Sketching on location is definitely one of the most powerful sources of information, joy, and inspiration for an artist. At least for me.
I love to paint cityscapes--the buildings, roads, cars, and people. To collect ideas for my paintings I just walk around seeking nice views, great light, and interesting compositions. And I carry a small and simple set of tools that allow me to make quick sketches in minutes. This set of tools consists just of 6 items:
Plastic box with watercolorMoleskine classic pocket sketchbook (3.5 x 5.5 inches)Pen with waterproof inkWaterbrushPiece of paper napkinClip
|The six tools I take along when I am sketching outdoors.|
|Here's how it all looks working together for when I'm out sketching.|
This tool set is absolutely sufficient for quick sketching. Clip your palette and a small paper napkin (if watercolor sketching) to your sketchbook and keep all this in one hand, while keeping your other hand free to hold your brush, pencil, or pen--whatever you work with. With this minimal amount of equipment you can stand or sit almost anywhere comfortably and sketch. No need for an easel or any other heavy stuff.
Here are a few sketches I made on location; every sketch took less than 10 minutes. Some of these sketches later became important starters for paintings that I made in my home studio.
I take reference photos as well, in addition to sketching! I find they are important for details if you want to complete your painting in the studio as I often do. But nothing can replace an impression and "feeling" you obtain while exploring, rendering, and sketching a place you like. Leave a comment and let me know if you have any questions!
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