This won't be the final word on my backpacking sketch kit, I'm sure, but it's what I'm carrying now. Enough the get the job done on the fly or in my tent, but not so much that I feel like a section hiker.
If I really wanted to go minimalist, I would carry a tiny 3x4 inch notebook and a pencil and call it a day.
But I don't carry a book or a kindle or a chair or a box of wine in my pack. This is my luxury item, so I splurge a little.
I also experiment, especially with sketchbooks. I'm still looking for the Holy Grail of sketchbooks--lightweight with a soft cover, lots of pages and good paper. Let me know if you have any suggestions.
Meanwhile, here's what's in my long distance hiking sketch kit now...
2. Mechanical pencil and tiny kneaded eraser.
3. General's sketch wash pencil and pencil sharpener. OMG I love this pencil! Add a little water and it makes a lovely, watercolory wash. If I really had to go minimal, I'd probably choose this and a water brush and call it a day.
4. Water brush and dry brush. I'm experimenting with sizes still. I use the dry brush with the india ink washes and the water brush with the watercolors.
5. India ink washes, one light, one dark. I've been experimenting with a technique called grisaille, which I learned in this Craftsy class with Steven Reddy. Grisaille is in the rotation, so I'm carrying small Nalgene bottles of india ink washes.
6. Flexible Nib Pens with permanent ink. One extra fine and the other fine (Sharpie).
7. An old cotton sock for cleanup.
The Sketchbook Conundrum
The sketchbook is like raingear...nothing is ever quite right (except the umbrella). I experiment with everything. I'm hoping to find the sketchbook equivalent of my umbrella one day.
The Leuchtturm was good for pen & ink and daily logging, but the pages are thin and don't take large doses of watercolor well.
I've been filling a Moleskine sketchbook for a while. It's better with watercolor washes, but the paper is still a little thin if you really want to splash water around. They also make a watercolor journal.
Both of those are hard cover and heavy for long distance hiking.
I picked up a Strathmore mixed media sketchbook recently and I'm hopeful about the possibilities. The paper is thick and it's got a soft cover, so lighter to carry.
I also have a small Handbook Journal, which gets good reviews by other artists who work in the field. And one hiking artist I follow online, Nikki Frumkin of Drawn to High Places, eschews the notebooks and just carries small rectangles of good watercolor paper.
So many possibilities!
And I'm beginning to think I should change my trail name to "Notebook."
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