(I don’t think I’ve done a ‘sketching kit’ post for a while. They’re usually popular so here goes…) To keep up the daily ‘drawing from life’ habit (nearly ten years now) I make sure I’ve always got sketching materials on me. In the past I’ve just used any paper/pen in my pocket, but having more time on my hands recently (…) led to me making a tiny sketch kit. It weighs 37 grammes, less than any pocket notebook I’ve got, and gives me top quality paper/line/tone wherever/whenever. (It’s also forced me not to rely on the Duke Confucius pen for all my sketching)
The paper’s the great stuff I always use (Saunders and Waterford High-White Hot-Press 90lbs), ripped down to A6 size, and clipped (using a small length of poster hanger) onto a piece of 3mm plywood. Then I use a wonderfully dark 8B Mars Lumograph Black pencil (with a cap to protect tip and pockets) for line and a thin tortillon/stump/blender for tone. The pencil and stump are attached by a tube of elastic fabric, so you can quickly swap between them when drawing, just spin them (!) round in your hand.
The wooden board gives a great support for the paper, allowing the pencil lines to be as crisp or soft as you fancy, and smudging for tone is equally detailed and responsive. The pencil/stump combo captures all the key information, and I can add a quick colour wash when I get home if I don’t have my tiny palette/water-brush with me (see below). This kit’s unobtrusive (slightly stealthy?) so could be good for shy sketchers, and is great for making the most of those brief moments when opportunity and subject coincide! Here are a few recent sketches made with the kit…
I’ve almost completely given up on sketchbooks now and instead use a range of drawing boards for A3, A4 and A5 sized loose paper sheets alongside this tiny one. The boards offer better drawing surfaces and much reduced weight. Finally here’s the tiny palette I use, made from a Muji card case. Full instructions on how to make one are here.