View Full Version : the best easel for pastels

October Artist
02-28-2010, 01:27 PM
I would like to get a new easel and would like recommendations. I am returning a small collapsable easle to Blick. It was nice but it is not sturdy enough for me. I need something sturdy, an easel that will hold a larger back board and paper and I'd really like some type of shelf that I can set the pastels on that I am working with. Any suggestions?

02-28-2010, 03:33 PM
I have a convertible easel from Blick, a lot like this one: http://www.dickblick.com/products/blick-beechwood-convertible-easel/ -- it adjusts up and down so I can sit at it (I can't stay on my feet long enough to paint standing). It can tilt entirely flat for doing watercolors as long as I put a drawing board on it for a table surface. It's got that great big shelf under it for stacking pastel boxes or trays, which was a big plus when my room was large enough to use it all the time and keep it out.

It also folds up flat for storage. Right now it's flat up against the wall because my room in this house is too small to use it all the time, but I might rearrange things so it's behind my chair if I get a swiveling chair.

Lisa Fiore
02-28-2010, 07:07 PM
Hey Robert, that is the same one I have and I love it!! I was going to provide a link to it and then saw your post :)

02-28-2010, 10:04 PM
This is a nice one: http://www.dickblick.com/products/martin-universal-design-avanti-ii-easel/


03-01-2010, 01:38 AM
Goodness, Robert! That one folds flat! I like it!

I like the Mabef tripod easel at Dakota Arts b/c it has arms to hold a tray/box conveniently. This one goes outside, too, so I don't know if it's too small for your needs.

03-01-2010, 10:12 AM
Robert...question on the easel...when it was shipped, was there an extra charge? Did you have to carry it in, or did the carrier? says 21 pounds, but oversized shipment...so probably awkward...any comments will be helpful...ready to place an order (gonna get some of the Contes you blogged about...)

03-01-2010, 10:24 AM
There are loads of opinions here in the forum...to access them - use search...like this...

Kathryn Wilson
03-01-2010, 12:08 PM
I have the same one that Robert has and love the shelf and the fact that it folds down - it is not a heavy easel and if I can move it around, anyone can. Buy one that is assembled - this is not an easy easel to put together.

I have this bigger, heavier one at my studio -


03-01-2010, 01:08 PM
I have one like Roberts, only it is called a "lobo" easel. It is made by Richeson and cost just around $100.00 when I bought it several years ago. It had to be assembled though and that was quite the task for my hubby.

Kathryn, I love the one you have for your studio! I love that it is on wheels so can be moved around easily. The one I have isn't too difficult as it isn't very heavy, but wheels would be nice. It also looks to be very sturdy, and I like the tray on it. Most of the time I use my table easel, but if I want to go big I can use my big easel although I need to buy a new board for it as mine somehow got lost with all the moving we have done. i will be getting a big piece of masonite instead of the plywood I had as it is much lighter and easier to handle!


03-01-2010, 05:02 PM
Kathryn or Robert....Didnt that one come assembled? It's advertised as such...

Kathryn Wilson
03-01-2010, 05:06 PM
That particular style of easel is being sold by many of the art supply companies - not all are assembled - I bought mine at Jerry's store in Raleigh and it was in a box and the directions for assembly were horrid.

03-01-2010, 05:12 PM
Thanks, Kathryn...this one is from Blick, and says it's assembled....so that's a go!

03-01-2010, 10:31 PM
i have a mabef, very similar to what kathryn's is like. i like the beechwood, has a small grain, easy to wipe off.

mine didn't come assembled, but only took a bit of time, wasn't hard at all. its fairly heavy, so i carried it to my then-downstairs studio piece by piece and was happy it came unassembled for this reason!

recently i had to lop off the top of the mast, as we moved into our own, rather than rented, home, and i couldn't raise it high enough for me to stand. and altho it does fold down to use flat like a table, (and some of why i got this one)i have yet to do that, its easier to take the project to a table in the other area of the studio. my favorite feature is the nice big tray, very handy. the one thing that's not too great is the bar across the front, between the feet--if a pastel take a dive, it 'never ever' fails to smack this brace and shatter!:mad:

i also have one of those black and chrome 'tube' metal easels, and its really nice. for the money, and the small space it takes, its a really great easel. if i woulda got this one first, rather than the wooden one, not sure i'd of shelled out the cash for the wood one.

i also have a couple of the fold up stanrites, for travel, and a mabef full french. some like shoes, i like easels!!:p

10-27-2011, 08:38 PM
I have a 'BEST' Halley easel. I use it for both oils and pastels. It forward tilts and it goes into a flat position like the Monterey. I put one of those extremely light weight, large size drawing boards across it and it becomes a table. Also very, very useful in that position for doing detail work. It is shorter and works well in rooms where the ceiling isn't high. I used it sitting-down, also.

