Urban Sketching: Creating a Kit for On-the-Go Art

Summer is a perfect time to try out urban sketching. Grab some rays, go people watching and get your art on! Find a local park in your city or take a walk downtown to see the interesting architecture. Urban sketching can take you all over! It’s a great way to make yourself explore new areas in your town or city. 

If you’re trying urban sketching for the first time, you’ll want to make sure you’re prepared with a good kit that’s ready to travel. Just picking up your supplies and being mobile makes creating art much less stressful.

Marc Taro Holmes, author of The Urban Sketcher, has a great simple set up for his art kit. One of the key items? Binder clips! Binder clips help keep everything in one place.


Gathering Your Supplies

To make art you need supplies! You can easily order supplies online now if you want a specific pen and don’t have an art store nearby. We’ve gathered together a suggested list of easy materials to have on hand when you’re sketching on the go. Once you find that perfect pen make sure to buy an extra!

Pencils and Pens

Urban Sketching | The Urban Sketcher | Watercolor | Travel Art Kit | Best Drawing Pens
Mechanical pencils are perfect for on the go sketching. You don’t have to worry about sharpening them and you can always load in more lead if needed. The Pentel mechanical pencil is great for sketching. Staedtler pigment liners and Pentel pens are great for inking. You can also use a fountain pen like the Lamy fountain pen which uses disposable ink cartridges. This can be convenient for travel and the fountain pen tip gives a good precise line as you sketch.


Urban Sketching | The Urban Sketcher | Watercolor | Travel Art Kit | Best Drawing Pens | Moleskine 
Grab a small or pocket size sketchbook. You can grab a small cheap one from your nearby art store or you can go a little fancier and grab a journal like the Moleskine. They have a lot of sketchbooks with fun covers now but the blank, acid-free pages are great for your sketching needs. I like the ones that have the hard cover on the outside so the pages have more support and don’t bend when I’m drawing or writing on them.

Watercolor Paints

Urban Sketching | The Urban Sketcher | Watercolor | Travel Art Kit
Depending on how fancy you want to get with your sketchbook kit, you can grab some great travel paints. You can get a small watercolor palette like this small 2.5×3.5″ paintbox, with 8 half pans, (12 if modified) and 2 tiny mixing areas and even grab a good travel watercolor brush where the water can be in the handle or the brush can be kept good with a cap to put on. Marc Taro Holmes recommends using the the Da Vinci Maestro Series 1503 (sable).

You can find more about urban sketching techniques in Marc’s book, available on Amazon, the North Light Shop and wherever books are sold!


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