Let's Get Your Creative Juices Flowing!!!
People ask me this question ALL the time, "How do you decide which watercolors to take along with you when you're traveling?" Is it better to work from tubes, pans, or to create your own custom travel watercolor palette?
Today I'm diving into ALL these questions, and can't wait to show you not one, but THREE ways to decide which colors are coming along for your next trip!
Before we continue, super quick announcement: All product links are Affiliate. I may earn a small commission if you choose to order through these links but by law there is never any additional cost to the consumer for doing so. I thank you for your support.
Some artists prefer to purchase a palette that's already been prepared by a brand specifically for travel, like the one below, from Field Artist.
Typically palettes like this come with around 12 colors in them, including the primaries, so in theory, you can mix whatever additional colors in the rainbow you'd like to!
Personally, I hate mixing colors ALWAYS and prefer to just dip right into my palette to grab the perfect color. And, I find going with a standard out-of-the-box palette like the one above ... BORING!
There, I said it!! LOL.
One of the AWESOME ways I totally enjoy choosing which watercolors get to come on a trip is by looking to my DESTINATION for inspiration! This is especially important if you plan to do landscapes and cityscapes.
Here's an example of what I'm talking about. If you're headed to the beach, you'll want a palette filled with colors like this to paint those gorgeous waves, skies and cocktails you'll be sipping (or I would be sipping, LOL!).
If you're headed to a place like Iceland, you're gonna want to include cool blues and grays like this to capture the moody skies, glaciers, and seas...
Or, maybe you don't even care about colors inspired by your destination... you'd rather just bring your favorites!! That's cool too!!
I tend to do a combo of bringing my faves and thinking about colors inspired by where I'm going.
When it comes to which colors I choose or recommend YOU choose, it's personal. I'm NOT gonna tell ya what to bring, and there are NO WRONG ANSWERS :) Just bring what YOU LOVE, and don't worry about anyone else!
For me, Daniel Smith Serpentine Genuine (below), goes wherever I go!
Since I love choosing specific colors to bring with me, I prefer to create my own custom travel watercolor palettes. I've done videos on this before, but today's demo is a little different, so make sure you click over to watch this new process unfold.
I recently discovered some cute PARTIALLY FILLED travel palettes by Daniel Smith (see below). Each palette has 15 half pans, 9 of which are totally empty - ready and waiting for YOU to add your fave colors to, and 6 of the half pans come pre-filled with color families like blues, purples, neutrals, etc. Cool, right? Best of both worlds!
The brand QoR also has a similar travel palette that's been pre-filled with 6 colors, and has 6 empty half pans ready and waiting to hold YOUR favorites!
Just look at how beautiful these color selections are!!
I've really been enjoying the vibrancy of QoR watercolors lately. I recently purchased this QoR set of 24 5ml watercolor tubes and am planning on adding 15 of them into a baby watercolor palette that will clip onto my journal. Its' SO adorable. Make sure you stay tuned till the end for a sneak peek at THAT!
Once I've filled my empty half pans in each palette, I swatch my colors inside a little travel watercolor journal so I know what's inside each palette.
These cute skinny watercolor journals are awesome for swatching!
If you're NOT getting ready for a trip and just want something to make swatching a little more fun, make sure you download my FREE Swatch Sheet! You can use it for watercolors, markers, colored pencils, you name it!!
I hope you found today's video helpful for your next trip!
And if you DON'T have any travel plans right now, who cares?!! You can STILL create some little custom watercolor palettes for yourself.
This baby mini travel watercolor palette is completely ADORABLE, wooden, and even clamps onto your journal!! It's perfect for moving your watercolor supplies easily around your house, into your backyard, or for an artsy walk in the park! I can't wait to use mine!!
Need Some Awesome Watercolor Lessons?
Of course you can't just have a set of gorgeous watercolors and NOT use them, RIGHT?! Check out the Celtic Collective art club over at Awesome Art School. It's like Netflix for watercolor and drawing lessons and are all FANTASY themed! So tons of mythical creatures from fairies (good & bad!!) to mermaids, unicorns and more!
Lucy Brydon and I are having a blast with our students, and would LOVE for you to join us!! You don't have to have ANY watercolor skills to join. We'll teach you everything you need to know from the ground up!!
Join the waitlist here to be notified the next time enrollment opens:)
Wanna Watch Another Video?
I thought you'd never ask ;) This one's a goodie about ... surprise, surprise... how to make a teeny tiny travel watercolor palette!! It's SOO fun and soo cute!!
Need More Resources?
Wanna find out which drawing pencils, pens & erasers I won't leave home without?! Today, I'm dumping out my travel art supplies bag to show you EXACTLY what I brought on our last trip so I could play in my new toned paper travel sketchbook! If you've got a trip coming up and can't decide how to narrow down your drawing supplies - today's video is FOR YOU!!
