I'm never without a pencil or two and a few pens.
Okay so maybe that's an understatement now that I look at it all spread out like this. Truthfully I am rarely, RARELY, without my watercolor travel set and sketchbook. And my travel set is nicely bundled in a sweet pencil roll that I sewed myself (heavily inspired by a gorgeous handmade roll that was not in my budget) and fits perfectly in my backpack purse.
Keep reading for a breakdown of my favorite watercolor travel supplies!
So here's everything I include in my daily sketching kit, which gets tucked in my purse along with my sketchbook. Starting from the top left we have...
A Strathmore Mixed Media Sketchbook.
I honestly keep this as a backup and to give structure to the fabric roll itself. The paper is too thick and smooth for my liking, and it's too small to really do much with. But it is a good little pad.
For a real, solid, sketching/painting session I've been using a Strathmore Mixed Media soft covered book in a size closer to 9"x8". This fits in my purse, but not my pencil roll. I don't like that it doesn't lay completely flat, which makes it difficult to use the left side page. So my next sketchbook will be a spiral bound book of some kind, same general size. I'll do a sketchbook post later, once I've found the One True Sketchbook.
My Beloved Watercolor Pallete
I'll do a post on this all on its own, but this watercolor pallete is my baby. In summary it's a pink (!) enamel Meeden watercolor tin with half pans and full pans mostly filled with my own tubes of Daniel Smith watercolors and a couple of Winsor & Newton artist quality paints. More on this in a later post!
Water Dropper & Vial
You can't watercolor without water, and this doesn't hold all that much water, two ounces I think, but the dropper function is invaluable. If you're just wetting your brush and paints to do a quick sketch this is perfect. Plus, you need something that's not going to leak and these dropper bottles (I got mine at the grocery store next to the essential oils for a couple bucks) seal nice and tight.
I carry two, but have only included one in the photo because this one is my colored pencil sharpener by Uni. It brings the soft leads to a wider, shorter point so they're less likely to break. Seriously, it's a game changer. My other sharpener is a standard sharpener.
Ink refill for my Pentel brush pen.
(Ever been sketching and run out of ink without an ink refill? It's a PITA.)
Tortillon or Paper Stump for smudging graphite
This one is Faber Castell and easily accessible at a craft or art supply store.
Small Straight Edge
This one is transparent, which is ideal for lining, and small enough to fit in the kit.
Gold Gel Pen
This one is by Pilot and it's a .5mm line width. I've used a few gold pens and this one works great, but the line might be a bit too thin for me personally.
Pilot Hi-Tec-C Pen in a dark blue
SUPER fine line, excellent writing quality, dirt chip. What more do you need??
Pentel Brush Pen
These have a sort of cult-following for good reason. They're super reliable (keep your refills handy though b/c you can really go through the ink), last for ages, and are so fun to play with.
Copic Multiliner .3 mm line in black
Copic makes great products, and this handy black pen is no exception. It's the little black dress of my kit.
Prismacolor Col-Erase Pencil in Light Blue
Prismacolor's colored pencil line is not my favorite, but these Col-Erase pencils are great for sketching up before you paint. The texture is great and I can get lots of great shades of blue from this one little blue pencil. And it erases!
A standard graphite sketching pencil
Derwent Graphic Drawing Pencil in H (Hard)
I inherited a bunch of Derwent pencils and I love them to bits. I always have a few on hand.
My go-to Watercolor Brush: Princeton Heritage Round size 10 (4050R)
This is something else I don't leave home without. It's not for lettering, but for watercolor painting. It's firm enough to get fine lines (my litmus test) but fat enough to hold lots of water and color. Love this little charmer. I recommend it to everyone. AND! It's cheap! Less than $10!
Pro-Tip! Save the little straw style covers that surround the bristles of your new brush and keep it on the brush when you travel!
Grumbacher Synthetic Sable Round Brushes in various sizes
I use these for lettering and smaller, finer details. The size 0 round is my standard lettering brush!
Derwent Drawing Pencils in Earth Tones
These have a great consistency, soft and somehow waxy and chalky at the same time. I typically finish my watercolor sketches with colored pencil and these really stand up to the job. Some pencils (I'm looking at you Prismacolor) won't show up on watercolor but these - especially the white - always do. I'm actually saving up for the BIG set, but how will I fit it in my purse?!
And I used to carry a white gel pen (never really satisfied with it) in the kit but now I just use that Chinese White Derwent pencil for white. It's that good.
Copic Multi-Liner Pen in Wine
I grabbed this one for funsies but I rarely use it! Still, it's a great pen, so if you're looking to vary your line work colors I can recommend it.
Pentel Water Brush
Originally I bought one of these for a very young painter to paint on the go, but after realizing that it 1. Holds its own water and 2. Has a cap I knew I needed one for the watercolor kit. Excellent purchase, especially if space is limited either in your kit or in your sketching area. It combines your water source with your brush - so clever!
So that's it, that's my Everyday Watercolor Sketching Kit. Not bad, huh? I typically have everything I need if inspiration strikes.
Do you have a travel set for arting-on-the-go? I'd love to hear about it! Is there a supply you think I should add?? Please do tell! I love new art supplies! :D