This week I'm beginning a new blog series, which will discuss media and techniques, and review new materials -- from pencils to pens to inks to journals (i.e.; the "Tools of the Trade.") The series will run in alternate installments with the "Old Gold" series and other posts along the highways and byways of fun, exploration, and adventure. And, as always, I hope you'll come along.
To get the series started, I thought I'd focus on the "old kit bag." And the questions for the day is, "What do you take on your sketching outings? And how do you get it there?"
Our kit doesn't usually play large in the actual creation of our field sketches, journals and plein-air paintings. But -- since it carries most, if not all, of our supplies and equipment when we go afield -- it's fair to say that the bag is a deciding factor in what we can, and can't, do when we want to create images away from the studio. It's also fair to say that our sketch bags are both a reflection of our personal artistic interests and a work-in-progress.
I've been carrying a sketching kit for over 2 decades now. Interestingly, the bag I carry now is just about the same size as the one I carried 20 years ago -- even though I've used (and eventually discarded) larger bags from time to time. My current bag was produced for the Roger Tory Peterson Institute, is compact (7.25" wide x 5.25" deep x 9" high) even when stuffed with enough goodies for an extended sketching safari, rugged (double stitched, heavy nylon canvas construction), and reliable. (8 years, 10 states, 2 national parks, 5 countries with no signs of wear and tear.) It has both a side-mounted shoulder strap (my personal preference) and a broad belt loop on the rear. I never go out the door without it!
In the expandable cargo pocket (with its flap and secure buckle) I carry a Derwent tin of HB graphite pencils, a zippered translucent red bag of Sakura micron pens (in sizes 02, 01, and 005), and a double lens field magnifying glass. In 2 of the 4 vertical side pockets I carry a mechanical pencil (emergency backup for the Derwent tin) and a mini Mag Lite flashlight (for finishing up that last sketch of the day as the light fades... or finding my way home after I spend too much time of that last sketch.) And, in the zippered main compartment I carry 2 large Moleskine journals (one Japanese accordion, and one watercolor journal), a tin of Prismacolor color pencils, a Daniel Smith 24 half-pan watercolor box (with 3 travel brushes), a spare pair of prescription eyeglasses, and (depending on my goal for the day) either a Fabriano Artist's Journal with assorted toned papers or a pair of binoculars.
With the small penknife and vinyl eraser I always carry in my pants pocket (and, if I'm feeling particularly ambitious, an Arches 10"x14" HP watercolor block and Coleman's folding camp stool in my left hand), I'm happy as a clam and good to go -- around the corner, into the woods, or across the globe.
So, how about sharing your equipment experience by posting a comment? Let us know what kind of kit you currently carry? What have you tried in the past? What's worked for you? And what hasn't?
Thanks again for letting me drop by and I hope you'll let me share my post with you next time too. In the meantime please let me know what you think and, I hope, you'll share the blog with others who are interested in sketching, journaling, art and adventure. :-D
|Winter Visitor, South River|
"The man of science, the naturalist, too often looses sight of the essential oneness of all living beings in seeking to classify them in kingdoms, orders, species, etc. While the eye of the poet, the seer, never closes on the kinship of all God's creatures. And his heart ever beats in sympathy with great and small alike, as Earth-born companions and fellow mortals, equally dependent on Heaven's eternal love."
-- John Muir
Interesting idea. My sketching gear vary depending on where I am going. Small leg trip including tightly packed pencil case with few pencils, including Blackwing, Blackwing 602, The perfect pencil by Faber-Castell, antique Japanese mechanical pencil, water soluble pencil, one brown Durer pencil, couple of water brushes, Uranus pen, Kuretake 13 black brush pen, white pen, Faber-Castel artist pen, color brush, Pentel 8 multi color pencil and 8 color ball pen. Sometimes Namiki Falcon with brown ink. Sometimes ink. Sketchbook depends on a place. For now Stillman&Birn. Often Bijou watercolors, it is so small but holds 12 half pans. Another pencil case with beloved Kuretake pens. I like book bags, to keep my hands free.ReplyDelete
Hi Nik. Thanks for sharing the contents of your kit! Do you have a special bag you pack everything in too? Oh, brush pens! Oh, yes! Mine's a vintage Kaimei Sumi (before they put the company name on the pen in Romanji.) But it didn't make my current list because I'm temporarily out of ink cartridges. (I'm trying to figure a way to refill them with Platinum Carbon ink -- without creating a horrific mess. :-P)ReplyDelete
This is wonderful. Thanks for sharing.ReplyDelete
Definitely my pleasure Ana. Glad you enjoyed the post.Delete
I'm still looking for a bag to replace my ratty old WalMart field bag/messenger bag. So far everything is too large or just a wee bit too small. Yours looks terrific! (Though a skosh big...)ReplyDelete
Hi Kate. Sorry, I should have included something in the sketch of my RTPI bag to convey scale. If you look closely at the photo of me sitting in front of the tractor, though, you can see the bag sitting at my feet (roughly the size of a 5 pound bag of sugar, but not as heavy.) And, FYI, another great source of rugged tote bags in all sorts of different sizes (and very reasonably priced) are military surplus stores. My wife has a British army ammo bag that she used as her camera field bag for about 2 decades -- until our son decided it was too cool for Mom and "requisitioned" it for his own sketchbook. ;-DDelete
Hi, Earnest ---> For sketch kit ideas galore, please explore this WetCanvas thread: Supplies while sketching/journaling: http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=930276ReplyDelete
It's the topmost sticky thread in the Art Journals forum on WetCanvas: http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=502
I hope this helps!
Hi Jan. Thanks for the url suggestion. I really wanted to focus this post on the kits we actually carry out the door though (like the one you posted on your blog a couple of days ago -- very nice!) And some of the posts at this particular WC thread seem to digress into studio content and setup.Delete
You're right! Sometimes that thread wanders into studio-related matters. For my thoughts, somewhat more focused, see 'Travel Sketchbooking / updated 1July2012' : http://bit.ly/n8kpg5Delete
Hi, I'm interested in your sketchbag. Are you able to tell me where I could buy one? I can't find one on the Roger Tory Peterson website: http://www.rtpi.org. Thanks for the generous information, RuthReplyDelete
Hi Ruth, Sorry I didn't reply to your comment right away but I was waiting for a call-back from a friend at RTPI. Well, it seems that they MAY have some of the bags in storage (He's checking.) and, if so, they will be able to make them available through their online store. I'll get back to you again once I've heard the results of their check of the warehouse.Delete
In the meantime, watch for a new installment of "Tools of the Trade" soon. :-D
Thank you very much for your efforts on my behalf, Earnest.Delete
The sketching community is very warm and helpful.