A Sketcher’s Traveling Kit

I left for a short (4 day) trip to India 2 weeks ago and got back last Friday.

As usual, it wasn’t easy deciding what to take with me. The correct number of shirts, pairs of pants, socks, toothbrush and co. were obviously not the issue. The real pain points were of course: which art supplies shall I take with me?

It will probably not come as a surprise to anyone reading this that I packed too much. Yes, too much, as most of us probably do. But I think some art friends will be surprised in a moment how little I took and still see me planning to reduce it on future trips.

I’ll start out with what I took along, I’ll add a photo of it later. Then I’ll let you know what I’ll take along in future.

  • Lamy Safari fountain pen (F nib) prefilled with De Atramentis black ink
  • empty Lamy Safari (M-nib), with one unopened purple ink cartridge
  • Tombow Calligraphy pen (hard nib)
  • a Kolinsky paintbrush, size 8
  • two containers for water
  • a nib and nib holder
  • a pot of India ink
  • reduced set of 6 coloured pencils (Polychromos)
  • one unused(!) water colour sketchbook (heavy paper)
  • one Moleskine A5 diary (half full)
  • pencil, kneadable eraser, pencil sharpener, pen knife
  • Schmincke watercolour tin for 12 pans (filled with 10)
  • a small Koi waterbrush
  • a sleeve ripped off an old t-shirt
  • a book with reference photos of figures, to practice drawing at night


So, what will I take along in future, based on what I used of the above?

  • a Moleskine diary
  • the magical Tombow Calligraphy pen (hard)
  • the small Koi waterbrush
  • ripped off sleeve of a t-shirt (wraps wonderfully around thumb and wrist)
  • tin of 10-12 watercolours
  • pencil (optional), kneadable eraser (doubly optional)

Wow, that’s pretty simple. That’s basically nothing.
But those were the tools I pulled out all the time.

  • while waiting for the planes arrival at departure
  • while on the flight to India
  • while waiting in the hotel’s lobby
  • while at the breakfast table
  • while watching my colleagues play cricket
  • while practicing poses in the hotel room
  • while practicing drawing lines when the colleagues were bowling


And what did I sketch while I was on my trip?

Ok, there’s one in there with coloured pencils, perhaps I’ll slip the reduced coloured pencils set in too. The pencil case is soooo sweet ­čÖé But that’s it! … I promise … I feel myself wanting to add a real paintbrush and a container for water. But if I want to whip the tools out in seconds, and also pack them away as quickly as possible … then they can’t come on the trip with me.

I Love to Draw

I hope you can tell that I love to draw.

Nevertheless, somethings haven’t been going well lately. The gesture practice is feeling like a chore. I’ve been experiencing a lot of laggardness, something has been dragging me down. But I haven’t given in completely to this wintery feeling.

I’ve added bananas and scratched alcohol from my diet (I wonder how long that will last). Things are looking rosy again … and so we come to the main object of this post …

Just returned from Life Drawing Evening Class. It’s so nice to go out of the house with an absolute minimum of tools on you, giving yourself the exercise to just “do with what you have on you”. Tonight those were:

  • my white Lamy Safari (F nib) fully loaded with black deAtramentis ink
  • an A5 Sillman&Birn Epsilon Series sketchbook (still not full)
  • a Tombow Fundenosuke twin tip pen (black tip empty)
  • a pink Faber Castell Polychromos

We had some lovely 5, 10 and 15 minute poses and I enjoyed myself thoroughly, getting lost in that drawing zone I cherish so much.

I tried that out last night too (i.e. finding the zone) (unsuccessfully, I must admit) and re-installed the sktchy app on my phone for the umpteenth time. This time, I concentrated on some of my favourite artists’ portraits and sketched on anything I could find, ranging from paper plates to paper bags.

(Before I leave you with the pictures of the last two nights, please note that you can leave a comment in this wordpress theme (Sketch) if you click the title of the post you’d like to comment on and scroll to the bottom of that post. You probably don’t want to, but just in case. Perhaps you have a tip or a question.)


Coping with Copics

Just returned from Life Drawing.

