Sunday, June 6, 2010

Sketching Gear

Here is my sketching kit at the moment ... I have a few drawers of materials in my office, but this is what I'm currently traveling with for a summer in Rome. For pencils, I'm carrying three Staedtler-Mars (B, 2B, and 4B), a Derwent Venetian Red, a Derwent Chocolate, and a General's Medium Charcoal ... and a pencil-extender one of my teachers gave me a very long time ago. I also have a kneaded eraser for basic cleanup - as a rule, I never erase any lines, so this is just for accidental smudges - and a Mars plastic eraser for major accidents, like if a pigeon should happen to dump on my sketch. A small General's sharpener has been working fine, but I need to replace my little pocket knife - it was confiscated by TSA as I was on my way to Rome a couple years back, and I just haven't found a new one yet. For pens, I have a Uniball Vision Exact Micro (although I haven't been using it very often), a Lamy Safari with an extra fine nib, and an old Yafa fountain pen my dad gave me many years ago. I like the Lamy because it's so rough-and-tumble, but the Yafa is easier to draw with - it feels softer and much more fluid. Noodler's Lexington Gray ink is in both fountain pens. I had searched far and wide for a dark brown (sepia) ink that wouldn't bleed when adding watercolor to a sketch ... but no such luck. So I followed Nina Johansson's lead and went with the Lexington, and I like it very much - thanks, Nina! My watercolor palette is the same one I bought as a student about 25 years ago - a good, solid, hinged enameled-metal one, with a removable plastic piece that has the wells (makes it very easy to clean, and I like a clean palette!). My colors are all from M.Graham, and I really can't recommend them highly enough. The specific colors are, top-to-bottom on the palette, in some cases with two colors in the same well: Sepia, Burnt Umber, Yellow Ochre, Burnt Sienna, Gamboge, Cadmium Yellow Light, Hooker's Green, Viridian, Prussian Blue, Cerulean Blue, Ultramarine Blue, Dioxazine Purple, Alizarin Crimson, Quinacridone Rose, and Cadmium Red. Finally, my brushes ... I use a Koi waterbrush for small, on-the-go subjects, and one of two other brushes for larger watercolors, and for when I have more time. The red-handled one is a Princeton synthetic sable #6 round, and the clear-handled one is a Connoisseur Kolinsky sable #6 round (this is my favorite brush). Not pictured here is a small brass water reservoir that clips to my sketchpad when I'm not using the waterbrush. Also not pictured here are the paper towels essential for watercolors and the pencil case I use to carry all this stuff around. Portability is the prime limiting factor ... I have to be selective to get it all in the case, and being selective is good!

6 comments:

  1. I really enjoy reading these posts, thank you for taking the time to write and share Mathew. Also thanks for posting Rome drawings - ahh, a summer in Rome!

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  2. really interesting to read about everyone's sketching gear.Love your watercolor palette, Matthew.

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  3. I love this, Matthew, thanks for sharing your gear. Isn't it lovely using an old friend like that palette? I still have one that must be 40 years old now...

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  4. I enjoy learning what other sketchers use. I'm now curious about using different tools!

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  5. You just reminded me of when a pigeon left a deposit in my camera bag in Sienna.

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