Saturday, 12 January 2019

Sketchbook kit

I have been using the same kit for my drawing a day sketchbooks for a while now and thought I might share it in more detail here. 

As you may already know, I do a drawing a day, everyday. Very occasionally I miss one but, thankfully that is rare. In 2018 I didn't miss a day. The idea was to do a directly observed drawing each day, to improve my observational and drawing skills. 

In order for it to be as likely as possible that I'll take my sketchbook / sketching kit with me, I've refined it over the years so that it is now really compact and fits into any bag and often a pocket. 

I'm not really a fan of pencil. I don't like it smudging - or rather, that I smudge it with my hand and from being on my hand it then goes everywhere. So now I only take a pen. The pens themselves have changed over the years. Muji used to make a bargain one that I loved, which you could use and then almost instantly paint over and it didn't smudge or bleed. But the last few I had did both of those things which made me more wary and I started looking at other options. 

This is the one that I've settled on. The UniPin fine line, which is water and fade proof, pigment ink. This one is a 0.1 and my favourite thickness. I do have some 0.05 (I think) which I sometimes use. 

The little paint palette I've had for years. I can't remember where or from who I had it or when it was. I know I had it for a long time before I actually used it. The box is Rowney, but many of the paints aren't the original ones. I'll do another post just looking inside the palette and talking through the colours I use / rarely use. 

Next up is the waterbrush. Again I'm not sure of the make of this one, but it is round tip rather than a flat brush which you can also get. It might be one that I got when I visited the Seawhite of Brighton Factory Shop a while ago. 
These are brilliant as you fill the barrel with water and therefore have water with you wherever you go. To change the colour / wash the brush you just squeeze more water through and it cleans the bristles. 

Lastly, and possibly the most importantly is the book itself. For a while now I've been using a Seawhite of Brighton hard-backed A6 sketchbook. I like the size for the reasons above - big enough to draw in but small enough that I can actually take it anywhere - out for a walk or to the pub, no issue. 
The paper is thick enough to hold watercolour, but not so thick that there are too few pages in the book. I had started using just one side of the pages in previous books, in case I sold the artwork, but as I haven't been selling originals from the sketchbooks I've reverted back to filling it all, both sides of every page. 
I've also started putting stickers on the spine to say the start and end date. This is particularly helpful if I'm looking for a seasonal study, I can work out what time of year I would have drawn it and hopefully look in the right sort of book. 
Some of them I've also started putting stickers from my Sticker sheets (available in my Etsy shop ;-) !) on the front covers, this is just to tell them apart and also hopefully jog my memory about which book I drew what in. We had Seawhite of Brighton sketchbooks when I did my Art GCSE (1999) and A'Level (2001) - I've been a fan since then.
I have a little stash of A6 sketchbooks to use over the coming months, some portrait like this one and others landscape. The bulldog clip helps keep it closed in my bag/ pocket so the pages don't get damaged, and also to hold the pages open when I'm drawing - handy if out and about and it's breezy. 

For some lovely sketches from people out and about do look up the hashtag #walktosee on instagram, started by the illustrator Helen Stephens.