|Svelte and ready for action.|
minimal sketch kit challenge is done, and it taught me many things – not the least of which is that I appreciate a
lighter bag, and I don’t need as many colors or tools as I always think I do. I
intended the experiment to be temporary – I didn’t want to be colorless forever
– but I also didn’t want to simply shove all the stuff I used to carry back into my bag.
every minimal item I’ve been carrying the past two months as well as every item
I had taken out before the challenge and laid them all out on my desk. Some
things were easy to eliminate because I didn’t miss them at all during the past
two months – an extra waterbrush, two brush pens, a second Pitt tonal marker.
Of course, some things, like the spray bottle and traditional brush for
spreading sprayed water, are used only with water-soluble colored pencils, so
without the latter, I had no use for them. With all of that in mind, I
evaluated each pencil, pen and brush by asking it this question: Will you earn
your keep – enough to make me want to carry you every day?
items you see in the photo above made the final cut. All items that were in my
minimal kit remained except the rainbow pencil. To that, I added:
- A second fountain pen containing waterproof ink (the one
with water-soluble ink in my minimal kit served me fine without color, but when
I start using water-soluble colored pencils again, I’ll want one with
waterproof ink, too)
- A second waterbrush (the smaller size is handy for details)
- The spray bottle (for my spritzing technique)
- A traditional brush (for spreading sprayed water on the
- 14 water-soluble colored pencils. Previously, I carried 25.
I chose the 14 colors judiciously based on the current season (the pink one for
plum and cherry blossoms is overly optimistic, I know, but I need something to
hope for) here at home. When I travel this spring and summer, I’m sure I’ll
need to change the palette for the locations. But here’s a bonus: I eliminated
enough colored pencils that I now have space in my Tran Portfolio Pencil Case
for several other implements (with slots to spare!). This compression enabled
me to eliminate one of two Lihit Lab Slim Pen Cases I had been using to
organize the other implements. The result is a less bulky bag.
- Not shown: My usual signature of paper in place of the
Stillman & Birn sketchbook.
easily apparent that once I added color back in, the tools that support it
(brushes, sprayer, waterproof ink) also had to be included. But I’m pleased to
say that several items proved to be excess, and they didn’t make the cut.
that strict diet, how much weight did my bag lose?
before diet: just under 4 lbs. (1.78 kg)
during minimal challenge: 3 lbs., 4 oz. (1.49 kg)
after diet: 3 lbs., 11 oz. (1.67 kg)
weight loss: 4 ounces (0.11 kg)
with the addition of watercolor pencils, the tools needed to support them, and
the two bag organizers (Tran Portfolio and Lihit Lab), my bag weighs only 7
ounces (0.18 kg) more than it did with my minimal kit. A significant factor is
the sketchbook itself: A signature of paper (four folded sheets of 140-pound
watercolor paper) is much lighter than the softcover Stillman & Birn. As
much as I enjoyed using the S&B Nova, that difference in weight is a
worthwhile tradeoff. I’m going to continue rolling my own (that’s the same
conclusion I came to when I tried the S&B softcover a couple of years ago).
how everything looks in the newly arranged organizers:
|Trim and tidy.|
here’s the pre-diet kit:
|Too many cookies over the holidays.|