ART REVIEW: Art Alternatives’ Marquis Desk Easel

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Last year, I bought myself a desk easel. It was the solution to ending the frequent neck and back pains I was having due to wrong sitting posture while working. As my drafting table is most probably lost somewhere now (last time I saw it was 5-6 years ago in my dorm room, decaying I assume), I would only resort to my level-planed study table and work there. But after a while, I started having stiff neck, headaches and back pains. I needed a small easel where I could prop my paper/board there and work without having to bend my head and upper body for hours. And so, the hunt for that perfect desk easel began.

I went to Fully Booked stores because I remember seeing desk easels being sold there before. My goal was to buy a quality desk easel, affordable or good for it’s price, and portable that I can bring it with me to workshops. My main concern also was that I should be able to use it for watercolor painting — meaning that the angle shouldn’t be too steep and I can adjust the angle whenever needed. With watercolor painting, you would need a flat to slightly inclined surface to allow paint to dry evenly and prevent it from unnecessary dripping.

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Out of a few portable easels I saw, I bought Art Alternatives’ Marquis Desk Easel. For only below PHP 1800, and with adjustable slots and a drawer for your paints, I thought it was a good steal.

Here are a few technical details you should know:

  • Folded dimensions: 13.25″ W x 4.25″ D x 3″ H; Weight: 2.5 lbs;
  • Max. Canvas Size: 14″ W (although I was able to do 16″)
  • Material: Solid pine wood
  • Inclusions: Wooden palette, sliding drawer with compartments
  • Has rubber feet on all corners at the bottom (prevents slipping and protects table surface from scratches while moving the desk easel). In fairness, it doesn’t wiggle and is very steady.
How it looks when folded.

It’s compact and sturdy. Since it is made of wood, it has this weight but it’s not too troublesome to carry. As mentioned before, it has a built-in drawer with a free wooden palette inside it. The drawer should be able to store brushes and 5mL-10mL paint tubes, plus a few papers. Sadly, you won’t be able to store your large tubes in it as they won’t fit. It also has locks each on both the drawer and the easel itself to secure from falling. Attached on one side is a faux leather handle.

The easel has four slots that you can adjust the angle with. I normally use the two last slots when painting with watercolor, although I wish they have another slot lower. When I work with super wet paintings, I still take my painting on a level surface as the last slot’s still a bit steep for me.  There’s actually space left after the last slot, and I’m thinking of cutting it to provide another slot. Not advisable to do it on your own, guys! Please let an expert or a skilled carpenter do this for you.

THE VERDICT:

3.8 out of 5 stars. Very portable, handy and useful with painting with watercolor. It’s recommended to use in a limited space. With it’s size though, you can only use it when working with small works. I have not used it yet for acrylic paintings on canvasses, though. The locks can be a little loose though, so care must be given when carrying it. There are some features though which I find it lacking, then again you get what you pay for. Not bad though for it’s price as it’s still very functional.

A few tips:

  • When working with smaller papers or boards, make sure to cover first the openings with a board the same size or larger than the easel. This is to prevent the paper/board/canvas from falling through the rectangular openings.
  • Make sure your board or canvas is not too big or heavy, or else it will tip. Maximum width of board it can supposedly support is 14″, although it was able to support my 12×16″ Sennelier watercolor block. (See photos above) I think that’s the maximum width it can support.
  • I bought this desk easel at Fully Booked’s Alabang Town Center branch. You may also try at Greenbelt or at BGC.

Have you tried this desk easel? What other brands of desk easel have you tried and would like to recommend? Let me know in the comments below! 🙂

*Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. This review is based on personal observation and experience on working with the easel.

 

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