View Full Version : Advice needed on Easels ...

06-01-2005, 03:02 PM
Next week is my birthday and hubby wants to get me an easel. Up to this point I have a small easel that sits on a table that I put my paintings on, or I sit with a board in my lap. I'd like a nice easel that I can use indoors or outdoors (hauling around with me). I don't want it to cost a lot of money since I'm still learning. Does anyone have a suggestion????


06-01-2005, 03:29 PM
Hi there. Dickblick.com has a good selection of easels that you can view and read what each one is best for.......I had the university easel and loved it.........now i use two tripod easels (tho not liking them much) but im limited on space.......I also use a box easel, which is a storage box with an easel attached to it....love it too, i use it on my drafting table and take it with me when i want to paint outside.....you will need something outside to put it on tho, i usually take a side table that folds up and is not heavy (got mine at walmart for 7 bux. ) other than that, i say do some research on all the easels you can and im sure youll find something that meets your needs.......

good luck and happy painting

06-01-2005, 03:35 PM
I had a wood easel with a very small tray at the bottom, and it would not go up far enough to hold a large board- I gave it away (regret it now as kids are taking an interest), so I just got a STUDIO RTA BASIC STEEL STUDIO EASEL , which Jerry's has on sale for $69.99. https://www.jerrysartarama.com/art-supply-stores/online/2107
I really like it because it is super sturdy- does not wobble at all, has a long tray for the boards, and the best part- has a lower and wider tray that you can line with foam to keep your working palette of colors in it! I got mine from the UT coop art store in Austin for $70, and at the time Jerry's art store in Austin had it for $140. So online is much better. I bought a half-french easel thinking I would use it outside, but it drives me nuts- the back leg sticks way out and I trip over it half the time. The tray is not that great for pastels either. I also have a table easel that has a wonderful tray at the bottom that holds all sorts of pastels, and a GUERILLA PASTEL PAINTER BOX, which holds 4 boxes of pastels (about 100) has a small easel (but is in back of the box so you have to reach. It sits on your lap, on the table, or with a tripod. I really do like this little box! But for the studio I would go with the first suggestion.

06-01-2005, 03:43 PM
jerrysartarama is ok, but they will kill you with shipping fees, now aswexpress.com is good, but i dont know how extensive their easel choices are........i just done looking at dickblick again and some of their studio easels are out of stock. Now on ebay they sell french easel all the time for a decent amount........you could look in the easel section there..........and see what they have.

I do agree with ya purples about the french easel.....some of them are a pain.......if you have a handy man around binkie i have a couple woodworking plans that are simple, for homemade easels.......pastel tables, drafting tables, etc.........i usually try to make my own artist furniture before i will spend bunches of money for already built ones.........its alot cheaper thats for sure .......anyway just my opinions :D

06-01-2005, 04:19 PM
Binkie, can you find a local art supply that has easels you can look at before you decide? That would really be the best, but if you can't do that, Blicks does have a vast array of easels...usually...not sure why Best's easels are all out of stock right now, but...

I won't tell you how many easels I have, counting the old tripod types I have leftover from my oil painting years...but the ones I use now are the french one I bought at Aaron Bros. on sale for $69, my Classic Dulce which is like a rock stablility-wise but not one you'd be able to move around or take outside, and the latest whih is the Hamilton, put out by Winsor and Newton...I like it because it's lighter and more variable in positions, etc. I also have the Bristol one which is black metal and was recommended to me by Kitty for outdoor use.

Finding the perfect easel for all uses isn't easy...hence I have collected so many, I guess. I like them all for one thing or another...it's just a matter of knowing just what you are looking for... The one major thing is STABILITY...don't go for anything that will blow over easily or scoot around as you work on it...the frustration level on those is NOT worth the cheaper price!

06-01-2005, 07:10 PM
I have a Da Vinci multi-media easel. I love it. I can tilt it to horizontal if I was to put down a layer of watercolor, and I can tilt it past vertical to shake the pastel dust off. It's not so large to be cumbersome, but takes a decent size canvas or board. And it's not expensive.


