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Digital Subscriptions > The Artist > May 18 > Adapt your sketching kit

Adapt your sketching kit

When a tool isn’t quite right for the job, why not adapt it to suit your needs? David Parfitt reveals how he has successfully adapted his plein-air sketching kit to get the most from his outdoor experience

David Parfitt

is a member of the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours (RI) and has won the Neil Meacher Sketching Prize, the Frank Herring Award and the Winsor & Newton Award. He has exhibited widely, including with the Sunday TimesWatercolour Competition, the Royal Society of Marine Artists, and the ING Discerning Eye.

I’ve found that working in the field throws up various problems with sketching equipment, and readymade solutions can’t always be found on the market. Rather than get frustrated or struggle on, I try to adapt or make stuff myself. I’ve found it quite useful to search on-line for ideas, especially YouTube, as there is generally someone who has thought about and adapted brushes/pens/ easels and the results can spark an idea. For example, my palette box was inspired by the many different uses of ‘Altoid’ tins shown on Pinterest and Instagram.

Similarly, my water brush was inspired by a post on Twitter, originally tweeted by Jonathan Case and called ‘build the best brushpen’. I am not claiming that any of my things are groundbreaking or unique but they have solved a few problems.

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About The Artist

Welcome to our May issue packed with inspiring practical features to help you develop your skills in all media. Watercolourists will love Bob Rudd's invented colour schemes for dramatic landscapes, Amanda Hyatt's five steps to watercolour success, with an exercise to try, Ann Blockley's invitation to inject some magic into your watercolour washes, Paul Talbot-Greaves' deconstruction into three parts of the painting of a daffodil, and Deborah Walker's test report on a new Winsor & Newton watercolour paper. Paul Riley and Julie Collins show how to use pen and wash and ink and watercolour in powerful combinations, while Jo Quigley demonstrates why working en grisaille in acrylics can be so beneficial. Portraitists will learn different ways to obtain a likeness from Ann Witheridge and Will Teather; adapt your sketching kit with ideas from David Parfitt; try painting seascapes in water-mixable oils with Paul Weaver, and more. And don't forget to enter our summer sketching competition with fantastic monthly prizes!