As I mentioned on a previous post I favor a 16 colour selection palette. I needed though a box, preferably small to hold these 16 colours when I’m sketching outdoors.
There are plenty of choices of small easy to carry boxes, some very affordable and some really expensive. But I was looking for something unique, pretty and affordable too. And I found it at Charlie’s USK factory on etsy.com.
Chang Hoon Lee, or Lee Chang Hoon, or for our ( unrelated with Korean names ) convenience Charlie Lee is a South Korean urban sketcher who runs one of the four urban sketching groups of Seoul. Seoul is a big city so it has four urban sketching groups- but I’ll tell you more on another post. (I’m trying to create suspense now….! )
Charlie is not only a very talented and experienced sketcher himself, as you can see below, but he is also a very talented craftsman too.
So he came up with the idea to create his own line of small easy to carry boxes for urban sketching purposes, which he manufactures them from wood.
Now of course you are going to ask me if wood is the most suitable material for watercolour boxes. Well.. just think that in the past ships were manufactured from wood… so yes… wood is a very good material for all about everything.
As I said in the introduction I was looking for a box that would accommodate my sixteen colour selection. So I contacted Charlie on his USK Factory etsy store and I described to him what I was looking for. Charlie send me in matter of hours some drawings and in a couple of days he made a custom 16 colour box according to my specifications and needs. It took a while for my box to come from S. Korea but there it is!
This box, as you can see in the photo, is made by walnut wood, as all of the boxes that Charlie is making. Walnut wood is hard and light in weight. Charlie is using linseed oil to waterproof his wooden boxes, a traditional and natural method for waterproofing woods. So the box doesn’t have any kind of varnish that might deteriorate over time while it is completely waterproof.
My custom box has 16 colour wells and four mixing spaces and it’s dimensions are 14,5x4x1,5 cm ( or 5,5 x1,5×0,5 inches ).
So it is quite small to hold it in your pockets or in the smaller of sketching bags and even in the smallest of pencil cases too as you can see below.
It’s mixing spaces are covered with white thick acrylic film that is suitable for mixing small amounts of paints.
The colour wells are round about 1 cm deep and they can be used with up to an 8 size round regular brush and all sizes of waterbrushes and narrow, less than half an inch flat brushes. The box’s lid is closing securely with two magnets.
As you an see in the photo above when it is closed it has a very minimalistic look and definitely doesn’t look like a watercolour box.
Actually it is rather impossible to tell what this box is for with one glance.
Charlie sent me this box in a very beautiful package along with a pin and some stickers that ended up in my sketching bag and my other watercolour boxes and even a cute little video! A bit of advertising never harms! 🙂
Below you can see my box filled with colours.
What I noticed is that the waterproofed wood is able to retain the paints dry but relatively moistured so they don’t crack or become rock hard inside this box. So it is easy to rewet and use them when you are sketching. This is something that I haven’t seen happen on other boxes, plastic or metal ones. But it makes the difference when we are talking about how convenient is this box during sketching.
So in order to conclude. I think that it was a good choice to try something different and order a custom box from Charlie Lee.
Charlie is relevant with Urban Sketching, knows what are the urban sketchers needs, he is a great craftsman and he is open to suggestions and new ideas. He is also the kind of professional that I appreciate the most.
For those of you that would like to purchace a box OR order their own custom wooden sketching box from Charlie’s USK factory, Charlie offers a 10 percent discount for any new order ( click the link)
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