I chose to use poplar, which is strong and takes paint well.
I didn't have a pattern, I just made a basic easel to fit the size of the frame and that would sit at the height the customer wanted it to. It is five pieces of wood plus a chain and a hinge.
There are three legs, a top cross piece and a ledge that the frame sits on.
The back cross piece holds the front legs and has a hinge on it which allows the back leg to be folded in for easier portability.
You can see in the following picture how the crosspiece is set into grooves cut into each leg.
Here you can see the back of the ledge that has grooves cut into it, it is both glued and screwed to the legs. The back of the ledge has a screw eye that holds one end of the chain. The other end of the chain is attached to the back leg.
The bottom of the legs are cut on angles to allow them to sit flat on the floor.
The easel was painted with a primer and then three coats of white semi-gloss paint.
Here it is holding one of my framed seahorse designs.