Ahead of the Amsterdam Urban Sketching Symposium, I decided I needed to deal with my paintbox. I rearranged the colours, took some out, added some in, refreshed them all, and this is my paletter this summer. These are all Winsor and Newton watercolour paints, mostly Cotman but with one or two Artist’s ones in there too. I like using this, the deluxe sketchers box, it fits into my hand or attached to the other page of the sketchbook with a rubber band pretty well. I needed to make a guide to the colours in case I forget, so that’s what this is. This could be a new advent calendar, 24 colours, actually that is not a bad idea. I have some new brushes I just bought as well, bigger than I usually use, so that I can paint on bigger paper for some of the workshops I am taking. I got some 11×14 Fabriano paper, which is not I must say really urban sketching material, being really big an not able to fit into a small bag. However I’m keen try something new, and the big pad of paper just about fits into my gym bag (but it only barely fits into my new suitcase, which is small). This paint set however is very small and compact, and fits a lot of stuff in there, the way I like it.
I’m often asked what materials I use to draw with. Here are some of them, although they are weighted very heavily towards the brown-black Uni-ball signo UM-151 pen, which I use the most. Also I use Winsor and Newton Cotman watercolour paint to colour things in. The rest is really a bonus. you can find out more on my ‘materials‘ page. I drew all of these using that brown-black pen in a Stillman and Birn ‘Zeta’ sketchbook, the one with the very smooth white pages. Each individual tool took 5-10 minutes at most to sketch.
When it comes to packing for a trip you have to be strategic. Clothes, well that’s quite easy for me. I travel fairly light, I know what I like and there it is, I’m packed. I’ve been packed for days. Art materials, well that’s a different teapot of sardines. Even though I should have it down, I have to pore for ages over which pens to bring and which to leave behind, which pens still kinda work ok and which have worn down nibs but are good back-ups for the more intense cross-hatching of those trees I need to draw. My Winsor and Newton Cotman paints have been filled with all manner of possible colours for a while, but since drawing the above sketch – in my new small red moleskine, which is acting as a kind of journal / place for smaller quicker sketches for the upcoming London/Lisbon trip – I have added another paint to the set, Prussian Blue, because four blues just wasn’t enough. “You Never Know,” that seems to be the catchphrase. Just look at all the pens which made the final cut! That is mental, no truly it is mental. I am trying to cover all my bases, but I’m probably going to shave quite a few off this. Still, it is the 2nd International Urban Sketching Symposium, and when it comes to my sketching needs, You Never Know.