I am currently on holiday at Revelstoke, in Canada, where you can ski in winter and hike, bike, climb and explore in summer. I decided to commit myself to doing at least one sketch a day and I’m keeping a journal of my daily efforts in my blog, Mi Mi Designs/Sketchaday. I have been asked many times what is the ideal equipment to take when sketching on holiday, and the answer is: keep practising with different media until you find something that suits you best. Over the years I have worked with pen, pencil and watercolour, so I took all three, plus watercolour pencils which I’ve recently been experimenting with. Above is a selection of sketchbooks that I took with me this time, which fit variously into a handbag, a pocket or a backpack. They have different paper qualities which causes me to produce different effects using the same media.
Here are the materials that I have found easiest to pack and the most practical for working outdoors in all weathers. The water is kept in that little plastic bottle which has a small cap that doubles as a water container, but next to it are two other plastic bottles that hold more water and have screw on lids. A paper cup is good when you are using larger brushes. I have a range of brushes from broad to fine that all have full bellies and fine points. Squirrel or goat hair (as in the Chinese brush) are my preference.
My palettes are two cheap plastic ones that I can keep in a plastic bag: I have two as I often find I run out of mixing space on one palette. The paints are kept in a small box and I have a variety of blues, reds and yellows plus some earth colours. I forgot to bring my favourite colour, ultramarine, but cobalt blue is a good substitute in the Cotman range. I found that barbecue sticks are excellent for digging into tubes that have dried up. A putty eraser, a refillable water brush (one with plain water the other with a pale grey wash), kitchen towel and 2B & HB graphite pencils plus sharpener and/or knife (not pictured) complete the kit.
You may find you need more, or considerably less. It’s all down to what you feel like doing when you get there, so take more than you need but don’t worry if you forget something – it will make you experiment.