It's a much sturdier, oak version of the Blick one linked above. BEST also makes one like the one above, the LOBO. It comes in both Lyptus and Oak. I've had two BEST easels and have enjoyed using both of them.

10-27-2011, 10:02 PM
Recommending the Best Oak Dulce by Richeson with double adjustment screws. I bought mine on sale with free shipping from Madison Art Shop.

I mentioned the double screw adjustment because it acts as an anchor for a pastel box. The space between the two screws and the lower lip of the shelf is just large enough to hook the edge of the brand of palette box that I like to use and, with a 1/4" x 12" x 18" piece of wood under the box, it is really solid.

The annual Richeson rebate is going on right now through December 31, 2011 (go to the Richeson website). Shop around online until you find the best deal on an easel, and don't be hasty. New sales come up all of the time. Richeson will send rebates for a purchase from an authorized dealer. Oh, and I just received an email that Dakota's Halloween Sale has free shipping - maybe -maybe not on easels - check them out.

Wishing you luck in finding the right easel at the right price point. It's out there. J

10-27-2011, 10:06 PM
I have a Mabef Lobo easel (similar to Robert's). I like it because it lies flat and folds up easily. I don't like it because it is not on rollers. It's sturdy enough for pastels, though after seven years I found the mast adjustment knob is not functioning properly. There's wood gripping wood, like a vice and constant use has losened it.

I also have a Richeson Lyptus (made of Eucalyptus wood) easel which has two wheels and the mast also has the capability to lie flat like the Lobo. It was more than twice the price of the Lobo (which was around $100), and is more sturdy. Plus I can move it pretty easily and it's collapsable. I got it to use with both pastel and oil, and because it was more compact than the Lobo (I have a small studio) Both easels are varnished, which I recommend.

I prefer the Lyptus over the Lobo, I'm very happy with it. I bought it at a trade show a few years back and paid about $270, which is $100 less than retail. It came partially assembled, and it was not difficult to put the rest of it together.


Hope this helps

10-30-2011, 10:56 AM
I've got a big wooden easel, I can sit down and put the shelf down or put it very high and stand. I'm quite satisfied with it.
but I think the best easel for pastel must those with shelves on them like this one. sorry I'm not allowed to put images or urls here

10-30-2011, 11:10 AM
I've got a big wooden easel, I can sit down and put the shelf down or put it very high and stand. I'm quite satisfied with it.
but I think the best easel for pastel must those with shelves on them like this one. sorry I'm not allowed to put images or urls here

You can do insert photos on your third post....the restriction is to put spammer off.:)

10-30-2011, 12:12 PM
Debora, another vote for the Mabef. I got mine about thirty years ago (no exaggeration), so it's bigger and a bit clunkier than the new versions. And like Chris, I had to saw about four inches off the top bar, but now it's fine.

10-31-2011, 06:04 PM
I've got a big wooden easel, I can sit down and put the shelf down or put it very high and stand. I'm quite satisfied with it.
but I think the best easel for pastel must those with shelves on them like this one. sorry I'm not allowed to put images or urls here

Looking at the photo, what you have is a portable easel, a Julian Easel or a knock-off of one. It's fine for plein air painting and small works. If you don't get a good one, they tend to fall apart. I have two. One I now use as a table easel because the hardware on the legs broke apart, and a half easel of the same variety I varnished and reinforced the hardware (lesson learned from the first one). It goes out on location. So far OK, though I've had it only 2 years.

The best portable inexpensive (relatively) easel I've found for pastels is the Anderson Easel. I've had mine 6 years. But it is not for everyone. It's too short for tall folks. Mine, the older version, is limited in the mast size, and there were problems with the hardware. I sent it back and Anderson fixed it with new hardware. I understand the easel has been sufficiently updated since, but if you are buying from a supplier, you should find out which model they are trying to sell you.

10-31-2011, 07:51 PM
Both of my of my inexpensive French (knock off) easels had issues. I gave one away, and disassembled the other one to use for various parts in my studio. The hardward is/was very subpar so pliars were a must have whenever I took the French on an adventure. And wherever it was first set up, that is where it would remain for that day, as it was too difficult to relocate it to another spot.

My replacement set up is an Anderson Easel with a short mast - which I like. Since I am only 5'5", the low mast is not much of an issue, but it certainly is right on the borderline of workability. The more important item, to me, regarding the Anderson is that I can turn the mast to the side so my pastels are at my right hand instead of in front of me just below a work in progress. Information overload is my biggest hurdle when working outside, so not having all of those pastel colors right in my line of vision makes it easier for me to work.

Anderson's are very light weight - much lighter than any French easel at any cost. This fact helps if you tote a lot of stuff into the field. J