View Full Version : Of Course I have a question!

02-01-2007, 12:08 PM
I was Hoping i could get various insights from different artists. "Is it better to paint from an easel or a drafting table?" I currently have a drafting table that is capable of slanting at several angles but i am looking at easels and they do look tempting! Any information at all would be grateful.


02-01-2007, 12:43 PM
It is a matter of personal comfort. I don't personally like an upright painting on an easel but like a slight slant like a propped up surface on a table. I kept my drafting tabel at a slight angle when I used it. I prefer to sit too.
Certain things like standing back also help keep you working looser and more energetic too. So, it can depend on How you paint or how you Want to paint too. The odd time I'll stand up and reach far with a large brush, mainly to work over a large general area or background work. But most often I sit and work fairly close to my surface.
Everyone finds their own way they like and work best with.

Jeff Rage
02-01-2007, 12:52 PM
I do both, depending on the painting (Spefically realting to fluid mixtures and whether or not I want them to run or not.)

But I'd suggest going with whatever feels comfortable to you.

chammi kaiser
02-01-2007, 01:01 PM
Whatever feels the most comfortable. I stand at an easel for big acrylic paintings and generally have a desk easel for watercolours. A drafting table is a pretty good alternative.

02-01-2007, 01:01 PM
Thank You Both Very Much I appreciate it.

02-01-2007, 01:26 PM
Everything bigger then 12x12" I paint on my easel. Smaller paintings I paint standing at a high drawingtable. I like painting at my easel better, because I can step back every time I want to and look at my work from a distance.:)
Gives you a far better perspective!

Lady Carol
02-01-2007, 02:01 PM
I find an easel is better if you are working from a still life as both are upright in front of you but if you work of pics then I find working on a table is better. It all comes down to angle.

02-01-2007, 02:13 PM
I use an easel because I prefer to draw and paint while standing. It seems to be give me a greater range of motion and makes it easier to move back from the painting. I really think it's more comfortable. If you haven't been doing it, you ought to try it.

02-01-2007, 02:25 PM
I use both depending on the size and shape and effect I am expecting.

Most of the time I think it depends on how you were trained. I have been looking closely at this entire process and realize I do use and need both.

02-02-2007, 12:32 AM
Why thank You all of you for your insights, as a majority of you has stated that you do use both, i am not entrigued to go out and purchase an easel! Thanks Again!

02-02-2007, 01:36 AM
my "easle" is actually a recycled speakers podium from a church, angled like a drafting table (but not adjustable) and just the right height for standing, I also work on a flat table and even occasionally on a large drawing board with clips. If I had the space Id like to have a real easle but in the mean time , you don't miss what you've never had..

Charlie's Mum
02-02-2007, 02:56 PM
I use both - depends on what I'm painting!

But, before buying an easel, try just propping your work upright/at an angle on the table .... securely! .... and try painting that way, see what the pros and cons are .

02-02-2007, 05:49 PM
I mostly use an easle so that I don't mess up the painting with my arms, and often pieces are just too large to put on my table, but I do use the drafting table too. If you just want to try how easel painting feels like you could just tack some canvas to your wall or rest one on a side table/shelf etc, see if it's comfortable. I usually stand when I paint, but I don't paint super detailed or miniatures. Sometimes I move a stool in front of the canvas to sit, but generally I like the looseness that comes with standing.

I don't know where you live, but I bought a pretty sturdy "french style" portable easel/paintbox at CostCo for less than $40 (with a load of different paints in it, though not great quality - as expected) and I bought an other simple easel at Aaron Brothers with one of their 40% off one item coupons I always get in the Sunday paper, also was around $40 I think. Not a huge investment, and if you find you don't like painting at it you can at least use it to display a recent work or a WIP. I frequently do that, have an easel in the living room with something I'm working on on display, so I can look at it at different times and see what I might need to change.


02-02-2007, 06:18 PM
For myself, I find if I work from an easel , I stay more in the moment, I stay looser, w/o neck/back pain. This applies to painting or drawing, not illustration or pen&ink which I need more control over and prefer to do sitting down. I actually have a sign in my studio that says "Always stand at your easel" as a reminder. I think the best thing for you is to try out all positions and monitor your work and health and respong to that!

02-02-2007, 07:02 PM
I love my easel. I also paint at it sitting down with an adjustable chair. The easel affords me the ability to stand and I adjust it downwards so I can sit and do all the detail work with ease.

02-03-2007, 01:40 PM
This site is so amazing. You guys are more than helpful. Too bad everyone didnt live on my block!! Thanks Again.


02-03-2007, 02:02 PM
If using an easel and you like to sit, maybe consider a standing stool. It is adjusted to the pelvic bone distance to the ground so that you literally just back onto the seat and you are seated not standing exactly but not exactly seated either.


Take a look here. You can adjust it to be an almost seated stool, a seated stool and or soemthing in between. Neat idea. As soon as I scrape some extra cash together it should be in my studio.

Lady Carol
02-03-2007, 05:35 PM
This site is so amazing. You guys are more than helpful. Too bad everyone didnt live on my block!! Thanks Again.

But we almost do. We are only a click away.

02-08-2007, 09:45 PM
I always used a table when I did watercolors because they were fluid and you could adjust the angle of the board. When I switched to tube acrylics I wasn't sure I would like an easel--but I love it. It is easier for me to stand and look at something directly in front of me than to bend over an board. Like others, I am constantly stepping back to see the overall picture. My easel is a lightweight aluminum that I got on sale at Hobby Lobby--maybe $65. I can adjust the canvas up or down, depending on what part of the painting I am focusing on. It is really much better than I thought it would be--although it sure felt weird the first time I used it.