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Value Sketches When Traveling Light

drawing ink and watercolor plein air painting sketchbook travel sketching urban sketching watercolor Feb 17, 2020

Caput mortuum is my favorite pigment for monochromatic en plein air sketches.  I fell in love with it when I first began focusing on architecture sketching on the streets of Belleville, Paris.  Finding one pigment that can produce atmospheric dark values and beautiful light values makes travel sketching simple.  A Mini Altoids tin, water brush, pencil and/or fountain pen, wrist sock and a sketchbook is all I need.  All except for this sketchbook fit nicely in my pocket.  For these architectural sketches I began with a pencil sketch, added ink lines and followed with value washes of caput mortuum.

I came across this older video while I was putting together the lessons for my new online class "Watercolor Travel Art Kit: Fits in Your Pocket".  It will available either later today or tomorrow on The class teaches you how to create your own watercolor palette using a Mini Altoids Tin.  In the video above, you'll see me using the Business Card Palette, not the Altoids Tin.  I had just started using the business card palette when I filmed this.  Up until that time, I carried two Mini Altoids tins with me, both in my pocket at the same time.  One held my four basic pigments and the other held only the caput mortuum and the little plastic water dish that came with a plastic Winsor & Newton travel palette that I found far to  cumbersome to actually use when I travel.  The little water dish is great because it fits into the tiny tin and hooks onto the side while I'm painting.  Even though I'm using a water brush in the video, I often use this little kit with my travel brushes since the dish makes it so easy to have water handy.

Like these videos?

There are a lot more on my YouTube channel, Skillshare Page and at ExploreWithChrisCarter.


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