One of my artist friends, Bryan Mark Taylor, has designed and produced the Strada line of equipment for artists. One product in particular caught my attention: the Strada Pad, which is designed for use as a drawing support. Bryan generously sent me a free one to try out so that I could share my findings with you.
I had been looking for a portable drawing setup for occasions when I teach drawing classes or otherwise need a sturdy support. The Strada Pad is a great solution and I haven’t seen anything else like it. Since I already use a tripod-supported pochade box setup for painting outdoors, the Strada Pad is perfect since it also attaches securely to a camera tripod and readily holds a pad of drawing paper or even a canvas panel.
The product is made of aluminum measuring 18 x 24 inches and is about 1/8 inch thick. It weighs 5 lbs 5 oz and is quite solid and sturdy. I easily attached the quick release plate from my tripod to the integrated mounting hole on the back (see photos).
Depending on the adjustability of the attached tripod, the Pad can be placed at just about any angle from almost 90 degrees to the floor up to 180 degrees for use as a table. (Think still-life setup or sculpting stand.) Keep in mind that you’ll need a sturdy tripod for maximum stability. My current setup works great: a Sirui T-2005X tripod with a Manfrotto 3229 head.
The Pad sports a small 1/4 inch lip on two sides to support a drawing or painting surface. I found the addition of clips gave me some peace of mind that my drawing pad wouldn’t fall off accidentally. Of course, the surface can be positioned horizontally or vertically.
I recently used my Strada Pad while teaching a portrait drawing workshop and it performed great. It held my drawing pad at whatever angle I desired and felt solid as I demonstrated my drawing approach for the students.
I’m looking forward to finding other uses for it too, possibly even as a secondary easel for painting.
The one suggestion I gave Bryan was to add a handle of some sort to increase portability. But even without a handle the Strada Pad is fun to use and is much more portable than larger easels. I was thankful for that during my recent workshop.
You can find more information and order yours on the Strada website. (I don’t make any money from sales of the Strada Pad, Bryan sent me one for free to test and review. Thanks, Bryan!)