Heading South

Last week, the kids and I jumped in the car and headed south. The week began well, with fish tacos at Splash Cafe, Pismo Beach.

And Pismo is always beautiful.

I asked my son to take a picture of me sketching at the beach. This is what he took. Not quite what I meant for him to do, but oh well…

Driving south means I want to draw every palm tree I see. It takes me a while to actually feel like I can see a tree simply and not get obsessed with every frond in it.

We drove to San Diego the next day. The Safari Park is among my favorite places to visit. No sit-down-and-sketch possibilities when you have 2 excited kids that want to see everything, so it’s walk-and-draw time: I used a waterbrush, my paint palette, a small Stillman & Birn Alpha book and a blackwing pencil for the most part. Sometimes I pulled out my Sailor pen.


Sketchnoting like this isn’t about painting. It’s about seeing. I see the birds and animals better if I draw them, even if it is very quickly and loosely.

I’m still working on a good minimal kit for occasions like this, so if you have a pared-down, minimal setup that you feel you can draw with on the go, I’d love to know about it.

About Suhita Shirodkar

obsessive-sketcher. graphic designer.
This entry was posted in Animals, california, supplies, Supplies and Materials, Travel and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to Heading South

  1. Ruth Kaldor says:

    I had never heard of those pencils. Are they worth the price?


  2. Annie says:

    “Sketchnoting isn’t about painting….” is a wonderful description, soon to be used with my artists’ group that doesn’t understand my sketching. Your beach scenes are different for you, a bit? Lovely. The rhino is a rhino is a rhino, may I copy for practice? As always, thank you so much for sharing your works and thoughts with us, you inspire me.


    • Annie, thank you. I guess the beach scenes are paint first and a minimal of line only where required. yes, different from my more line-dominated work. I try to be responsive to the sort of treatment the subject demands instead of defaulting to my usual mode…
      And yes of course fine to copy the rhinos.


  3. You are so good at sketchwalking!!


  4. Hello Suhita, I love your sketches particularly Pismo one of my favorite places. I have a minimal kit I put together for Europe. It contains a handmade sketch pamphlet, with quilting template plastic that I clip inside to keep it sturdy. I wanted something very light. I make my own sketchbooks and this was a lightweight solution for a long trip. The watercolor palette is the pocket palette. It is zipped in a laptop notebook cover. I carry minimal sketch supplies mostly I use a Platinum Preppy fountain pen and a mechanical pencil. Sometimes I use a water brush. You can see a picture on my Facebook page. Technology sometimes confounds me so let me know if you cannot access! And want to see it I can email you a picture.


  5. Nancy Waldron says:

    I like the setup seen on u-tube, Following the White Rabbit., my urban sketching kit, tools,and supplies. She has managed a method to sketch and paint while standing up. And she carries all supplies while walking. Check it out.


  6. miatagrrl says:

    When I sketched/walked during the Women’s March, I carried just a black brush pen (the kind with a hard tip) and a pink colored pencil. That was enough for that day, anyway!

    – Tina

    Liked by 1 person

  7. M. L. Kappa says:

    Loved this post and your sketches! Sometimes I just carry a few Prismalo watercolor pencils. They weigh nothing, and I put on water when I get home. You can always use one of the colors for the initial sketch, it can make for some interesting effects.


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