Tools & Materials

Like most artists I know, my toolkit is constantly changing. However, here’s what’s (generally) in my bag right now:

My main pocket sketchbook is a Stillman & Birn Alpha pocket sketchbook, (3.5×5.5 in/8.9×14 cm)

I use this as my ‘quick grab’ option, my go-to for lunch break drawings. At the moment, the tools I carry with it are a Lamy Safari (M) filled with Kaweco Pearl Black ink, a Pentel water brush (M, compact body), and a Copic Multiliner SP, which sports black pigment ink that’s water-proof, copic-proof, and generally resists anything I throw at it. They’re held in a DIY leather ‘holster’ I made. (post forthcoming)

You might notice this sketchbook looks a bit different than it comes from the store. I’ve hacked it to be a hardcover (vs softcover) with an elastic keeper, which I find sturdier than the softcover. You can read how to do that shortly, once I get around to writing a post for that.

For watercolors, I’m currently carrying a Derwent spritzer, Stillman & Birn Beta sketchbook (A5, portrait), Etchr sketchbook (A5, landscape), aluminum palette with Daniel Smith paints, and 5 brushes carried in a modified toothbrush holder I also use a coroplast drawing board with binder clips and a small cup with a paint puck and clip for my water.

The dagger brush has the end filed to a point (a la Liz Steel) or else it wouldn’t fit in my toothbrush holder. The end can also be used for manipulating ink or watercolor, and for occasionally scratching my back.

I also use a green Kokuyo Neocritz Flat for my general-use pen/drawing implement holder. Its contents change and shift but here’s a snapshot of what’s there now:

Left to right, here’s what goes in:

  • Kuretake flat water brush
  • Pentel water brush (S) filled with diluted Diamine Gray ink
  • Lamy AL-Star (F) filled with Lamy Turquoise ink
  • TWSBI Eco (1.1mm) filled with Dr. Ph Martin black ink (for writing)
  • Parker Vector (F) filled with Noodler’s Lexington Gray
  • White Prismacolor colored pencil
  • White Gelly Roll 08 pen
  • Pentel Brush Pen (black)
  • Pilot brush pen (blue)
  • Staedtler 2mm lead holder (2B lead)
  • Staedtler 2mm lead sharpener
  • Square reader (gotta be ready for That Sale at any moment)
  • White Staedtler eraser

AND I think I have a couple other things floating around my bag, but that’s (generally) what I’m sporting at the moment. The most changeable aspects are the fountain pen inks, which tend to rotate every 2-3 months or so, depending on mood and artistis needs.

Let me know if you have any questions about anything in this kit.