Has lockdown changed my urban sketching kit?

July 3, 2020 | 9 Comments

So I’ve been slowly getting back to regular urban sketching and it’s interesting how much of an impact our lockdown period and social distancing requirements has had on my habits and my urban sketching kit!

For starters… when the lockdown started I emptied my blue Hedgren bag and set up my kit for table use.To do this I put all my supplies inside one of the Walkit bags I have and this has worked incredibly well for me. I also cleaned and topped up my palette as I would do at the start of a big trip. I added a lot of brushes to this collection as I intended to do some experimentation during my virtual trip project. But I still haven’t used all of them. See my V-trip kit here and here.

Note: the kit in my bag has always been THE kit as most of my sketching occurs when I’m out – this kit contains my White Lamy Joy with the gold nib and the active palette. I haven’t had a properly setup palette at home for years and even though I had a secondary palette on my desk I would often would take things out of my bag to use if I wanted to sketch from home as it was the stuff I was used to using.

During lockdown I never took my sketchbook out of the house and as we were only allowed outside for essential purposes I didn’t sketch outside. The only exception was a very simple  2 minute line drawing from my car when I visited the supermarket – these were done with supplies that stay in my car all the time.

When the restrictions lifted I decided to start from scratch and rebuild my kit. Earlier in the year I had bought a new metal tin with 3 wells in the lid (a must now for me!) by Derivan (thanks Yvonne for telling me about them) and I also discovered a second White and Red Joy in my cupboard which I bought during a Black Friday special last year (Yvonne told me about this too). Progressively over the course of the last month I have added a few more things back to my kit and I’m now happy with what I’m carrying around.

So this is what is in my kit at the moment and it reflects some things I was experimenting with during the recent 30×30 challenge and also a change that happened as a result of the Building of the Week challenge (part of SketchingNow Buildings) earlier in the year.

In terms of how different this is from what I had last year when filming Watercolour On Location

  • I’m using even less watercolour pencils now but still have yellow and red for little details.
  • I’ve added a few more brushes (post 30×30) – a travel 1/4 inch one stroke flat, a 3/8 one stroke flat and a travel rigger (all from Rosemary & Co)
  • I’ve added some fine tools (post Buildings) – a 2H pencil and a fine fountain pen – Carbon Desk pen in this kit.
  • I’ve been carrying around and using the Eradicator by Rosemary & Co brushes for a few years now (quietly on the side without telling anyone) and I think it needs a dedicated article at one stage.
  • Note: I’m still carrying around a selection of fountain pens with different coloured ink… these change from time to time.
  • I temporarily add the Pitt pens in when I think I’m going to do some value studies (but even as I’m typing this I’m wondering if I should just put the Ecoline back in for that purpose).
  • And the other big change as mentioned yesterday is to upgrade my everyday sketching book to a Hahnemuhle A4 Landscape Watercolour book – this needs a separate article.

Just for comparison this is the version of my kit sketched during the Intro Lessons for Watercolour On Location.


Has lockdown changed my urban sketching kit?

In two aspects:

  1. The supplies in my bag are now my secondary kit – my primary kit is on my desk at home. This is a big change for me!
  2. It gave me a chance to reset and start again. I think it will end up growing, but it has been nice to start from scratch again and work out what is really important.

As for how lockdown has changed my sketching habits… I think that needs a separate article!


I write these articles primarily as a way of documenting change for my own records but I know that many of you geek out about supplies and want to know every detail. So this is just bringing you up to date so that we can now focus on much more fun and important sketching topics!

I  can’t wait to revisit Watercolour On Location again… starting next week!! So it feels good to have my kit sorted and I’m ready to go out sketching!



Has lockdown/quarantine changed your sketching kit?


  • Kate Powell says:

    In stead of Eradicator, I keep a handful of cotton swabs in my kit and on my desk. I’d have to be convinced the Eradicator was a better system…

    • Liz Steel says:

      Of course!!!!! 🙂
      Ah but the Eradicator has a crisp edge AND can be used as a brush with interesting marks. Plus it has a cool name. 🙂

      • Jeanette Gillings says:

        And cotton swabs get thrown in rubbish… I have eradicator brush.. it’s brilliant!

  • Tina Koyama says:

    Mainly my pandemic edition sketch kit has gotten smaller. My best opportunities for sketching have been during my daily walks through my quiet neighborhood. So I slimmed my kit down to a smaller bag that is easy to carry while fitness walking. After a half-hour or so of walking, I take a short break to sketch. Then I continue walking for another half-hour or so. The sketch is my reward for the walk. And I got a new bag to motivate me further!

    • Liz Steel says:

      Hi Tina – yes I think we have all downsized a little. Nice to hear about the new bag 🙂

  • Barbara Gabr says:

    I’ve decided to buy an eradicator, based on your and Jane Blundell’s thoughts. Also, what does your car sketch kit contain? I live in a very warm climate, so I’m wondering about leaving gear in my car.

  • Helen Harman says:

    How did you get all those pans into your Denivan tin? Did you remove the bars that hold them and just squash them in? ?

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