Hello! My name is Shiho Nakaza and I am a Los Angeles correspondent for Urban Sketchers. I was born in Okinawa, Japan, and have emigrated to United States with my family as a child, and have lived in Los Angeles since. In that time, I've studied illustration in college and fell into the field of graphic design field after graduation. I have been working as a print production artist/graphic designer for majority of my career while I continue to draw on the side, and I take workshops on drawing and painting whenever I can. Urban Sketchers has encouraged me to sketch every day, even for a few minutes during my lunch hour or after work, and I find happiness in making lines on paper to describe the world I see.
My sketching gear was cobbled together from tips I learned from workshops and other sketchers over the years. Here is my current setup - I keep it very lightweight and minimal so I can carry it around to the office or on my errands - I want to be ready to sketch whenever I have few moments.
My everyday tools that I carry around daily:
- Uniball Signo pen in sepia - 0.5mm regular or 0.38mm superfine
0.5mm bleeds when painted, and 0.38mm has waterproof ink. I like the brown color because it looks softer than black.
- Sketchbook - about 6 x 8 inches (15 cm x 20 cm)
I like smaller sketchbooks that are easy to toss in my bag and are discreet enough to use everywhere. I love Holbein sketchbooks but my favorite ones with thicker paper are discontinued, so I also use sketchbooks by Canson, Daler-Rowney and Strathmore.
+ a painting kit for times when I know I'll have a few hours to work on drawings (pictured with water for drinking):
- Watercolor kit - I use Winsor & Newton Cotman kit I got when I was in college and have popped the pans out and filled the empty slots with watercolors from tubes (various brands: Winsor & Newton, Holbein, Jack Richeson). Colors are cool + warm tones of primaries (reds: alizarin crimson + cadmium red, blues: ultramarine blue + phthalo blue, yellows: jaune brilliant + cadmium yellow light) + greens: (turquoise green + cerulean + viridian + permanent green) + brown ochre.
- Rag to sop up water/paint - a small giveaway towel cut up in half to fit the mesh pouch. Sometimes I use paper towel/napkin instead (Viva brand of paper towel works well).
- Pentel Koi waterbrush - very handy when doing quick painting on location. I now paint with this exclusively when I'm out and about.
- Small Post-It notepad - for using as a ruler when painting: paste it down on the paper and do a wash over it for a straight edge, lift when paint is dry - though these days I paint free-form and haven't used it in a long time.
- Small watercolor sheets - for when I have time to sit at a table to make a "nice" painting (hopefully during this Symposium!) I happened to have Fabriano Medioevalis 208S on hand. I love Arches cold-press sheets, so I save small leftover pieces of Arches that I cut out from sheets I use for larger paintings.
- Mesh pouch - to carry all the gear. I then toss them all in my purse.
+ optional gear for longer sketching outings (shown in photo here):
- Binder that can hold sketchbook as well as rest of my gear - this binder is originally made to hold a schedule book/calendar. It comes in handy for toting everything around in a backpack that is bigger than an everyday purse I normally carry.
- Camping chair - so I can sit and paint on location comfortably.
- sunglasses + sunscreen (mandatory year-round in Los Angeles), hat, jacket, fingerless gloves (it came in handy when I sketched in Alaska!) - I would eventually like to figure out a nighttime flashlight setup like some of the fellow Urban Sketchers. I usually never sketch in the rain...I'll look to Portland folks for suggestions!
+ depending on the weather: