What is an easel? The easel is an instrument, made of wood or metal, used by the painters to hold the canvas or the board in order to paint on them.
The origins of this instrument date back to more than 2000 years ago. Indeed, easels were already in use by the ancient Egyptians.
Because of its characteristics and of the benefits it offers, the easel can’t miss in the list of the Oil Painting Supplies for Beginners
Easels have a wide price range, the cheapest ones can cost less than 50 dollars, whereas the price of the most expensive ones can reach or even overcome the 2000 dollars.
Usually you can find good quality easels without spending too much money: between 100-200$.
Take in account that if you choose a quality easel, it will last for years and it won’t give you any problem, whereas low quality easels will probably get spoiled soon and have many negative aspects. Therefore, I suggest you to try to spare as less as possible when you buy them.
If you want to consult a list of the types of easels just click on this link!
Why do I need an easel?
As I’ve already said, the easel is an essential supply for every painter, why?
For the following reasons:
- It holds your support (the surface you are painting on) firmly and doesn’t allow it to move while you are painting. This feature avoids you from risking spoiling your work.
- With an easel you can adjust the position of your surface and thus reach every area easily. Moreover, for more comfort many easels allow you to adjust also the angle of the surface you are working on.
- The easel holds the support vertically. The vertical position offers many advantages, of which I’m going to discuss in the following lines.
Why do we need to paint on a vertical surface?
Since our childhood we are used to painting horizontally and the few times we have drawn or painted on a vertical surface we have found it really uncomfortable. However, it’s like learning how to go on the bicycle: you need only some time and practice and you will be able to paint or draw on a tilted surface without any problem.
Painting vertically is more advantageous than painting on a flat surface, I’ve individuated 5 main benefits of using a tilted surface.
The 5 benefits of painting vertically
- No dust: If the painting is positioned horizontally while it’s drying dust may deposit on it and, since the paint is still wet, it will be very difficult to remove and you will risk to spoil your artwork (It is very frustrating).
This advantage concerns above all oil paint because it needs a lot of times to dry (usually at least 2-3 days ), whereas mediums such as acrylic paint dry much more quickly.
- Wider capacity of movement: When we paint or draw horizontally the movements we can do with our wrist are more limited in comparison to the ones we can do on a vertical surface. Thus painting or drawing on vertical lets us do more free movements with our limbs.
- less risk to touch the surface: If we are drawing on a horizontal surface we tend to lean our hand on it for comfort. However, the continuous rubbing of our hand on the surface can spread the lead grain while we are drawing and thus create unwanted lines or gray stains.
If we are painting there is the risk to spread the paint with our hand or with our sleeve.
- No distortion of the subjects: When we realize a subject on flat surface, for example sheet of paper, and then we position it vertically, sometimes it becomes more lengthened. By painting or drawing on a tiled surface this problem can be easily avoided.
- No problems with big surfaces: If you are painting or drawing on a wide surface which is positioned horizontally you will struggle to reach some areas. Whereas if your surface is placed on an easel, with which you can adjust the position of your support, you will get to these zones more easily.
How to choose the easel which suits you the best
Before buying an easel you should take into account:
- The budget:how much you can afford to spend for an easel. I suggest you to dedicate at least 100$ to the purchase of an easel, because the price is directly proportional to the quality. BUT if your budget doesn’t allow you to spend that sum/ or you want to spare some money Don’t worry: you’ll equally find the best easel for you but you’ll have to renounce to some comfort. In internet there are also guides to create your own easel.
- The space:Ask yourself how much space you have/ you can dedicate to your hobby:
- Have I enough room for the easel? -Be sure to check out also the height of the room-
- Is the space dedicated to painting permanent?
- If the space isn’t permanent: Have I a space to store the easel when I don’t use it-for example under the bet- ? Is it enough?If you don’t have enough space for a floorstanding easel or you don’t know where to store it you can opt for a tabletop easel.
- The dimension of the support: Think about the size of the canvases you usually use or that you want to use and check if the easel can hold them: usually the width is not a problem, pay particular attention to the height of the canvases.If it isn’t specified you can get this piece of information by asking to the seller. If are looking for an easel on an online store you can see the maximum canvas height under the “item specifications” section.
- Compatibility with other mediums: If you use also other mediums I suggest you to take into account and Hybrid easel: you will have two easels in one, it’s like killing two birds with one stone.
- Outdoor/indoor painting: If you paint only indoor I recommend to you a studio easel, instead if you want to paint outdoor or both it’s better to take into account a portable easel like a french easel.
In order to make the process of choosing the right easel much more easy if realized a list of the main types of easel.
I hope this post has helped you choose the easel that suits you the best! As always if you have any question or you want a second opinion on the easel you want to purchase just leave a comment and I will answer as soon as I can!
Now, let’s do some shopping =)