Thursday, March 14, 2013

Mobile Art Supplies

 This trip's tools
(clockwise from top left) Caran d'Ache watercolor pencils, pencil box, sketchbook, watercolor sketchbook, mechanical pencil, Pentel Pocket Brush, Pentel waterbrush.

Some vacations are specifically art-related and some are pure relaxation, but I take a pack of supplies along in both cases. There's a bit of a panic feeling for me prior to heading out--not because of a fear of flying, but because I know I'll get to the destination and wish more tools for making art were in my pack.

I'm always on the lookout for compact and convenient art supplies just for that reason.  Recently read about a few that seemed worthy, so I bought them. This past vacation was for playing around--that's what I did with these new tools. Here are a few examples and some pros and cons:

 The Changeling sketch (detail)
Done in a watercolor sketchbook with the Pentel Pocket Brush (shown below).

Pentel Pocket Brush
I love this thing!
Pros: 
It uses waterproof ink.
It doesn't clog or drip.
The ink is in convenient cartridges. 
It has a really sharp brush that stays pointy and springy without mushing down (like most of the un-refillable ones do).
 It beats hauling an ink bottle and a brush while traveling--I used it on the airplane, too.
Cons:
The ink feed is a bit slow, so you can't move the brush too fast. No big deal.
The ink is not quite as dark as india ink.

 The Changeling sketch

Watercolor pencil chart
Had to do this to see what the colors were like when mixed.

Watercolor pencils seemed like a good idea at the time (less hassle than my usual travel watercolor box and water bottle) and the colors looked good on the watercolor paper. But I had no  patience with coloring multiple layers and then adding water with the waterbrush. Three or four slow steps--instead of two quick steps with a watercolor set--to get results.

Saint Raphael sketch
And the watercolor pencils (unlike liquid watercolor) did not work well in the Strathmore sketch book. Well, at least I couldn't make them work--it was a struggle painting Saint Raphael.

 Pentel Aquash waterbrush
I did sort of like this tool.
Pros:
The tip stayed sharp and springy.
It cleans up between colors with a single stroke on paper towel.
It has its own water supply, so no water cup needed (nice on the airplane).
Cons:
It tended to drip a bit (but only when the water supply got low).
It took me some practice time to get the feel of it. (It's not like using a regular brush.)

Watercolor pencils
Not sure about these...
Pros:
Compact and easy to carry.
Unlike a watercolor box, you don't have to wait for these to dry out before you throw them in your pack.
The colors seem rich and dark (unlike the old watercolor pencils).
They sharpen easily and without breaking.
Cons:
All that coloring of layers takes too much time.
They tend to go muddy quite easily (or maybe that's just my lack of practice with them).
They lose their crispness/brightness unless used on watercolor paper.

Oh well, those are my opinions, for what they're worth.  Hope you found this helpful!







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