One of the great things about watercolour is how easy it travels! It dries quickly and rinses out of brushes with just plain water. With all the excellent travel-friendly watercolour supplies on the market, bringing your art supplies anywhere you go is getting easier all the time.
Here are some recommendations to help you assemble your travel paintbox!
1. Voyage Travel Brushes by Silver Brush
These brushes are clever because the handle separates from the ferrule and can be put on backwards as a bristle protector! I’ve used these brushes for years to the point that the lettering is wearing off the handles!
Thanks to synthetic fibres mixed with natural squirrel hair, which helps maintain the shape, the bristles have stayed like new. Sometimes the “travel” version of a product feels inferior to the regular version, but these brushes are so good that I use them for 90% of my at-home projects. You will not regret this investment!
2. Etchr Porcelain Mini Palette
This is another product I swear by! Porcelain palettes feel much better than plastic and metal, and they clean much more easily too. It used to be that porcelain palettes had to stay home because they were fragile and heavy. To my delight, our own solution to this is the best I’ve ever seen.
By keeping the palettes stacked neatly in a cute little tin, you keep your paints portable and your porcelain all in one piece. With the Mini Palette, you get one dish for storing paint and another dish for mixing the colour, so there’s no running out of room like there is with other travel palettes. Plus, your paints won't dry up!
Check out this article on everything you need to know about paint palettes to learn more! We go over all of the pros and cons of the different palettes on the market.
3. Mijello Plastic Palettes
If you have the space for a larger mixing space, and it doesn’t matter what material your palette is made out of, I recommend the Mijello plastic palette. You get ample mixing space that really feels like you’re in the studio.
Plus, there’s an airtight seal when you close this palette so that your paint won’t dry out when you’re not using it. I recommend this palette, especially for acrylic or gouache, because in my experience, those paints demand more mixing space and are harder to rewet, if you even can at all.
4. Caran d’Ache Water Brushes
The water brush is a fantastic modern solution to one of the trickiest problems one faces when travelling and painting. If you have a perfectly compact painting setup, you’ll still have to figure out how to carry enough water to rinse brushes and wet the page.
If you use one of these brushes, you only have to fill the reservoir from a water bottle and squeeze it to add water to the paint or paper. To clean the bristles, flush with water until the water runs clear! These brushes will save you a lot of hassle, and they come in three tip styles.
5. Etchr Set of 24 Watercolour Half Pans
These paints are a delight to use whether you’re at home or travelling, but they’re especially nice for travelling because they come in a sleek metal box that won’t get damaged in your bag. Also, the box opens to have plenty of palette space, so this is an excellent alternative if you don’t have room to bring a palette separately.
Many watercolourists bring fewer than 24 colours when travelling, but if you’re sketching quickly, it’s nice to have extra options that you don’t have to mix beforehand. Since these are watercolour pans, there won't be any spillage or accidentally leaving your tubes open!
6. Staedtler Pencil Sharpener with Lead Catcher
Many pencil sharpeners on the market catch the shavings, but this one is my favourite, and I have used it for years. This pencil sharpener can bounce around in my bag for days and not spill any shavings. It also stays sharp for a long time.
Pencil sharpeners are easy to overlook because they’re not exciting, but you’ll thank yourself later when you’re out sketching in the field, and you have a perfectly sharp pencil for starting the linework.
7. Etchr Field Case
Our very own Field Case is a great thing to carry all the goodies mentioned earlier. It’s deceptively spacious and perfectly fits the Mini Palette and several pens, brushes, and other supplies while still compact enough to fit in your regular everyday bag. You can even fit an A6 sketchbook in here!
You will be impressed by its quality and the many pockets and pen cosies that this bag has to offer. Every painter has their favourite case, and this one is about to be yours!
The best pen for travel is a simple, consistent pen that doesn’t need cartridge replacements or refilling. The Etchr set is a great place to start because there are a variety of tip sizes and black ink that matches everything.
Because the ink is pigment-based, you can add the lines before the washes if you wish without smudging worries. I bring basic pens like this everywhere I go.
At the end of the day, remember that you don’t have to spend a ton of money or have fancy products to paint outside. All you need is paint, a brush, water, paper, and something to mix on.
Your process will be streamlined and so much more portable if you invest in the right supplies. Don't forget to subscribe to our email newsletter for more helpful guides and updates on our awesome products!