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Draw out of Doors

What do I need for drawing and painting out of doors?

In the warmer months there are not a lot of things better for the soul than taking a comfy seat to a shady spot and getting lost in drawing or painting. Some artists like to carry around a box of kit and some kind of easel, but I am going to suggest some basic equipment, most of which will fit in a pocket.

Drawing board or Sketch Pad?  

I make boards about 16 ” x 20″ cut out of 6mm plywood. If you put a small rail along one of the long edges it will stop your pencils from rolling off. (Also when you are indoors you can put the board on a table rail down to make a slope for watercolour.)  The board will fit A3 paper and you will need some sticky tape to hold it on the board.    If you don’t mind working a bit smaller a sketch pad is absolutely ideal, and less to carry.   See my blog on sketch books.

all you need to draw out of doors


Take a range between H and 6B.  Good quality – I like Faber Castell 9000 series.  Derwent make good ones too (did you know they made the original pencils?).  Also take a sharpener that catches the bits plus a rubber/eraser.


A waterproof ink variety is really good.  I have used them for many years for my maps. You could also try a non-waterproof type and then you can do a bit of ink and wash.


Now here is the tricky bit.  Purists will not like this.  If you are going out sketching try taking a handful of good quality watercolour pencils.  I never used to like them until I spent some time experimenting.  Cheaper versions had put me off.  Use a bunch of primary colours that mix a good range of colours: such as ultramarine, alizarin crimson, lemon yellow, phalo blue, burnt sienna, cadmium red and cadmium yellow, and purple.  Mix your own greens!  Good makes include Derwent Inktense and Faber Castell Albrecht Durer.  With these you can order just the colours you want.  There is also a set made by Koh-I-Noor Hardmuth called Mondeluz that are good value and quite good. A set of 12 is all you need. I’ll post some ideas on ways to use them soon.

Water Brush 

Now I used to be sniffy about these synthetic brushes with their own resevoir of water built in – until I really tried them.  Great for using outdoors. I like a large and medium size.  If you take some water to drink you’ll have some to refill your brushes.


Everyone needs a rag for mopping up water on the paper occasionally. We even use a rag sometimes for pencil drawing, but that’s another story.


HOT TIP.  For pencil and wash or pen and wash try using ultramarine and burnt sienna watercolour pencils shaded over each other. You’ll get a range of greys from warm to cool.  Better than the same old grey!



Our next group lessons  will be :        Tuesdays   and   Wednesdays.

We will be in the studio.  So if you have any cold symptons or have been to any large group events in the past week please miss this week.   Thanks.  Bring complete kit including pencils and watercolours every week.     See you soon, R and R