’t tell you what kind is suitable for your application.
The excellent part about looking at art easels is best suited for your height and what you decide to use them for. Looking at an art easel in person also gives you a chance to pick it up and feel the weight. Will it be good for traveling or keeping at home are obvious questions you’ll want to explore.
Choice of materials is also critical if you have a heavy hand while drawing. Never buy an easel that you can’t see in person first.
Tabletop Art Easel
I love these kinds of art easel for working at the table when you spend long periods sitting down. This is excellent for making life studies when you spend those exhaustive 20 or 30-minute drawings.
Standing up is fine if you have comfortable shoes, but some projects are better when you can be as comfortable as possible. The only downside to a tabletop easel is not having adjustability to the level.
You might need to find a tabletop or chair to adjust to fit the height level accordingly. The advantage of a table has more space to put your drawing supplies next to your work area.
If you can find a model that is a combo tabletop easel that comes with a tripod attachment, you might have a fantastic hybrid. These are harder to find but not out of the realm of being a practical 2-in-1 easel to keep an eye out for.
This variant is unique unto itself for reasons that are pretty obvious once you see it. Combine a sitting bench with a painting easel, and you’ve got the classic-looking bench easel. It can be portable enough to take with you outside and perfect for using indoors too. These are rather clunky in terms of taking up space, but as long as you find a collapsible version, it can stand behind a door or in your closet.
The bench section is excellent for straddling like a horse, and the picture sits in front of you. You also want to find a model that gives you adjusting freedom; otherwise, your canvas or sketchbook will sit at a height that’s hard to draw onto.
Another tip is to look for a drawer that sits under the bench or under the easel itself. You want to have all your supplies close to you for convenience.
Now we’re talking, these easels are meant for the true painters who love to bring their supplies wherever they go.
The plus side is that you can use a French easel design to your advantage by keeping drawing utensils in the convenient drawer underneath the easel. Some of the newest designs also have a slide-out tray that pulls out from the side. These tripod frame stands are great for all-purpose locations indoors or outdoors.
They’re noticeably sturdier than most easels and make a steady frame that won’t budge or wobble around. Because they are slightly heavier than portable easels, they have a shoulder strap to carry them around.
The price tag will also be more since the design is built to last rather than being a comfort to carry.
Field Art Easels
Think of this as the alternative to the French easel. Due to the lightweight design and portable design, it was meant for. It’s a simple setup that allows you to put up your easel in a minute or less.
If you’re on the go, this makes an excellent addition to move around from place to place without even folding it up. Just grab it by the tripod neck and move to another location within seconds.
You’ll find most of these easels are made from thin wood that has adjustable legs, but most of the aluminum versions are just as sturdy.
They’ll fold up to fit into a backpack to a carry case that’s sold with them. If field study is your thing, you’ll want this to add to any go-to bug-out bag for days when you want to make great scenic pics.
Single-Mast Art Easel
This looks like the type of frame that would be good to hold a Bass Cello, yet the single-mast easel is meant for areas with little room or limited space. Not that you’re painting yourself into a corner, the single-mast easel is convenient for sketching on a patio deck or in a basement.
Now, as sturdy as the traditional H-Frame; so it will be lighter to move around. The advantage is that it doubles as a drawing easel and display easel.
It will have adjustment limitations, so look for models that allow you to move your drawing or canvas up and down the vertical shaft. The best advice is to keep it somewhere close to the middle of this easel since the balance will be slightly off if you raise a canvas too high.
The standing feet aren’t designed to counter side to side wobbling too much. You can always add exercise leg weights on the feet to help stabilize them further.
These are easels that aren’t meant to do any drawing on at all; they’re way too fragile. They don’t have any space for putting paint or drawing supplies and lack any shelf to put these materials. There are hybrid easels that double as a display model depending on your artistic senses.
Some artists I know like to put their finished work on an easel that appears to have just been finished.
It’s all about appearances in some cases, so your easel can double as a presentable display that looks more like a work-in-progress piece.
Here you can see Chet Tzar giving an interview with an unfinished American Gothic-inspired piece [https://beinart.org/blogs/articles/interview-with-chet-zar]. You can see his easels are very tidy, which fits the often dark tones of his incredible work.
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Compact Vs Heavy-Duty Art Easels
This is always going to be a recurring problem that’s associated with bulky and heavier easels. I’d like to sum this up to Loreena McKennitt’s quote at her recent concert regarding what kind of Harp she plays.
To everyone’s surprise, she mentioned that (at that time she was asked), it all depended on the kind of car she was driving. So when space is limited, you can only take what fits in your trunk.
Compact art easel don’t have to be flimsy by any means, but finding a sturdy version should be on the top of your list.
You never know how strong the wind will be if you’re outside or just moving your easel from room to room. Keep in mind that you’re easel should be as bulletproof as they get in terms of durability.
How Do I Choose An Art Easel?
Ask around with artist friends is what I can advise to the best example of what to look for. If they share similar drawing skills or are in the same category, you can learn a lot from what they say.
But if you like combination drawing and painting, look for an easel that gives you the most flexibility between easel models. Built-in storage is what I like the most, so I have a space for everything.
Then you can add on customized features like a cup holder for your coffee or a stand for your smartphone.
