I carefully considered the size for this journal. 5.5 x 7.5 inches is a nice size and it is possible to make a sketchbook with just two full sheets of watercolor paper without any waste. But after working in a couple of larger formats I wanted to go a bit larger than that. I did like the 7.5 x 9.5 inch size of the Strathmore sketchbook, although I often felt it was a bit too vertically oriented for the way I like to work. So I drew diagrams of several sizes and settled on 7 x 8 inches, which is 14 x 8 inches when fully opened for working across the page spread. I will note here though, that if I were to use a commercially made sketchbook, the Strathmore Soft Cover Mixed Media Sketchbook was my favorite of the bunch that I tried.
American Journey Travel Palette, which I love, and it has held up well these past few years. Yet some of the original colors were hardly touched while others I was constantly refilling. So after much experimentation I settled on the twelve colors in the chart above. All but two are American Journey watercolor paints.
Blues and greens were also tricky decisions. Ultramarine Blue had to be included, it is much too versatile not to include. However I replaced the Cerulean Blue that came with the palette with Phthalo. Turquoise. Even though Cerulean can make for a wonderful sky color, it is usually a bit too grayed for my taste. Especially with the vibrant blue skies we can have here in North Carolina. Phthalo. Turquoise fits the bill nicely, with endless variations when mixed with Ultramarine. And you can always tone down a hue, but you can't make a dull color brighter.
sketch caddy, along with waterbrushes, a pencil and a couple of pens, and I have the lightest kit possible.
And there you have my sketching set up. Just like paper choices, color selections for a palette are highly personal choices. So I hope you find all of this information useful, as a behind the scenes look at what goes into my sketch bag, whether I am settled at the kitchen table or on a mountainside.