Here is my sketching kit at the moment ... I have a few drawers of materials in my office, but this is what I'm currently traveling with for a summer in Rome. For pencils, I'm carrying three Staedtler-Mars (B, 2B, and 4B), a Derwent Venetian Red, a Derwent Chocolate, and a General's Medium Charcoal ... and a pencil-extender one of my teachers gave me a very long time ago. I also have a kneaded eraser for basic cleanup - as a rule, I never erase any lines, so this is just for accidental smudges - and a Mars plastic eraser for major accidents, like if a pigeon should happen to dump on my sketch. A small General's sharpener has been working fine, but I need to replace my little pocket knife - it was confiscated by TSA as I was on my way to Rome a couple years back, and I just haven't found a new one yet. For pens, I have a Uniball Vision Exact Micro (although I haven't been using it very often), a Lamy Safari with an extra fine nib, and an old Yafa fountain pen my dad gave me many years ago. I like the Lamy because it's so rough-and-tumble, but the Yafa is easier to draw with - it feels softer and much more fluid. Noodler's Lexington Gray ink is in both fountain pens. I had searched far and wide for a dark brown (sepia) ink that wouldn't bleed when adding watercolor to a sketch ... but no such luck. So I followed Nina Johansson's lead and went with the Lexington, and I like it very much - thanks, Nina! My watercolor palette is the same one I bought as a student about 25 years ago - a good, solid, hinged enameled-metal one, with a removable plastic piece that has the wells (makes it very easy to clean, and I like a clean palette!). My colors are all from M.Graham, and I really can't recommend them highly enough. The specific colors are, top-to-bottom on the palette, in some cases with two colors in the same well: Sepia, Burnt Umber, Yellow Ochre, Burnt Sienna, Gamboge, Cadmium Yellow Light, Hooker's Green, Viridian, Prussian Blue, Cerulean Blue, Ultramarine Blue, Dioxazine Purple, Alizarin Crimson, Quinacridone Rose, and Cadmium Red. Finally, my brushes ... I use a Koi waterbrush for small, on-the-go subjects, and one of two other brushes for larger watercolors, and for when I have more time. The red-handled one is a Princeton synthetic sable #6 round, and the clear-handled one is a Connoisseur Kolinsky sable #6 round (this is my favorite brush). Not pictured here is a small brass water reservoir that clips to my sketchpad when I'm not using the waterbrush. Also not pictured here are the paper towels essential for watercolors and the pencil case I use to carry all this stuff around. Portability is the prime limiting factor ... I have to be selective to get it all in the case, and being selective is good!
I teach architecture at the University of Idaho - design studios, architectural graphics courses, and a professional practice course. One of my passions outside of teaching ... and music, and plants, and mycology, and ... is observing and understanding the world through sketching with various media, such as pencil, pen, charcoal and watercolor. Passing along the same skill and interest to students is a goal I've pursued through my teaching here in Moscow, Idaho, and through an 8-week study-abroad program in Rome each summer.