Gathering Together Supplies for Travel Sketching

8 Aug 2017

We are off on holiday soon. Yipee! Last year, I took a couple of sketch books, pencils and my black fineline pens. I did a few sketches and drawings which I thought was pretty good going seeing as we have a son to keep entertained.

This year I am going to be more ambitious and take some watercolours to sketch with. The first decision I've made, is how many colours to take. I tried out combinations of five colours at first. This gave me a permutation of 15 colours (goodness this is sounding like my GSCE maths lessons!).

I had decided on two blues because we are going to Norway and hoping to see a lot of Fjords. Having thought a bit longer, I've added another yellow and a red. I was thinking of the natural landscape colours to begin with, but there may be some attractive red houses in the landscape.

This gives me 27 different colours now. That should be enough!

My first watercolour set was in a nice folding box which has sat in the cupboard with no paints in it. The palette I usually use is about A4 size so not really practical for carrying around when travelling light. So I managed to get the moulded tube holder out of the box and the space will hold a few brushes and my seven tubes of paint. Unfortunately the larger brush I wanted to use is too long for the box so I've compromised on a brush I usually use for acrylic paintings.

 I found a sketchbook by Daler Rowney in Blackwells in Newcastle which is for mixed media. That means I can do some pen and pencil sketching as well as watercolour sketching. It's my favourite colour too! I wanted to go and buy a book in person as I like to feel the sketchbook. I'm always looking for products with minimal packing but one disadvantage of this with sketchbooks is...are all of the pages there? I knew I should've counted them in the shop but I didnt. There were only 27 pages instead of 30!

 Now that I had my kit together, and a lovely sketchbook to paint in, I was inspired to paint something. I wanted to take the kit into the garden to test it out. It felt a little crazy but I kind of wanted to practise. So I got a piece of watercolour paper roughly the same size as the book and took my little travel kit outside. I also filled a small bottle with water and found a little empty jam jar. You know the kind you get at hotel buffet breakfasts?

In the end it wasn't a crazy idea! I found that the little jar of water was adequate and it sat in one half of the box perfectly. I also realised that the compromised acrylic brush, for some reason was no good for watercolours. It didn't hold it's shape very well when it was wet. So for the large brush I just have the flat Windsor and Newton one. Although it's advisable to put the sketchbook in a plastic bag so the longer one may fit in there.

 Here's my sketch of a hydrangea flower.

As long as I have somewhere to sit down or rest my box, it'll work fabulously! I've covered my colour chart in sticky-backed plastic (you can tell I used to watch Blue Peter!) and will have that in the box as a reference.

Now I just can't wait to get started on sketching the views of Norway!

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