In a previous blog post, I wrote about putting together a travel sketching kit. Here, you can see me putting my travel kit into action. So as not to make the video too long, I sketched the twig before the video started and compressed it into a hyper-lapse format. Watch me use colored pencils as paint with the use of a water brush. Click on photo to start the video.
Travel sketching is fun to do while on vacation. While I don’t consider myself an advanced sketcher, my sketches have a way to bring back vivid memories of my trip, much more so than photographs (which I take lots of too 🙂 Sketching requires me to be wholly present while I explore and record my new experiences.
After much trial and error, I’m happy to say that I’ve finally figured out which sketching supplies to pack, and how surprisingly few I need. Take a look at what’s in my art travel bag.
- Spiral-bound watercolor journal. Use one with 140 lb. paper so it’s heavy enough that it doesn’t bleed through and can take water without warping. You can even turn your sketches into postcards to mail to your friends. (Don’t forget to pack stamps)
- Mechanical pencil for the preliminary sketch. It never needs sharpening so I can eliminate bringing a sharpener.
- Knead eraser. I erase my pencil marks after I’ve drawn over them with ink.
- Waterproof black pen (it won’t bleed when wet). I like the Staedtler permanent Lumnocolor fine size.
- Water-soluble colored pencils. Mine are Prismacolor, but Caran D’Aches are great too.
- Waterbrush. Derwent #2 (brush and water all in one so I never need a water source either).
- Small bag to hold it all.
That’s is. In the past, I would bring watercolor paints, a small water container, paper towels, multiple paintbrushes, and more. I’ve found water-soluble color pencils to be a simpler solution. I can layer them to create a wide variety of colors just like mixing paint.
So grab a sketchbook and some supplies, get out there, and have fun! Remember, your sketches don’t have to be perfect; it’s the act of sketching that’s important. It’s calming and lets you connect with the unique and beautiful things in this world. Focus on what moves you, and draw to remember it.
I encourage you to tuck a sketchpad in your suitcase when you’re packing for your next trip and see what pleasure it might bring for you.
One suggestion to working faster and looser is to on start multiple paintings at one time. I use the same paper size and color palette to work up four different versions. That way, I can just move from painting to painting, adding a little here and there, letting it evolve more naturally. Everything is a little less important or precious so I don’t get as frustrated when a painting isn’t working out. I just move on to the next one and come back later with a fresh perspective.