Hi, I'm Mary Kemp, passionate painter of anything to do with the seaside.
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Thursday, 12 February 2015

In Search of the Ideal Sketching Kit.

I'm always searching for the ideal sketching kit. Something to take with me everywhere, so when the occasion calls for it I can whip it out and complete a five minute masterpiece.
I've written about drawing kit for a proper painting trip elsewhere but I today wanted to talk about your basic, pared down, everyday sketching kit.
And here are my criteria:

  1. It must be portable and light.
  2. Leaves no trace. No leaks or drips or dirty fingers.
  3. Instant dry or better still doesn't need to dry.
  4. Colour - optional. The trouble with colour is you have to carry more weight, more clutter.
  5. Results in a beautiful line.
  6. Quick in execution. No use having to go over a line again and again or having to press super hard.
  7. Smudge proof. Or nearly.
  8. Must look cool! 
And a consideration......This kit has to fit into my handbag, which is small. I had a frozen shoulder some time ago so now I travel light. What men do about carrying a sketch book around I don't know. Perhaps they have big pockets!

The sketchbook. Over the years I've used different sketch books and vary as the wind changes as to which is my favourite.
I always choose a small size, no bigger than A5, and some times I use a square format. I do like square.
Spiral bound or stitched? I like spiral bound because you can open the book properly, but you can't draw across the middle easily and the spiral gets in the way of your hand when you're working on the left side.
I like fairly smooth paper and not too flimsy. The only way to find what you like is to go into an art shop and feel the papers between your fingers!

Pencil, pen, biro? There are all sorts of pens and pencils out there. I used to draw with biro a lot until I found out it faded over time, and this is something to take into consideration when confronted with the beautiful, seductive array of pens, and gel pens in the art shop.
A pencil, 2B and lovely is the most responsive medium, although that smudges. At the moment I am using a propelling pencil so there's no need to sharpen it, and I never carry an erasure.
Cats are a lovely subject to draw,
and you don't have to travel far from the comfort of your own sofa.

e Drawing. Every so often I use a Galaxy Note tablet with a stylus and PhotoShop touch. It does have several serious limitations though.
It certainly doesn't feel intuitive or comfortable.
In outside conditions you can't see the screen properly.
And it's not proper drawing.

In conclusion, the search for my ideal drawing kit has ended in.. you've guessed.........paper and pencil.

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