Tonight, I took along the few Copics I have. I am sometimes ready to accept the challenge of a new medium. I have two pink, one black and a grey Copic. These are alcohol based Japanese Manga pens with a dual chisel and brush tip. They are probably best on a nice smooth surface — of which I have none. There weren’t many poses tonight, we got a lengthy lecture on portrait drawing and it was freezing cold, so the poses were pretty short (10 minutes) and the breaks long. I was surprised to see how the Copics mix and smudge and my fellow Life Drawing students were quite intrigued about the effect and the pens as such. I think I’m going to give them another try when I go out drawing tomorrow night.


20161108_nude-1 20161108_nude-2 20161108_nude-3 20161108_nude-4 20161108_nude-5


Been doing a lot of inking lately …

Before I start, first things first … a warm welcome to you, my treasured follower!

I started this blog 2 years ago and uploaded every single picture, sketch, watercolour and gesture drawing I made. There weren’t many, I wasn’t drawing every day and I wasn’t drawing up to 4 hours a day back then. Nowadays, I try not to draw for 4 hours a day, but I must admit, this Sunday is coming close to 4. Although, I can strongly recommend putting in that much time if you are really serious about improving your skill set, you still must be warned that it should not all be practice. The practice needs to be counter-balanced with project, fun and study work.

I’m saying this because I’ve been on a downer lately and I believe it to be because I have not been balancing out my practice with some nice and easy fun assignments. I think I may have managed to maneuver my way out of it, but there still seems to be one ingredient missing … project work.

So, what have I been doing for practice? Basically, gesture drawing (here is something I wrote about it: https://wordslye.com/2016/07/18/gesture-drawing-and-opinion/)

I am adding a picture or two for each “stream”, down below.

What have I been doing for fun? I’ve been out on Wednesday evenings with a group of like-minded sketchers, visiting museums and I’ve been to see Roman art on Sundays, sometimes on my own, sometimes accompanied by a sketcher or two.

What’s been study work? Well, I’ve been reading up on things (Walt Stanchfield’s “Drawn to Life, vol.1” and Robert Beverly Hale’s “Drawing Lessons from the Great Masters”). I must admit, I could be doing more there. And, of course I go to Life Drawing evenings every Tuesday, I guess I classify that as fun, but it “should” be study.

The missing ingredient project is actually possibly about to take off, because I’ve got interested in the competition that quickposes[dot]com is staging. It means, I will have to make up a nice scene from childhood with figures, story, action and whatnot. I’ve got a number of thumbnails on the go.

In summary, don’t just practice, and likewise don’t just try to have fun, find a good balance between fun, practice, study and project work (perhaps even take your sister up on that request to draw her dog or cat).

To finish off, here a selection of my Oktober[sic.] inks.
















Beardless Comic Strips

Well, as mentioned, I’m on the next SBS Kourse: Polishing

The first week is “comic strips” with Danny Gregory.

Before the week began, I decided to shave off my beard and ‘stache. So you’ll see some newer self-portraits here.

I tried (and failed) to stay up all night to start Polishing as one of the first. So I started drawing my bedtime espresso and chocolate muffin. I also watched a video with Danny and drew him for about 30 minutes.

Most of these pics are in my A6 Hahnem├╝hle sketchbook with my Lamy Safari “F” nib and Lamy ink.

late night espresso and muffin
where’s my muffin?
conversation comic strip
My day as a comic
ice cream truck (2 minutes)
mirror image
me, from photo
view of Bonn’s skyline
Danny Gregory

Complex Patterns

Week 6 of SBS Seeing Klass. Ended April 7th, 2016.

Actually, I believe — in retrospect — this may be where all the trouble began (I stopped my daily gesture drawing, I gave up drawing for hours a day, days passed without me drawing at all).

This Klass with Liz really shook me up … analyzing complex patterns seemed to be so tedious and basically impossible for me to manage.

We attempted to draw nicely patterned teacups (of which I have something ranging from zilch to “non at all”) with ink and then paint them with watercolour.

Additionally, we went out and drew some buildings.

I took on an extremely complex topic of drawing my rococo style mirror (I haven’t got many patterned things … or perhaps I’m not looking properly).

I also decided on filling my A6 Hahnem├╝hle sketchbook … taking watercolurs completely out of the equation (because of the paper in said book).

