It’s getting close, really close. Travel is again in the realistic future, and I am ready. Utah and national parks in just 21 days and confidently we are planning Europe in the spring.
Followers of this blog know my compulsiveness about packing light. Tricia and I traveled for five weeks in Scotland, France and Italy a few years back, each of us had one carry-on-sized roller and a shoulder bag, we both admitted after the trip that we had clothes that we wore at most one time, if even that. My sketching kit is just as compact. (Be sure to check out Tricia’s photos from that trip on her blog)
A shoulder bag is most always one of my accouterments. For the 25 years I traveled for work my bag, most recently a Timbuk2, which replaced an Antler bag from Australia, was always packed and ready at a moments notice. It carried my passport, sketching stuff, noise cancelling headphones, etc. In memory of my mother I have a new NutSac Mag-Satch 11, it is perfect and packed.
So here is my current travel kit and some explanation.
My watercolor pallet is of course Art Toolkit. I fill it before I leave, and then carry in my luggage pre-filled pans of a couple of most used paints, though I rarely need them, I never carry tubes, as they are a bother. (BTW I have never in any country had any problems with tubed watercolors and security, ever.) I do at times stick a white gouache in for highlights.
There is plenty of room for a couple of sketchbooks, though the largest i carry is a 6×8”. At the moment there is a small Moleskine and a Stillman@Birn Epsilon Series.
Recently I switched to a Caran d’Ache waterbrush. It has a built in piston for filling and better bristles than the Pentel that I have used for 25 years.
There are two fountain pens: TWSBI fine nib, and Manufactus Fine nib. The brass looking pencil is a SMOOTHERPRO metal tip forever pencil. It is like using a 7H pencil, never needs sharpening, and works great for under-sketching. For graphite I use Kaweco Sport 3mm, sharpener is always in the watch pocket of my jeans. Recently I discovered a Faber Castile Dust Free eraser.
Then of course there is my iPad Mini, the full size ones are just too big and heavy for my compulsiveness of light and small. The stand is Max Smart, truly a game changer when sketching on the spot.
My packing advice to travelers is to ask this question of every item you take, art or otherwise, “Will I use it?” If the answers is, “I might.” Then leave it behind. The odds are you can figure out a work around or buy what you need.
Here are a few sketches from the past week