When thinking about our first prompt this month of “something you love,” I would like to say that my mind leapt to some cherished family heirloom, but that simply wasn’t the case. Nope, my little brain, as it’s often prone to do, jumped immediately to art supplies. Though I certainly adore my watercolors and palette, all of my little sketches start with what’s shown here. And as much as I’m not shy to admit that I have a penchant for art supplies, I’m equally bold enough to admit something else. I’m just a big kid and my sketches mostly just start as coloring book outlines. I remember when I was actually a kid and how I always wished I could color my own drawings. At the time, I couldn’t really make drawings that looked like the ones in those books, so my attempts were frustrating and not very successful. I dreamed that one day I would be able to do it, and now, over 40 years later, I’m finally getting my chance. As some of you know, I refer to my little sketchbook as my “watercolory book.” Though I do consider myself an illustrator of sorts, this is why I don’t think of myself as a painter. I’m still just a kid coloring inside and sometimes mischievously outside of the lines.
My drawing kit fits entirely in a little leather Lamy case I purchased. It wasn’t available anywhere in the United States at the time and I had to purchase it from a company in the UK. I adore it and was so pleased to see it’s now available on Amazon (also from a company in England). Not that I need a second one, of course. This is just something silly I repeat in my head we all know I’ll totally end up buying a second one at some point! I use a silver Lamy AL-Star with an Extra Fine nib primarily as it’s filled with black ink. And it is a family heirloom of sorts since it’s my first Lamy fountain pen and one that Philippe bought for me one Christmas. He also bought me the blue one in the foreground as a “just because gift,” but I’ve decided to get a larger nib for it before I really break it in.
The copper Lamy Al-Star in the back was a limited edition that’s no longer available and is filled with sepia ink. It’s also a great way to remember what color is inside. This year’s limited edition Lamy Al-Star is bronze, and though it appears to be a rather similar color, it’s still on my birthday wish list. Many times, I still make a quick contour sketch with my Alvin Draft-Matic Mechanical Pencil, and for some reason the oddly old-fashioned name of “draft-matic” makes me love it even more. This pencil is just thin enough to slide into the case with the three pens, and I then reshape my kneaded eraser and lay it on top and close everything up!
This tiny compact case needs only a sketchbook to pair with it and I have all I need to make my little coloring book pages on the go! I made the initial sketch at work and thankfully, I had a second mechanical pencil in my bag as it’s really hard to sketch a pencil when you’re actually using it. Once I have my image ready to color, I’ll sit like a little kid on the edge of the kitchen counter after work and start coloring while Philippe makes dinner and we chat about our day. A paper towel, water in a tiny yogurt jar, and my messy watercolor palette complete my entire sketching and painting studio. And my inner child is thrilled each and every day when he gets the chance to color his very own art. If there’s anyone out there who has been thinking about sketching, but hasn’t tried it yet, there’s no better time to start than now! You don’t even need this many supplies to start drawing. Just a pencil, some paper and positive thinking is all it really takes. Though the supplies are fun, and I adore them, I guess the thing I love most is what those supplies make possible. A moment each day to draw and play with color as I continue on my happy little journey of sketching stuff.
About the Doodlewash
Da Vinci Paint Co.: Benzimida Orange, Cobalt Turquoise, Cobalt Blue, Terra Cotta, and Indigo. Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen with sepia ink in an A5 Hahnemühle Watercolour Book. Want to purchase a print of this doodlewash? Send me a note with a link to this post, and I’ll add it to my shop!
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Creator of Doodlewash®, founder of World Watercolor Month (July), World Watercolor Group™, and host of the Sketching Stuff Podcast. 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!