Travel art kit for India sketchbook tour

Suggested Art Supplies for your travel kit.

I try and keep my travel art kit light but with enough variety of materials for me to be able to experiment.

Let’s start with paints

There are many watercolour travel kits to choose from. I have used Winsor Newton Cotman watercolour sketchers pocket boxes for years. They have some different sizes. You can see my well travelled ones below. I have changed the pans ( colours can be bought separately) many times over the years. There is a super one there with plenty of mixing palettes that pull out like a Transformer. I love it but it is a little bulky sometimes.

Derwent have just recently made a range of Intense inks that look just like the watercolour pans. The difference is that after the inks dry you cannot blend them again as you would a watercolour. It is like a permanent stain. So it is great for building clear intense layers.

Gouache. Bring a small tube of white gouache paint. This is a chalky paint that is great for getting your whites back when you are using your watercolours and for blocking out areas that you may want to draw back into.

Water bottles and spray bottle

Bring a couple of light containers for water. And you may want a little spray bottle too for rewetting your paper.

Brushes

I bring a variety of brushes. Here I have sizes 4, 10,  a couple of 12s (flat and pointed) and a 25 for my big washes.

Water brushes. You fill the handles of these brushes with water. I use them all the time when I travel and they are excellent for if you can manage to paint on the bus journeys. Bring a syringe to fill them up.

Pencils and pens

Bring a couple of B lead pencils, and some conte pencils: a white, black and sepia or sanguine. Conte feels like pastel pencils. So if you end up bringing a pastel set of pencils too you probably don’t need conte pencils as well.

Derwent Inktense Pencils or Faber Castell water soluble pencils are both great for sketching with line and then adding water to create a watercolour painting.

I sometimes bring my Faber Castell Pastel pencils too. But both are not necessary.

Waterproof ink pens. sizes 1 and 8.

Pastels

Pastels are great for beginners. A small box of half sticks is ideal. These are Mungyo pastels and very inexpensive.

Bits and pieces

Bring scissors and glue for collage. Kamlesh often brings some beautiful fabrics from his shop that may be pieces of wedding dresses or gypsy clothing. He also tries to bring us some text, Hindi or sanskrit. You may like to gather materials as you travel to add to your sketchbook.

Pencil sharpener, a small sponge for wiping your brush, an eraser and a white out pen. This pen proves to be very popular.

Paper, journal 

Kamlesh will bring a leather bound journal but this does not have the weight of a decent watercolour paper. However, I have sketched in these for years.They are great to write and sketch in. Children often add their sketches to mine too and they become a wonderful mixture of experiences. I use a mixture of this journal and an A4 pad of 300 gsm watercolour paper which I often then glue into my leather bound journal.

Kaavad – Rajasthani portable Temple

This year we are offering an opportunity to paint on a Kaavad instead of a leather journal. It is a light wooden, portable Rajasthani Temple. The doors come out so you can bring them out separately with you for the day. The are sized with a white clay but I have found that this can cause an  uneven distribution of colour so I suggest that you give it another layer of gesso when you arrive. Bring a small amount of gesso or white acrylic paint with you to do this. You would need to bring small tubes of acrylic or gouache to paint on it for your sketches, plus you could use pencils and collage. It 29cm high and weighs 700 gsm.  We will be visiting the small community that makes the Kaavads. They are usually painted with religious and  families stories. Don’t feel obliged to use this. You can still buy a handprinted local one.

 

How to carry your art supplies

Here are couple of suggestions.

There are a couple of ways you could store your brushes. You want to make sure that the tips stay protected and cannot be bent. You can put them in a tube. I made this tube below by rolling acetate and taping it. Tie your brushes together with an elastic band and tie them to a bigger stick or use and old paint brush that you don’t mind wrecking. This will stop your brushes from bending over when travelling.

I usually put most of my supplies in a zip up bag and then carry my brushes in a tube. OR you could get a roll up brush and pencil holder and also an extra zip up bag for your tins of pencils, paints and bits and pieces. I carry my pastels separately but you may find a bigger zip up bag to take those too and your water bottles.

I keep all my art supplies and my drinking water bottle  in a small backpack and I carry my money and phone in a small bag in front of my body. I never carry valuables in my backpack. Some guests prefer a large shoulder bag for their art supplies.

Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you are not sure what to bring. I am looking forward to sitting and painting by Pushkar Lake with you listening to the chanting, bells and cows.