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A sketch kit is a portable studio.  My first serious kit — the Infamous Grey Bag, aka the IGB — was big and clunky, and I used it until it fell apart.  It held an 11×14″ sketchpad, a 9×12″ watercolor block, and all the drafting and watercolor media/paraphernalia I could stuff into it.  On top that was an SLR, several rolls of film, and a spray can of workable fixative.  It got really heavy after lugging it around for an hour or so.

But I miss it.  Not only did it have impressive mileage, it accumulated some pretty powerful mojo.  After that one finally disintegrated I stupidly got out of the habit of carrying one at all, and I can’t help but feel that my skills have suffered for it.

I’m packing again, but I now want a smaller sketch kit, something that doesn’t look (or weigh) like I’m running away from home.  While I need to be outfitted and ready to serve my Muse, I want to do it without burdening myself.  The next go-kit has to be small enough for me to grab with one hand on the way out of the house.  Or shove into my bag.  Or into my coat pocket.

It must yield itself to impulse, and it must be discreet.  Emphasis should be on seizing the moment, not on toting gadgets.

In the mad scramble that accompanies Sudden Inspiration, having to search for tools kills irreplaceable momentum.  I can’t let even one more vision evaporate because I’m forced to dig around for a pencil that still has a point on it.

So I’m now in the process of assembling a new field sketch kit.  Stuff goes in, stuff goes out as I experiment with various blends of tools and stowage.  The absolute minimum is a tool for drawing and paper for drawing onto,…

… though watercolor half-pans, brush pens – and crayons for paper table covers, since not all of the finer dining establishments provide them – would be a nice bonus.

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