Thursday, April 27, 2017

More about Homemade Easels Coming Soon

The ideal easel rig should meet these six objectives:
1. Get the brushes and the paint palette as close as possible to the painting.
2. Get the painting as close as possible to the line of sight. 
3. Make the height and slopes of both surfaces fully adjustable without having to mess with tricky knobs or screws.
4. Free up my left hand so that it's not always holding brushes, towels, or other gear.
5. Accommodate a diffuser and other accessories.
6. It should work on uneven ground and should stand up to any amount of wind.
7. It should be buildable out of inexpensive materials using ordinary workshop tools.

Many of the innovations of my system have developed from the contributions of you, the amazing blog community. I'm trying to keep this design open-source and collaborative so that we can share ideas and mutually benefit. 

My plan is to do some blog posts and free YouTube videos in a month or so about our homemade easel rigs. I'll share my latest round of innovations, and invite you to share yours. 

UPDATE: I have released a video showing how to make the sketch easel plus four different diffuser designs. It explains what tools and materials you'll need, and demonstrates all the steps.
The HD download of "How to Make a Sketch Easel" is more than an hour long and costs only $14.95.

It's available now from Gumroad and SellfyThe DVD version is available for $24.50, and it includes a slide show. The DVD is also available on Amazon.

There is also a Facebook group called "Sketch Easel Builders" where you can share your build or ask questions of fellow builders. It's free to join.


Dmitry Kharitonov said...

Cool news James.
I'm right now at process of creating one for myself, in preparation for summer
can't guarantee a new ideas or use of diffuser (I like things being simple and small) but I'll definitely try to share it.

Tareeq Muhammad said...

visit artist lei's website for beautiful eyecatching painting's

Dan Gurney said...

Eighth objective: compact.
Ninth: lightweight.

Tyler Vance said...

Is this only for plein air easels? I think sharing studio set ups and palette holders would be cool too; I've just built one that works really well for me.

Rebekah said...

Very cool! Looking forward to the videos.

Karen Robinson said...

I saw this yesterday and thought of you: a painting kit in a cough sweet tin! Doesn't get much tinier than this

Journeyman said...

Here is a link to my pochade box I made a few years ago,
Can make more pictures and descriptions if needed.

rock995 said...

Can't wait to see that in-depth post about how to make one of these babies!

Glenn Tait said...

Blogger Dan Gurney said...
Eighth objective: compact.
Ninth: lightweight.

I think I've spent more time and effort refining and streamlining my rig on these two objectives alone. :)

James Gurney said...

Dan, glad you mentioned the criteria about being lightweight and compact. Those were huge drivers of this design. It's small enough to fit into the belt pouch and weighs almost nothing, yet is as secure and stable as any easel I've ever used. A lot of commercial easels are really quite heavy, made of metal or thick composite. As Dan remembers, our Dad was an engineer who loved designing gliders, bicycles, and racing boats, and he always stressed making things as light as possible without sacrificing strength.

Kehl said...

I would only add drink holder that accepts beer cans or bottles, a digital-capable sound system and possibly a small tray holder for cucumber sandwiches or crudites.

Robyn Jorde said...

Mine is extremely simple: a lapboard with a hole cut in it for a water cup and magnets to hold the palette. Sketchbook is clipped to the board, leaving both hands free. It does have a tripod mount on the back so it can be used that way, but you can't tilt it up vertically without dumping water. No diffuser. Advantages: almost zero set-up effort, low tech, feels natural to use because it is similar to how I work in the studio.

Looking forward to your in depth post.

Judy P. said...

I just returned from Paris, where I brought my lightweight oil painting setup, and managed to paint 6 8x10's around heavy rain and exhausting sightseeing. It is homemade, from everyday objects, quick to setup and packup, super light, fits in a small backpack. I'll get photos to send you- it may not look impressive but I'm proud of it!

James Gurney said...

Hi, Judy. Please do send photos. I want to do a post sharing lots of reader ideas about how to make them.

Buffie said...

I hope I'm not being dim...but what hardware attaches the palette & sketchbook support to a photographic tripod? (They look like photographers' tripods, I'm assuming that's what they are.)

James Gurney said...

Buffie, no, that's a good question! The top of the tripod has a quick release plate and a 1/4 x 20 threaded screw designed to fit into the bottom of a camera. It also threads into a 1/4 x 20 Tee-nut, which is built into the easel. You can get extra quick release plates and screw one of them into the back of the easel for a super secure connection. I'll show how all that works in the video.

Buffie said...

Thank you! Looking forward to the video.