Pocket Brushes For Urban Sketching

As an avid urban sketcher, I carry my sketching kit and sketchbook with me everywhere, so it’s important that I have a very efficient, lightweight but flexible selection of tools and materials. Having a pocket/reversible brush (or two) makes a lot of sense as they are compact and well protected.

Rosemary & Co has a great range of pocket brushes and for many years I used the R2 Kolinsky Sable Round. These days my favourite pocket brush is the ¼” Sable Blend dagger (R13) because you can do a lot using this brush; the edge or full width is perfect for working in small sketchbooks.

When I travel (which I did for 8 weeks this year in Italy and the UK), I carry an A4 landscape sketchbook as I am sketching all day. My go-to brush for this larger size is the ½” series 772 dagger which I carry in a toothbrush holder – it’s the only brush I need. I work quickly and spontaneously. Most of my sketches are completed in less than half an hour (often only a few minutes). I don’t have time to switch brushes – I just need to pick up one brush and go for it.

My goal is to lay down bold washes with expressive strokes. I may come back and add a second wash wet-in-wet to some areas, but normally, I try to make the first pass do most of the work. Rosemary’s 772 dagger allows me to switch easily between drawing using its point and laying broad washes using it on the side.

The most important thing when sketching in watercolour is to have a very clear idea at the start of what you want to record on your page. Once you have that, just go for it, take risks and have fun!

Image courtesy of Liz Steel.

For more information about Liz Steel, please visit her website.

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