Sketching on location is definitely one of the most powerful sources of information, joy and inspiration for an artist. At least for me.
I love to paint cityscapes–the buildings, roads, cars and people. To collect ideas for my paintings, I just walk around seeking nice views, great light and interesting compositions. And, I carry a small and simple set of tools that allow me to make quick sketches in minutes.
My set of tools consists just of six key items:
- Plastic box with watercolor
- Moleskine classic pocket sketchbook (3.5 x 5.5 inches)
- Pen with waterproof ink
- Piece of paper napkin
The Benefits of Tiny but Mighty Tool Sets
A small tool set is absolutely sufficient for quick sketching. Clip your palette and a small paper napkin (if watercolor sketching) to your sketchbook and keep all this in one hand, while keeping your other hand free to hold your brush, pencil or pen (whatever you work with).
With this minimal amount of equipment, you can stand or sit almost anywhere comfortably and sketch; this means there’s no need for an easel or any other heavy supplies.
Quick Sketch Examples
Here are a few sketches I made on location; every sketch took less than 10 minutes. Eventually, some of these sketches became important starters for paintings I created later in my home studio.
I take reference photos as well, in addition to sketching! I find they are important for details if you want to complete your painting in the studio as I often do.
However, nothing can replace the impression and “feeling” you get while exploring, rendering and sketching a place you like.
Leave a comment, and let me know if you have any advice or questions!