GUEST ARTIST: Palettes & Pencils & Pens, Oh My!

#WorldWatercolorGroup - Watercolor by Catharine Mi-Sook - #doodlewash

Hey all! I’m Catharine Mi-Sook and I live in a little patch of woods (or the “wild wild woods” as my son likes to call it) not too far from Washington D.C. in the US. The general area that we live in is very fast paced and full of busy schedules, so one thing that has become my daily practice is finding the hidden treasure in the ordinary, hectic and mundane in each day. It may be as simple as slowing the pace by taking a walk, packing lunch and eating outside, or simply making room to create freely from the heart.

But more than anything I’d say that the time I have to draw, watercolor, journal or even practice calligraphy is my true happy place. And I love trying all sorts of different materials and mediums, and find that instruments often have a distinct personality and a story to tell, so finding the right ones is inspiring in and of itself to me. I tend to become partial to a select few as I like the notion of my favorite ones growing and weathering with me along my journey.

I often make photo compositions that springboard from an unfussed sketch, watercolor or calligraphy piece that I make in my quiet time each day and I share most of them on my Instagram. I have a career background in visual merchandising, branding and design, so I tend to instinctively want to create a bigger metaphorical canvas around the art itself and build something with the elements all harmonizing together. It’s a way for me to go a step further in my visual expression with mood, feeling, tone, which is usually inspired from the initial artwork and also just from wherever I am at in the lessons and seasons of life.

I typically love to draw flowers, plants, koi fish and various buildings, and I almost always begin these sketching adventures with a pencil (often with B and 4B lead types) followed by a fountain pen with a medium or fude nib and a travel watercolor palette with a waterbrush pen or travel paint brush. I tend to favor supplies that are easily portable as I do like to sketch outdoors, and with the summer upon us, I cannot wait to stretch myself a bit further out of my comfort zone and practice more urban sketching. Wish me luck!

#WorldWatercolorGroup - Watercolor by Catharine Mi-Sook - #doodlewash

I am often asked what my regular repertoire consists of in terms of daily workhorse tools, so I thought I’d share a few of my staples here. None of this is endorsed or sponsored but as a fellow creative I am always wondering what others love to draw or write with, which is how I find out about half of the supplies that I end up embracing myself.

#WorldWatercolorGroup - Watercolor by Catharine Mi-Sook - #doodlewash

So without further ado, here is the rundown of my summer field kit: my favorite fountain pens and sketch pencils are hands down by Franklin-Christoph, my go-to travel watercolor palettes are by Winsor & Newton (especially their newest Brush Pen Palette), and these days I really like leather tool rolls for traveling light and the Bandito by This Is Ground is where it’s at for me (my travel watercolor palettes fit perfectly in the zipper pouch part which is what won me).

As for paper, I love all different kinds but these days, my Traveler’s Notebook and Travelogue Handbook have been in my regular rotation. And as for waterproof ink that is safe for fountain pens and can take a good beating from some heavy-duty watercoloring, my top choice after trying a few would be DeAtrementis Black Document Ink.

So to wrap this wonderful honor of sharing a bit about myself on Doodlewash, I would say that creating is my refuge and refueling station. I create from my heart and have an intuitive approach to all of it. For me, the focus is on what is real, what stirs passion and excitement, and the vulnerable, messy and beautiful facets of the human experience in this wonder-filled road of life.

Thank you all so much for sharing this space with me and letting me give you a little glimpse into my world. May the season ahead bring each of you new, vibrant and inspiring adventures!

Catharine Mi-Sook
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Recommended5 recommendationsPublished in Featured Artists

Creator of Doodlewash® and founder of World Watercolor Month™ (July) and World Watercolor Group™. Sharing daily watercolor illustrations and stories while proudly featuring talented artists from all over the world! If you’d like to be a guest artist on Doodlewash.com, contact me!

13 Comments
  1. Teresa Robeson 1 year ago

    How lovely! Catharine’s work is both zen and beautiful! And she’s right: I do love to know what materials other artists use. 🙂

  2. Love your drawing and painting gear!! I am drooling! Good paintwork too!!

  3. Jessica Seacrest 1 year ago

    Yay! Wonderful to see you and your inspirational style featured my friend <3 <3

  4. Sharon Bonin-Pratt 1 year ago

    Catherine, it’s been a treat not only to view your beautiful artwork but also to read your inspiring words about what inspires you and how you choose supplies. The writing on many sketches is intriguing and your handwriting calligraphy is lovely, a real contribution to your entire creation. Thank you for sharing.

  5. Susan Walsh Harper 1 year ago

    So lovely! From the calligraphy to the drawings and watercolor. Just lovely.

  6. SHARON A HASCHALK 1 year ago

    Catherine thank you for sharing your inspiring words and artwork. I love the Japanese themed watercolors, they’re so vibrant – And a big thank you for letting us take a peek into all the materials you use. I love seeing recommendations by other artists on their ‘painting tools.’

  7. Mickey Spade 1 year ago

    Catherine, your are a beautiful story-teller and artist. It was such a calming treat to read your lovely story.

  8. Beth 1 year ago

    Catherine, you work is lovely, and so are the photos of your work. The way you style your photos is very eye-catching. In the photo with the yellow flowers, would you mind sharing with us the brand/model of the zippered case you are using? It looks perfect!

  9. Sandee Setliff 1 year ago

    I love seeing what everyone uses and I also love my fountain pen so I need to get my back out and use it. Thanks for sharing your work and tools!

  10. Jennifer McLean 11 months ago

    the photos you’re taking about your sketching kit are sublime, artwork in and of themselves and you use the same brushes as I do! Lovely artwork too.

  11. Sandra Strait 11 months ago

    Your post speaks to the palette/case addict in me and oh! your paintings speak to the artist.

  12. Pamela Smith 10 months ago

    I too,love seeing others art tools,I love your artwork and your script…Thank you for sharing.

  13. Mary Roff 8 months ago

    Thanks for sharing, Catherine. Your sketchbooks are wonderful!

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