What's In Your Sketch Kit?!

2:35 PM

Since folks know I often sketch on location, it's not unusual to be asked "What does your kit look like?" And I thought it was about time to share this info here!

Small Watercolor Kit

This is my small kit. It's approximately 8" long by 3" wide x 1" deep. The box is constructed of plastic, but it has some give to it. It's amazing what you can get in one of this boxes!

• My palette that holds 18 colors
• A sponge
• Large white eraser for mistakes
• Kneaded eraser for lifting graphite without completely removing the line
• A white crayon for highlights and creating a resist
• Various brushes
• A ruler*
• Mechanical pencil (so I don't have to sharpen it)
• A small bottle of water to wet the paints
• A paper towel and tissue (inside the box)

*I use a hairband to wrap around the ruler and the brushes to keep the tips of the brushes from getting crunched if they get too close to the end of the box. By putting the ruler to the edge of one end of the box and the brush handles at the other end, the brushes don't move around. 

There has been one very important change I've made since this photo was taken - I now use a waterbrush for almost all of my location work:

Using a waterbrush on location simplifying matters greatly. No need for a water source, I don't have to haul water in case there isn't a source, and no buckets or cups to cart around to put the water in! I generally carry several waterbrushes as each has its own personality and is good for certain tasks.

These are the supplies I take on location. They are tried and true. I know they'll work for me again and again, no matter what my subject may be. I may throw in a black permanent pen if I'm going to be doing a lot of quick sketching. The only other thing that may change is the choice of pigments I take to a location (i.e. more earth tones and oranges for fall, more blues for snow or water).

I also have a very large elastic band that I sometimes use to hold my sketchbook and kit together. This makes it possible to sketch just about anywhere, any time!

Now, what's in your kit?!!

p.s. If you are interested in purchasing one of these boxes with the Imaginary Trips logo on it, let me know!

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10 Creative Thought(s)

  1. Up until recently, my kit contained a couple of pencils (2B & 2H), several watercolor pencils and a blender pen to take them from pencil to "watercolor", a pigma micron pen, an eraser and a pencil sharpener. I kept these things in a rectangular tin box that came with a watch! Now I'm building a kit very much like yours as I prepare to take the Imaginary Trip to the Beach. I have a little plastic bag that came with our neighborhood newslettter that's just big enough to hold my sketchbook and my box of supplies (I think I have the same plastic box you do, only in lavender). It holds a little more than the tin box, so it will be my new sketch kit. Can't wait to hear about others' kits!

  2. Your supplies are a lot like mine. Good idea with connecting brushed and ruler. I carry waterbrushes exclusively now and save my traditional brushes for the studio. And, I'm loving your choice of color. Shocker :)

  3. Mine is so minimal I am embarrassed to say it is a Sucrets box with 12 watercolor pans and a waterfilled brush plus my small Moleskine. That way it fits in my purse for those unexpected opportunities. If I am planning a 'real' painting adventure, my kit looks a lot like yours.

  4. I like the addition of the bag to the kit, KJ. Hmmmm, now you've got me thinking……

    Pam, since the waterbrushes have caps (assuming I don't lose it) the brush tip thing hasn't been an issue. However, everyone once in a while, I do still take regular brushes and this is a great trick to know.

    Teri, don't be embarrassed, girl, I've got you beat by a mile when it comes to itty-bitty palettes! I'm going to be doing a post on "stealth" palettes very soon!

  5. I carry my kit in a bag. Not quite a backpack, not quite a tote bag. But I would like to carry something smaller. What I want to know is where on earth did you get that small of a palette?

    My bag contains 4 permanent pens, mechanical pencil, 6" ruler, white crayon, white and black gel pens, an eraser, a brush pen (all in one pocket of my bag), 3 water brushes in the pencil pockets, a small water bottle and a small spray bottle in a mesh pocket, a glue stick and bone folder in another pocket, and a watercolor palette, some watercolor pencils, a piece of a micro fiber towel, and my journal in the main body of the bag. I already know of several items I don't really use that I could leave out, but since I have plenty of room in my bag, I haven't eliminated anything yet.

    I'm thinking about switching to a pencil box (not as small as yours, since my palette won't fit) and if I do, I'll just carry one permanent pen, a mechanical pencil, 2 water brushes, watercolor palette, and towel (and journal of course, which won't fit in the box).

  6. That is a compact, complete, collection for your on site work! Thanks for sharing it. Love your beach trash painting too.

  7. Oooh, me, me, me... I want a box like yours! It is so pretty and RED!

    I have a tin box similar to what Kathy mentioned above, but my palette is too big to fit in it.

    Actually, I was surprised to see that your palette was so small, and yet holds 18 colors. What a great idea. I'll have to be on the hunt for that....

    I like your idea of keeping the ruler above your brush tips to discourage them from moving around the box and getting squashed. Brilliant!

    Laure, you think of the coolest things!

  8. Wow, Cheryl, that is a great outfit! I find that the bigger the bag the more I carry to the point of being ridiculous. So I went for seeing how small and compact I could make it.

    As to the palette - if cost a king's ransom and like an idiot, I paid it. Had to have it in fact. It's a great palette and I'm glad I have it but it wasn't worth the price because every time I take it out on location I am concerned I will lose it.

    There is a company called Angora that makes cheap plastic watercolor palettes that hold 18 pigments. I have bought those, thrown away the paint and refilled them and I LOVE them! MUCH better than to be worried.

    Thanks, AU!

    Krista, you wouldn't expect any other color would you?????!!!!

  9. There are several small watercolor sets at Hobby Lobby that I've considered doing just that Laure - tossing the paints for the palette. But the palette I have isn't much bigger - it's like the one I bought from you only smaller. It holds 20 pigments. And it will fit in a 5.5" X 8.5" pencil box. So I'm probably going to move to that - since I really don't need all the things I carry now.

  10. Sketch on location? In public? Horrors! :-)


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