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Easels Easels
A Frame  Tripod  Easels A Frame Tripod Easels
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There are many styles of easels, as well as various materials used in the construction and design features of easels. Of course, one might choose to use an easel for any number of purposes. Therefore, there are a number of different ways to group styles of easels.

Modified styles of easels include nesting easels, reversible easels, single-mast easels, bi-fold easels, and convertible or hybrid easels, which are related to H-frame easels. The frames of these many styles of easels can be made of wood, steel, aluminum, or brass. More advanced styles of easels include telescopic legs, wall mounts, wheels, trays, and small shelves.


 Based on usage, Easels are grouped into three common styles: studio easels, field easels, and display easels.

Studio Easels:  

Studio easels are designed for use within an artist’s studio with limited need for the easel to be portable. The largest easels are studio easels with some being able to support panels over 7 feet in height.

Field Easels

Field easels are meant to be portable and for taking the art studio outside. These easels are usually lightweight, mid-sized or small, have telescopic or collapsible legs and are based on the tripod design, and cannot accommodate large canvases. One of popular types of field easel is the sketch-box, or French box easel. French box easels include a compartment in which to store art supplies conveniently along with a handle or straps so that the French box may be carried like a briefcase or a backpack.

Display Easels:  

These are specifically meant for display of finished works. These do not require the same level of stability needed when the painter is still working.


Easel Designs
Tripod Easel:

The tripod design is a simple design based on three legs that converge at the top. Variations include crossbars like the rungs of a ladder to make the easel more stable and an independent mechanism to allow for the vertical adjustment of the working plane without sacrificing the stability of the three legs of the easel.  The third rear leg is adjustable and swings out and away from the main legs, allowing for placement in corners and tight spaces. A small shelf-like bar bisects the front side of the two main legs, and can be moved vertically to adjust the height of the work surface. In most models the rear leg can be flattened for easy storage.

Tripod easels are also known Lyre easels, or A-frame easels because of the resemblance to an “A” when viewed from the front.

H-frame Easel:

These substantial workhorses command a presence in the studio. H-Frame easels derive a solid stance from their rectangular silhouette and their substantial rectangular bases. They are slightly more complicated in form, having either two or four main legs supported by a rectangular base at right angles to the legs. H-frame easels may also have crossbars for support, and adjustable shelves for vertical placement of the work surface.

Several models accept giant canvases, most afford a forward tilt, and some have paint tray features that offer even more convenience to the painter.  Many models can be collapsed for storage and transport, but they are heavier and clumsier in their collapsed state than A-Frame and Single-Mast easels.

Single Mast Easels:

Single-Mast easels are the simplest of easel forms and they take up less space as they collapse and store with great ease. Their architecture can be appreciated for its elegance but cannot be relied on for the same sturdiness or flexibility of the other traditional forms of Easels. Single Mast easels are ideal for small apartments or school studios where their advantages are clear.

Convertible Easels:

Convertible easels are a great choice for the artists who prefer to work in more than one medium. They are generally designed to accommodate the needs of oil/acrylic painters while converting to accommodate the needs of the watercolor or pastel painter. Closely related to the H-Frame family, they provide a good amount of flexibility.

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