I love having a studio in a box, whether it be in oils, acrylics or watercolors. Watercolors are the most fun to make your own kit. You can make it as big or as small as you like. For me, I needed a kit that works in the art studio and can be thrown in my bag to go out in the world. I didn’t want another chore of trying to choose what to take along. I wanted a grab and go option. Therefore a full sized watercolor kit is a must. I started with the Meeden empty watercolor tin.
I’ve seen hundreds of homemade watercolor sets and just like mine, each one is very personal. What works for me may not work for you. Some people have commented that my set is too big. I was thinking “compared to what? Have you seen the French Easel I lug around?” Sorry, those little Altoid kits doesn’t hold water (pun intended).
There was a time when I had the perfect little oil painting set for travel, but had to sell it when I was short on money. I loved that thing. But it’s now $100 smackers for that little box! SERIOUSLY! A HUNDRED DOLLARS!
So that perfect little Pochade box is heartbreakingly out of the question, so I turned towards watercolors. Improve the stuff I’ve got. Moving on…
There were many watercolor kits I’ve modified in the past, some are still with me, others — eh.
The good old Winsor & Newton field box I’ve had for more than a decade, but it was frustrating trying to figure out where to dump the water. If you remove the water bottle, you can put travel brushes and short pencils in there. While it is still here with me, I don’t use it so much anymore.
As you can see in many of my paintings, I like drawing circles. So having a compass with me is an absolute necessity.
There are 13 Daniel Smith Watercolor sticks cut to fit into full sized pans and one Rublev color, so I have plenty of watercolors on standby. One Daniel Smith Watercolor Stick creates three full sized pans!
A set of stainless palette dipper cups is perfect for dirty and clean water, so seriously, if you can learn that craft, those two cups can last an entire painting session. It takes twice as long, but you don’t have to change the water every five minutes.
Binder clips are used to hold watercolor paper onto a board rather than tape, because tape takes up too much space, and won’t fit in the box. This set also allows me for full sized brushes, including a flat wash, squirrel mop, a synthetic round and my ever favorite Winsor & Newton Series 7 Kolinsky sable, no. 2. We’re not worthy! Love that brush.
I removed the inside palette because it made the whole set too cumbersome on any table, particularly in a coffeeshop or similar setting. It was easy, just pull out the metal wire that holds the palette onto the box. You can always use it when you want to, or put it back on. Remember there is an additional mixing area beneath the metal tray.
I know many of you will want to have space for your zillion pens. This set won’t help you too much as an all-in-one, so you’ll have to have an additional pen case. I still have some space for pens in this kit, but honestly, the watercolors are so pigmented, and the W&N Series 7 brush is so perfect, I never need, nor use a pen. And also being a cartoonist, that is saying something.
Hope this post was inspiring to you to create your own perfect watercolor kit! Till next time, happy painting!