Current Sketching Kit - March 2021

March 3, 2021 | 6 Comments

As it’s over two years since I last took a photo of my sketching kit (the tools that I carry in my bag everywhere) I thought it was time to do an update. Conceptually it has changed very little since Dec 2018 but I’ll explain any differences in the following list.


  • A mix of Daniel Smith, Winsor and Newton, and Schmincke watercolours in a Derivan tin. (This is an Australian company – Schmincke also make this type of tin with three wells in the lid.) More details here.
  • Note: My palette needs a clean and a top-up but this photo shows how I use it. (See this article for how I use the mixing areas and why it’s important to use a tin with three wells in the lid!)
  • All the colours in my palette – refer to this series of articles.

Fountain Pens

  • Lamy Joy pen (white and red) with F nib filled with De Atramentis Document Ink black. The pen I use at home is the same body but with a gold nib (once was EF but now more like a M in thickness)  Please note the Joy is a calligraphy pen and comes with a stub nib. I replaced that with a normal nib for drawing. More about why I love this pen here.
  • Green Sailor fountain pen with 55 degree fude nib filled with De Atramentis Document Ink Black. My favourite pen for quick sketching due to its expressive lines. More about this pen here.
  • Platinum Carbon Desk Pen (EF Nib) with Carbon Ink cartridge. I added this to my kit back in Jan 2020 while I was doing a Group Run-through of Buildings and went through a neat and detailed stage. It has stayed in my kit but I rarely use it.
  • TWSBI Eco (white) with a F nib with De Atramentis Document Ink Black which I use for all my writing. The rationale for this is that it preserves the ink in the White Joy so I don’t have to fill up the ink in that pen as much. Plus the F nib suits my handwriting better – I prefer writing with a thinner line than I do for drawing.
  • TWSBI Eco (yellow) with a F nib filled with De Atramentis Document ink. The ink in this pen changes over time – sometimes it is Orange, or Urban Sienna or a pre-mix of Yellow and Brown.
  • TWSBI Eco (turquoise) with a F nib filled with J Herbin Diabolo Menthe ink (water-soluble). I use this pen for the guidelines for my writing. More about my guidelines and grid pages here.
  • TWSBI Eco (blue) with a F nib with Lamy Turquoise ink (water-soluble) which I use for notes.
  • Note: I often change my fountain pens around. At the moment I don’t have a spare Lamy Joy (I don’t see the need for it now) or a Fude with grey ink (I will probably add this back at some stage!) I’ve moved my coloured ink pens to be all TWSBI Ecos due to the large ink well and because they can sit around unused for a while and still flow well. And they look so good together! 🙂
  • An extensive series of articles on foundation pens is here.
  • More about permanent inks for Fountain Pens here.


  • Rosemary & Co Series 772  sable blend 1/2 ” dagger. I use this brush for 99% of my sketches. It has a sharpened end so that it fits into a toothbrush container. More about the dagger brush here, and the toothbrush holder here.
  • Rosemary Eradicator Brush (medium) – it also has a sharpened end so that it fits into a toothbrush container. I use this to soften hard edges and to create some fun textured strokes. See this article for more about that.
  • Rosemary & Co Series 55 kolinsky sable 1/8 one stroke (with a sharpened end as well). I was using this brush for painted lines and details during the 2020 30×30 Direct Watercolour challenge – see here – and it has stayed in my kit.
  • Rosemary & Co R13 Pocket sable blend round brush. This is for occasional use – just if I feel the urge to use a round brush for a change.
  • Rosemary & Co R4 Pocket kolinsky sable 1/4″ one stroke. I want to use a flat brush more often but always reach for my dagger so I don’t use this brush much. It’s great for rectangular shapes.
  • Rosemary & Co R5 Pocket kolinsky sable rigger – size 6. I was using this brush for painted lines and details during the 2020 30×30 Direct Watercolour challenge – see here – and it has been in and out of my kit for years (evidenced by the washi tape around it).
  • Rosemary & Co R3 Pocket kolinsky sable pointed round – size 10 – for when I feel like using a large round. Not that often but maybe for skies or big washes in landscape sketches.
  • Rosemary & Co R16 Pocket sable blend dagger – size 3/8″ – for fine details. I don’t use this much so it still has a razor thin-edge.
  • Note: I often have a lot of Rosemary pocket (travel) brushes in my kit as I like to experiment with different brushes. In fact, before I took this photo I removed another three which I was no longer using. The exact selection of travel brushes in my kit changes from time to time.
  • Note: I realise that a waterbrush is missing from my kit at the moment, so I will probably add that soon. My preferred waterbrush is the large Pentel Aquash Waterbrush. I don’t like to paint with it (see here for more) but use it as a clean water supply for pre-wetting skies.
  • Refer to the Brushes Section for more articles on brushes.

