Watercolor pencils and crayons are convenient: no hassle, no mess and no struggling with tubes of paint or buckets of water. There’s virtually no clean-up, except for a quick dunk in clean water for any brushes you may use. For these reasons, watercolor pencils and crayons are particularly suited for traveling. When I go on a trip, I pack the absolute minimum of bulk and weightNno French easel and tons of materials for me! I want to be able to sketch on my lap as my husband and I drive through the countryside, sit under a tree or on the steps of a building, or even as we walk through a bustling market. A few quickly scribbled marks are all it takes to jog the memory later, when I attempt to complete a sketch in my studio. A pocket-sized sketchbook (I make my own with both colored and white papers), a small mechanical pencil and a few watercolor pencils or crayons serve me quite well. On the spot, I can make a quick sketch or notation with the graphite pencil or the dry pencils and then finish it laterNby adding water or by doing more work with pencils or crayons.
Added equipment that will make the sketching trip easier are handy, zippered leather pencil cases from Dick Blick Art Materials. These compact cases hold the pencils in place with elastic. They’re great for travelingNno more pencils rolling around the car or under the driver’s feet. These little cases come in sizes that will accommodate 12, 24 and 48 pencils. I also tuck into the case a small, refillable Niji Waterbrush (a nylon tip brush with a barrel handle you can fill with water). These nifty gadgets imported by Yasutomo (Web site: www.Yasutomo.com) hold enough water to allow me to soften a few lines or create a wash effect. No more sloshing dirty water from an open container into my lap as I juggle materials. I can quickly refill the waterbrush from the drinking water I always have with me when I travel or hike.