Sketching Supplies

I’m about to head off on a trip and I thought this would be a good time to review my favorite supplies.


I take a few light pencils with me – usually an HB and a 2B – plus a kneaded eraser and a pencil sharpener for light sketching and preliminary work.

My pen of choice is an pigma micron 005, the finest line they make.  I’ve tried other types, even some fountain pens and I just don’t like them.  It’s important to be comfortable with your pen.  You have to know it so well that you can get the type of line that best supports your style.  Then you can put your effort into the subject rather than technique.  Admittedly it takes a while to achieve this.  Don’t worry, it’s a rewarding journey.

Way back in the dark ages when I started drawing with ink, I used a fine  crow quill pen that I dipped in India ink.  This still works well and I occasionally use it for larger drawings. The varied line width can be kinda fun.  The problem is that I have been known to spill the ink and made a BIG mess.  Not good.  Pens are safer.

My sketchbook is a 7″ x 10″ Stillman and Birn Epsilon.  It’s spiral bound because I like having it open only to the drawing I’m working on.  I’m not one to draw across pages as many artists do so successfully.   In addition to the sketchbook, I bring a supply of 140 pound hot press Arches watercolor paper cut to approximately 7″ x 10.”   I tend to do quick, casual sketches in the sketchbook and use the wc paper for drawings I want to take more time on.

My watercolor supplies include a one inch flat and a couple sizes of round sable brushes, along with a water container, blotter paper and a small folding palette.   I use Windsor Newton watercolors – New gamboge yellow, hooker’s green, prussian blue, cerulean blue, cobalt blue, ultramarine blue, paynes gray, windsor violet, alizarin crimson, scarlet lake and permanent rose.  I also use yellow ochre, burnt sienna and van dyke brown.   The colors on my palette were added so long ago I don’t know why they’re in such a random order.   The main thing is, don’t move colors around once you add them to the palette.   Watercolor happens fast and you need to go instinctively to the right hue.

Blotter paper may be the only unusual item in this list.  It’s a wonderful tool that I discovered in college.  The sturdy blotter paper that people used to have on their desks  back in the day is still made and makes a fabulous watercolor eraser.  I cut it in pieces about two inches square.  Use the edge or a  whole side to blot up excess water.   If applied when the color is damp but not dry, you can actually blot up crisp edges to get fence posts, house siding and individual grasses.

If you have any questions about supplies, just let me know.   There will be drawings from my travels in the next post.




1 Comment

  1. It is always fascinating to see what other artists use. Ink in a bottle is certainly a hazard, but once a nice Micron leaked all over me while I was drawing in a plane!

    Have a great trip!

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