I have been a bit hemmed in with my Blogmas plans thanks to the icy conditions and various transport strikes going on here; my trips to Covent Garden for Urban Sketching and Tate Modern to get some posters have had to be shelved so I’ve been looking at ways to get out and about here. I spotted the 12 Days Wild initiative by the Wildlife Trusts which runs from Christmas Day through till the 5th January and it prompted me to see if I could find some local walks round the Wildlife Trust Reserves near me. I ended up down a bit of a rabbit hole with the High Weald Landscape Trail, and Discover Sussex‘s circular walks which all look fabulous but there are a couple of nature reserves near me.
Of course my logbooks are perfect for these kind of outings but I thought I would note down some of the things I find useful when I go out specifically to draw.
I find a hardback sketchbook best, and nothing too small if you’re wanting to do some proper sketching. Small notebooks are great for memory joggers and thumbnails but it’s difficult to get anything of substance so I like 15cm square as I can then choose a double page for a panorama if I want to. A decent weight of paper is essential as if it starts to rain, it must hold its own.
Speaking of rain, I use water-soluble pens or pencils just because they are more forgiving if the weather turns. Brush pens such as Tombow are brilliant as they are blendable, and I have a water brush for using with pencils; I like the Graphitint. They also encourage a looser style which is to be encouraged when out and about as part of the beauty of plein air work is the chance to really capture the atmosphere and sense of place and time, and not get bogged down. Don’t worry too much about details and accuracy, and try to resist the temptation to take photos.
Of course, snacks and drinks are obligatory, and a decent bag to hold everything. One of my local stockists, Wanted on Voyage has a range of sustainable Roka bags which are fantastic.
There are a few things to do over Betwixtmas and I am looking forward to focussing on encouraging some more nature in to the new garden, and finding some different walks as my routine has changed somewhat since moving house.
Let me know if you sign up for 12 Days Wild!