Look for a model that allows you to add as many things as you can clip-on, add screw eyes, and Velcro. You can do a lot with drawing supplies that have adhesive Velcro attached to them.
Adjustable Art Easel
Make it easy on yourself and save a lot of back pain in the process. Having the option to adjust the art easel to the desired height is essential no matter what drawing medium you’re working with. Just like Ron Popeil says, set it and forget it’ [https://tenor.com/view/ron-popeil-set-it-and-forget-it-set-it-forget-it-showtime-rotisserie-gif-19856802] so you can get down to serious sketching in record time!
Note that the cost will slightly be higher when you have anything adjustable. That’s just how it works with a quality art easel.
Without adjustable easels, you’ll end up struggling to reach higher and lower spots on your drawing. Ideally, your picture should be set between your navel and your neck.
To reach areas that aren’t putting stress on your arm all that much. The same applies to piano players who must keep their wrists straight while playing the piano keys. That’s why the seats for pianos are usually adjustable for height considerations.
When you look at any product on the internet, you can’t tell how sturdy the final easel will be. This is why you have to check the customer comments to better understand how well it holds up. Many times, a picture will be deceiving and make you think it’s sturdier than it appears.
It can be a total disaster if you don’t find a suitable easel made from solid wood, so check the product’s total weight.
Just be wary of shipping weights, as this will tack on more shipping costs than you expected. Sites such as Craigslist, eBay, and social media outlets are good places to find local finds that can be cheaper.
They can also be a lot sturdier than the aluminum or cheap wood laminates used in many imported overseas easels.
Light Weight Easels
Are you doing drawing in an area that doesn’t have great light, or is it getting to the point past the magic hour? Perhaps you want to have an easel that has a light mounted onto it?
There are ultra-lightweight drawing easels that come with a built-in LED bar lamp. These are often battery-powered and will light up your entire canvas while you paint or draw a low-lit subject.
This is especially helpful if you’re using low-light conditions for filling in shadows.
You can find these lights are also great for display purposes and clip onto your easel stand Click Here to View information on Amazon.
Here’s a good choice that’s meant for musicians and has no flicker or blue-light hazards. It has a gooseneck attachment and is rechargeable. It can also be plugged in, but the battery life allows it to work for 10 hours before it starts growing dim!
There is no doubt that you want to have an easel that is as light as you can carry without struggling up a hill or through rough terrain. Unless you’re some reclusive hermit-like Ansel Adams, you can go ahead and struggle with heavy wooden tripods.
I’m guessing his Yosemite Sherpa took this iconic photo [https://www.davidsheff.com/ansel-adams] of him taking a photograph using a heavy-duty tripod. These days, the materials have improved and become very lightweight.
Being portable also means it can be stored in smaller carry sacks and store all your art stuff. Here’s an excellent example of a portable easel. Click Here to view the price on Amazon.
Large Scale Easels
Are you doing some big painting or drawing that is large enough for big canvases? Well, lucky for you, there are such easels that are perfect for handling that kind of weight.
Pictures that are at least 8 feet long need an easel that will stay standing, so you’ll want to consider an excellent and robust easel stand that will balance all that canvas and wood framing. This type of easel can weigh up to 80Lbs, so they’re not lightweight by a far cry. Click here to view this easel on Blick.
Expect that the cost will also be sizable, so starting at $650 will take more than searching for couch change. If you plan on doing any kind of large-scale art projects for long-term projects, now you’ll know what the best art easel used for this scale is!
Should I Use an Easel for Drawing?
It makes perfect sense to use an easel, so your hands are free aside from using drawing utensils. If you’re like me, I often use one hand for drawing and the other for holding an eraser or blending stump.
It always helps to use a line stick or ruler to get perspective lines onto your paper- faster. Instead of putting drawing paper onto your lap using a flat board, it gets uncomfortable real quick.
An easel just makes things hands-free, so you don’t need to worry about your paper blowing away. It’s also nice to have the paper suspended in front of you at an angle that’s slightly reclined.
This way, you can get close to your picture without getting glare from any light reflecting off of it.
Should I Use an Easel For Painting?
If you aren’t using an easel for painting, I will shudder to think you’re not taking the art of painting seriously. The first thing you learn is to work from an easel. It shouldn’t be substituted by leaning on the edge of a table or wall.
There’s too much chance it can slip while you’re painting, and Whoops! You get an excellent line of paint down your canvas! Many lunatics are saying you shouldn’t use an easel and are clearly asking for trouble.
Just ask this rocket scientist [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LDrxeod-i6M] that is telling people to ditch getting an easel in favor of painting against a wall instead… Seriously, give yourself some credit and spend the money it takes to buy an easel already!
Are Meeden Easels Good Quality?
You might not have heard one name before is Meeden, and they understand how enthusiastic artists tend to be.
They’re easily in the category of long-lasting and reliable easels without needing to ask why. They’re dedicated to art geeks like us and make products that are cost-effective solutions.
They’re also using Beechwood which is the wood they use for making cabinets and bedroom furniture.
It’s a hardwood best suited for being a lifelong art-related item to your drawing and painting needs. After using a Meeden easel from a friend of mine last summer, I’m sold on their quality and durability. I just wish my paintbrushes lasted as long as any Meeden easel will last over a lifetime!