Does your desk have too much gear on it? Mine, too. Overrun by the bane of modern existence, my desk is cringe-worthy. It’s a re-purposed breakfast table that has seen better days. The surface needs refinishing and gives out splinters liberally. No drawers so everything has to fit on the surface. Covered with stacks of paper and all manner of electronic devices, there is little room for creative endeavors even when I dump stuff on the floor. Anything intended for long-term residency must have a small footprint which is one reason fountain pens suit so well. Being an inveterate doodler as well as a dabbler in watercolor, I have melded the two interests into something small, fun, and easy to use, my desktop doodle kit.
- small Cotman palette with some favorite Daniel Smith watercolors squirted into empty DS pans – colors that make me smile without mixing or fiddling
- travel brush(es) and/or daVinci Cosmotop-Spin Watercolor Brush no larger than #5 (smaller bristles afford more control but take up less paint and run out of color more quickly)
- wirebound Stillman & Birn journal suited to both w/c and ink – folded back to conserve space
- Pentel Pocket Brush Pen – original black cartridge or refilled with fountain pen ink
- large blotter so the journal can be closed quickly (J. Herbin offers a good one.)
- water jar with a lid (up to 8 oz) – start every day with clean preferably distilled water
- folded paper towel for drips and to remove excess paint from brush
- fountain pen(s) – whatever is inked
- water soluble colored pencils or Derwent Inktense Outliner Pencil
- black felt tip marker – Sakura Pigma Micron 08 is waterproof
- dip pen
- quill brush or hake to lay in background color – sloppy, uneven color preferred
- shaped brushes like angles, combs, ridges, and shaders like those from Robert Simmons for extra variety
Pen and ink dominate but watercolor jazzes up the pages with wider lines and splotches. The variety of colors and comparative low cost makes paint an effective addition to a doodler’s arsenal.
These squiggles were made with paint fresh from the tube. Some colors were more cooperative than others and none were diluted with water or worked into the brush. I just dipped in and put the color to paper.
- no paintings but lots of doodles. if something turns into a painting, that’s okay but not the goal.
- goal is to relax – not tax
- back, front, upside down – no limits
- words are okay but long passages should go elsewhere
- kit can be grabbed for off-site use – not a travel kit per se, but parts could be used for that purpose.
- a pencil cup to house the pens and brushes keeps the desk tidy
- not about color mixing but loading a brush and making squiggles so colors need to stand on their own
- no erasing – who erases a doodle?
- visitors/guests such as pencils and markers may only stay for a short time. this kit is for my favorite tools.
- on occasion dip brush in ink but not from the bottle – no contamination allowed
- 12 half pans (1.5 cm x 2 cm each) is like having a dozen pens inked
If you want to give this idea a try, the dozen Winsor & Newton Cotman half pan paints that originally came in my palette are for sale. You could tape them to a bit of cardboard or tuck them in a metal tin such as an Altoids box for an easy start to your doodle kit. I also have a slightly larger, new Cotman plastic palette with 14 half pans to sell as well as a couple of other kits so shoot me an email if you are interested. Inkophile*at*gmail.com will do.
For inspiration try “Doodles Unleashed” by Traci Bautista. Also, Peter Draws and his journal.