Studio Equipment

Is used based on your tastes or style of working.

Studio Equipment

Some basics are recommended for drawing or painting accurately from life, such as drawing boards which are used to help correct distortion errors.


What's Free Standing Easel?

A free-standing easel is an upright support used for displaying and/or fixing something resting upon it at an angle.

In particular, easels are traditionally used by painters to support a painting while they work on it, normally standing up, and are also sometimes used to display finished paintings.

Easels are typically made from wood, aluminum, or steel. Artist's easels are still typically made of wood, in functional designs that have changed little for centuries, though new materials and designs are available.

What's a French Easel?

A French easel style is used for portable, outdoor, or "plein air" type painting. It contains a sketch box, an easel, and a canvas carrier in a smaller package. The sketch box holds paint supplies and a palette, and the legs and canvas arm collapse for ease of travel. Many of these easels are excellent for painting outdoors, also known as plein-air painting.

What's a Table Top?

A tabletop easel is used for the same purpose but is portable.

Preferred Brands

  • Coulter Easel
  • Easel Pal
  • Edge Pro Gear
  • Klopfenstein Art Equipment
  • Mabef Easels
  • Open Box M, Inc.
  • Sienna Plein Air Tripod
  • Soltek French Easel
  • Strada Easel & Pochade Boxes

Drawing Boards

What Are Drawing Boards?

A drawing board is a flat and rigid board used to prevent distortion during the drawing process, used for any kind of drawing, writing, or impromptu sketching on a large sheet of paper.

A few extra pieces of paper on your drawing board under the top sheet will give a softer feel to the hand when drawing and help the drawing tool glide onto the paper.

Why Use It?

A Drawing board will keep you from introducing incorrect proportions if you prop it up so that it is perpendicular to your line of sight. Drawing flat on a table while seated may work fine for a sketchbook or smaller drawings however as the size of your drawing increases you will inadvertently introduce incorrect proportions when drawing from life.

When using a drawing board your can prop up your drawing so that it is perpendicular to your line of sight. Using any other angle risks introducing incorrect proportions into your artwork.

The reason being is that the top of your drawing will be physically farther from your eyes. This skews the image and you will draw proportions larger towards the top of the paper (because they are farther away and look smaller).

When you draw on a soft or uneven surface you create grooves or depressions in the paper, which will show up later as 'ghost lines' when adding shading or values later on. A drawing board will prevent this by providing a firm surface to keep the paper smooth while you work.

You can also use the drawing board to easily prop up your drawing so you can look at it from far away and get a fresh perspective on your work.

How to Use It?

When sitting down at a table the board should be in your lap and propped up against the table. If using an easel the board should be placed on the easel and perpendicular to the ground or as close as possible. Drawing paper can be taped to the board with artist's tape or drafting tape so that it can be easily removed.

What Size?

Be sure to use a drawing board that is slightly larger than your paper. This will prevent you from drawing over the edges and crumbling the paper. You can also store your extra paper or drawings on the board and they will be nicely protected during transport.

How to Avoid Damage?

Use any of the following to avoid damaging your the artwork, when attaching your surface or paper.

  • If your board is slightly larger than your paper you can use "bulldog" clips to attach the paper to the board.
  • OR if your board is significantly larger, purchase 1 roll of "Artist’s Tape." It is not as sticky as masking tape.
  • OR large rubber band, regardless of size, it usually comes with the board.

Preferred Brands

  • Any commercial drawing board will do depending on the size
  • OR a Masonite Panel, cut to size
  • OR a Piece Foam Core, cut or purchase to size


What Are Mannequins?

In the Visual Arts, they are used for practice on figure drawing or painting. It is best to work from a live model. However models can get very expensive so we use smaller scale mannequin or drawing aid instead.

Mannequins can be placed in various poses and can hold them a lot longer than a live model. Larger scale mannequins are used by designers, dress makers or to display clothing in window.

A mannequin is defined in the dictionary as “A life-size or partial representation of the human body, used for the fitting or displaying of clothes; a dummy. “ It is a jointed model of the human body used by artists, especially to demonstrate the arrangement of drapery. Also called lay figure.”  The word originated form the Middle Dutch where it was called manikin or little man.

The classic wooden model is the simplest one and comes from the 19th century but, there are more on the market now that are atomically correct.

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