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Easel suggestions?

I'm wanting one that I can get my knees under, French easel looks like that would work, but I've read negative comments about them, is this due to weight? Here's current situation. You can imagine what it looks like as I put my legs through those tiny spaces...


  • edited May 10
    Hi, @DawnTup.

    Mark has designed an easel and there is a free video on how to make it. I and other here have made it and it works really well. Check it out here:


  • Thanks Rob, this is great. I am wondering if anyone has made mods to this for holding things without stretcher bars you can't drill holes in...
  • There was one user on the forum who changed it so no screws into the stretcher bars but the clamp type pressure system instead. No idea where the pics were tho. I recently built marks easel and i agree there's completely open room for your feet and legs it's pretty sweet. 
  • If room for feet and legs is a big issue for you, you might like a table top "H" frame but a fairly large one or you will be limited in the sizes of canvas you can use.
  • Another thought and less expensive alternative would be to fashion a small table or box of plywood that would support and secure your present easel. It looks like the bottom support goes very low so you could put it on something higher and still paint while seated.
  • That's a great idea @bob73, I will try it
  • dencaldencal -
    edited May 12

    I use an Artristic Easel. Plenty of legroom. Good reports from wheelchair artists using Artristic. Plenty of smart features built in to this design.

    Made in USA an Australia. About $259 US. 


  • I'm liking this easel alot. Any negatives from your experience? I saw a couple comments about it not being stable for really large canvases...not sure how big I'll want to go, but who knows. It sure seems ingenious!
  • DawnTup

    My four year old Artristic has only had two canvasses larger than a meter square. In both cases the stability was unchanged. My normal configuration for this easel is with an A1 size, heavy, drawing board attached. I fold it and throw it into the car about sixty times a year visiting other studios and galleries. A fairly tough endurance test. Everything works as designed, nothing broken or bent.

    A minor criticism is that when adjusted to an upright position the canvas is not fully vertical. In practice this is not a problem for me. I love the easy rotation at any time, for example, switching from portrait to landscape format and being set up before the model has assumed a new pose.

    It stands to reason that a heavy wooden studio easel is going to be more stable than the Artristic. If this is a critical factor for you should stay with the traditional designs.


  • Thanks Denis, very helpful. I love that you can rotate it. I don't think not quite vertical is going to matter if I can change everything else about canvas position. I appreciate your input!
  • My mod to marks design is screws that go under the stretcher and is held by tension. But mine is up against a wall. I have no problems with it being 6" from the wall but I'm quite short at 5'2". I also think if you're that close, you're too close....

    i tried the artristic easel. It doesn't go vertical and the bigger the canvas, the more it tilts. But I did use the same idea for holding the canvas in my mod. Link below.
  • Also, my chair is a saddle stool which cuts down on the leg room. I can paint a very long time sitting on these.
  • DawnTup & MeganS

    Just bin browsing through the Artristic website, reading about the new tripod version of the easel.
    It looks like they may have addressed the verticality problem. The tripod legs now extend to a splayed configuration and features a hook for a weighted bag for stability in windy field conditions. Some overall aesthetic tweaks too.

  • Denis!

    It came, and I love it. This thing is brilliant! 
  • DawnTup

    Good news. Did you get the telescopic mahl stick too?


  • Not yet, trying to slow the outpouring of cash on Arty stuff for a while
  • I just took delivery of an Artristic.  It's a high-quality (as far as I can tell) standard camera tripod with a custom funky head attachment of similar quality.

    My issue with it is that I cannot make it grip a 12"x12" or smaller painting.  I need to have it grip a board with a ledge, and put the painting on that.  Everything I do is small.

    Other than that, it seems ideal, although I won't know for a year whether I love it.
  • dencaldencal -
    edited May 20

    Great news.

    Suggest you Velcro your small canvas / panel to a larger bit of stuff, say a drawing board and mount that on the easel. You could also have your reference image/s and palette up there too.


