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Sketching the trail

I have written before on some of the choices to be made when considering whether to take artists’ materials on the trail, what to take, some of the compromises to be decided upon. What I decided on a number of years ago was to take a minimal set of materials with me on my longer hikes.

A superb choice for a graphite pencil to include in a travelling art kit. The 4.2g Mitsu-Bishi Hi-Uni in 2B is one of the world's finest pencils. Good quality wood barrel, excellent quality smooth consistent graphite. Note that the grade of pencil appears on each of the hexagonal faces

A superb choice for a lightweight graphite pencil to include in a travelling art kit. The 4.2g Mitsu-Bishi Hi-Uni in 2B is one of the world’s finest pencils. Good quality red cedar wood barrel, excellent quality smooth consistent graphite. These pencils are not cheap and are available in 22 grades. Note that the grade of pencil appears on each of the hexagonal faces

Not only do I want to give my trail journals some life, but also capture just a few of the sights and views on my various walks. However I do recognise that I am a poor one for pausing to do so. I have always tended to be a ‘head down and keep moving’ type of hiker. It is a failing of mine and one I keep working on rectifying. This sort of mentality is fine to get the miles done, but my longer hikes, my 2000 mile hike in 2018 especially, were and are intended for me to enjoy this great nation. On occasion, this means stopping.

Sitting having a drink in the shade of a cafe, a sketch of the square in front of me was called for, Sicily

Sitting having a drink in the shade of a cafe, a sketch of the square in front of me was called for, Sicily


Graphite sticks- are these the best tool for taking on a hike? Careful thought has to be given to usability, weight, longevity, robustness, bulk, cost and ultimately, is it a medium that the artist and hiker wants and enjoys using

Graphite sticks- are these the best tool for taking on a hike? Careful thought has to be given to usability, weight, longevity, robustness, bulk, cost and ultimately, is it a medium that the artist and hiker wants and enjoys using

So, a minimum of artists’ material it is then. I concentrate on keeping both weight and bulk to a minimum. To that end, I look carefully at the artists’ materials I own, what I use most, what I like to use most, what has been carted along with me on hikes and, more crucially, what gets used. I look at each main item in turn- pencils, pens, etc. Most of these are covered in more depth here.

This is not intended by any means to suggest what you should take. It is not authoritative enough for that, instead, it is a personal glance at my own art kit and its refinement over the years.

I end with two examples of lightweight art kits- one for my day hikes, the other for multi-day excursions.

Part 1- Graphite pencils

Part 2- Coloured pencils

Part 3- Mechanical pencils

Part 4- Sharpeners

Part5- Erasers

Part6- Pens

Part 7- Watercolour paint and palettes

Part 8- Brushes

Part 9- Pencil wraps and cases

Part 10- Paper and sketchbooks

Part 11- My lightweight art kit for day hikes

Part 12- My lightweight art kit for multi-day trips

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