Art, Bookbinding, equipment, Landscape, Portland, Sketching, Urban Landscape, watercolor

Sketching Downtown Portland plus my sketch kit

I buddy of mine and I went to the East Side Esplanade on Portland’s waterfront to sketch today. It was cloudy and threatened rain but was warm and pleasant otherwise. I realized, after I’d started drawing, I’d forgotten to bring some paper towels for watercolor but I think I’m just as happy I didn’t color this sketch of the Portland Skyline.

Portland skyline from East Bank Esplanade

Hawthorne Bridge and Portland Skyline pen and ink in 8″ x 5″ sketchbook

We moved down the way a bit toward the Burnside Bridge. I’ve drawn this one before. I like the Drawbridge Tender’s building. My friend pointed out that it looks kind of medieval with the buttresses under it. Actually I guess they’re not buttresses when they’re holding something up like this. Anyone know what they’re called?

Burnside Bridge detail

Burnside Bridge ink and watercolor in 8″ x 5″ sketchbook.


This sketchbook is just about full and I was stitching up a new one last night. Even though I have gotten some books and found other online references on binding projects like this, I found my self back at Trumpetvine Travels re-reading Martha’s most excellent book binding instructions. Hers are the most clear and detailed I’ve found.

I noticed that Martha recently wrote a post showing her entire sketching kit. If you’re interested in sketching make sure to check out Martha’s beautiful and extremely informative blog, Trumpetvine Travels.

I thought I would show my sketch kit here as well because I always enjoy a peak into other artist’s tools and techniques and, although it’s very similar to Martha’s, I’ve found one thing that I really love that makes the whole thing really easy for me to carry with me and therefore makes me more likely to sketch.

I tried using a map case that Russell Stutler wrote about on his blog, here. but I found it a bit clumsy to open and close and it also, if not balanced exactly right, would hang awkwardly.

This is something I found at an REI store but I don’t see it on their website. It’s a nylon zippered book cover designed for camping and outdoor stuff but I find that it’s the perfect size for a Moleskine sized sketchbook with room to carry a small watercolor box and a couple of drawing utensils.

Sketch Kit 1 Sketch Kit 2 Sketch Kit 3

Everything I need fits in this zipped up little package. It even has a ring so you can clip it on a backpack if you want. Other than at REI, I’m not sure where to find it. It’s labeled as being made by ‘Warp Corp Seattle WA’ but I Googled them and didn’t see anything like this on their site. Maybe other outdoor gear stores would carry it too.

Allana wrote in a comment that she found it on REIs website here.

Bookbinding, Sketching

My most cooperative model

Self 4/24/07

This sketch is done in the journal I use most now which is a reloaded Moleskine. I used Martha’s instructions from the Trumpetvine Travels site and even sought out the same paper she used in hers (Fabriano Artistico 90 lb watercolor paper), but mine is the 8×5 size. I believe she uses smaller sketchbooks.

I found some material similar to what’s on the Moleskine covers so, next time, I’ll make my own cover and save myself the expense of sacrificing a real Moleskine notebook. I’ve also been noting on Roz Stendahl’s blog the kinds of papers she likes and have been trying to get up the courage to spend the money on some Twinrocker watercolor paper of the Simon’s Green color. Maybe my next journal will contain Twinrocker paper.

Art, Bookbinding, Sketching, Urban Landscape, watercolor

Burnside Bridge

Click on images to see them larger.

Burnside Bridge raised

My daughter and I spent a couple of hours sketching the Burnside Bridge. The bridge was raised with bell ringing the whole time we were there. I was working for the first time in a newly reloaded Moleskine. I rebound it following the instructions on the Trumpetvine Travels website. I couldn’t fine Fabriano 90 lb paper at the time so I used Arches. I’ve since bound another using Fabriano artistico which I like much better.