The Draw of the Great Outdoors

With summer upon us, the sun is shining and if you’re anything like us you can feel the great outdoors calling. Getting outside for any reason is therapeutic, but nothing quite beats taking inspiration from the natural world and getting outdoors to draw.
The Draw of the Great Outdoors: Art student drawing outdoors using a drawing board. Photographer: Meredith Forrest Kulwicki
We’ve got some top tips on what you’ll need to successfully create art in the wilderness, be it urban or otherwise.

PLAN AHEAD

Knowing what you’re planning on drawing, what style or medium you'll use and where you’re doing it is the first step to ensuring you’re properly prepared for drawing outdoors.

Plan it out and then think about what you’ll need to take with you. If you’re thinking of just doing quick impressions then you’ll need a bare minimum; something more complex and detailed will need a more varied selection of tools.

GET COMFY

There’s nothing worse than starting drawing and realising part way through that you’re uncomfortable in the position you’ve set up. It can completely ruin your flow and style.
The Draw of the Great Outdoors: Using a portable stool to get comfy while sketching
We’d recommend getting yourself an easel and maybe a stool. Look for travel easels that fold up small or a light portable stool that you can easily take to your chosen location. They’ll be perfect for keeping you sketching as long as you need.

If you think that’s a little too much to carry, you can always just opt for a drawing board.


BE PREPARED

Making sure you’ve got all the kit you need with you can make the difference between an awesome finished piece and something you’re a bit disappointed in.
The Draw of the Great Outdoors: Laurige Leather Pencil Case
Keeping all your supplies in one place, like a pencil case or carry case, is a great first step. For your pens and pencils, we love the Laurige Leather Pencil Case to hold all our bits. The grained leather is supple and it’s a great size to carry around with you.

Ensure you’ve got enough water to clean any brushes you have and a pallet or board for mixing, if you use paints. We’d recommend a screw close tub for your water as they’re easy to seal and carry.

It’s also important to remember suitable clothing and refreshments for your trip. Don’t get caught out and have to call it a day on your drawing. It’ll be a lot harder to finish off at home or if you come back to a second trip.


SKETCHBOOKS

Now some people prefer paper straight on a board, but we’ve always thought a premium sketchbook is the way forward. Keep all your nature inspired drawings in one place and you’ll have a book full of wonder when you’re finished.
The Draw of the Great Outdoors: Nature drawing in a Moleskine notebook
Getting the right paper for your medium is important, so take some time to know what you want to do and look at good options. If you’re going to be using pen and pencil, we love both the Bomo Art Sketchbooks and Sorrento Leather Sketchbooks. Each of these is handmade and both have 100gsm paper which is perfect for all writing types.

Moleskine Notebooks are also a compact way of carrying a sketch ready paper around. Their paper is suited for all kinds of drawings, including pens, pencils and watercolours!


THE RIGHT TOOLS

Again this will change depending on your favourite medium and what kind of drawing you’re doing.

For a quick sketch or an impression, look for pencils with soft thick leads or larger brushes. Perfect for broad sweeping strokes and smudging to create shadows.

For a more indepth piece, fine tipped pens and pencils will help with the intricate details. Pack your colours too and bring your art to life; even just a splash of colour in one area can really lift the look.

Here’s some of our favourite pen and pencil tools for drawing outside:



KAWECO SKETCHUP

The substantial feel of the solid brass construction and octagonal profile lends itself to artistic endeavours big and small. The 5.6mm lead enables a variety of drawing styles, whilst the small size is portable enough to keep with you at all times. With a hidden sharpener hidden inside the push button cap, you'll never be caught with a dull pencil again.

The Draw of the Great Outdoors: Kaweco SketchUp Brass Clutch Pencil


PLATINUM FUDE BRUSH

Originally designed for calligraphy, a Platinum brush pen makes an interesting new addition to any artist's toolkit. Fill with ink (by cartridge or converter) and use for sweeping strokes to add life and movement to your piece. You can even fill it with water and use as the ideal finisher for watercolour pencil pieces!

The Draw of the Great Outdoors: Platinum Fude Brush
ROTRING 800 & 800+ MECHANICAL PENCILS

Their hexagonal barrel sits easily against the hand, whilst the rounded knurled grip section provides a secure and comfortable hold. The elongated pencil mechanism provides an uninterrupted view of your work and can be retracted to protect the pencil when not in use. Available with 0.5mm or 0.7mm leads, these pencils are perfect for sketching whilst out and about.

The Draw of the Great Outdoors: Rotring 800+ Silver Mechanical Pencil


Do you love to draw outside? We would love to hear your hints and tips…




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