Other pens and pencils

  • White Gel Pen. Uniball Signo Broad (pictured). For further information there is a great review of white gel pens here.
  • A 2H (or 3H) graphite pencil for set-up lines. Started using it during Buildings Group Run-through in 2020 and also for designing my pages (part of Sketchbook Design)
  • Watercolour pencils: Faber Castell Albrecht Durer.  I rarely use them, but they still seem to be a part of my kit. Click here for the full selection.
  • Staedtler Lumocolor Permanent White pencil. I use this under watercolour as a resist.


  • Red Sharpener by Faber Castell
  • Two small water containers attached to either my palette or my support board (or a StablO nomadic easel) with Blu Tack. The Blu Tack on the bottom of the containers is a little messy (comes off in my bag and gets on everything else!) but it is the most versatile fixing means (more so than using velcro or magnets). I bought these containers at a $2 shop a number of years ago and haven’t seen them for a while now.
  • Washi Tape for attaching items (I might glue them in once I am home) and for taping the edges of my sketches. I no longer carry a glue stick (UHU) with me.
  • Re-using recycled napkins from my local cafe. (I no longer use my black wrist band as it gets too wet and yucky.)
  • A foldable ruler for checking angles (this is a teaching device and not something I use regularly). Locally (in Australia) I got mine from Officeworks (link here) but have also seen them in IGA supermarkets.
  • I carry my pens in a Mead Five Star Pencil Pouch Stand ‘n store (here is an Amazon Link for one.)

Back Home

  • I add dates and other important heading using stamps (Southport by Paper Person). More details here

If you want to find out more about a specific tool please check out my Sketching Tools section and these categories.

Click here for more info

Please let me know if you have any questions!



  • Jamie C says:

    Love seeing the full kit! Everyone loves a good kit photo! How do you get that all in one bag? Especially without it all falling out, or falling into a disorganized heap?

  • Arlene Walsh says:

    Hi Liz, I was wondering what nib you used with the Lamy pen, a fine or medium? I have just ordered the new Lamy Safari with a fine nib so I’m hoping that will be ok. I suppose it’s a personal thing. Love to see all your equipment.

  • Heidi Smith says:

    I love seeing your kit, its always fun seeing what other people use. 🙂
    I have a palette question – do you have problems with your metal palette rusting? I have 3 less than 12 months old and all have got rust which contaminates my paints including a small schmincke, a white knights and a larger DS one. Any tips on avoiding the rust or you don’t worry about it?

  • Alan Kanter says:

    Hi Liz,
    I’ve been buying Lamy Safaris since they came out in the 1980’s. I bought a Joy recently with a F nib and it’s too scratchy to draw with. I bought another F nib and same thing. Now trying a M. It’s a bit better, but I’m puzzled. I am a leftie, too. I have a TWSBI Eco and it’s perfect. I wonder what’s going on with the scratchy nibs. Any thoughts? I bought them from Goulet and they are always great to work with, but of no help with the Lamy nibs.

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