What I kept on noticing was that the non-analysis seemed to work better for me and I kept slipping into the well-known behaviour of just playing it by ear. My brain was refusing to compromise, denying myself to slow down, look, measure, compare. It was confusing and made me doubt myself.

But I have also been reading George Leonard’s book “Mastery”, where he describes that if you attempt to learn something new, you may perceive a drop in your skill level especially if you have been whiling away on a plateau for some time.

I’m slowing getting back into my daily gesture sketching, taking it in little steps. Perhaps only 20 minutes of 30 second gestures a day. I have also started drawing a slower sketch every day or two (I’ll drop a post here too with some of┬á those pictures soon).

So let’s not fret too much. This was the last week of Seeing and there was a lot to learn, so that I actually believe now that I should have taken a longer break before starting the next Klass … but I’m now on the Klass Polishing at SBS … some of that stuff coming up on a blog near you soon too.

analysis of view from bedroom window
View from bedroom window
View from bedroom
View from living room window, no analysis
Patrick’s Duplo
Cappuccino cup


Teacup and mirror analysis
Rococo mirror: analysis 1
analysis 2
after analysis
Rococo mirror
Mirror before any analysis
Building opposite bakery
Our house
neighbour’s car

biros biros biros

Week 5, SketchBookSkool, Andrea Joseph, … biros and sketchbooks.
What do you need to make art?

  • paper
  • biro
  • something to draw

Did I miss something? … probably not …

So this is what I’ve been up to with a biro since Easter Friday.

  1. something blue (jeans)
  2. something new (Lamy Safari)
  3. something sweet (hedgehog … practice for a birthday present)
  4. a remote control
  5. my first 5D pic (my studio)
  6. my second 5D pic (watching an Ukrainian film on telly with wife)
  7. Life Drawing Class with a biro! (the text says: Lighthouse1917)

And this is only half of what I’ve been up to …


Stuart in b/w

Ok, before I overload the previous blog post, here are the collected results of another week at SketchBookSkool (join it!). This is the second week of the “Seeing” Klass with Koosje as teacher. We are all making selfies. And as I am currently working with Alphonso Dunn’s “Pen & Ink Drawing (a simple guide)” (buy it!) … most of my results are in … pen & ink.

A Collection of Stuarts

Ed got me going with this one … I enjoy seeing his results and the progress he is making with his toolset (https://mostlydrawing.com). Every now and again, he will upload a bunch of self-portraits. Now I’ve got into the habit of drawing, painting, sketching myself once or twice a week too. Here are the results.

I’m using different sketch books and scrap paper. I use different tools in no specifc order they are

  • a Lamy fountain pen
  • Faber Castell Pitt artists pens (S, F, SB (soft briush))
  • a dip pen (numerous nibs)
  • Pelikan wax crayons
  • F-C Polychromos colour pencils
  • F-C Albrecht D├╝rer watercolour pencils
  • watercolours, with Kolinsky paint brush, or Koi waterbrush
  • biros (nothing special, just what’s handy)
  • pencil (very very very seldom)

The Lamy is great for on-the-go, I use it to jot down anything (e.g. telephone numbers) or sketch people. At home, I switch to biros or Pitt pens. It’s then nice and relaxing to use the dry colour tools (wax crayons, Polychromos or Abrecht-D├╝rer), but if I want something really demanding with the chance of achieving a sense of success (no, scratch that, it is always worthwhile), well, then I’ll get out the dip pen, Dirk Weber ink and Horadam watercolours, not to forget the Da Vinci Kolinsky brush. That reminds me, it’s time to spend a few hours with those lovely tools again and “ruin” a few pages of watercolour paper.

Waiting for the Kurs to start

I’m waiting for my first ever Kurs to start over at sketchbookskool.com and I’m starting to get itchy and want to be kreative for a change. So why not draw a komic strip of myself waiting for my first ever Kurs to start over at sketchbookskool.com.20160113-1

I took some quick photos and decided pretty quickly on the panel setup I wanted for the comic strip. I needed a few minutes to calculate and draw the panels’ frames, loaded the photos onto the PS3 (at least one thing it’s good for) and displayed them on the TV.┬á 3 hours later, non-stop working, quick pencil pre-sketching (B lead) and making final marks with marker (Derwent 0.1) we have this result (DINA3, 190 gr/sqm).

(I believe, I have never done anything like this before.)