  • I modified Marc's design,  and it holds by compression.  I can't  figure out how to link my thread, but it is titled New easel - mahle stick update, if you'd like to search it.  I can get right up to my painting with plenty of leg room. 
  • @dencal: That's a good suggestion.  I think I am gong to put a lip on a large board, and I can then just lay the painting on that board.  As you suggested, I can then put the image there too.

    For me, the palette is another thing I need to solve.  I'm currently using a dinner plate (which I have been instructed to never return into circulation).  That's a great surface to work on, but it just doesn't have much area.

    @DawnTup: perhaps you have better luck than me.  I noticed a problem with the Artristic.  I was wrong earlier when I said it couldnt grip a 12" x 12" board - it can, there's a configuration for that.  But when I configure the "arms" to grip a small board (I have 35 6" x 6" boards to use, like the pig painting), the "arms" are not well aligned which makes it impossible to grip such a board.  Looks like a manufacturing tolerance problem to me. I've asked if there is a remedy.
  • @paulb,

    I've only mounted a 16x20" canvas. Can you post a pic of the configuration you have for small board?
  • @DawnTup I got this configuration from the last page of the printed directions, under "EVEN SMALLER SIZE OPTIONS" for boards.

    I managed to tentatively wedge in a 6" x 6" panel, but it is not even close to secure because things don't align well.  I think you can see in the picture, at bottom center, it is not square.
  • Paulb, I tried mounting at the top. I do see what you mean, there's some play when the arms are this close. I put a canvas behind for more thickness, that seems to help. 
  • This wouldn't work for me I have an irrational fear of robots.
  • @BOB73 Don't worry, it hardly ever tries to attack me.
  • You guys just gave me silly idea...we actually have 2 surgical robots at work, I could do a little painting with the robot! Guess what it's called.. Davinci! lol
  • I agree. That thing looks like it stalked into your studio from a Star Wars movie.
  • DawnTup

    Just remember to instruct it to slow down, always use the color checker and no blending.


  • Hehe, good advice
  • edited May 22
    It looks like the Terminator of the art world! :#

  • I love this thing, we are getting along just fine!
  • Kaustav



  • Here's a video of surgeon painting with the Da Vinci robot, it's on a business card. Note the limited pallette​... 

  • DawnTup,

    How sturdy is this easel with bigger sizes canvas? Also is this a regular tripod?

  • edited May 22
    As a fellow designer, I'm glad you are having fun with this invention too!!!
  • You guys having fun preying on my fears? When Star Wars came out in 1976 with the friendly R2D2  and C3PO I started to get over my robophobia Then just about the time I was about to make a cathartic cure in 1984...  "I'll be back."
  • May the Force be with you.
  • @Abraham26, I can't say how it handles larger canvas sizes, I just got it. The tripod is made for easel, you can read about it here..
  • Update on the Artristic Easel Monster, after a week of swearing at it:

    I have two issues with the Artistic: The arms do not collapse down smaller than about 18" (everything I work is 6" - 12", anything larger is just too daunting), and the engineering tolerances are low enough that nothing aligns properly, so making it grip a small work securely is not easy.  I was offered a full refund, so customer service is great, but I'm determined to make it work instead.

    So I made this thing.  It's a 24" x 24" honking great lump of MDF, which weighs a lot, with some gripper rails attached to the back, and a ledge on the front.  Although the Artristic can go completely vertical, mine can't, or my painting will fall off the ledge.  Knowing me, I'm going to kick it and achieve that soon, and that white rug...

    One nice aspect of the large size is that for me, I can fit two pieces of work on it, and a photo.  I like the size.  The weight, on the other hand, is excessive.  I need to make a version 2 from lighter materials, and use screws instead of just glue.

    In retrospect, I should have gone for a traditional easel, and spent more time on the fun stuff rather than building something to fuel @BOB73's dreams.
  • PaulB
    Good to know, I'll wait for Mark's easel to see what it is, Mark mentioned that he has one coming up soon.
  • PaulB, as long as I don't see two red eyes like the 2nd foto of the artristic. if there's one red dot that reminds of Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer... A lot less scarier than Terminator or shelling out $276.oo
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