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The Trusty Drawing Horse

Prior to the first Drawing Summer Bootcamp (beginning May 30), preparation is well under way. I am making several drawing horse easels from scratch. My upcoming students will use these sitting easels during class to draw.

These benches go by a number of names: Horse Easel, Mule, Caballo Art Bench, Art Horse, Drawing Bench. Although they are commonplace in college drawing studios, they are fairly hard to come by outside the university setting.

I prefer the sitting easel over the standing easel when drawing, and for several reasons. First, if I am going to draw for any length of time, I would rather not stand. It’s significantly more comfortable, particularly over the course of an extended drawing session, or in classes day after day, to sit.

Secondly, the big advantage of a drawing bench over an easel is that the drawing is below your line of sight to the model, rather than to one side. If you’ve always done life drawing by turning your head side to side from a standing easel, you may find the drawing horse a bit easier.

I made my first drawing horse in 2016. My six-year-old son and I have spent countless hours in my home studio, sitting on the bench, drawing pictures from magazines clipped to a Masonite drawing board. The drawing horse is something I did not experience until college, so I am excited that my son gets an early edge on drawing by experiencing this useful easel. And I am excited to bring it to my drawing students this summer!

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