Take it on the road

I love going out along the roadside and seeing what’s there to sketch. I have yet to do it every month, but at some point I’ll have a nice record of the year. I bring just my journal and a pen, which gives me the ability to safely walk the weedy margins and sketch things that strike me as I go. I make color notes or take reference photos and paint later at home.

Tips and Techniques– Several of you have asked about my travel art supplies, so here you go! What you see above is what I typically bring, whether close to home or farther afield. These supplies fit in a plastic bag that I can tuck in my backpack or handbag, or in a dedicated sketch bag with a long shoulder strap that I sometimes carry. I love being able to do so much with a few basic supplies.

  • Sketchbook: Stillman & Birn 5.5×8.5” Zeta or Beta
  • Pens: Pigma Micron 02 and 005 black for sketching and text
  • Pencil: Steadler F and kneaded eraser
  • Brushes: Escoda Versatil Travel Brushes, size 2,6,8. A bigger brush for painting landscapes would be helpful for larger washes.
  • Paint: Schmincke box with Windsor and Newton, Daniel Smith, and QoR paints
  • Miscellaneous: Paper towels, clips for holding the pages, spray bottle for moistening paints, small water container

If you are looking to carry less on your next sketch outing, try paring down to only what fits in a large Ziploc bag. Lighten up and enjoy!

18 Comments on “Take it on the road

      • So true. I’ve just been learning about nature journaling – feeling guilty when I take a quick photo to remind me when I get home, so I can work more on the page. I think I’m cheating, even though I’m looking at my own photo.

      • I think we need to give ourselves a break sometimes and keep the focus on being outside, observing, learning, and enjoying nature. It’s important to figure out what works for you and not worry about whether you’re living up to someone else’s rules or expectations.

      • Absolutely – that’s what it’s all about! ☺️ I’m so used to going with nothing but a Camera. Learning from others like you, Jean – thanks!

  1. Your page is lovely! I like your idea of sketching what you find along the road. And thank you for sharing your supplies. I always enjoy seeing what other artists use! 😃

  2. Thanks Jean, I find I am still trying to get a rhythm to my color use. It’s really simply practice. I find my drawing is slowly improving. I love how you are able to elevate what I see in nature when I am looking at your work.

    • Thanks. Color does take practice. I limit my palette so that I’m confident about what I’m mixing and how colors will go together. Glad to share what I see with you!

  3. Lovely layout. This page reminds us there is always something to draw if we but take the trouble to look. Thank you for sharing.

  4. Wonderful advice in general, and in the comments with Birder’s Journey. And roadsides are such interesting places. I’ve always been fascinated by what you see on them. Happy weekend, Jean!

  5. Thanks so much for sharing this Jean. I love seeing what other artists carry in their bags, and your suggestion to carry what fits in a zip lock bag is a terrific idea. I always tend to carry too much, so I am going to give your advice a try!

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