Wednesday 1 April 2015

My Personal Sketching Kit: What I Carry and Why

I have been writing a section from the beginning of my book, discussing different art materials and looking in detail at the kit which I carry and why. Getting your personal kit-bag sorted is important, because you don't want to be fussing about what to take or leave behind, each time you go out. It's difficult, because we all know what it's like to want the very thing you left at home.

Nevertheless, you need to make decisions and pare things down. It's good to travel light, otherwise you aren't able to carry your kit with you 'just in case'. I have 3 versions of my kit. The slim-line version is just my trusty Sailor pen and an A5 - A6 book, which you don't even notice you're carrying. I tend to have these in a pocket most of the time, because you never know. 

The next step up is to add my watercolour pencils, a waterbrush, a sweat-wristband (for cleaning the brush) and a knife. That's my medium kit and a good on-the-train kind of size: enough to see me though the odd hour here and there.

My full kit, for sketching day's out, is still pretty compact as I hate being loaded down. All the art equipment packs up into a zipper bag, the size of the average toiletries bag, which slips easily into a large handbag, along with a sketchbook or two. 

If it's an urban day, I usually pop my mini-stool in my bag too, so I don't have to look for benches or doorsteps. It weighs nothing and fits in a large handbag:

If I'm going rural, this foldaway sitting-mat from a camping shop is way better, because of uneven ground:

I have had to unpack my full kit this week and photograph every individual element for the book. This is because I want to dedicate a spread to peering inside my kit-bag, with pictures of everything and annotations, telling people exactly what each item is and why I have chosen it. I photographed 28 different items like this:

My snaps are not the photos we will end up using, but the designers need to know what everything looks like, so they can design suitable graphics for the page. Once that's done, the publisher will commission a proper photographer to take the pictures they need. In the meantime, I have been writing all the text.

If you are interested in getting some of the specific items like the Sailor or the stool, I have put together some links to where I got them. It's on Facebook here, as part of the Usk Yorkshire website.


David Steeden said...

Hi Lynne - out of interest, what is the green and blue contraption shown in your blog? It looks like two coloured caps of some sort.

Lynne the Pencil said...

Aha! It is my very clever bit of painting kit (can't take the credit - got the idea from Liz Steel).

It is indeed two caps - off mini hairsprays. They are joined together with a blob of blutack. Intrigued? They remove the need for a jam jar of water when you are on location. I stick them side by side onto my palette (or the floor, a wall etc): one for clean water, one for dirty. It means you can paint standing up in the street with everything in one hand, or paint indoors with no water to kick over.

Kate (Cathy Johnson) said...

That's brilliant, Lynne! I've used old film cans, but they're hard to find now! (And I love that Sailor too, I find myself using it or the Profit often.)

Unknown said...

I don't understand the caps either. They look stuck together end to end. So that one is upside down while using the other. If you're putting this photo in a book, I think it should be retaken. It's not making sense at a glance. One could also use one of those side by side medium turp and oil cups that are used for oil painting. I don't do urban sketching so it's not a worry for me. I use either two small collapsible cups or one of the canvas water bags that folds flat.

Lynne the Pencil said...

They are stuck together to keep the blutack clean in transport, Sharon. I don't use them like that.

I'd forgotten about those oil & turps cups. Interesting thought. I'm not sure they would be quite big enough for water though.

Rebecca said...

What a fun post...thank you! I always have a teeny hairspray in my bag, but I never thought to use the cap as a water cup. Looking in my cabinet, the Suave products in the US have small caps on full size product, too.

Linda Chapman said...

Thanks for sharing. Necessity truly is the mother of invention.

theartofpuro said...

Thanks for sharing:) Happy Easter :)