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Studio Setup: Lighting, Easels, Furniture, and Casts


LED bank lights with adjustable color temperature settings can be used to supplement or imitate north light from a window. Sadie uses these in her home studio:

GVM 2 Pack LED Video Lighting Kits with APP Control, Bi-Color Variable 2300K~6800K

For lighting a still life or cast with a lamp, we recommend an LED gooseneck clamp light with the ability to adjust color temperature, there are many kinds online.

These are additional tools that are useful for still life and cast setups:

Pony Clamps
Heavy-duty clamps can help mount your drawing board higher on your easel, or can be used to arrange drapery or sheets of foam core to block ambient light.

This black, non-reflective tin foil is used to mask and control lighting.

Translucent Vellum Paper
Tape a sheet of vellum over your light source if your cast setup is too high-contrast or the lights are "blown-out".


These tall black shelves from IKEA work well for setting up a still life or cast:

Tall Besta Frame in Black/Brown

IKEA Article Number: 902.459.46

Shelves (sold separately)
IKEA Article Number:  402.955.28

A laptop tripod stand makes an excellent, lightweight side table/tabouret for holding brushes, paint tubes, solvent cups:

Laptop Tripod Stand


Sadie uses a Sienna panel holder on a tripod for her studio easel. Larger work might require a larger easel. We recommend a sturdy H-Frame or a lightweight single-mast style:

H-Frame Easels

These can extend very high, but the top may hit a standard-height ceiling.

Single-Mast Easels

These easels allow the tray to be raised very high, so you can position your drawing board or painting panel higher, but it tends to be a little wobbly and may need a sandbag to brace it.

Sienna Panel Holder
This is the easel Sadie uses in her studio, but you'll need to buy a sturdy camera tripod to mount it.

Sienna Palette
This oil paint palette goes with the Sienna Panel holder above but is sold separately. It attaches to the legs of a standard tripod. See Sadie's Plein Air blog post to see her setup for painting outside.


Plaster Casts

Plaster casts of historic sculptures are only suitable for study if they are high quality and have a flat white finish. Beware of low-quality copies and be sure you are buying high quality direct casts of originals. These are the only vendors we recommend:

Caproni Collection, Massachusetts, USA

Felice Calcii, Italy

Nicholas Wood, United Kingdom

If you are taking our cast drawing course with instructor feedback, please purchase one of these exact versions of Michelangelo's features. Beware of the many inferior versions of these casts:

Nose, Eye, Mouth, Ear

See Sadie's blog post: Cast Drawing at Home: How to Purchase, Set up and Light a Beginner Cast in your Home Studio

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