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Saturday, June 16, 2018

The Current Sketch Kit!

So...attempting once again to organize and simplify!  I have just gotten 3 new/old vintage pens from Pier Gustafson (more on those soon!) and wanted something better to protect them than the old plastic pocket protector that I've been using for years--you know, the ones with the open top.  Things kept falling out, and it really wasn't quite big enough--not with the delicious new pens to play with.

Unfortunately, all the closed pen cases I found were too small, only holding 2 or at most 3 pens...and of course when I saw this small Smart Fit case from Jetpens, I decided to give it a try.  It's about 4" x 7", and zips shut for much more security.

The problem, of course, is that it really holds TOO much--and not quite enough at the same time!  Consolidating all my travel kit in one place is lovely, but...it's gotten kind of fat and heavy as I keep thinking "okay, I need that...and might use that...and I always wish I had one of those...and oh, look, that fits right there...and want to try that out..."

As it turned out, the pens work best on the right side, and I knew I wanted to keep one technical pen and one mechanical pencil, in addition to two of my vintage pens, and a dependable TWSBI Eco, and my old Frankenpen I discussed in this post, and this post and OOOPS, out of room on that side!  

So here's what made the cut for now...plus the tiny kids' watercolor kit from Wet Paint I filled with my own choice of artist colors and a wee telescoping brush from an old Winsor & Newton kit in that small front pocket...that's the new/old blue Waterman from Pier Gustafson and my old red Eversharp from the 1950s.

The mesh side has room for a sharpener and a small magnifying glass, plus two waterbrushes, two "real" brushes of a nice size, cut off to travel, and one wee tiny one for the occasional serious detail (cat whiskers anyone?), 3 colored pencils (2 black or grey and one white), an antique folding pen given to me by a friend (that's the aqua dealie), and yes, another pen, the ever-dependable fine-nib Carbon Desk Pen I cut off so the cap would post.  You can read about that process here.

This is how they come from Wet Paint and others, still with the kid colors in it at that point...and a totally useless brush!
Oh, yeah, that tiny watercolor kit?  That's what I used for all the sketches but ONE to fill this journal when we went to Charleston, SC!  (If you're not on Facebook, my account is public so you may be able to see anyway...) I CAN travel light...it's just not easy.

So at 7.7 ounces this setup is not exactly super light, and full, it's about 1-1/2" deep, so not really skinny, either...but oh well!  Like a Boy Scout, I'm prepared!

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Repurposed Prang Box, 10 years later

If you've been with me for a while, you may remember this repurposed Prang watercolor box, from the 1950s--when the boxes were still metal rather than plastic!  I took out the kids' paints and replaced them with larger pans of professional colors I actually like...

The photo is from 2008, so I've been using this little jewel for 10 years...I have carried it from Missouri to California to Nevada, and love using it...it makes me feel like a kid again!  That's the one in our banner here, too.

These are the colors I added then, or close to it...there's an orange in there, too, in place of one of the yellows!

Actually, I have a couple of them...one with Old Faithful, the Yellowstone geyser on it, as well as this somewhat newer one...I found them on eBay, and a quick check showed you can still find them there.

The pan of kids' colors pops right out...

I stuck empty full pans in with rubber cement, so they're easy to pull out and replace if I want...and then filled with my own choice of colors.

Well.  That was then, this is now.  10 years, many miles, and a whole lot of sketches later!

The mixing area has gotten rusty and I may sand and repaint it...or not.  Some colors have been replaced.  I added a few half pans for more versatility...Manganese Blue Hue, Indigo, Quinacridone Burnt Scarlet, and Quinacridone Gold...
As you can see, it's been well used and well loved, and will continue to be so.  (And yes, I cleaned it up some for its photo op.  Really I did!)  At 4.9 ounces, it's my heaviest travel kit, but sometimes you just have to deal with it!  Worth it, to feel like a kid and give yourself permission for whimsy...

On a beach in California...

Friday, June 8, 2018

Lighten Up!

I find that over and over I try to simplify my gear and lighten my load--and since I want to be prepared for almost any sketching contingency, it's not that easy! 

Recently I've been exploring the fun little Pocket Palettes from Expeditionary Arts--and Maria Coryell-Martin keeps refining and offering new types, formats, and kits!  Check out her "toolkit" page at the link...

Here you see the original palette on the left and a newer model with a brushed steel case (I think she's offering a traditional black one now too, but I didn't see it on the page.)

I know it's silly, but I'll keep carrying the original shiny one because sometimes a girl just needs a mirror...or a signaling device...or...and the little bag it comes in protects the finish!

The very first ones had small pans, like those on the right in the filled palette, but many of us like to work with a larger brush, so Maria added the square pans.  Perfect! 
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