Before we continue, super quick announcement: Some of the product links below are Affiliate. I may earn a small commission if you choose to order through these links but by law there is never any additional cost to the consumer for doing so. I thank you for your support!
So many times in the past when I've brought a travel art bag on vacation, I didn't even use half of the art supplies I brought with me! I kinda got sick of dragging around a ton of stuff, so started challenging myself to bring less.
Sometimes I'll limit myself to paper and a pencil if I wanna go super minimalist - but most of the time, I'll bring a pouch with me and fill it with an assortment of drawing pencils, erasers and gel pens like I'm going to show you today.
On my most recent trip I decided to only bring dry media drawing supplies, which means my black stabilo all pencil and my waterbrush had to stay at home!
Simply deciding something like "only dry media supplies" is a super easy way to narrow things down when you're trying to bring less.
Click over to the video to see each supply and why I've chosen to include it!
Here are my top ten favorite travel art supplies for drawing - in no particular order!!
I've really been in love with my clicky pens from Pentel lately. I use the .07 nibs for writing and the 1.0 nib for drawing. I LOVE a juicy gel pen for drawing - it's like ice skating on my paper!
Next, I've gotta have white drawing supplies for adding highlights to anything and everything I create, so there is always a little collection of white posca pens (I'm always afraid one might not work, so I bring at least two!). I also throw a few black posca pens in my bag for outlining!
If I'm bringing toned paper (which I did on this trip!), I'll bring my china markers as well (the white, wax pencil at the bottom in the above picture). They're super opaque and fun to use. If you've never used china markers or worked with toned paper before - I've got a whole series JUST for you!
Normally I'd also bring my black china marker, but was in a hurry and couldn't find it before I left, so grabbed my jumbo jet black pencil (shown above). I buy these at Jerry's Artarama. They also go on really opaque and have a similar feel to a china marker. It's oil impregnated charcoal!
Next, I need my drafting pencils - also from Pentel. These have some weight to them and feel heavy in my hand- which I love. I use the .09 for really bold lines. This one is great for when I'm teaching online because people can see the lines from it really well. I use the .07 and .05 for more detail. They also make a .03- but I find that I don't use that one as much.
When I want to do some shading- I really love my Palamino Blackwing Pencils. I feel like you can do everything with one of these suckers! They're so soft. It's like having an entire pencil set wrapped up in one pencil!!
Honestly, if I only had a blackwing pencil, a blending stump (below) and one of my white posca pens, I'd be a happy camper (if we're talking bare minimum supplies). Remember with blending stumps - the dirtier, the better!
Next - let's talk drawing erasers. I have two favorites. I use my vanish eraser absolutely ALL the time. It's super gentle on your paper and very effective at lifting graphite off the page.
My next favorite eraser for drawing is by Tombow. It's called the mono zero eraser. It's basically like a mechanical pencil, but an ERASER! It's amazing to chisel out teeny tiny highlights!
I've been loving my Uni-Ball Signo gel pens for quite a while! Sometimes I'll draw with these alone, but typically I'll use them for adding fun outlines and doodles at the end of a drawing. They also work amazing well on top of watercolor!!
Depending on the kind of line weight I want to use in my drawing for outlining at the end - I may also choose to use a thicker, black posca pen as well.
Finally - I WON'T leave home without my beloved pentel pocket brush!
This thing makes the most AMAZING eyelashes and I use it for both drawing and mixed media portraits! If you've never worked with this before- it really has the feel of a paintbrush and can take a little getting used to. Here's a video to help you use the pentel pocket brush for drawing eyelashes in drawings (featured at the end of that video), and one for using the pentel pocket brush in mixed media drawings!
I recently discovered a similar product with an even teenier brush nib at Michael's, so that was in my travel art supplies bag this trip as well!
That's it! I hope you find today's video helpful!! I know it can be such a challenge narrowing down you art supplies when you're traveling - but this list should really help you out!
❤️MY ARTIST BESTIE, LUCY BRYDON & I created a NEW ART MEMBERSHIP together called The Celtic Collective! It's now open for enrollment! Join us before the price increases on August 7.
"Karen is flipping hilarious and she's very real...I like the way she teaches in a way that really gives you confidence, whether you're a beginner or advanced there's always something new to learn!"
- Elizabeth W.
What Fans Are Saying
Karen, you are absolutely fabulous! You make me feel like I can draw anything. I have recently retired and finally have the time to do some of the art that I have loved since I was in school. I am really at the beginning of my art journey and I hope to learn as much as I can. Thank you for all you do.