A basic watercolour painting kit
This is probably the most basic kit you will need for watercolour sketching, and it all fits neatly into a pocket! The sketchbook is hardbacked and ring-bound, so it opens up flat and is rigid for painting, and is only 4" X 6" (10cm X 15cm).
The paint palette is about the same size as the sketchbook, and instead of carrying water and brushes I use a water brush (see below). My only other equipment is a short 2B pencil and a black fine liner pen.
With this basic kit you can go anywhere and sketch anything!
Whenever you go out sketching you will want to take the lightest equipment you can, and this applies to your water as well. Water can be quite heavy if you take too much, and in fact it is surprising how little you actually need.
This picture shows a small plastic hip flask (that's a bottle that is flattened so it fits into a pocket, and also a small plastic bottle of drinking water, which provides you with refreshment as well as painting water! Either of these would provide plenty of water without too much weight.
Water containers and mixing pots
As with water bottles, the water containers that you need to wash your brushes in need to be lightweight. When painting at home you will probably be using a jam jar or similar kind of glass jar for your water pot. But these are heavy and breakable, so it is better to choose one of the options shown here.
From bottom right in the photo we have:
* an empty yoghurt pot (this one comes ready made with two containers for clean and dirty water!),
* a tiny flat three-welled mixing palette from an art store,
* and at the top are two pots cut from the bottom of plastic milk containers. You could cut the bottom from a plastic drinks bottle just as well. All of these are extremely lightweight, but do a great job of holding water.
Plastic cartons double as dirty rag containers!
One of the advantages of using the cut off bases of milk cartons is that they can double as dirty rag containers. If you use the bases from both a 2 litre and a 1 litre bottle you will find that they fit snuggly into one another to create a useful box for holding any wet kitchen roll or rags on the way home after painting.
Winsor and Newton's handy kit bag
Winsor and Newton sell a very useful lightweight nylon travel bag which has a shoulder strap as well as a handle for carrying, and you can even strap it onto a trouser belt. It really is a handy bit of kit. (see next photo below).
W&N kit bag opened up
Here is the Winsor and Newton travel bag opened up. There are plenty of pockets and specialised areas for paints, brushes, sketchbooks and all the other bits and pieces you may want to take with you.
My Home-made Watercolour Pochade Box
This box has proved to be a really handy addition to my outdoor painting kit. You can't buy one of these on the market (unlike the oil painting pochade), so I made one for myself from a thin wooden box I had at home.
The bottom tray holds may paints, mixing palette, brushes and a plastic milk carton water container, and the top holds several sheets of paper clipped down with elastic bands in two corners. The lid rests open at an angle of about 60 degrees by resting on some blocks of wood glued to the hinged area, and the whole box sits on top of a camera tripod.
Click on the photo to see a larger version.
You can buy a camera tripod mounting block to fix to the bottom of your pochade box from Ken Bromley art supples in the UK. Go to www.artsupplies.co.uk and put KBCB into the product seacrh box.
The pochade in action...
Here you can see how the box works. It is small, light and holds everything I need for painting outdoors.
A 'pencil palette'
You can make this handy pocket sized palette in just a couple of minutes. Click on the picture to find out how!
This has to be my favourite piece of equipment for easy and lightweight sketching! This brush has a hollow barrel for a handle that can be unscrewed and filled with water. The brush is then always damp and is great for washing over pen lines for shading, or even dipping into watercolour paint. If you squeeze the barrel you can get more water into the brush. A very clever invention indeed, and available from all good art stores!