I'm a card-carrying table work girl. Don't get me wrong, I spend a lot of time outdoors -- I just prefer to create my journal page at a table instead of in the field. I carry a small pad of tracing paper and a #2 pencil I can sharpen with my pocketknife with me when I hike or canoe. When I get home I can trace off my sketch, or just attach the tracing paper sketch with washi tape in my journal. I also carry Ziploc bags and mint tins to bring home (legal) specimens.
The CaseBecause I usually work at my kitchen table, I choose to store my basic journal supplies in an old laptop case. Any clamshell case that zips all the way open and has plenty of storage compartments works well for me.
|See how both ends of the strap connect on one side? On the rare occasions I carry this kit into the Great and Woolly Wild, it doesn't bounce around, even if I'm rock hopping.|
I love Col-Erase! Nice layer of color, and they disappear when you paint over them. They are not as bright -- or as breakable -- as Prismacolor pencils.
Koi is a neat watercolor option that falls somewhere between student and artist quality. They have vivid color, but are less translucent than an artist paint. Many of the colors can be used like gouache. I originally bought these to have a wide variety of colors when I was following tutorials, but I find them my go-to paint most of the time now. I like how Koi performs even better than my QoR artist watercolors on the Visual Journal paper. Koi doesn't perform well on Arches or other cotton paper.
I have a Rosemary and Company travel Squirrel mop because I have a husband that does amazing things like ordering a paintbrush I covet from England. This is a similar and highly recommended brush without all of the fiddly overseas shipping.
I'll be linking to an article on how to use technical pens within the next few weeks. Unlike a standard office pen, they are used at a 90 degree angle to the paper for best results. Once I discovered that little tidbit, I had much better luck. I like the 001 to 03 for sketching, and the 03 to 08 for text and frame work. You'd be hard pressed to find a better deal on 6 of these pens.
These water soluble pens are the latest addition to my kit. They do wicked amazing things when touched with water -- teal and fuschia things, to be exact. Search Elegant Writer on YouTube for a quick tutorial by Karlyn Holman if you've never used these pens. They also work well for lettering...ha!
Another recent addition... I like having a divider when I'm doing botanical illustration. This set doubles as a compass if you like to do magnified views in circles in your journal, and includes a ruling pen with a separate holder. No instructions are included, but if you search the name of the bit on YouTube, you can find tutorials. I'll be sharing several techniques using this set in the coming weeks.
This little value and view finder is worth it's weight in gold for a beginning artist.
I have a vintage folding 10x magnifier similar to this one. Know of a better style or product? Shoot me a note in the comments, puh-leeeez!
It's a triangle! And a protractor! And a ruler! This little gadget is great if you like frames and line work, but it really shines in figuring out angles of branches, leaves, mountain sides, etc. Again, I have a vintage 1970 engineers' edition, so if you know of a better one, leave a comment.
White Gelly Roll pens allow you to add quick highlights or even text over painted areas without mucking up a paint brush. A must have at a GREAT price!
A tiny (30 cc)makeup mister is great for small journals.
The rest of the stuff in my kit is widely available at Wal-Mart or Michael's...
- USA Gold #2 pencils
- Pentel Clic Eraser
- Non-photo blue Col-Erase pencil.
- Poster putty, which I use in lieu of a kneaded eraser. I'll be putting a link to an article that explains the benefits of blue poster putty over a kneaded eraser in the drawing skills.
- Tortillon (paper stump)
- Hand held pencil sharpener
- Cellulose sponge cut into bits for painting foliage, stones, etc. stored in my Koi kit.
- Washi tape. Search "nature washi tape" on Etsy for some great bargains and styles. I use this to tape off landscapes for painting or to affix items to a page. You can wrap a lot of washi around an old playing card or credit card.
- Binder clips for holding pages open.
- #2 round, rigger, and 1/2" flat nylon watercolor brushes.
- Speedball holder with A5 nib. I plan to replace that with a Pilot Metropolitan as soon as Christmas of this year.
- Mesh Drywall Joint Tape is one of my main journaling tools. I'll feature a whole post on the different things you can do with it, including quickly making lines for text and stenciling in neat textures and borders.
Last, but certainly not least, is the cuff of a sport sock I wear on my wrist to change colors and meter water, and a handful of laminated reference booklets and sheets which I'll be adding to the drawing and painting pages later.
What do YOU have in your journaling kit you can't live without? Share your favorites with us in the comments below.