Sketching & Painting on location in Singapore (My Art Tools)

The key problem with painting and sketching on-location in Singapore is always the weather. What artists need to overcome is the heat and humidity, a combination of both is the hardest to bear. The good thing is, it is not difficult to find a shade to settle in because firstly Singapore is a built up area and there are plenty of trees around, not small ones but huge ones that provide a large enough canopy to shield us from the sun. I can manage rain, but not the sun. Sometimes I wonder how so many others could actually work with the sun directly overhead. We could start the day early like a couple of my friends, but all of us could function properly early in the morning. There is an option to paint in-doors from photos so I tried that. Its great but it lacks the excitement of painting in the public areas.

I keep my sketching and painting tools simple so I am not lugging anything too heavy on my shoulder. Recently my shoulder hurts a little from carrying my shoulder bag. I forgot to switch side. Here's a glimpse of my palette that I carry around everyday in my bag. The brush is a collapsible Da Vinci kolinsky watercolour brush that is kept amongst the other pens I carry with me. A small bottle for washing and painting. Not a great idea but I have another drinking bottle to replace dirty water once in a while.

I brought a lot more during my Bali Trip; an additional mobile watercolour box with 24 half pans. Its a metal box so it weights a little more. I used it on the third day so most of the time it stayed in the hotel room. I bought a spray bottle to wet the palette and the paints since Bali could be quite dry and painting in the heat tends to accelerate that.

The sketchbook is a Clairefontaine A5 landscape format book with good sizing so the ink and pigment wouldn't seep or bleed on the surface. The paper holds ink very well but maintains a fair bit of good absorption so ink lines tend not to skip except for very little inconsistency here and there, especially on the reverse side. Other than that its a great book. For certain trips I would bring a gouache white and a black, and more painting brushes. Normally the bigger brushes are used in the studio. Its important to take a picture like this to remind yourself what to bring on the next trip. Its good to list them down but I tend to be more visual that with texts.

My favourite sketching and drawing approach is simply using black inks and any implements to deliver the ink lines are welcomed in my bag. But I cannot carry everything with me. I used to do that in the past because I do not know what I prefer to draw with, or if I was experimenting with different tools. Now I have a few favourites: Pentel brush pen (medium), a Hero fountain pen, Pentel brush pen with grey ink, a Sailor fountain pen, a Pelikan fountain pen with brown ink, 2 water brush pens, and 2 ink bottles etc., the pic above showed the time when I brought more pens with me. Currently I have taken out more. I have long realised I couldn't possibly sketch with everything.

So if you carry less with you, you will probably manage the weight better, and the advantage with that is, you will not be tired out too soon, and in turn not be affected by the heat as well. By reducing the number of factors that will wear you down, you would enjoy the sketching and painting process later. :D

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