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Chicago Sketchcation Kit

This year, I'm going to the International Urban Sketching Symposium! Last year I couldn't go, mostly because it was in Manchester, England and I had already allocated funds for my travel budget to going to a friend's wedding in LA and having a California sketchcation. So, I was thrilled that this year the Symposium was coming stateside and I'd have the opportunity to go! Luckily, having already packed for a trip last year with similar goals, packing this time was a cinch. Here's what I'm bringing in my kit. All of these things will at some point be held in my backpack (though never all at once).

First, the non-sketch stuff. I have a baseball cap, two pairs of sunglasses (so one can be lost or broken), a variety of sunscreen and a tiny bottle of aloe, because I'm an optimist and I'm hoping for good weather. But, in case the weather doesn't cooperate, I have an umbrella. I'm bringing a water bottle because hydration is important and I refuse to buy bottled when I can just bring my own. I also have arnica gel for potentially sore feet and ankles, and an ace bandage in case my bad ankle decides to act up. There's also a small sewing kit with safety pins, lip balm, tissues, a portable phone charger, a foldable shopping bag, and two tennis balls to roll out my sketcher shoulders on at the end of the day (they will most likely never be packed in my backpack but I wanted to include them anyway!). There's a few small boxes of business cards to hand out to fellow sketchers. I'm also bringing two books for the plane, that won't be in my bag on sketching days. Not pictured: A couple boxes of granola bars for snacks.

Sketching materials:

I'm bringing a standard and mini sketch board (have you heard? Dad and I sell them here!) for myself, and others that I'm delivering to friends. Possibly even a few spares to sell! I also have a plethora of binder clips to clip my palette, paper, and paper towel to my boards, and a clip light if I decide to do any sketching while it's getting dark (and I hope to!). I'm bringing my stool to sit on while I sketch, but I also have a seat pad if I decide to sit on the ground or on a wall or something with a hard surface for a long sketch.

Of course, I have everything that's in my usual kit: two Nalgene water cups (that fit the sketch boards), a variety of brushes, micron pens, a tiny mechanical pencil, a white gel pen, a spray bottle, a couple of straightedges, a white vinyl eraser and a kneaded eraser. I also bring a tube of white gouache just in case, extra lead for the pencil, and a pencil sharpener for the standard graphite pencils and colored pencils I've added to my kit for this trip. I've also added a variety of gray brush pens, as one of the workshops I'm taking lists them as a material. Same with a few soft pastels. I also added four multicolored ballpoint pens, just for fun! My palette situation has gotten more challenging this time around, because I was asked to review Qor watercolors by Golden. So I have two palettes filled with ALL the colors they gave me, one with a more manageable amount for me to take on location. And then, of course, my usual palette (empties, also sold here). I also packed the Qor tubes, just in case. All of this can be held in a few pen cases and zippered pouches (including some new additions from the Strand and my NYC Urban Sketchers pouch that came in just in time!). Below: my hat and pins on my bag, because you can take the girl out of New York but you can't take the New York out of the girl.

You can take the girl our of New York, but you can't take the New York out of the girl.

For paper, I have some of my usual Fluid brand hot press blocks, as well as a handful of small sketchbooks. I also have some swatches of Qor for my workshop/demo, my palette swatches, and print outs including my ticket to the symposium and course descriptions for all my workshops. I could have sworn I had a Chicago map from my last trip, but I could only find ones from Boston and my California trip. Other than the map, I feel super prepared, and am excited to fly out on Monday! I'll be sharing my sketches when I'm back, but feel free to stay updated on my instagram.




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