It is holiday time of year – Packing is an art form – I ALWAYS take too many things with me on holiday.
When I go on holiday I have plans, aspirations, good intentions, and hopes – I’m sure you know what I mean. I used to pack accordingly, and on arrival I was almost too scared to open my very heavy art bag.
This does not need to happen. Less is more, as always.
List of Five Essential Items
- 1 sketchbook, no bigger than A4 (possibly a handbag size one as well but you will NEVER use both)
- 1 roll masking tape (small)
- 2 x Faber Castell thick pencils, 3B and 7B, 2 x diposable WH Smith retractable pencils with rubbers on the end
- 2 black waterproof pens of different thicknesses
- 1 set KohiNoor soluble dyes and a medium size watercolour brush
You could mistakenly call that a list of 10 items. I think we can stretch the point.
1. The Sketchbook
I always plan to do major things on holiday so imagine I need a huge pad. This is unnecessary. If the size of sketchbook is not big enough for a picture stick two pieces together with masking tape on the reverse side. Thus any size sheet is possible.
Everyone has their preferred size, shape and quality of paper for their sketch book. I like square books, with a reasonably heavy paper, and a strong, hard cover to lean on. The cover is very important as it will double as drawing board. Seawhite do a series with 160gsm paper in a firm, black cover. I use the square one. http://www.cassart.co.uk/seawhite_euro_portrait_sketchbook_with_black_microline_cover_160gsm_50_sheets
You can add another sketch book, but I bet you don’t use it. You can take expensive watercolour paper, but that can be too frightening to touch. Stick with one.
2. The Roll of Masking tape
See above. Don’t get a huge roll – no point and it gets in the way.
3. The Pencils
As with everything else, it is tempting to take too many, ‘just in case…’
My favourite drawing pencil would be a combination of very fine retractable HB and thick, dark, soft 3B and 7B. I always choose an odd number ‘B’. Faber Castell do a set of jumbo pencils, so choose what you like from these.
I would like to be clever about disposable retractable pencils but I always buy mine from WH Smiths. They are very cheap and effective, come in a large pack and have good rubbers on the end. I like the neatness of the rubbers – you are not tempted to rub out large errors, but you can fiddle with small ones.
4. The Pens
I was going to suggest a pack of Staedtler Pigment Liner Set of 6 Black but when I went on the Cass Art website to get a link there were so many sets of interesting pens I feel you should decide for yourself. Do look at the pigment liners – they are excellent, different thicknesses and do the job. Don’t take more than two.
I should experiment more too.
5. The Colour
I used to recommend Caran d’Ache Neoart water soluble wax pastel. These are water soluble highly pigmented wax pastels which can be used either wet or dry. I still use them regularly, but I find they get a bit sticky if you take them somewhere hot. Fine in a cold country.
Instead, I would recommend Koh-i-noor Anilinky Brilliant Dye Watercolour Stacking Set of 24 colours. Emma Faull, painter of beautiful birds, introduced me to them (www.emmafaull.co.uk/). They are bright, colourful dyes that you treat as water colours, and are extraordinarily cheap at under £7.00 for the set. They are not easy to find in shops but I have found them on the internet at:
The above are all you need, but I suspect you will want to add a few more things…I would want to, but not many.
I always use a camera, even if it is only my smart phone. I have a sun hat in my bag, a penknife to sharpen the pencils and a large cotton sarong type scarf/rug/sunshade/cushion/shawl. Then I’m done.