Monday, June 4, 2018

Yosemite Palette Follow-Up (and Another Wish List Item Fulfilled)

Colors I added to my palette for Yosemite

The only sketch kit prep I did before my recent trip to the Bay Area and Yosemite was to review my colored pencil palette and add the four colors shown at left to my everyday-carry urban palette. Although I used all of them, the color I found most useful from the new palette was 159 (Prussian blue), which came in handy for late-afternoon shadows on slate and stone. Surprisingly, I used the warmer hues less often than I expected. For the times of day I was sketching and the season, Yosemite’s landscape looked cooler to me rather than warmer.

5/24/18 In this sketch of upper and lower Yosemite Falls,
I included all colors from my Yosemite palette. I like
the blend of 159 (Prussian blue) and 106 (dark plum) that
I used for the dramatic shadow behind the falls in the late-
afternoon light.
Over the years, I have streamlined my pre-travel sketch kit prep to almost nothing. I no longer use waterbrushes filled with ink, which were huge leakers when flying. They required careful wrapping with paper towels and then plastic bags to prevent messy disasters (I learned the hard way the first time I flew with them). On the advice of other sketchers early on, I also used to wrap my fountain pens the same way, just in case they leaked. But my Sailor fude pens have never once let me down, so I’ve lately skipped that precaution, too.

Now my prep includes only these steps:

  1. Review my colored pencil palette; add/subtract colors as needed for the specific location (based on Google image research).
  2. Stitch enough sketchbook signatures for the duration that I will be traveling. Over time, I’ve become more accurate in estimating how many signatures I will fill while traveling, so this step has gotten easier.
  3. Fill my two fountain pens with ink. I used to fret a lot about how to pack extra ink; bottles or any kind of containers carry the risk of breakage or spillage, and my favorite inks don’t come in cartridges that fit into Sailors. But I don’t use ink as much as I used to, and I never ran out even when I was using it more. If I ever do run out, I can use a brush pen or some other pen instead. 

At the last minute, I made one change to my kit before leaving for Oakland: I had been carrying a double-sided colored pencil (neon orange/neon green), which I use infrequently but which comes in handy in construction site sketches. I waffled about whether to bring it, especially since I’m not particularly fond of the pigments (they look right on paper, but they lose their neon qualities and look dull in digitized images). As I was waffling, I finished writing a review of the Tokyo Slider Twin Pencil Holder for the Well-Appointed Desk. For the qualities I mention in the review, it’s one of the most interesting pencil holders I’ve seen.

Tokyo Slider Twin Pencil Holder
I dug through my colored pencil stubs and found two in bright green and orange. (They aren’t neon hues, but at least they scan accurately.) I popped them into the Tokyo Slider and took them with me instead of the bicolor. Alas, I didn’t spot any construction sites to sketch at Yosemite (or even San Jose), but I felt very cool carrying a pencil holder that Darth Maul would certainly appreciate! 😉

I like this compact tool that enables me to make a bicolor pencil out of any two pencil stubs. It’s not quite as good as the Tsunago concept, but so far, it’s as close as I’ve come to fulfilling another item on my sketch material wish list

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