In your sketch kit: Summer 2017

I’m finally packing my sketch bag for the Urban Sketchers Symposium in Chicago. And I’m going with my smallest sketchbag to date.

It’s a small Timbuk 2 Messenger, and I’ll carry just 2 sketchbooks: A large 9×12 wirebound Beta book and a smaller Epsilon book, both from Stillman & Birn. Then there’s brushes, my bag of supplies and my palette.


The toothbrush holder holds my single-most-used brush, the Rosemary & Co Sable-blend dagger brush. Most sketches, I just use this one brush.

Here’s what I settled on for my palette of colors…If you can’t read my chicken-scratch, that’s French Ultramarine next to Burnt Sienna, which makes my go-to neutrals. Cobalt Teal Blue, which seems like an odd color to have, but once you use it, you see it in everything. Especially in glass and steel surfaces. Cerulean Blue (red shade), a color I pulled out of my palette for a while so I’d try more blues, but I miss it, so it’s back. Indrathene blue, for dark neutral mixes. Phthalo Green, which I am determined to learn to use well ( it’s tough to keep it quiet when you work quick and mix your colors on the paper, but I’ve seen so many sketchers make gorgeous foliage colors with it. Quin Gold. Green Gold. The”?” is the one color I have no clue about: I just don’t know what it is, but it’s orange and transparent which will be useful since I love painting traffic cones and safety jackets. Permanent Crimson. Hansa Yellow Light. New Gamboge. Potter’s Pink. Raw Umber, Sepia, Bloodstone Genuine, and Carbazole Violet, another color I have to be careful not to overdo, but works beautifully in the shadows.

In other supplies: Some Blackwings, my favorite pencil, a sketch-and wash watersoluble pencil, a rainbow pencil, a Pentel brushpen and a waterbrush with grey ink, both for the gesture drawing demos I’ll do in my workshop. A few options for white: a white wax crayon to use quickly like resist, and a colored pencil for subtler stuff later in the process.  Art Graf is watersoluble graphite in a tin I sometimes use with a waterbrush for greyscale studies. An Escoda travel brush, 2 Sailor Bent Nib Pens, a toothbrush for splatter, a scraping tool for mark making, and finally an exacto knife because I love to sharpen pencils with it. The last two items will be in check-in luggage ( along with my ink bottle and syringe for refilling my pens). At the very bottom, a small eraser and some clips.

That’s my sketch kit. There will also be a scrunched-up sunhat, a bottle of water and all my class materials and handouts (pictured below) in that Timbuk2 bag.

See you in Chicago, maybe? I’ll post sketches when I’m back.


About Suhita Shirodkar

obsessive-sketcher. graphic designer.
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12 Responses to In your sketch kit: Summer 2017

  1. Betsy Angene says:

    Your sketches inspire me. Which palette are your colors in? Is it a Schmincke? It looks so compact.


  2. Suma CM says:

    Ah, yes! Will need to land on my symposium sketch kit this week as well! Thanks for sharing!


  3. love the snazzy timbuk2 bag. excited to see you and to learn from you (finally, this time!)


  4. Very interesting to see what you choose to travel with. I also use ultramarine and sienna to create neutrals. Black is soulless. Have a great time in Chi Town. Can’t wait to see your posts.


  5. I am taking things out..trying to get it down to three sketchbooks. I know Stillman and Birn will be there, maybe I can take 2… but the tools, watercolor pencils, pens, pencils, fun parallel pens, wierd pencils, sharpeners, clips, etc.. thanks! see you there!


  6. Interesting kit – good luck at the symposium – wish I was going


  7. Christy Lemp says:

    Thanks for taking the time to list your materials-always interesting to see what artists pack up espl when traveling. so hard to keep the bag small! Good luck at the symposium.


  8. Melissa says:

    Wish I was going—missed registration by one day, and every class or session I wanted was taken, so I decided against. It’s getting as bad as signing up for ComiCon; three minutes and it’s all over.


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