Tips for Selecting an Art Easel


    Sometimes that one thing is all it takes for the creative minds inside of us to come together. When it comes to drawing and painting, there is one thing we need in order to support our work, so that we can eventually display it. When you consider how inexpensive easels are, there is no excuse not to own one. Sometimes, the most straightforward things have the biggest impact.

    Easels come in a wide range of sizes and shapes, but they all ultimately give us the steadiness we need to paint or draw. Some of the most popular easel designs are made of wood and have a tripod configuration. Other common easel designs include an H-Frame and a hybrid that combines a tripod and an H-Frame. All serve the same function, but each is priced differently.

    When choosing your easel, practicality is the most crucial factor to take into account. We’ll offer you an overview of the various easel styles we have as well as some advice on how to pick the right easel for your needs.

    Types of Easels

    Art Easel, Easel with Blank Canvas

    There is a suitable artist easel out there for you because they come in a wide variety of sizes and shapes. They can be roughly divided into two categories: for use inside or outside. It’s simple to set up Portable Easels and Sketching Field Easels, which are perfect for outside work. Comparable to portable easels, box easels also have a storage area for your materials. Little and ideal for usage on a tabletop, Table Easels are wonderful if you only have a small workspace. The A-Frame and H-Frame easels are far more durable and made to be kept in a single studio area. Read on to learn more about the advantages of each of these easel styles.

    1. Indoor and Portable Easels

    If you’re working outside, portable easels are small and lightweight, making them simple to tote and transfer. Even some models have their own bag. We categorize them into three groups: Box Easels, Pochade Boxes, and Sketching Field Easels.

    Sketching Field Easels

    Sketching Field Easel, Woman Painting on Easel in Beautiful Poppy Field

    Sketching field easels resemble a tripod for a camera. They stand on three triangular-shaped legs. There will be a central column on which artwork can be placed where the three legs come together. Your work can be positioned on this column’s lower and upper canvas supports. Despite being excellent for outside painting, this kind of easel can be a little unsteady due to its design. They aren’t as strong as a studio easel because of their small footprint and light weight. It might be worthwhile to use a bag of materials to weigh down the easel’s center if you are painting in windy weather.

    Box Easels

    Box Easel, Box Easel with Canvas

    A portable, outdoor easel style known as a “box easel” has a drawer or other material storage space. They feature the same tripod like form, but with a box rather than just a central column. This box houses the central column and canvas supports in addition to providing space for your supplies to be stored. Box easels can be collapsed for simple carrying and storage, similar to field easels. Small canvas boards can occasionally be put in the box compartment if you’re painting on them. These easels are finished in solid wood.

    Pochade Boxes

    Box Easel, Pochade Box)

    The Pochade Box is a common piece of equipment for Plein Air painters even though it isn’t strictly an easel. They are among the easels we sell the most of. Artists can attach our Camera Tripod Mounting Bracket or use the boxes by themselves. We advise adding a piece of plywood to the base of the tripod if placing one there.

    2. Indoor and Studio Easels

    Easels made for indoor usage are more stable than easels made for outdoor use. The most durable easels we provide are Studio Easels, which are great if you have the room to set up an easel permanently. Table Easels provide a terrific working space that is simple to set up and that can be stored away when not needed if you work at a table that also serves as a dining area. Since they don’t take up as much room, radial easels are frequently used in tutoring and collegiate settings

    Table Easels

    Table Easel, Easel with Blank Canvas on Wooden Table

    If you don’t have a dedicated permanent painting place, table easels are great small scale easels. They are simple to assemble and collapse if you need to make room on the table for another application. These easels come in a variety of shapes, including miniature “H” frames, “A” frames, and solid-back easels. A few models also feature a little storage space, which is ideal if you need to quickly pack up your supplies.

    It’s crucial to take your intended work’s size into account while evaluating table easels. Since this kind of easel is normally used for small-scale paintings, it is unlikely that it will be appropriate for your larger projects. The lower canvas support on most versions similarly operates at a fixed height and cannot be raised or lowered. Especially if you’re working on really little works, it’s important to keep this in mind.

