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My sketching kit

It has been a while since I updated the blog post on what is in my sketching kit. I have added a few things since 2012 but am generally still using the same gear.my sketching kit by shantele ianna

I have tried out a few different journals over the past few years. The Milini, the Moleskine watercolour (whilst I love the paper quality I hate the landscape format), but have settled on the Stillman and Birn Alpha series sketchbook. When I am out sketching I prefer to the A5 portrait size with a hardbound spine rather than spiral bound, so that I can draw across both pages.

Here is a list of what I currently use:

  • Stillman and Birn A5 (Alpha series) sketchbook with white paper, I love these journals, the paper is 150gsm so it does buckle a little bit when I add watercolour but I love the quality, colour and size of these guys;
  • I have the Moleskine A4 size watercolour sketchbook, I bought this to try out the larger format and whilst I do like the paper, I rarely use it.
  • I also was given the tiny moleskine watercolour and never used it because it seemed to small. Then I thought about using it for a theme or series, and it got me motivated again. I currently am using it as a field guide for animals and plants I find on the farm and blog about it here.

blue tiger butterfly watercolor sketch by Shantele ianna

  • Winsor and Newton pocket sketch kit. I have replaced the pans with artist quality paints, and have been adding a squirt of Daniel smith cobalt teal blue, and Daniel Smith Quinacridone Rose to the left and right side of where the little brush goes. I love these two colours in my kit and use them a lot;
  • Two pentel water brushes that I love for their ease of use out in the field. I use a fine and a medium tip brush;
  • Two Pigma Micron pens in size 03 and 08. I am not a fan of these pens. I bought 5 pen pack of the range of nib sizes when I first started sketching because I had heard such good recommendations, but I find that the ends are too flimsy and always push in if you are not really gentle. They are great for putting a watercolour wash over the top of and never run, but I will not be getting more when these ones die;
  • Uni-ball Micro deluxe black waterproof pen. These are my favourite pens they are cheap and flow well and don’t run when covered with watercolour;
  • Uni-ball Signo white gel pen;
  • Uni-ball Signo fluoro pink gel pen;
  • Uni-ball Signo Gold gel pen;
  • A graphite pencil, eraser and sharpener.

So that’s it for now, I am always fighting the urge between making my kit simpler and buying more stuff. What about you? What are your favourite supplies?.

2012 sketching kit

Below is what I took on our backpacking trip around the world. I was travelling with carry on only, so whatever I took it had to be able to be taken on the plane and small enough to fit in my 30 litre backpack with everything else. I decided on:

-a small Windsor and Newton watercolour pocket box, and a

-a Moleskine watercolor journal;.

I also carried a material sunglasses case containing a water brush, 0.3m Pigma Micron pen, a pencil, pacer, sharpener and an eraser. My sketching kit has changed since 2012 but for this trip it fit well with my brief of small, portable, easy and most importantly with me so that I would draw and document the trip.sketching_tools_sketch sketch_watercolor_pocket_box_winsor_and_newton

{Flield guide Friday} Bull ants

This is a series on my blog this year where I will be sharing a sketch from my nature journal every Friday in an effort to keep myself drawing (at least weekly) and to hopefully inspire someone else while I’m at it. Hope you enjoy it!

bull ant watercolour sketch by shantele iannaOur property seems to be full of large biting ants, particularly the Bull (or bull dog) ant. They are large ants with big eyes and long mandibles and can grow up to 4cm. You know when a nest has been discovered because they come out in swarms in an aggressive attack mode. We seem to have lots of nests along our boundary fence line and generally have to be careful of attacks when we are repairing fences. They inflict a painful sting from their venomous stinger located in their abdomen, by holding their prey between their large mandibles, and it hurts!.

bull ant close up watercolour sketch by shantele iannaThere are approximately 90 species of bull ants and all are found only in Australia. Despite their fierce reputation they mainly feed on sugar in the nectar from flowering plants. The colonies consist of a fertile queen (for laying eggs) and infertile female worker ants to do all the other chores for the colony. We often see solitary winged bull ants around the farm, apparently these are fertile males or females which have left the nest to start a new colony. So if you see any while your bushwalking keep a safe distance.

This sketch was done from a photo with Windsor and newton watercolours and a uniball micro deluxe waterproof pen. Check out this post for more information on my sketching kit.