Like lots of artists I know, I can€™t resist buying new materials to try out and really enjoy choosing and handling them. So it€™s inevitable that I end up with far too much stuff and have to make some decisions about what I really need to take with me when I€™m drawing outside, bearing in mind I€™ll have to carry it all myself.
Experience had taught me that less is definitely best and that restricting my choice of materials makes my trips more productive. I€™ve also learned what works best in the wonderful Scottish weather and developed my own ways to cope with wind, rain, mud and occasional sunshine.
I recently had the luxury of staying in a cottage in the middle of a deer park so I was able to take more than usual – I could select a few things as the fancy took me and then stomp off over the field to draw, knowing I could nip back for something else if I changed my mind. In other locations I need to plan more carefully as it€™s a longer walk to the trees.
My basic kit consists of:
- A4 hardback sketchbook €“ a Daler Rowney one with nice creamy paper
- Small lightweight drawing board €“ an upcycled bit of kitchen unit
- Scrolls of paper for 360° drawings, various sizes
- Elastic bands for holding paper in place €“ clips always get lost
- My homemade pencil roll (of which I€™m quite proud!) containing a selection of Faber-Castel Pitt drawing pens, Sharpies, brushes and pencils
- Viewfinder €“ though I don€™t draw €˜views€™ as such it really helps me focus when faced with too much choice
- Leatherman €“ love my multipurpose tool, always useful and you never know when you might need to hack off your own arm to get free of some crushing branch, thus saving your life. You may laugh but I draw on windy days!
- Emergency whistle €“ see above
- Buffs €“ those tubey things that can be scarves, hats or hairbands, essential for the Scottish outdoors
- OS map of the area and compass €“ this is so that I can orient myself in the landscape to understand it and mark particular trees or features
- Phone €“ not just a phone of course now, also a camera with gps, a compass, a sketchbook, a map referencer, really an electronic version of a Leatherman I suppose
- A small tarp to sit on when drawing, make into a windbreak or cover things up in the rain
- Camera €“ I have a Canon EOS 30D which I confess is beyond me technically €“ I€™m just not methodical enough to take great photos but it does an excellent job with my limited knowledge, producing all my reference images
- Small flask of coffee and some flapjack to keep my spirits up
- Some business cards €“ you never know who you might meet in the middle of nowhere!