My Current Field Sketching Kit: Dry Media

This is my “grab and go” kit. It and a 7×5″ sketchbook will fit in my purse.
The zip pouch is from Global Art and, as you’ll see I use quite a few of them for dry media in various combinations.

1 Copic Multiliner SP 0.1 pen
1 Pilot fountain pen, extra fine nib (EF)
1 Platinum Carbon Ink fountain pen, EF
1 Platinum Preppy fountain pen, Fine/Medium
1 Gelly Roll 08 white gel pen
1 Uniball Signo white gel pen
3 Cretacolor Monolith graphite pencils; HB, 4B, 8B
2 Derwent Graphic pencils; HB, 4B
1 Eagle Draughting Pencil
1 Derwent Drawing Pencil, Venetian Red
1 tortillon, double-ended
1 Exacto knife, retractable blade
3 pieces, kneaded rubber eraser


This my watersoluble graphite kit. There are a number of brands. At the moment I have two.

8 brushes of varying brand and sizes, rounds and flats
3 Faber Castell Graphite Aquarelle pencils; 2B, 4B, 8B
3 Derwent Graphitone pencils: 2B, 4B, 6B
3 Sakura Koi water brushes: small, medium, large
1 kneaded rubber eraser


This is how I get color in the field with dry media…Derwent Watercolour pencils. Also carried in a Global Art zip pouch, but the next size up with an additional two-sided section in the middle. I use the water brushes in the previous kit with these also. The pencils are in order of warm to cool.

These are Derwent Drawing Pencils in a variety of colors. The Venetian Red one in my go-to kit at the top is part of this product line. I went with a color selection that was best for outdoor nature drawing. The roll-up case is from Derwent. I bought it at Cass Art Supply in London during our 2015 trip to England, so it doubles as a souvenir.

I’ve used Sakura Micron pens for years, but I’m finding that I can’t trust them to hold a consistent line width and quality so I started to research alternatives and am so happy to have found Copic Multiliners, which seem to be the standard these days. I bought the one that’s in my go-to kit to try one out, was quickly hooked and ordered the set, as seen above in a Global Art zip pouch. Not only am I very happy with the quality of the lines they make, the barrels are aluminum, not plastic, they can be refilled and the nibs can be replaced. So they are much more environmentally friendly and there’s no more just throwing a Micron in the trash when it’s empty. Whew.

Finally, this is my catch-all pouch, also made by Derwent and purchased at Cass Art Supply in London. The pencil sharpeners go into the zip loc bag in front of them. Otherwise, it’s just extras of what’s in the other pouches, including a second retractable No. 11 Exacto knife. I make sure both are in my checked bag if I’m flying somewhere.

The pouch packed and ready to go. Nice bit of design making one side netting and the other plastic so it can hold things like wet rags if necessary.

Finally, some years ago I bought a selected set of Tombow ABT felt tip pen/brush combo pens at Amsterdam Art in Berkeley, CA. I chose the ones that, as with the Derwent drawing pencils, would work best for nature subjects and were light in value for the most part. The current carrier and what I had on hand is a Silver Brush Limited Slim Case Media zip pouch. At some point I’ll get a case that about a third shorter.

And how do I carry all this around? A number of ways, depending on where I am, how I’m traveling and how much walking I’ll be doing.

For car travel and short to medium walks, I take this nifty old school rucksack/camp seat that I found many years ago in a National Trust gift shop at a castle or some such in England. Not only does it have a roomy main bag, but there are two side pockets and a front pocket that all close with quick release buckles. The camp stool is held onto the pack with vecro straps, so it can be removed and each piece used separately. If I have something else to sit on, the stool surface becomes a small “table” on which I can put my drawing or watercolor supplies. It’s really, as the English would say, quite brilliant.

Finally, sketchbooks. I’ve used the Pentalic Nature Sketchbooks for years now. But I’ve found that dip pens don’t do well on it at all. Like many artists who sketch, draw and paint in the field, or in cities and towns, I’d been hearing about this company called Stillman and Birn who make really good quality sketchbooks. So I’ve purchased the ones that are of possible interest and have been testing them out over the past year or two.
The Stillman and Birn sketchbooks in the photo are the Alpha, Beta, Delta, Gamma, Nova and Zeta.

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