Sketching En Plein Air

More about sketching on holiday and the equipment I use.

My last post I gave you a little overview of sketching and developing a sketching routine.

This post I’d like to tell you about our recent 5 day break to the Isle of Wight (, which is very close to us and great for a short break and a bit of sketching.

I decided to use a concertina sketchbook I’d bought from Seawhites’ (I like to pop into their factory shop, but you can buy online from They sell them with a nice hard box type slip case/cover (although I did wonder if you stuck lots of things to your pages you’d every manage to get it back in the case again?). Mine was a ‘seconds’ from the factory shop, so came without a case. But the sketchbook itself has a lovely hardback cover each end and it folds up nicely.

I ended up only sketching Tuesday, Thursday and Friday so just worked along one side.

I decided to focus a little more on landscapes and how to maintain a continuous flow, especially in a concertina book. By keeping the ‘flow’ I had to use more artistic freedom when sketching elements of the landscape. It also made me look a little more at the shapes and colours around me.

The only time I got quite confused was on the last section of the book which was the ferry ride home where the land jumped from in front to the right and then to the left of me. I thought I’d messed it up. I tried to put glimpses of elements from the view, including verticals to break up the monotonous line of the horizon/land. In the end I added colour to the sky and land after I got home which pulled it all together.

I did try to stay faithful to the colours I could see and was really please I’d taken Quink ink with me, as it produced some great washes.

Now on to the equipment I took to sketch with. I had planned this trip (knowing we wouldn’t be walking for miles) that I’d take my ‘chunky’ kit.

Inside my big bag (which only just holds an A5 sketchbook) I added my regular pencil case. Both of these Zip cases are from one of those sets of see-through make-up bags. So great to see what you want from the case rather than having to tip it all out….or limit yourself!

Always remember add some sun cream and lip balm if you’re out all day and plenty of water (to drink and paint with and wash your hands off with.)

So here it is:

Along with my A5 Sketchbook in the big case (which is about 25 x 15 x 10cm)

Parker, Quink ink, Dip pens (homemade from bamboo), small and large Brushes, Glue stick (for collage), small Water spray bottle, Whie Acrylic, some Oil pastels and Koh-I-Noor watercolour paint set (it just clips together really small and neat and has some great bright colours).

My small regular pencilcase (which is about 15 x 10 x 7cm)

Some Rubbers. Scissors. A small box of Chalk Pastels; Reeves. A lot of White Pencils (didn't realise I had this many and only a few work well on top of other colours); Lumocolour, Karismacolour, Derwent Signature. Inktense pencils (great bold colour and lovely wash quality); Derwent. Clutch pencil 4-6B. Sepia and Coloured Pencils; Derwent Colour and Drawing, Karismacolour, Faber-Castell Albrecht Durer, Rexel Cumberland Lakeland. Wash Brushes (I love these and so great to use instead of carrying water and extra brushes. Make sure you top up, as mine tend to leak a little). Watersoluable graphite pencils 2-6B (These are fantastic if you like a messy line!); Faber-Castell Aquarelle. Liner Pens; Rotring 0.7, 0.5, 0.3, 0.1. Regular HB - 6B pencils (they just build up in my pencilcase. Also the tiny HB ones remind me of my Dad, who always had a tiny pencil behind his ear when working!). Watercolour, Indigo (just love this colour, but dropped it in for holiday sea); Windsor & Newton Cotman. Propelling pencils, HB (they just give a really fine crisp line).

After getting everything out to photograph I went and sharpened all my pencils! There is a little too much in my regular pencilcase and I should cut out some of the white pencils that didn't really work that well. I didn't enjoy working with the finer pens, so they could go. I could get rid of some of the coloured pencils as I don't need all those and Inktense....but I will probalby keep them. I really loved using the sepia pencils, so will definately use those more and the Watersoluable graphite are so great for quick sketching!

The smaller case is my regular kit, so I know pretty much what is in there, I just need to delve around to find it. But I loved the addition of the Quink and if I can find a better way to transport it (it comes in a glass bottle). Along with the water spray and white paint I think I'd add these to my everyday sketching mediums.

What do you like to take sketching?

What's in your regular/favourite kit?

I'd love to know, send me a comment and share with others.

Blog you later...........

#Sketchbookwork #Sketching #Drawing #Howto #Art #Enpleinair #Landscapes #Seascapes


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