Saturday, March 7, 2015

Travel Sketch Kit + Texas Travel Sketches

(Continuing my posting of sketches from the Monologue Basics A5 sketchbook that I reviewed here.)

My husband and I spent five days in Texas last fall visiting friends in San Antonio. I didn't think I'd have a lot of time to sketch, so I took a minimum of supplies, but it turned out to be all I needed. Here's the travel kit I used...

Click to enlarge

Everything except the sketchbook fits into an 8" x 4" x 2" cosmetic case. It takes up very little room in a carry-on bag.

Here's the set-up I use when sketching...

The palette is clamped to the sketchbook with a large binder clip. (This is an old Winsor & Newton Artists' Watercolor Compact Set that I refilled with new tube colors.) The water container is held in place with two magnets, one in the container and one below, under the plastic palette. They're fairly strong magnets, and they hold it securely in place. I just have to remember not to tilt the whole setup and pour water all over my page. (I only did that once!)

The travel brush (Isabey Pocket Brush) is a #6 round sable. It holds a good amount of water and has a nice spring to it. I prefer it to the water brushes that I carry, but sometimes I don't want to mess with a water container, and that's when the water brushes come in handy.

I usually sit to sketch, so I hold the sketchbook/palette combination on my lap or place it on a table. I always have a water bottle with me, and that's what I use to fill the small plastic water container. The Gerber baby food container shown in the photo has a snap-on lid, and, when I'm finished painting, I put my paint-spattered tissues in it to dispose of later.

Here are the colors I'm currently using in my travel palette:

Here are a few sketches from our trip to the Texas hill country, where I put my travel sketch kit to good use...

All sketches are done in a Monologue A5 sketchbook, 5-1/4" x 8-1/4"

On the flight home, I sketched a few passengers...

and doodled some border designs to use on future sketchbook pages.

Later, I added some more elaborate borders that I found online...

So even when I don't have a lot of time to sketch on a trip, it's still nice to be able to pick up a pencil or pen during the quiet moments and do a little something in my sketchbook. If I have it along, I'll probably use it. If I leave it at home I'll probably regret it, and I know I won't get any sketches done. Better to take it along just in case!


  1. Thank you so much for breakibg down your travel kit. What brand tube paints do you use?

    1. Winsor & Newton, Daniel Smith, Holbein, and American Journey ( from Cheap Joe's Art Stuff)

  2. Fantastic ideas and beautiful work as well, Leslie! Thanks for sharing it with us, very inspiring. - Mike

  3. A great post that inspires this new sketcher. Thank you!

  4. Thank you for sharing your kit and setup, Leslie. I found the photo of how you secure your palette and water container and sketchbook all together so helpful! May I ask how you use the cobalt teal blue--by itself or in mixes? I bought a turquoise, but I didn't include it in my travel palette because I wasn't sure I would find enough use for it to justify its space there.

    I enjoyed all your sketches, but I especially love all the greens in the sketch where you were sitting in the deer blind. Your border doodles are fun too. :-)

    1. I don't use the turquoise very often, but put it in there because I find it impossible to mix from other colors. It comes in handy in tropical locations and in Europe where there are brightly colored houses. I mix it with rose for a muted shadow color sometimes, and I used it just last week when I painted some antique glass bottles. It was a good base color that I toned down a bit with burnt sienna to get a muted aqua.

    2. Thanks, I appreciate that!

  5. What a clever way to hold the water cup. Brilliant!

  6. I have a question for you: In my past experience, I have found that the watercolors in the palette are hard to mix because you end up getting the different colors in the paint wells, so I mostly use paints that come from the little tubes. Anyway, I was wondering if there might be an easier way to mix paint like you have, where it is already in the palette. Do you mix them on the page? sorry for my lack of knowledge on the subject, haha.


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