While great art can be made with a ballpoint pen on lined notebook paper, it’s awfully fun to pull together a nice set of supplies for your sketching kit.
I've been wanting to share some of my favorite sketching supplies with you, keeping in mind that it's an ever evolving list. I carry mine with me everywhere I go, whether I plan on going sketching or not. Sometimes, the opportunity arises when I hadn't planned on it and it's great to have my supplies with me at all times. Sketching makes the most mundane of moments exciting, fun, and fresh. With my supplies in tow, I don't mind long lines, waiting rooms, or meetings so much. They all become opportunities to see, really see, the world around me.
So each tool in my sketching kit needs to earn its place since I'll be carry it around. I used to throw too many supplies in my bag, not sure what I would be in the mood to use. But my kit because heavy and it was the first thing I would leave home if I thought I'd be out running around too long. By lightening my load, there is no need to ever consider not bringing my kit with me.
There's nothing magical about my list of tools. It's just a list of my preferences at the moment. I'm always learning about a new pen, or brushes, or sketchbook. I'll try them out. Sometimes they replace my favorites. Sometimes not. So this list is just what is in my bag now. The attached sketch is what my favorite kit looked like just a year ago. You can see, it's evolved quite a bit from what's listed here. Time to go sketch my current set!
1. Watercolor sketchbook. I love the 8.5 x 11 Stillman & Birn sketchbooks but sometimes even I find it to be too big. I haven't convinced myself to go smaller yet. I prefer the Stillman & Birn Beta and the Zeta Series Sketchbooks, which are designed for watercolors.
2. Waterproof ink pens in black ink, various sizes. I like Black, Pigma Micron Pen 01/.25mm and a few Microns that are of various sizes up and down from that. Bring more than one as they do run out. However most of my sketches are done with my new favorite pen, a Platinum Carbon Desk Fountain Pen, Super Fine. The ink that comes in its cartridge is completely waterproof and I love the fine nib. I don't mind that it usually leaves black ink smudges on my middle finger.
3. Watercolor travel palette. There are a ton of choices out there. Some people fill little Altoids tins with half pans and their favorite half dozen colors. I bring a larger set: my half pan set of 24 colors by Winsor & Newton, professional grade. Hundreds and hundreds of color choices are out there. You should pick the colors that most speak to you.
4. Three travel brushes of various sizes. It’s important that they are travel brushes (they will have caps on them so that they don’t get ruined as you travel). One luxurious option is the DaVinci travel brushes but I also use the inexpensive Niji Waterbrushes, which conveniently fill up with water. I have a small round, medium round, and large round Niji.
5. A Guerrilla Painter Large Mouth Single Palette Cup. This small metal cup with a cap carries enough water in it for me to paint a sketch or two. It clips to my metal palette and I've come to love it.
6. Paper towels. Just a few, folded up in my bag to clean up my brushes and palette when I'm done.
And that's it, these days.
Do you have some favorites that I should know about? Please share. Shopping for art supplies is one of my greatest joys. Gimme an excuse to go find more!