This year, for some reason, I have felt compelled to switch up my ordinary travel sketching kit. In February, I took pastels to the Grand Canyon. In August, I took a variety of materials to the Grand Canyon and Zion, but ended up using my tried and tested watercolor and ink pen method the most. For the Bosque del Apache birdwatching trip, I used just my favorite mechanical pencil and a cold-press, mixed-media paper sketchbook that was part of the equipment list from a workshop at the ASBA conference.
I love to see the field-sketching kits used by other outdoor and nature artists. Every artist who works outdoors on a regular basis develops a preference for some materials and gear over others. Below are some ingenious ideas for ways to make drawing and painting on location more comfortable and practical.
- Kolby Kirk, The Hike Guy, is a very serious hiker, having logged in several thousand miles on some of the most scenic and challenging trails since 2009. Check out his insanely cool colored pencil palette for use while hiking.
- Maria Coryell-Martin probably has the most awesome job in art—she joins scientists on their expeditions and documents the wildlife and natural phenomena of the journeys. She has developed an Art Toolkit for sale in her shop that reflects her needs for equipment that holds up to the rigors of painting in the extreme conditions of the Arctic.
- Mary McAndrew paints and draws in fields closer to home, in Northumberland, UK, to be exact. The My Equipment category on McAndrew’s blog shows the different kinds of travel set-ups she uses, including oil paints, pencil, colored pencil and watercolor.
- Pam Johnson Brickell writes about painting nature in South Carolina’s Low Country. She has quite a few posts that show the plein-air kit and equipment she uses. I especially like how she made a watercolor sketch box using a clam-shell project clipboard from an office-supply store.
- John Muir Laws is a nature artist who is determined to introduce the joys of sketching outdoors to everyone. His blog post, Sketching Equipment for the Field, provides a straightforward and detailed list of the necessities.
- Charley Parker, artist and author of Lines and Colors blog, details his compact painting kit. Interestingly, he uses gouache instead of the more expected transparent watercolor palette!
- The Empty Easel offers some ideas for a travel colored pencil kit.
- Artist Jane Blundell describes several easy set-ups for travel kits.
- I love Oona Leganovic’s essay about the quandaries and conundrums of choosing and packing art supplies for a long trip!
Hope you enjoy taking a peek at these ingenious set-ups, and maybe get some ideas for your next outdoor painting foray. If you have an interesting tip or idea for traveling with a sketchbook, please share it in the comments!