06-01-2005, 08:14 PM

Let's see if I can be usefull.
I have a Tallens (Washington model I guess) and I'm satisfied. It tilts forward beyond vertical, which is neat for pastels. It does not turn horizontal, not even near, so not good for watercolour, I guess.
It's A shape. Altough I hear that H shaped ones ar emore sturdy.
Be sure to buy one that is sturdy, not one of those cheap ones. It does not have to be expensive, just don't go for those made of pine.
In one thing I guess I'm right, it's unlikely that a good studio easel is the best for plein air, since it tends to be heavy.
For plein air I hear that Stanrite are great but expensive. Then you have the French ones, with a box and stretching legs.
Does this all sound to confusion ? I know it does :rolleyes:
Well, just wind up those shoes and go take a look at them, go feel them.
I would not like to buy one without giving it a couple of smacks to see how it holds :D

Best regards,


learning to paint
06-01-2005, 09:12 PM
If you work small, then look at the Guerilla Box (www.pochade.com), but you'll need a photographic tripod. If you have $400 or so to spend, look at the Soltek, high-tech but well-regarded. I get a lot of use out of a Julian Half Box, cost about $125, but be sure to be careful about imitations (lots of moving parts that need to be well made). If you're mainly inside, look at Best's Deluxe Lobo (about $200).

06-01-2005, 10:14 PM
Wow! Thanks so much for all the replies, everyone. I'm not sure I'm any closer to making a decision, but there are lots of helpful suggestions.


06-04-2005, 02:29 AM
Jerry's WILL kill you on shipping....I found that if you pick the post office it is 7.50 plus the true cost. Dakota's has a standard 8.95- fedex. don't know how they do it- I once made the mistake of asking them to ship by us mail and it was $50 ! Everyone seems to ship now by fedex instead of ups- they must get a special cheap rate. We have a local Jerry's so it is fun to look at the easles- I love the big monster ones that are for oil painting large canvases in oils. Then I go back to reality....I think in general any decent studio easel would be too heavy for outside use. Your table easel may be better- bring along a tv type tray (or something cheap and lightweight) and a folding chair and there you go.

06-05-2005, 03:02 PM
Purples, thanks for the info. I have shied away from Jerry's for that very reason. I mentioned in another thread that hubby offered to get me a set of GAs instead, so I have a lot of thinking to do.

06-05-2005, 07:03 PM
GO FOR THE GA'S! go for the ga's! LOL, just stick a piece of wood up agains something and paint on that but DO NOT pass up a chance for realllly good pastels!

K had to get that out..........

06-05-2005, 08:35 PM
LOL I know, what's there to think about? The GAs are expensive, even on sale. I keep thinking that I'm not a good enough artist to warrant such an expenditure when there are so many other places that money could be used.


06-05-2005, 09:02 PM
Pshaw! GA's are the perfect pastels to get "BETTER" with/at! I have the full set of Girualts (tho im starting to rethink that decision, and not because they are not good, but im noticing im not using them much), and almost the full set of unisons (missing the blues), I have half of the Senneliers, a few Ludwigs, couple sets of nupastels (which if i could change that decision i would go with fabers polychromos), bunch of rembrandts (these are what i used from the moment i started, and still use, great for practicing with and affordable on ebay) and rowneys (which rowneys were my initial favs, but soon had a change of heart when i got unisons).............so you see it doesnt "REALLY" matter which Pastels you start out with cause by the time you get around to where most of us are at youll have SEVERAL brands in your box!
just a little advice, it does help alot if you have a selection of pastels that vary from hard to soft........if ya got that your good to go.......well with pastel paper of course but thats ANOTHER thread........several actually, been talked about ALOT lol........

Good luck! and let us what ya decide

Simon Bland
06-05-2005, 09:25 PM

If you are a dedicated pastel artist, I'd suggest a drawing table for inside use rather than an easel - it's much easier to stop pastel dust getting on the floor - you can put a newspaper or foil channel under the bottom edge to catch all the dust.

For outside, I would suggest that you just use a masonite board and sit down to do your pastels - there isn't a portable easel on the market that will hold all your pastels while you work !

If you are thinking of upgrading your pastels, do it a few at a time as you need to replace your colors.


06-05-2005, 10:15 PM
Hi again,

Simon tells you it's a better a drawing table for inside use, and he sure is more experienced than I am. But in my opinion, an easel that tilts forward beyond 90 degrees makes dust fall - and it will fall into the easel's «boat» (don't know the name in english). By using a drawing table won't you have to be always lifting the paper to tap the pastel dust ? Especially is using sanded paper.
Maybe Simon can explain better his point of view.

best regards,


Simon Bland
06-05-2005, 11:13 PM

You are quite correct. ( I don't know the English term for a "boat" either, I would probably just call it a tray)

I like using a drawing table for several reasons, not least because it's very stable. I find it more versatile for dry media - I work in graphite too - and it enables me to work in large sizes if needed. I also have room to clip all my reference photos to it.

Personally, I find it difficult to work on a surface that's close to or even beyond vertical so I've never considered that as a requirement. Its just too hard on my neck and shoulders.

Dust "waterfalls" can be a problem, especially on sanded paper, unless the board angle is shallow. Otherwise I blow gently on the picture from time to time.


06-05-2005, 11:36 PM

You are correct Simon, tray is the word. Thanks.
As far as I know one should not blow pastel dust for health reasons.



06-06-2005, 03:38 PM
Stephanie, I keep looking at the GAs. I have 2 sticks and I really do like 'em.

Simon, Thanks so much for the suggestions; you've got a lot of good sound advice. Right now I do use a board in my lap outside. Since I am serious about my art I seem to think I should acquire all the accessaries that may help me improve, while at the same time derive even more pleasure from the creative process. Someday I'd love to have the space to put an art table.

Jose, thanks for your input. When I asked the question about easels I thought there would be one that is better than the rest for a first easel. I sure was wrong. It seems that it's actually individual preference.

Again, thanks everyone!

06-06-2005, 05:00 PM
Boy, I sure thought I had posted this right after you mentioned the GA's, but go for those! An easel can be bought fairly cheaply. The GA's are wonderful, and so are the Mt. Visions. I am the worst artist at wetcanvas, and I have no qualms about buying lots of great pastels :evil: since I reason that with bad ones and bad paper I COULD even get worse!!! BTW they fit beautifully in the big Dakota wooden boxes... I posted a pic of the full set in the Great American forum- and hopefully below- you can't get the full effect when you open one box at a time...

06-06-2005, 08:05 PM
Purples, You did post that deliciously seductive pic of GAs in another forum in which I mentioned them. As far as having the dubious honor of being the worst artist on WC, I truly have felt that I held that honor. :D So move over! hehehe I am enjoying art so much that I am determined to get better. Oh to have that wonderful natural talent that so many artists here on the board have!!!!

You do know that you are causing me to weaken. And I just got a coupon worth 10% off at ASW which would set the total price of a set of GAs at $692.


06-07-2005, 09:45 AM
Well, sounds like a birthday to remember :D Most husbands are clueless about what their wife REALLY wants and heads to the mall for the nearest bottle of purfume. Not my husband of course- he brings me rocks (literally) and now art supplies- and when I was in a knitting frenzy- yarn. I gave away a pretty decent easel to a lady in my pastel class who did not have one- I would have sent it to you had I 'known you' before that!

06-07-2005, 10:11 PM
Yes, it's been a great day. LOL My hubby used to buy all those gadgets advertised on TV - like the chia pet. Now I subtly nudge him in the right direction. That's really sweet of you to think of me in regards to the easel. Still haven't ordered the GAs but continue to think about it.


06-08-2005, 10:48 AM
Well happy birthday! Now the chia pet- that's a new low- even MY husband could not believe that one and he used to buy me pretty odd stuff!

06-08-2005, 11:08 AM
Mel (younger daughter) actually gave me a Chia pet one year for Xmas, but then her resources were small and she thought they were neat at 13. My hubby tends toward the flowers and candy thing, the latter of which is NOT good for me, but... He will buy whatever I hint broadly enough about, but it has to be easy to find and spelled out specifically.

BTW, Happy Birthday Binkie!!!

06-08-2005, 04:08 PM
Thanks for the birthday wishes. I like to garden, or used to before I started having problems with my hands. Anyway, hubby thought I'd get a kick out of growing the chia pet. Sometimes all ya can do is love 'em.