Every so often, I get asked what’s in my sketch kit. I’m always happy to share what there is but it’s always “what’s in my sketch kit today”. Some things haven’t changed for a long time, others come and go.
So here is what was in my bag last week.
The pen and pencils here are staples: A Sailor Bent Nib pen with a 55 degree angle. And Blackwing pencils, the black and metallic grey versions. These pencils might be a luxury, but they are so buttery, it makes me happy to use them.
Also in my bag:
Caran D’Ache Neocolor I wax crayons which are so much nicer than the school supplies brands.
Right now I’m loving playing within different colored inks so there is always a vial or two of ink around. I buy sample vials from Goulet Inks to see if I enjoy them before I buy bottles. Two inks I adore are Apache Sunset from Noodlers and this iron gall ink. Experimenting with inks means carrying around dip pens, which is a bit inconvenient but I love the line dip pens make, especially bamboo pens. The blue TWSBI pen and the mango colored Lamy Safari pen are super reliable pens with a juicy line. If you are new to fountain pens, start with one of these. They don’t give you a variable line, but I like their line a lot. The Pentel Pocket Brush Pen is standard in my kit. I love using it for quick gestural sketches. Sometimes my kit includes watersoluble graphite and watersoluble pencils, both of which are really versatile: I use them wet or dry for different effects.
And lastly, my paint kit.
In the large kit: Here is what is in my palette this week. Mostly Daniel Smith but I also use some other brands. (starting top left and moving left to right): Transparent Red Oxide, Cobalt Teal, Lavender, Permanent Alizarin Red, Monte Amiata Natural Sienna, Ultramarine Blue, Cobalt Bleu, a purple I can’t remember the name to, Indanthrone Blue, Sap Green, Lunar Black, Pyrelene Green, Transparent Pyrrol Orange, Hansa Yellow Medium.
And the tiny kit from Expeditionary Art at the bottom contains two spaces filled with white gouache, Monte Amiata Natural Sienna, Transparent Red Oxide, Ultramarine Blue, and a large space filled with a mix of the red oxide and blue. This little kit is as close as I get to a monochrome kit. The mixed color is my standard neutral mix, the other colors all help shift it warmer or cooler. The white makes it function like a gouache kit if I want it to do that.
I usually carry around a round brush or two and a couple of dagger brushes from Rosemary Brushes.
Not in this photo: my sketchbooks. They vary, I like lots of different books, but my favorite multimedia books are the Stillman and Birn Alpha and Beta books.
This year my sketch kit has grown a fair bit. It’s because I’ve sketched a lot in natural settings and from my car and while all of that requires a compact sketching kit it is not nearly as compact as what it takes to stand in the middle of a crowd or a market and sketch.
I hope I can do that again in 2021. But meanwhile, I am making art, experimenting with new media, continuing to blog, and to teach workshops online. Wishing you a happy, art-filled and safe 2021.