Saturday, June 11, 2011

art supplies for the traveler

Happy Weekend, everyone!  I had a question from a reader about the art supplies I like to take along on the road.  So here we go...

Usually my supplies consist of a ziplock bag filled with the following:
  • small palette of artist's watercolors (such as Windsor Newton)
  • two Nigi Waterbrushes (one round, one flat; you fill the tubes with water -- very handy and actually a pretty decent brush)
  • drawing pencil, pencil sharpener, and eraser
  • small jar for water and a paper towel
  • two pens for sketching -- such as the Pentel Pocket Brush Pen and the Pen & Ink brand sketch fountain pen (fine point -- oh, and extra India ink, though I always seem to have bad luck with leaking bottles!)
  • and a glue stick
Sometimes I bring along a few of my nicer watercolor brushes (round #6 and #8) and some watercolor pencils (I use those by Faber-Castell).

I've been experimenting with bound journals/sketchbooks over the last year, trying to find one I really like.  Last year I took a large spiral-bound Canson "all media" sketchbook with me on our road trip.  It has medium-weight, watercolor-type paper with a decent amount of texture so it works with pastels and charcoal, too.  It gets the job done, but definitely buckles with wet mediums:

A much more refined-looking journal is this one below, which is not spiral-bound and has a nice gray linen cover -- made by Hand Book Journal Co.  The paper is similar to the Canson -- enough texture to accept different media, but not so much that it hinders writing with a fine-tipped fountain pen.  The rounded corners are an elegant touch too....

Much to my surprise, I think my favorite journal is this one by The Bee Paper Company:

It's not perfect, but I really like that the paper is relatively smooth, but still heavy enough to accept watercolor without problems.  You get a bit of buckling, but overall it's no worse than the Canson journal.  The pen glides over this paper so much easier, which is essential for me because I like to mix in plenty of writing.  I don't think spiral-bound books are very pretty, but they sure make things easier out in the field!

Here's a sample from the Bee "super deluxe" book above (which is also the one I took to Malheur this year).  This was done using my fine-tip fountain pen mentioned above.

The Pentel Pocket Brush gives a very different effect.  A bit less refined, but you can sketch very quickly with this pen as it just glides across the page.  These portrait sketches below were done with the same pen:

There you have it -- my favorite art supplies in one bag.  BTW -- I've taken several cues from Roz Stendahl, whose journals I absolutely love.  She recently did a free video series for Strathmore and her art supply recommendations in the last class are spot on.