View Full Version : Pastel Easel Recommendation Please!

09-15-2003, 11:55 AM

I need an easel reccommendation for my foray into Pastel. I was thinking about the Jullian Table Box Travel Easel, but I'm told it won't tip forward past vertical, but just TO vertical. Anyone know if this is true? If so, does it NEED to go forward past vertical, or would just vertical suffice? If I really should have that forward tilt, what would be the best table top or inexpensive free standing easel? I'm planning to use it mostly in the studio, not too much plein aire, but I'd like to know what you would recommend. Help!!!!


09-15-2003, 12:11 PM
Hi Mark, Well this is the best I can tell you as I'm mathematically handicapped :rolleyes: The easel part that holds the painting will tilt forward 20 degrees past 90 degrees forward (110 degrees I think), and it will lay completely horizontal. Actually you can just about make it go into any type of tilt you want by adjusting the legs. I have checked this with my Julian half box (which is the same mechanically except smaller than a full box :D ). Hope this helps... personally I think that this is a good idea for in home use as well as the field. If I'm not clear, please PM me and I'll try to get my husband tell you, he's a draftsman and understands these things. Sharon (ps this is an actual julian easel...I'm not sure what a Julian "table top" easel is?)

Deborah Secor
09-15-2003, 02:09 PM
Mark, in my personal opinion only, the Jullian easel is not the best buy. I have both a Jullian and a Mabef full French easel, both of which are over 10 years old, and the Jullian has fallen apart! The hardware has broken, the joints are wiggly, and its corners are weak. The Mabef is a little rocky, but its been used 2 to 1 and is in generally better shape.

If you plan to go out on location you'll need an easel with legs.

I would not recommend you use any French style easel in your studio with the legs down all the time as the spindly wood begins to bend after a while (personal experience here.) You can get one with legs and use it folded closed on a table with quite easily, then open up the legs on location when needed.

I don't find it necessary to tilt forward as I paint. It distorts the image too much for my taste. Again, personal opinion.

For an inexpensive, lightweigt, versatile easel I'd get a folding metal easel made by Winsor-Newton. You can make it table height or floor height. It just depends on what you want!

Hope this helps. Have fun deciding.

Craig Houghton
09-15-2003, 02:15 PM
I use a French style easel (legs, not a tabletop). When in use I keep the legs folded up and just place it on my studio table. However, this only works if you have the tablespace for the long body. I usually set the angle just a hair towards me past vertical -- it's just enough of a drop, and there isn't much distortion. If some dust hits the lower layers (thoughI 'finish' from top down usualy) I just very gently blow it away. I like having the full easel so that I can pack it up if I need to, and at the same time I get to enjoy the table-top aspects. I do find though, that I prefer a lighter easel when in the field, and I'd rather have an ultra-adjustable tabletop with a short behind for the studio. For now though, my full french easel works very well (now and then though, I do have to resink a screw or two).

hope this helps,

10-05-2003, 10:37 AM
Glad to find this thread! Does anyone have a recommendation for a table top easel? I have a drawing table already and would like to be able to work on it. Of course, it doesn't tilt to vertical.

In a related question, what do you use as a support for your paper? A sheet of masonite? Foam core board?


10-05-2003, 12:54 PM
This is where it is nice to have a spouse who can make things.... (here, Honey- read this)

What I want for Christmas:
Use my table-top easel as the starting point, but I want it taller, and with a drawer in the front. And the wingnuts on the inside have to go- put them on the outside where I can get to 'em easier. It needs to be deeper, too, with a "tackle-box" thing going on inside, so I can pack more stuff in. A smallish insulated compartment would be a very nice added touch- that way I can take along some sustenance. Battery or car-lighter hook-up would be a great thing to have if you're thinking of adding a place for a CD changer and some nice mini-speakers. I'll also need some sort of wash station- you know how messy I get. The leg height needs to be adjustable- please use standard head screws, though, as you know I can never find a Phillip's head screwdriver and end up with all the buuter knives stashed around in junk drawers. May as well add a small tool compartment, you know, and throw in a few pliers and stuff- you never know what I'll need.

Now, if you're gonna want supper in the evening, I'll need you to add a grill of some sort- and a place for a mini-microwave....

Btw: Remember! I have a 20 pound lifting restriction. How strong is balsa wood, anyway?

Deborah Secor
10-05-2003, 01:11 PM
Julie--Have your hubby send the spec sheet when he gets this done--I want one too!


Monica, I always use clear birch plywood for my boards. Very strong and smooth, heavy enough not to blow away on location and light enough to be useful the rest of the time. I got a full sheet (4'x8') and had it cut to my own sizes, so I have plenty of boards, some big, some small.

I don't like to use foam board because it tends to warp and get dents in it...


10-05-2003, 01:57 PM
I amhaving a wierd deja-vu moment - could have sworn I answered in this thread before, but I am not here!

Just to answer your q about working vertically - I NEVER work with my easel fully vertical, it would drive me NUTS. I do not see the point. My board, on my easel, has a slight tilt away from me, and that is fine - I can see the work well, can stand or sit to work, perched on a stool, and can also look over my shoulder to see the work in reverse in a large mirror, without distortion. All crumbs fall into the catch tray. If you want to see the kind of work I manage to produce, working at this very slight angle, have a look at my website!

In my studio, I have a proper artist's easel, the big heavy wooden kind, which never goes anywhere. On it, is a large wooden board, with lots of bulldog clips for holding the work.
For travelling, I use a very lightweight, portable, aluminium telescopic easel, fomecore boards because they weigh nothing, if they get dented I put several sheets of paper on top of each other; and all my travel kit is put together with weight in mind. Even my pastel box is lightweight, and everything packs into a rolling bag, including a lightweight aluminium seat with back. If you do not mind the weight, then a box easel IS useful cos it can hold all your pastels, but I generally travel very light, and all french, or otherwise, box easels, weigh quite a bit. You need to know what you want to use your easel for, exactly, before you lash out the cash.


10-05-2003, 03:54 PM
Julie, maybe your hubby can get into the art workstation biz! Wouldn't that be a wonderful setup . . .

Thanks too, Deborah and Jackie!

10-05-2003, 09:03 PM
Well, as it turns out, I wound up getting a Jullian French easel (full) and it's working great. On the table, legs folded, it's perfect, and it works great for location work as well. So far, so good!