Friday, July 29, 2011

Portable art kit revisited

This is my third incarnation of a portable sketching/painting kit for plein air.  When I was showing the kids at summer camp my art kit, I realized that a lot of the art supplies I take for granted are a novelty to others.  I also tend to let it grow a bit, but it hasn't gotten so heavy that it's a pain, and I like having extra supplies for myself or others.  So let me share what's inside my art bag!
Main access is through the top,
which is convenient. 

An old camera bag converted
into my portable art kit.
First, the bag: an old camera bag sent to me by my father.  The cube shape works wells for my rectangular sketchpads and containers.  The main access is through the top, but there is also a little zippered side compartment which is handy for smaller items that might get lost in the bottom of the bag.

Inside the bag I keep:
• Two spiral bound sketchbooks, the current books are an Aquabee Super Deluxe (9 by 6 inches), and a Pentalic Nature Sketch (6 by 12 inches).

My current portable art bag and contents (not including kitten!)

My pencil box.
• A pencil box with an assortment of mechanical pencils, artist drawing pencils, charcoal pencils, erasers, and pencil sharpener. I prefer the white vinyl erasers, since they seem to work best for me.

• A brush box with four Niji Aquabrushes. These are waterbrushes that have a hollow barrel in the handle that can be filled with water. One is a flat, and the others are rounds in three sizes. I carry a small ruler and some Q-tips.
 
My brush box, an inexpensive
plastic container from Walmart.
• A miscellaneous box. A bit of everything: emery boards for pointing pencils, toothpicks, a cut credit card for scraping, and GUM brand teeth cleaners for lifting. Derwent Blue-gray watercolor pencil, Albrecht Durer watercolor pencils in Black, White, and Payne’s Gray, and a #11 Xacto knife (blade protected by an eraser). A Signo Uni-ball white gel pen, and a Prismacolor white colored pencil. Oh, and a white birthday candle for watercolor resist.

    • A magnifying glass, an all-purpose multi-tool, and an assortment of binder clips (good for windy days).

Some of the tidbits from my miscellaneous box.
• Extra paper towels, zip-lock bags (different sizes), and a travel spray bottle with water. Extra batteries for my digital camera.
• Pens. Sepia Micron Pigma and Faber Castell Pitt artist pens in black and dark sepia, in assorted sizes.
 • Water soluble pencils. Derwent watercolor pencils and Derwent Inktense pencils, each 12 piece sets, and a set of 24 Kimberly watercolor pencils.

• A travel set of Daniel Smith watercolor paints I put together myself.  You can read about the palette and paint choices here.

Watercolor travel set.
If you'd like to see the previous incarnations, visit my Flickr photostream here for the first art kit, and this blog post for my second art kit.


I've learned a lot from what other artists carry, and am willing to try new things, so please feel free to share your tips!