05 February 2011

eating out

On Friday the temperature actually rose to almost 32 degrees (that's 0 degrees Celsius) --- we celebrated by going out to eat in a near-by town. And of course I sketched as we waited for our food and talked.

A great thing about this elongated sketchbook format is having a large area to the side for writing text. I often like to write jot down quotes I've heard, insights from reading my Bible, or funny things to help me remember the day.

This Stonehenge paper can also curl somewhat if washes are too wet, though it does flatten out after drying. Even so, maybe I'll continue to keep sketches on the right side, text on the left. I like how it looks when flipping through the book.

In the above watercolor kit (made from a travel first aid kit), I moved the middle row of paint pans up from the center where they first were, This allows the 2 waterbrushes to fit in place better. These pans are easily attached with a drop of rubber cement -- easy to move as needed.


  1. I like how your sketches look in this little book
    and that's a good idea for a watercolour kit,very compact!

  2. Hi Vicky!

    As ALWAYS, I really enjoy your blog posts, and your sketches: so inspiring and absolutely lovely!

    I see that you are using another one of your little homemade sketch kits. I recently ordered some Sheer Heaven sheets when I read various about making "the Perfect Portable Palette"/ color swatch cards from you, Laure Ferlita, Jessica Wesolek, and Kate Johnson. I am always thinking about, and trying to figure out new ways of carrying my sketching supplies around with me with these goals in mind: compact, flat, light weight, lots of colors to save time mixing, and most of all somethng that is easy to use so I will actually USE IT and not just carry it around.

    I was just wondering, which of your little sketch kits do you use most often? Is the Sheer Heaven type palette too messy to carry around? Can I put actual paint on it and not just WC Pencil? Do you fing it easy to use when you are short on time? Do you have any tips on making/using the SH palette?

    I know thats a lot to throw out at you, but thank you so much for any advice you can offer.

    And thank you so much for sharing your wonderful sketches!!

  3. Thanks, Cathy and Wendi!

    Wendi, the Sheer Heaven palette is the most lightweight, but I don't enjoy using it --- doesn't work for juicy WC mixes. And yes, it can get a bit messy. I don't know if it would work well with WC dabs. To make mine, I drew a guide for the layout on paper, then laid the SH over the guide --- just scribble WC crayon in several built-up layers within the areas. The envelope holding the sheets was found at Hobby Lobby.

    The lightest box is this latest one in the travel-size first aid kit. For more colors, use half-pans instead of whole pans (I buy pans empty and fill them from tubes). With the 2 Koi waterbrushes, all you'd have to add would be a maybe a pencil or pen, and a folded paper towel. A travel-size empty shampoo bottle would be handy to carry extra water to refill the brushes.

    I tend to trade back and forth with these travel palettes --- makes it like a brand-new toy each time! Mostly an old W & N Bijou box or the Neocolor II tin or this first aid box.

    But the best to use is also the flattest, fitting in skinny zip pockets or even attached to a sketchbook with strong rubber-bands (or you can stitch a wide elastic band for this purpose) --- the one I made from a Neocolor II box. It holds travel brushes, pencils, sharpener, sponge, etc. and has a large mixing area (the lid, spray-painted white). I carry a waterbrush, a paper towel, and a small plastic jar of water (similar to a film canister) with this:


    Hope that helps you. And you are more than welcome! Most of what I've learned has come from other artist friends on-line.

  4. Wendi, another down side to the Sheer Heaven sheets as a palette is that you need an area to spread the sheets out . . . not usually handy when sketching on-sight! And a nice gust of wind would blow it away.

  5. THANK YOU SO MUCH!! That is all extremely helpful! I kind of thought that might be the case with the Sheer Heaven (didn't even think about needing space to spread out the sheets though!), but I think it will work fine as a mixing area (cut to size) inside the lid of a tin or box (since I'm too lazy to paint them white). I just need to figure out a way of lightening up and minimizing the sketch supplies I carry around. I love having all the colors with me. I don't even use everything; but I'm afraid as soon as I leave it at home or even in the car, I'll need it and won't have it!

    I've been carrying 3 full sized waterbrushes (flat, large, & small); a Derwent Inktense Outliner pencil (I LOVE that it does not smear into the watercolor. Its also erasable & blendable before applying a wash); a 1oz travel spray bottle with water; a W&N Pocket Sketcher's box (12 1/2pans); 2 full sized blue paper shop towels (totally awesome and reuseable); 21 WC pencils & a #10 travel brush in a Helix pencil wrap); a 6" ruler; 2 small binder clips; a bit of sponge, kneaded erasure, & a small metal sharpener in a mini altoids tin; a repurposed anti-bacterial mist pen filled with water; a white click pen-style eraser; a blue sharpie pen; a Uniball Vision Elite pen (which I LOVE for writing and sketching, but it does bleed a bit with water even after waiting a week); a Uniball Signo RT Gel pen (which is a bit scratchier, but doesn't bleed with water); a size XS & a size M Pitt Pens; a black & a grey Pitt Brush Pens; a 1.8 Sakura Pigma Callipen; and a Pentel Pocket Brush Pen. Oh yeah, and my 90lb Watercolor Strathmore Visual Journal.

    Not too mention all the other stuff I keep in my handbag: wallet with checkbook, glasses case with prescription sunglasses, small collapsible brush, lip balm, lip gloss, mascara, powder compact, asthma inhaler, eyeglasses cleaning fluid & cloth, nail clippers & file, liquid bandaid (I'm a massage therapist), hand sanitizer, a small travel size sunblock, a sun hat rolled up, tissues, gum, purse hook, business cards, cell phone, and a partridge in a pear tree!

    What kind of handbag do I carry that accomodates all this crap? A small Healthy Back bag.

    Am I the only one who has this problem? Who shleps THIS MUCH stuff around??

    Why am I telling you everything I carry around with me? I honestly have know idea!! LOL

    Thanks for indulging me.

  6. I love how this looks too with writing on left and painting on right. Never thought to try Stonehenge for light washes. Will have to give that a try.

    And your description with weather is close to ours although I think we managed to hit 39 degrees before dropping and being hit with freezing drizzle and snow showers. The joys of Winter (although I'm not complaining as I do love all seasons).

  7. Goodness, Wendi! I get a back ache just thinking about your bag!

    I used to carry way too much when I still had kids living at home, but I've steadily been weeding out all but the essentials. Sometimes I just stick a couple things in my pocket, grab a sketchbook, keys, and ID, and call it good.

    Susan, the Stonehenge paper was leftover from a journal I bound for using with ink and colored pencils. But yes, it seems to work well with watercolor . . . as long as it's not super-wet.

  8. HI Vicky. Your blog looks lovely. I usually carry a huge bag: I am currently lagging a moleskine around with me with a pan of Prang watercolor, graphite pencils and a sakura pen and a camera. I am not a sketcher yet but I would want to get better at it. I usually paint over my art journal. I am looking forward to see more of your sketches and I think I will be stalking you via your blog :) I hope you have a nice week.

  9. Thanks and welcome! You have some amazing photography on your blog! I carried a sketchbook around a long time, not actually sketching but THINKING about sketching. It is a beginning!


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