Sketching Tools

February 4, 2016

This section contains lots of info about the best tools to use for sketching – both at home and out on location (urban sketching).

Please scroll down to find an index of my sketching tools categories and articles. If you have a specific question for me please ask away using the contact form here.

My Current Urban Sketching Kit


The photo above shows my daily kit as of October 2022. These are the sketching tools that I carry with me (practically) everywhere whether I am urban sketching at home or travelling. For the full listing of all the tools in this urban sketching kit please refer to this article.

The most important parts of my kit are:


Watercolour Paints

  • A mix of Daniel Smith, Winsor and Newton and Schmincke watercolours in a metal tin. More details here.
  • All the colours in my palette – refer to this series of articles.


My two favourite Fountain Pens

  • Green Sailor fountain pen with 55-degree fude nib filled with De Atramentis Document Ink (mostly black but sometimes grey or brown/sepia as well)
  • Lamy Joy pen (white) with a gold nib (once was EF but now more like a M in thickness) filled with De Atramentis Document Ink black. 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 permanent inks for Fountain Pens here.
  • In-depth series of articles about Fountain Pens



  • The brush I use 99% of the time is Rosemary & Co Series 772 1/2 ” sable blend dagger. It has a sharpened end so that it fits into a toothbrush container. More about why I like this brush here.
  • I also have a Faber Castell waterbrush. I don’t like the results from a waterbrush (washes are flat with little granulation) so I rarely paint with it. Its main use is as a clean water supply for pre-wetting skies
  • Refer to the Brushes Section for more details.



  • I carry a collection of coloured pencils, watercolour pencils and markers. My selection is constantly changing 🙂 but you can find more details about sketching with pencils here and more details about sketching with markers here.
  • The pen-holder, was made by my friend Cecilia Simonyi – the creator of the Walkit Bags. This was part of a prototype I tested years ago and it works great for me. I like the large pockets that can store multiple pens/pencils.
  • When I’m out urban sketching I often attach my sketchbook, palette and water container to a support board –  more details here.

General Advice

It’s easy to get obsessed with buying and trying out new art materials and this can become a huge distraction and can prevent you from building your sketching skills.

So make sure that you are actually using the materials and tools that you already have. Use them regularly and focus on developing your observational skills.

I’ve got an online course specifically designed to help you with that!

Find out about my Foundations course