OK, so the update is not radical in terms of time – it’s not as if I suddenly changed out everything in one day. I’ve been making gradual, incremental changes all along. But two major changes are significant (though perhaps only temporary), and I’ve made them both since I returned from my trip to the UK: For the first time in a few years, I’m using only two fountain pens. And for the first time ever, I’m using no watercolors at all!
I’ve been gradually using colored pencils more and more often, especially during travel, yet I felt like I always “needed” watercolors, just in case. I finally decided to cut the cord and take the watercolors out. (I even removed the few Zig Clean Color Real Brush markers I usually carry.) So pencils are now my only source of color (except for one waterbrush filled with sky-blue ink). As usual, it’s an experiment, and I might eventually put watercolors back in. We’ll see if I miss them.
As for the fountain pens. . . you know how much I love them. But I found that when I carried five or six or eight in my bag, I used them according to the 80/20 rule: My two Sailor fude pens got used 80 (or maybe 90) percent of the time, while all the rest got used only occasionally, meaning they were not earning their keep as daily carries.
|Top view of my everyday-carry Rickshaw Bagworks Zero |
Messenger Bag and contents.
Here’s what’s in my bag now:
- A hand-stitched signature of 140-pound Canson XL paper
- KUM pencil sharpener (the only one that seems to accommodate my favorite Caran d’Ache Museum Aquarelle colored pencils (see No. 7 below)
- Waterbrushes filled with warm and cool gray inks for shadows; and sky-blue Iroshizuku Tsuyu-kusa ink (still my favorite way to make a quick streak of sky)
- Water spritzer (still useful even without watercolors)
- Two Sailor fude fountain pens (one with waterproof ink; one with water-soluble ink)
- One small and two large waterbrushes and one traditional brush (which I use only to spread sprayed water with)
- An expanded but still carefully selected palette of colored pencils (mostly water-soluble and a few traditional)
- A red Field Notes notebook
- A white colored pencil I like using with the red Field Notes (No. 8 above)
- A Kuretake hairy brush pen (though I’ve used many kinds, this is a long-time favorite)
- A white Gelly Roll gel pen (again, for use with the Field Notes)
- A non-hairy brush pen with waterproof ink (currently a Marvy LePen, but it’s not necessarily my favorite)
- A non-hairy brush pen with water-soluble ink (currently a Zebra double-ended brush pen, which is my favorite)
I also updated my Current Favorite Art Materials page to reflect the changes. (I even updated my Archive of Art Materials and Sketch Kits page so you can see the entire evolution.)
While I was working on that page, I decided to update the photo for my ultra minimalist sketch kit, too (the kit I would take to Gilligan’s Island). I use this tiny Travelon bag to hold my phone, wallet and keys while taking fitness walks around Green Lake. I rarely sketch on those walks, but every now and then I spot a heron or ducklings that I can’t resist. It still contains a Pilot Petit1 fountain pen. I swapped out a handmade sketchbooklet for a red Field Notes, which is an easy favorite for small, quick sketches, plus a brush pen and a white Gelly Roll.
Awesome!! But don't forget your Kutsuwa Dr. Ion Accessory Organizer. I have a feeling it's fairly instrumental in the way you carry all your sketching tools, and is a tool in its own right. (Still dying to get my hands on one!) for Inktober will you stick to this set up, or will you be adding your Zig CCRBs back?ReplyDelete
The Dr. Ion has become such an integral, essential part of my bag that I forget it's a separate thing! Good question about Inktober! I may change my mind yet, but I'm thinking of going monochrome this time and using only a fountain pen! :-0 We'll see! ;-)Delete
Wendi, I added a photo of Dr. Ion on my Current Favorite Art Materials (http://tina-koyama.blogspot.com/p/current-favorite-art-materials.html) page, just for you! :-)Delete
Only two fountain pens??? Say it ain't so :-) Wish I could lighten my load in that regard, though I do love my fountain pens. Right now I carry six of them everywhere I go. It's not so much about the pens as the inks that cause the 'need.' I need waterproof brown and black (2), watersoluble brown and black (2). Throw in a fude pen (5) and it adds up. Then I "have" to add a "hairy brush pen", a white gel pen, and a ballpoint. It's sad, I know :-)ReplyDelete
Larry, you're a man after my fountain pen heart. You're going to make me want to put back in all my pens with various ink colors! ;-)Delete
Every time I take something out of my kit, it seems like that's what I reach for the next time I go out. lol Love the minimalist sketch kit!ReplyDelete
It happens to me, too! As soon as I take something out, I need it. ;-)Delete
I've gotten so many watercolors in trying to find what works for me and nothing seems to work! What watercolor pencils would you recommend for a wash where the pencil marks don't show through? Thanks!ReplyDelete
My favorite is Caran d'Ache Museum Aquarelles, but they are pricey and are available in a narrower range of colors than other brands. Second favorites would be Faber-Castell Albrecht Durer and Caran d'Ache Supracolors. Both are very good pencils, too. All three will dissolve completely, but it's still much harder to get a smooth wash that way compared to real watercolors (or anything liquid), because the pencils will tend to look splotchy. I actually like leaving a lot of the pencils undissolved, because I love the texture I can get that way.Delete
Thanks! I am hoping that I will be able to use watercolor pencils, since trying to figure out what watercolor paints to use has complicated things so much I now don't want to sketch! How did you pare down your watercolor choices?ReplyDelete
Oh, no -- I hope you like pencils better! But what is it about watercolor paints that is difficult for you? Because depending on the issue, maybe there's a way to address that directly instead of changing medium. But to answer your question about my palette, since I sketch mainly in my home urban environment, the palette I need is relatively narrow. Over time, I realized the colors shown above will get me through just about anything, and I can also mix well with this selection, too. When I travel, I add one or two pencils if the place I'm going to has a lot of oxidized copper trim on the buildings (France), for example, or vermillion pagodas (Japan). And I add some seasonally, like pink during cherry blossom season.Delete
I think my confusion has been what I have been trying to accomplish, whether it's painting, drawing or? I realized I enjoy drawing, and I need to keep things simple instead of thinking that I am creating a painting. I am excitied to give watercolor pencils a go and see what happens! Glad I found your blog!ReplyDelete
We're in the same boat! I'm much more a draw-er than a painter, but I love color, so I kept struggling with watercolor. But colored pencils are primarily a drawing medium, so they feel much more compatible with my style. Glad you found my blog, too!Delete