    Radial Easels

    Radial Easel, Canvas on Radial Easel

    The easels you would commonly find in art institutions and schools are called radial easels. They provide a more compact option to large studio easels. A short tripod supports the single center support, which is supported by a hinge. The two canvas supports may be changed to accommodate your work, and the easel can be titled to change the working angle thanks to the hinge. While not as stable or strong as a H or A frame easel, this type may be folded up when not in use and is significantly less expensive.

    A-Frame Easels

    A-Frame Easel, Wooden A-Frame Easel

    One of the two varieties of studio easels that we stock are A-Frame easels, sometimes referred to as “Lyre” easels. They have a footprint that is triangular in shape. The column and canvas supports are in the center of a “A”-shaped piece of wood that makes up the easel’s front. The easel is supported like a tripod by the main frame, which is balanced at the back with just one leg. The canvas support is at the angle of the two front legs on less expensive “A” frame variants. On more expensive models, you can adjust the angle of the column that supports the canvas. For tiny to medium-sized paintings, they work beautifully.

    H-Frame Easels

    H-Frame Easel, Wooden H-Frame Easel

    The strongest of all of our studio easels, H-Frame Easels acquire their name from the shape of their sturdy frame. Even the most active painters can maintain stability with these easels because of their largest footprints! An H-Frame is typically permanently erected by an artist in one location. They are more difficult to disassemble. You would have to designate a specific space for one. An H frame easel is an excellent purchase if you do have a large studio area.

    3. Convertible Easels

    Convertible easels also referred to as hybrid easels, resemble H Frame easels in appearance. The H frame is fully hinged, yet they both have square footprints and provide the same stability and sturdy frame. By doing so, the easel can be changed from an upright, standard easel to a completely horizontal surface. This is particularly helpful for artists who work across various media. Watercolorists can create clean washes without drips by selecting the horizontal option. It also makes applying a nice, even coat of varnish much simpler.

    Things to Consider when Selecting an Art Easel

    Easel, Wooden Easel

    It’s crucial to consider what you need from an easel before you purchase your first one. Where do you intend to utilize your easel? How big is your artwork? What painting media do you employ? What kind of paintings do you do? Would you want to sit down or would you be more comfortable standing at an easel? Do you have any concerns about accessibility that need to be taken into account? You must all ask yourself these queries in order to help you limit your options.

    1. Where to Use the Easel

    Your choice of easel will depend on the setting in which you desire to paint. You’ll need something small and portable if you’re painting outside. You might have more room for a sturdy easel if you have a large studio. You might need to transfer or store your easel while not in use in a spare room. You’ll need something compact or perhaps lightweight. You might only be able to use an easel that mounts to a table if you’re painting in a shared space.

    2. Size and Weight of Painting

    Only a certain height of surface can be supported by easels. Before making a purchase, please sure to double-check this. You may also need to take into account the volume of your work. Although the majority of easels can support canvases that weigh a lot, painters who use a lot of materials, thick paint, or collage may want to double ensure that their works don’t exceed this weight. It would probably be best to invest in a heavier studio easel if you frequently paint on heavy canvas.

    You should also consider the scale of your project and where it should be placed in respect to you. Make sure the lower canvas support extends high enough to hold your painting at a comfortable height, for instance, if you prefer to stand at your easel but work on a small scale.

    3. Medium of Painting

    To find the most comfortable position to paint on a particular area, you can move or tilt your easel. Different painting approaches can benefit from their ability to tilt. If you’re working with watercolors, you shouldn’t position your easel at a sharp vertical angle because it could make your paint run. Smooth washes will be simpler to paint if your easel is kept at a lower vertical angle or even horizontal.

    While working vertically on a watercolor painting, be careful because your washes could leak. Additionally helpful for painters who lacquer their work is horizontal tilting. Because of the angle, it is simpler to apply varnish in even, smooth layers. If you work in numerous painting sessions, tilting your work forward can be helpful. Your artwork will be less exposed to dust at a forward tilt, making it less likely that stray particles of fluff will adhere to it. Due to the fact that it enables extra dust to fall off the surface, this approach is also advantageous for pastel artists.


    It is definitely worthwhile to take your time selecting an appropriate easel. Nothing is more upsetting than spending a lot of money on equipment only to discover that it doesn’t live up to your expectations. Spend some time considering what you need from an easel. If you’re unsure of what you require, go back and consider some of the initial questions. 


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