There’s one quick way to elevate yourself from dauber or scribbler to artist, and that’s to start working on an easel rather than a table. But even if you’re not a natural artist, an easel can be a striking — and practical — way to display photos and artwork, large and small. When choosing, make sure you have material, size, and durability in mind.

A horizontal bar and clip system means canvases are securely held. This model is expandable from just under 1.5 feet to over 5 feet. It’s also available in black, and in packs of two. T-SIGN

Easels can be hugely multifunctional, even if you’re not an artist and don’t want to use them as a means to display artwork in your home. Whether wall space is at a premium or there simply isn’t a surface where you need one, an easel can be used as an easy way to display temporary signage, as a way to introduce a whiteboard or pad for brainstorming in a meeting, or to showcase small items on a display board in a retail or trade show environment.

Best for Beginners

With every tool a budding Matisse or Monet could need, this collection has all the equipment required to embark upon your first masterpiece. ESRICH

If you’re looking for something that’s portable, look for a lightweight design that will fold flat. But bear in mind that the size of your easel will dictate the size of the canvas that you are able to use—too small, and your canvas will likely not be stable on the frame and you run the risk of overbalancing. So if you’re planning on eventually working on larger canvases, go larger with your choice of easel, even if you just start with smaller works.

This set of three portable frames can be used in a variety of settings, from showcasing works to creating them. Jekkis

The simplest easel is just a ledge for balancing a picture or canvas on with an extending foot at the back—meaning the canvas is held at an angle. More sophisticated designs will allow you to adjust the angle of the canvas, or will include clamps at the top and the bottom so that the canvas is fixed in place securely.