Friday, May 8, 2015

Sketching Stools

First question is do you need a stool?  A long time ago I decided that I did need one and I almost always carry it with me when I'm out sketching, unless I know that the seat will be unwelcome or unnecessary.

I can give you two examples when I was grateful to have my seat.  The first was sketching in Central Park the day after a particularly hard rain left everything soggy.  Having a seat kept me dry.  The other time was sketching in an area where people were walking their dogs.  Yes, having a portable seat keeps you clean and dry.  But is it comfortable?

It seems to more portable it is, the less comfortable it is.  I had what I thought was a good solution and then found something better.

Let's start with the better solution:  During the Urban Sketchers Symposium in Brazil Rayle found a great stool for sale in a housewares store near the hotels.  We both got one.   It was light weight and cheap.  As I recall it was about $6 US. The trouble was,  I never found anything similar until Mike Lohn tracked one for sale on Amazon:

Blantex HB-1 Non-Sink Folding Stool

I measured my Brazilian stool:

  • Height:  14"
  • Width:   9 1/4"
  • Length:  11"
  • Weight:  29.6 oz

(The Blantex model for sale at Amazon might be slightly different - but they look the same)

My original Stool was the GCI.  A few other Urban Sketchers use it, including Jason, so it's a popular choice.

GCI Outdoor PackSeat - Collapsible Stool

Although when I first had it, I thought the collapsible stool was a good solution, the stool is less stable, less comfortable and more difficult to pack.  On the plus side it only weighs 24.7 oz so it's slightly less heavy than folding stool.  It's also taller - at 19" off the ground.  You'd think it would be easier to get up and sit down using the Collapsible Stool because it's taller, however the fact that it's much less stable makes this untrue.

The Folding Stool design fits  around my backpack nicely.  My Jansport has two clips I use to secure the stool to the top of the backpack.  What would be better is to have four clips - two at the top and two at the bottom.  That would provide a more secure connection and keep the stool from banging into things.

Previously I would stuff the GCI into my backpack.  Its odd shape took up much too much room, leaving less space for me to overpack (probably unnecessary) art supplies.  (I've got to learn to bring less!)

I noticed that the Amazon write-up point out that the Folding Stool has - "Non-sink legs for comfort on ALL kinds of ground".   Having used both designs, this is a good point.

A lot of sketchers are using stools and I'd be curious to hear how you'd review your own solution.

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