My Tools for The Sketchbook Project

(Above sketchbook page from a photo I took at the Ballard Farmer’s Market a few weeks ago).

I got a few questions on my sketching post last week about tools I’m using when I sketch, so I thought I would write a bit about them. Let me say that I am no expert, not by a long shot. I began The Sketchbook Project to put the time in to learn the basics. For me, that’s the best part! I approach this whole process like I do any new craft, with eyes wide open, finding out all I can about tools and techniques from those that know a lot more then me.

  • Sketchbook– I don’t have a favorite type of sketchbook yet. I am currently using a blank book I bought at Anthropologie last year. Very pretty, of course, but not ideal for serious sketching. The paper buckles with even a small amount of water, markers bleed through, and and now that I”ve almost filled the book, it no longer closes easily. Its almost full, and then I can move on to a new one. I’ve already purchased the next sketchbook I will use, a spiral bound one with paper designed for multi-media. I have a hunch it will work much better.
  • Mechanical pencils and pink pearl erasers– I like the fine point of these mechanical pencils, and these erasers are good for me. Although I am challenging myself to not always begin with a pencil sketch. Instead I sit down to sketch some days with only a marker, making deliberate marks that can’t be erased. (Like this sketch from September).


  • Micron pens– I resisted buying these initially. They are pricey and I couldn’t justify needing them. But I eventually treated myself to a small set of black ones with various point sizes and now I use them quite a bit. I still don’t consider them a true necessity, but they sure are nice to have. I can sketch with them before adding watercolor, and the ink won’t run. The tiniest point (.005) is great for adding very small details. Warning- guard them from the hands of
    younger folks in the house who might be a little too rough on them though, the points are very small.


  • Sakura Koi Color Field Sketch Travel kit– hands down my favorite thing to “sketch” with. When I began The Sketchbook Project, I treated myself to the small 12-color set and I can’t say enough good things about this set for anyone who is just starting out. The paints are a good quality, it has its own waterbrush,
    very portable. It works great for me. I have yet to take my daily sketching out “into the field” but I certainly could. Even though I use acrylic in my paintings, I am really enjoying working with watercolors in my sketchbook.


  • Waterbrushes– Love these! Waterbrushes are paintbrushes with a hollow barrel that can be filled with water. Just squeeze the barrel to release the water. I think I have 7 of them now, all with various brush sizes. I have an inexpensive set I found Hobby Lobby and a few Japanese water brushes.My favorite one is the one that came in my watercolor set above.


  • Watercolor pencils– These can be drawn with like any colored pencil, but paint over with a wet brush and the effect is more like watercolor. I’m not yet sure how I feel about these. I’m challenging myself to use these more to get a better idea of what they can do.

And that’s about it. I hope that helps with any questions. If you artists out there have found good tools you’d recommend, I’d love to hear about them!
Go enjoy your day! Maybe even sketch something!

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