My urban sketching kit as of June 2023

For my urban sketching kit, I try to bring as few items as possible because over the years I realised that bringing more supplies out doesn't mean I will use them all. And the more things you bring, the heavier the weight you have to carry around, and that can tire you out quickly especially if you have to be out the whole day such as when on a holiday trip. The fewer items you bring, the easier it is to keep track of them all.

My current urban sketching kit as of June 2023 includes:

The largest item in my kit is the portable folding stool. I usually have everything inside my backpack or a tote bag. If I also have my camera equipment with me, then I use a backpack.

I'm using a flat water bottle because it's easy to pack with other flat items. But the downside is that bottle doesn't hold as much water compared to other water bottles. The largest flat water bottle I've seen has 750ml capacity. The water is for drinking and watercolour.

I may add some opaque markers to my kit occasionally.

My three main watercolour palette boxes for urban sketching are the Portable Painter Palette, Micro Portable Painter and the Winsor Newton Bijou box with integrated water bottle. I just bring one of three depending on the situation.

The big palette boxes are what I bring when I go overseas since they hold more paint.

Nowadays, I prefer the Winsor & Newton bijou box with integrated water bottle. That box design is sold by other brands as well, such as from Schmincke. The integrated water bottle is very convenient. You can get water out quickly and there's a water tray that can be attached to the side. There's enough water for 2 painting sessions.

When I'm in Singapore, I would either use the Portable Painter or more likely the Micro Portable Painter because that's smaller. This palette box can be clipped to a sketchbook which makes it possible to stand and sketch.

The colours in my watercolour palette boxes are always changing, but at the time of writing, they are:

  • DS Lemon Yellow PY175
  • DS Hansa Yellow Medium PY97
  • DS Raw Sienna PBr 7
  • DS New Gamboge PY97, PY110
  • DS Quinacridone Red PV19
  • DS Anthraquinoid Scarlet PR168
  • DS Phthalo Blue GS PB15:3
  • DS French Ultramarine PB29
  • DS Cerulean Blue Chromium PB36
  • Schmincke Cobalt Blue Deep PB74
  • DS Permanent Brown PBr25
  • DS Burnt Sienna PBr7
  • DS Azo Yellow PY151
  • DS Yellow Ochre PY43
  • DS Anthraquinoid Scarlet PR168
  • DS Phthalo Blue GS PB15:3
  • Schmincke Cobalt Blue Deep PB74
  • DS Burnt Sienna PBr7

I'm not gonna list the colours in the Winsor & Newton box because I'm always swapping colours in that box.

For the absolute minimal colour palette selection, I go with Azo Yellow, Anthraquinoid Scarlet and Cobalt Blue Deep. Phthalo Blue may be added to create darker values.

For urban sketching with a tablet, I use an iPad Pro 11 (2022).

I used to use the iPad Pro 12.9 but my preference now is for the smaller iPad Pro 11. While both tablets are portable, the iPad Pro 12.9 together with a case is significantly heavier which means you will have to use that tablet against some support, either a table or your lap.

With the smaller and lighter iPad Pro 11, it is possible to stand and sketch with it even though after a while it can still get tiring. There are times where you can only stand and sketch. Sometimes I may even remove the tablet case to keep the weight down.

I still have an iPad Pro 12.9 (2018) but I use that only at home.


Add new comment