I imagine many artists suddenly see something on a daily basis that inspires them and they wish they had their sketchbook and materials to hand. It can be really bulky to carry a large sketchbook, not to mention a suitcase of art materials. So in a bid to resolve this I decided to streamline the sketching materials I carry on a daily basis. My goal was to keep everything light and compact (Not much bigger then a A6 sketchbook) and also allow me to have art materials which are suited to quick gestural sketches and studies.
First off I decided to get myself a Pilot Namiki Falcon Fountain pen with a soft fine nib. I had dabbled with fountain pens in the past, but it is really worth getting one with a fine nib. This allows to you vary the weight of the line as you sketch and makes it ideal for gestural sketching.
Secondly a Derwent Water Brush pen. This works great as a way to add a quick wash to fountain pen sketches especially when used with fountain pen ink cartridges which are non-permanent. So far I haven't had the pen leak water in my bag and it really is more compact than carrying a paint brush and a jar of water. You can also use this on water colour pencils, something I haven't yet tried.
Thirdly a Pentel Pocket Brush pen. This is great pen to carry around whilst sketching and I first heard about this pen from some friends at Chris Oatley's academy. The great thing about this pen is that you can really achieve a wide variety of marks without having to change to a different medium, which is really useful when you only have a few moments to capture a pose.
Finally an A6 sketchbook. I generally go for quite small cheap sketchbooks as I am not producing finished artwork and only really focusing on studies. For me personally the size is important as an A6 sketchbook allows it slip into my small shoulder bag which I carry on a daily basis. Secondly an A6 Sketchbook is a little less conspicuous than a large sketchbook and can help you blend in, especially if your sketching people, which I often am.
In my opinion nothing screams the words "I am going to draw you!" louder than sitting down in front of people with an A4 sketchbook, this can also make me feel self-concious about drawing in public. Although In the past I have always been amazed when people interrupt me whilst sketching and are really encouraging and interested in what I am doing. Personally I just find an A6 sketchbook on a daily basis allows you to be a little more stealthy and stay focused on studying.
It would be great to hear other peoples thoughts on their favourite sketching material....