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  • Writer's pictureMonika Gupta

What's in my Sketch Bag?

Updated: Apr 27, 2020

A lot! A lot more than what I want there to be, I mean :)

Ideally, you want to keep your sketch bag as skinny as you CAN, but then you fall in love with your art tools, and you don’t want be out of that one perfect tool when inspiration strikes, so there we go…

My solution – create separate sketch kits that I can pick and choose, depending on location and time on hand.

My skinniest (and thus, most used) kit consists of a 3.5” x 5.5” sketch book, a 005 Pigma Micron pen, and an optional HB pencil. This kit lives in my car, and is small enough to be carried in hand/purse when needed. The sketchbook opens flat, allowing 7" x 5.5" surface area for panoramic views.

If you’re an absolute beginner, then pencils maybe your best friend! My starter kit was a couple of pencils (HB and 4B), eraser, sharpener, and a 9 x 12 sketch book (I recommend a smaller size now – 8 x 10 or smaller. Outdoor sketching gets overwhelming due to amount of information present in our environment, and a smaller sketch book forces us to focus on what’s most important). Sometimes, I also carried graphite powder in a small ArtBin container along with a few cotton balls to quickly render a large area in middle value. Here is a sketch captured using pencils & graphite powder, with highlights picked up with kneaded eraser.

A sketch using graphite powder, pencils and kneaded eraser by Atlanta Artist Monika Gupta
Graphite powder, pencils and kneaded eraser

My favorite kit these days is a grayscale sketchbook and a set of Pigma Micron Pens from Sakura. The set includes 4 permanent ink pens, a white gel pen and a brush pen. The gray paper makes up the middle value, and pens are used for lighter/darker tones. The nib sizes - 005, 01, 05 and 08 included in set are just perfect for my purpose, and I love the consistency and flow of gel pen. You can purchase the set here.

When I want to capture color, I carry with me a 20 pc set of Steadler finetip pens. I love the vibrant colors of these pens, however the ink smudges if you’re not careful.

Lately, I have been using Pigma Micron pens for drawing-in shapes, and then color them using Inktense pencils from Derwent. The Inktense are similar to water-color pencils, but with more intense color, and Pigma Micron uses waterproof ink, making it a match made in heaven.

This ‘Color’ kit also includes paper towels, and a set of Aquash water brush pens, so that I don’t have worry about finding a water source or carrying water-tight containers.

Here’s a link for a set of water brush pens in 3 sizes....

Happy Sketching!


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