Winter has arrived in Copenhagen. Over the weekend we received quite a bit of snow and on my last sketching trip it was so cold everything in my sketch kit acted strange, and on top of that, the hairs on my watercolour brush were bent – what a misery. So I guess it is about time I do an inventory.
This is what I have in my sketch kit
I never, or very rarely, use pencils when I sketch. I like the directness and honesty I get from a line I can’t erase – and I’m too lazy to use a pencil, I just go straight in with my pens. I use two different pens; a Copic Multiliner SP size 0.2 and a Pigma Micron Size 0.1.
I love the feel the Copic pen has, it fits my hand perfect. The tip is really sharp and durable and the ink is crisp and totally black. I love these pens and have bought more of them than I really need.
The Pigma pen has a really nice and soft feel. The only problem I have with these pens is that they’re a bit too small for my hand and it seems like the tip wears down faster than it runs out of ink. But the ink is perfect, in fact I don’t think you’ll find a pen with better ink. It’s absolutely black, clean and crisp and never ever bleeds. I have tested it on coffee filters and it didn’t bleed – I’m impressed.
I use a Kolinsky sable brush from Escoda. It’s not as good as my other watercolour brushes (Isabey's Pure Kolinsky and W&N Series 7), but it’s really durable and works perfectly even after spending a rough time at the bottom of my bag.
The watercolour box I use is an old plastic box from Winsor and Newton. It’s not very big, only holds 12 colours, but it has a nice big mixing tray divided into three sections with tall edges, so I can use a lot of water when I mix my colours. I really don’t like watercolours from W&N so I have replaced them with a mix of other brands: Sennelier, Schmincke and Daler Rowney, all artists quality.
The colours go from: deep cadmium yellow, yellow ochre, three browns; raw unmber, burnt umber and brown ochre. There’s a deep quinacridone violet from Sennelier (they make the best purples and violets). A carmine red, Payne’s Grey, an olive green and an
emerald green. Two blues, an ultra marine, and some lighter one which I’m not quite sure of - probably a cobalt blue.
With these colours I can go everywhere. I can mix any hue I wish and go from sweating warm to freezing cold. I’m not a big fan of using black, for really dark areas I will mix blue, brown or brown and violet depending on the tone of the area.
Lately I have started using sketchbooks from Stillman & Birn. The quality of these books is impressively high. For colours I use the Alpha Series, which is almost like hot pressed watercolour paper. Smooth enough for line drawings and enough texture and depth for watercolours. And for black and white ink sketches I use the Epsilon Series, plate finish. I used to use a Moleskine for black and white sketches, but the paper is terrible, it really makes me wonder why I have gone through so many of their sketchbooks.
For a while I used Holbein Multimedia sketchbooks for watercolour sketches. The paper in these sketchbooks is good fine grain watercolour paper, but a bit too thin. And I prefer sketchbooks with a hard back not Spiral back like the one in the Holbein Multimedia sketchbooks.
Stillman & Birn, Alpha Series Sketchbook
I found my stool in New York on our honeymoon. I think I paid around $5-6 for it, I’ll never find anything that cheap in Denmark. I store the water in a glass jar that used to contain baby food. It has got the perfect size, but most importantly, the lid keeps tight. I always got some tissue paper in my bag, which I use for cleaning and drying my brush in.
That is what I have in my bag.