Before you go away you'll need to prepare your art materials. Today's session is about the materials I use when I'm travelling. You may already have some of these in your kit but a trip to the art shop is always fun! Most likely you'll want to travel light, so here are the basics of what you'll need to complete this course......

Covid update - use what you've got! I really don't go in for any jazzy art materials. Make a sketchbook form envelopes- draw with a biro - just draw!!

I'm a great believer in using what you've got and what is around you so if you've already got your own favourite sketching tools use those. If you have a mini watercolour set you always take away then make sure you take it! These are the tools that I have got used to using. I don't like to be weighed down, I would rather keep it simple.

I buy basic art equipment, never the cheapest and rarely the most expensive. Paper quality is important, feel the pages if you can, they shouldn't feel too smooth or the pencil/pen marks will easily smudge. Don't get a sketchbook with anything less than 140gsm paper. 

I'm lucky enough to have an art shop near by. If you don't live near one you can buy online. Here are my favourite online art stores:


Cass Art - you can get small, A5 sketchbooks with good quality paper here.

Jacksons Art

NB. These links are given in good faith, I have no affiliations with these companies.

For the next session you are also going to need a couple of emulsion paint tester pots (white/pale grey/pale blue or a sandy colour - nothing too vibrant). You can buy these at any hardware store.


I travel with my husband David who is also an artist and during the filming for the course I realised I'm partial to borrowing his art kit! So whilst away I also used a conte crayon (or a pastel) and black ink. I prefer not to carry wet art materials when I'm travelling as they leak and can be messy.


Back at home I filmed some extra studio based tutorials and for those you will need:


tracing paper - the cheap stuff that's like tissue paper

alphabet stamp letters


lino cutting tool/scalpel

ink stamps

Liquitex matte medium glue

envelopes for your sketchbook

Click the images below for product links.

NB: links are for guidance so that you can see the products I am suggesting. You may already have something similar that you can use. I am not endorsing any sellers.

So, get your kit together, and get hold of anything extra that you need. Nothing is an absolute must, I believe in working with what you have. 

Suggested art materials for this course. Click grid images to see full size images. There are product links beneath each enlarged image.

Today's discussion is about 'Cameras v Sketchbooks'. I take both with me on holiday and I use both for processing my ideas and collecting information. Sometimes you just can't beat the speed of a photo for capturing a moment. BUT! they are too easy to rely upon...and to use to avoid drawing. 

I think your sketchbook should be a place to explore. When you draw you slow down, you look, really look and then you make decisions about how you're going to record what you see. You look for the shapes, the lines, the shadows, the patterns. Whichever of these you choose says something about who you are as an artist and what interests you. Drawing helps you find your visual language much faster than taking photos ever will. But when you've decided what it is that inspires you, cameras are a quick way of capturing colour, pattern and snapshots of life. 

So if in the past when you have travelled you have hidden behind your camera and viewed the world through a lens, this time leave the camerawork until AFTER you have done the drawing challenges. 


Come and say 'hello' in the forum. How would you usually approach your holiday sketchbook. Do you sketchbook at home or do you save that for when you are travelling? Maybe you are new to using a sketchbook.


What would you usually take with you? Are you nervous of drawing in public? Do you rely on your camera? 

See you there!


Helen Hallows


Nurturing Creativity since....

© 2009-2020 Helen Hallows

Copyright of all art works remains with the artist Helen Hallows 

Online course content, blog posts and all design and written content remains the intellectual property of Helen Hallows. Please do not reproduce without permission. All rights reserved.


Nottingham, UK

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