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Sketching when I travel and explore the great outdoors is an essential part of my art. Not only does it provide regular drawing practice, the sketches provide inspiration for many of the prints that I later create back in the studio. By working from sketches rather than photos you are more likely to capture the feeling and movement of a place.
Under each item I have tried to source the product that I use, or a close substitute.
1. Sketch Book
A sturdy cover and an elastic band to hold it together when walking or tramping. It is also a good idea to keep it in a plastic bag. I use ziplock bags to ensure everything is waterproof.
2. Sketching Pencils and Pencil Sharpener
A couple of different lead types can be useful and a small container or bag to collect your sharpenings in (pack in, pack out)
3. Ink Pen Set
Ink pens are great for fast sketching and capturing movement and feeling
4. Pocket Watercolour Set
Several companies produce small pocket sized watercolour sets that come complete with standard colours, a brush and built in palette. The restricted colour range is great to challenge your colour mixing skills. You may want to pack a couple of extra brushes as these sets usually come with only one which you may find a bit limiting. You can read a review of the set that I use here.
5. Water and Small Container with a Lid
If you are painting take a small bottle that you can fill from your own water bottle. Travel shampoo bottles are a great size – just clean them out thoroughly before use. Having a lid makes things super convenient as you can then pack up quickly and you are not polluting the natural environment with your paint water as you can then take it home with you to dispose of safely. (Note: Some watercolour sets come with their own water container but many do not)
6. Tripod Stool
If you are lucky there is a comfortable dry patch of ground or a rock to sit on, but if the ground is wet or uneven, a tripod stool is well worth carrying. Here in New Zealand you can pick one up for around NZD$10 at The Warehouse.
7. Insect Repellant
If you sit still to sketch or paint for more than a minute or so, you will soon realise why this is an essential part of your outdoor art kit!
Important Safety Note
As in all outdoor activities, make sure you also have warm clothing, a raincoat, a first aid kit and tell someone where you are going and when you expect to return.
I hope this list is useful to you and that you have fun sketching outdoors wherever that may be!