Tuesday, August 29, 2023

Travel Watercolor Painting Kits and Supplies

I've always been a little obsessed with kits, travel, and the ultimate packing list. Combined with my love of drawing walking in the woods I've decided to put together a little snapshot of some travel paint-kits.

Over the years I have owned a few travel kits:

An oil pochade box that my mother got me one year for Christmas. Still one of my most memorable Christmas gifts. Never really got as much use out of this as I would of liked due to that I do not really paint in oils much and it is a bit too much to carry on a hike or a quick outing. I did use it for a summer plain air collage class and it was very useful for driving to a location and just walking a short distance from the car.

My second "go to" painting kit is a mini kit I put together for a super light weight, cary-on only travel trip to the Bologna book fair about 15 years ago. We were traveling by train and were carrying all we brought in a bag most of the day. It is surprising how heavy even a small bag can get after a day of hiking about the city.



This kit consisted of my old beat up Winsor and Newton 12 color travel kit , fig.1 a small container of water and a small container of gel medium. I also brought a pencil case and a cardboard tube of a few brushes.When at the book fair there was an amazing pin-board of artists business cards. For some reason I did not have a card on me at the time and this mini-kit came in handy as I drew a little painting to put my info under on the board. :)

Since thenI have acquired a handful of additional travel watercolor kits. 





Fig. 2. Arts to Embers 3d printed 16 color case. I still need to add paints. This case seems very useful, but I may miss the place to store a paintbrush.

Fig. 3. Micro Portable Painter  this is super cute and compact, but I have not added paints yet :( This is a great size to throw in a pencil case or pocket for easy carrying. It has a fold out section to hold water.

Fig. 4. Derwent metallic watercolor kit with brush. This kit contains everything needed to do a quick painting (water, brush and paints). I really like the size of this kit and the palette colors are pretty, but not very useful for painting a piece with a "normal range" of colors

I also really like this water brush. It folds down for easy storage and has a smaller brush then most standard water brushes I have come across.

I currently have my eye on a Schmincke watercolor tin with watercolor blocks. I have tested out some of the colors with a dot sheet and really like the Supergradulation colors. However this brand is a bit pricy so I may have to wait and save up for a kit.



Recently I've had less of a need for a travel kit for quick sketches in the city as my tablet has mostly taken the place of my mini kit. However, I have been spending more time hiking in the woods and hanging out while my husband fishes. This gives me a great opportunity to work un-distracted on longer-term painting projects outside while being surrounded by nature. How fantastic!

This outdoor painting has inspired me to put together some new kits that more specifically fit my needs for the way I currently paint. 

1. Acrylic painting kit that I can carry around the house so that when I move from painting in my "office" to painting in front of the tv, or in the dining room everything is together and easy to transport.

2. Mini watercolor kit for 

light travel

3. Medium lightweight watercolor painting kit for
painting in the woods and hiking

4. Large kit for painting with oils
not far from the car




I've been looking into a number of travel kits on Etsy and blogs about Pochade boxes and vintage Plain Air kits.

This research has encouraged me to troubleshoot assembling a few travel kits of my own. In my research I came across some beautiful antique cases a great website for inspiration. I love how some of these old kits have images embossed on the water color blocks.