If all my talk of painting has inspired you to want to try painting, not just at home but on day trips and more, here are some essentials for how to put your own travelling sketching and painting kit together;
You Will Need
- Surface to create onto
- Pencil, sharpener, eraser
- Something to sit on
- Something to carry it in
- Compact camera
precisely what you put in your kit will depend upon your style of work. My kit below works for sketching, wather colour and pen and wash. Feel free to modify the contents to your own artistic style. This is a core kit to get you started.
- Surface to work on; I use a ring bound sketch book. This means I can fold back the pages I’m not using and the hard covers mean I don’t need a board.
- Pencil; I use a couple of Staedtler Mars 780 lead holders. One with B and the other a 2B grade of lead. The advantage of these is that there is a sharpener incorporated within the barrel, so one less piece of kit to carry.
- Eraser; I have a small tin with a putty eraser in it. This creates no mess and does less damage to the paper surface than other kinds of erasers. Mine is a Faber Castel one.
- Pens; Fine liners in 0.1, 0.3, 0.5 and 0.7. I use a set in black and also a set in sepia depending on the style of subject/time of year. This range of nib sizes allows for fine detail up to quite dark shading. I do love the Faber Castel ones, but other brands are available 😉
- Watercolours: The colour pallet you use will depend upon your choice of subject and time of year, If you can keep to a minimal pallet of 12-14 colours I highly recommend the Winsor and Newton Field Box. It has fold out pallets, the end cap turns into a water holder and there is a mini water bottle in there too. It also has its own (very small) brush. Perfect size to pop in your pocket and not too heavy. I love to use mine with water brushes for quick sketches, but the water pot on the end means you don’t have to carry excess kit.
- Brushes; Depends on your style, but for minimal fuss and quick sketches I’ve found the water brushes by Pentel to be superb, they hold water within the barrel, so no need to carry extra water pot. These come in small, medium and large brush points. Kuretake also make a similar product and include a flat within their range. Have just invested in a set of retractable sable brushes, that I will review at a later point. These are handy if you like a traditional brush but don’t want it to get damaged. I work small, A5 ish and found the most useful sizes of brush to be No; 2,4,6 and a flat. This gives me everything from fine detail to a wash brush 😉
- Something to sit on; If you are going out especially to paint, let’s get comfy and take a chair. Those folding directors chairs are great, as they have pockets on one side to put stuff in and on the other a fold up table, ideal for putting your paints on 🙂 If you are going out for a day trip and want the option of painting, folding foam mats available from camping shops are ideal. The mats fold up small and weigh almost nothing but are great for keeping you off the damp grass or cold concrete of a stone wall etc.
- Camera; It’s really useful to take a small compact camera with you on sketching trips. If the light or weather change its handy to have taken a photo to refer back to if you have to cut your trip short.
You will now need something to put all this kit into. First gather your supplies, so you know how much you want to take with you then select what you will store it in.
- DIY stores are a great place to find empty tool boxes, these are divided and can be really useful kit holders, being plastic they are also less likely to damage if stood on damp grass for longer trips.
- Sturdy Bag; something reasonably weather proof is a good idea, it will keep the contents more protected if the weather turn on you.
Top tips are to keep it simple, and comfortable. If something is too bulky, heavy or uncomfortable to use or carry you won’t want to use it. At a pinch..if pushed.. I could get away with a pencil, eraser, a 0.1 pen (either colour) W&N Field box, sketch book and the three water brushes. They are all in there, so if I want the option of sketching I can just pick those and drop them in my pocket.
A few ready-made options
- Winsor and Newton Field Box
- Winsor and Newton Travelling Sketching kit. (To be reviewed next week, I’ll add a link here after that).
- Here’s my earlier post which details the items I’ve put into my kit
The biggest advantage of putting together a travel kit, even if you don’t intend to travel with it! Is that it makes it so much quicker and easier to locate your favorite and essential items when you want to sketch. Don’t loose precious sketching time rummaging round the house for your sketching pens or brushes. Gather your favorite items together in a small box, you notice I say small box! If its going to leave the house with it, it doesn’t want to be the size of a car!!! Remember you’ll be carrying it to your chosen painting spot!
Best wishes and thanks for reading see you soon