Choosing the Right Time and Place: When to Use an Easel

An easel is a fundamental tool for artists that provides support and stability while working on various art projects.

\Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced artist, knowing when to use an easel can greatly enhance your artistic process and overall experience.

In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the different situations, considerations, and benefits of using an easel, helping you determine the optimal times to utilize this essential tool.

Studio Settings

In a dedicated studio space, an easel becomes a staple for artists. Whether painting on canvas, working with pastels, or sketching, an easel offers several advantages.

It provides a stable surface, allowing artists to work comfortably at an upright position and maintain proper posture.

This helps prevent fatigue and ensures optimal control over brushwork and mark-making.

Additionally, using an easel in a studio enables artists to step back and view their work from a distance, gaining perspective and assessing the composition, color harmony, and overall progress of the artwork.

Plein Air Painting

Plein air painting, or painting outdoors, presents unique challenges and opportunities for artists. An easel becomes indispensable in this scenario, providing stability and support for working in outdoor environments.

Using an easel allows artists to position their painting surface at an optimal height and angle, preventing strain and discomfort.

It also facilitates the organization of art supplies, such as palettes and brushes, keeping them within reach and minimizing the risk of misplacing or damaging them.

Furthermore, an easel helps artists capture the changing light and atmosphere of the outdoor scene by providing a stable setup for observing and painting directly from nature.

Large-Scale Artwork

When working on large-scale artworks, an easel is a valuable tool that provides stability and ease of execution.

Large canvases or boards can be securely mounted on an easel, allowing artists to work on them comfortably and efficiently.

An easel offers support for heavy or oversized materials, preventing them from sagging or warping during the creative process.

It also enables artists to step back and assess the artwork’s overall progress, ensuring that proportions, details, and compositional elements are balanced and cohesive.

Mixed Media and Experimental Art

Artists exploring mixed media techniques or experimental approaches can benefit from using an easel. Whether combining various materials, incorporating three-dimensional elements, or exploring unconventional art forms, an easel provides stability and adaptability.

It allows artists to experiment with different materials, techniques, and compositions, providing a secure base for artistic exploration.

Classroom and Teaching Environments

Easels are invaluable tools in educational settings, such as art classrooms or workshops. In a classroom, easels provide each student with a designated workspace, fostering a sense of organization and focus.

They enable students to work upright, promoting proper ergonomics and facilitating clear visibility of the artwork.

Additionally, easels encourage collaboration and critique sessions, as students can easily present their work to the class while it is securely displayed on the easel.

Personal Preference and Style

Ultimately, the decision to use an easel depends on personal preference and artistic style. Some artists may prefer the versatility of working without an easel, using alternative methods such as working on a table or floor.

Others may find that using an easel enhances their focus, precision, and overall creative experience.

Exploring different working methods and experimenting with both easel and non-easel approaches can help artists discover their preferred techniques and tailor their artistic process to suit their unique needs.


Knowing when to use an easel is essential for artists seeking stability, comfort, and efficiency in their creative practice.

From studio settings to plein air painting, large-scale artworks to mixed media experimentation, the benefits of using an easel are numerous.

Whether for ergonomics, organization, or the ability to step back and assess one’s work, an easel provides artists with a reliable support system and a platform for artistic expression.

By understanding the different situations and considerations for using an easel, artists can optimize their creative process and elevate their artwork to new heights.

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