Studio easels are the artist’s most important accessory. In order to do his work efficiently and comfortably, an artist needs an easel that he can adjust to the best working height for him, at an angle that gives him the best working perspective. It must be able to hold canvasses of various sizes be sturdy enough for him to be able to work without restriction.
There are a number of styles of easel stands the artist has to choose from. They range in price and quality from the basic A-frame to very elaborate H-frame designs with an almost infinite range of height and angle adjustments. They range in size from small tabletop easels for painting miniatures to very large models designed for use in a professional artist’s studio.
The A-frame is perhaps the most recognized of all studio easels. The simplest A-frames consist of a single foldable rear leg and two front supports with a horizontal shelf to support the canvas. Collapsible field easels often can be broken down further for easy transport. Sturdier A-frame easels are made from Easel Stand hardwood and their rear leg is reinforced with quality hardware to keep it from wobbling.
Many professional artists prefer to use the even sturdier H-frame easel. These easels rest very firmly on the ground and, depending on the style chosen, can hold even the largest of canvases. Because of the rigidity of the frame, designers of H-frame easels have more scope for engineering greater height and angle adjustments. As a general rule, the price of an artist’s easel becomes higher the more adjustable it becomes.
The better models of studio easels that are fully height and angle adjustable. This kind of flexibility offers a number of benefits. If you can adjust your easel height throughout the full range, from seated to standing, it helps reduce fatigue. Being able to adjust the angle from beyond vertical both forwards and backwards affords artists the opportunity to use different media to their best advantage.
Whether you choose a wood, aluminum or heavy metal easel stand is a matter of personal choice. Many artists prefer the traditional hardwood easel. It has a good balance of weight and portability. Even if an easel is going to remain in one place, it is always advantageous to be able to at least move it slightly from side to side in order to catch the light from different angles.