I have talked elsewhere about my tiny watercolour box that it is actually a modified old cigarette case. This box turned out to be the most convenient box for outdoor sketching as it is small, compact and super lightweight.
The first modification that I had done to this box, was to add half pans that were secured in place with magnet sheets that I had glued on the pans’ undersides. But the size of my box – that is 9×7 cm/ 3,5x 2,7 inches- didn’t allow me to use more than 16 half pans.
Recently though I came up with a new modification that now allows me to hold up to 30 colours with me.
That idea came up to me when I received one of these Da Vinci sample dots box . These small sample colour dots allowed me to complete several sketches before running out of the individual colours something that made me thought, that at the very end the average outdoor sketcher doesn’t need that much colour in order to complete sketches at A4 and A5 sketchbooks. Why bother holding with me any size of pans when there is no chance to use all that colour for sketching an urban or any other subject during a single sketch walk?
The other day while I was ready to throw at the recycling bin the empty plastic dispensers of my vitamin D supplement pills, ( it is beneficial to take vitamin D supplements during winter) it came to me the epiphany. Why throw them and not use these dispensers instead of watercolour pans in my sketching box?
So I removed as much of the aluminium foil left overs that kept the pills in their place, I cropped slightly the edges of the plastic in order to fit properly in my box and I glued them with a hot glue gun inside the box and I ended up with this!
I filled these small wells with my tube colours and I ended up having a tiny 30 watercolours palette box! The wells were actually that many that I didn’t have that many colours to fill them, so I used even colours that I don’t use that often, like white and the phthalos and whatever other left aside tube colours I had available.
Now these plastic pill dispenser cases hold the triple quantity of the dot colour samples. I haven’t manage to run out yet of a/any colour in a single sketch walk and the tiny box is soooo convenient that I even use it in my studio as it occupies so much less space than my larger studio palette.
Of course some are going to ask me if the use of such small wells to place watercolours harms the points of the brushes. On this matter I have to answer that this doesn’t really bothers me that much, first because I pre wet the paints before using them and second because I prefer to use waterbrushes and non natural hair brushes as I consider unethical the killing of wild animals in order to turn their furs into art brushes. So this is not that much of an issue to me.
See my box in action below
On the picture below you can see the way I use my box when I’m sketching outdoors.
I actually secure it on my sketchbook – which in this case is this A5 Strathmore 500 series Visual Journal – with a large paper clip….
……that after finishing my sketching ends up securing the pages of the sketchbook.
(You can read a review of the paper that this sketchbook contains here and I highly recommend btw the store of the link above for you Strathmore purchases, as it is an online store that has never let me down. I’m not affiliated with this store or the company).
The paper clip holds the box securely on the sketchbook even when I’m holding the sketchbook in an upright position…..
…and allows me also to use the box’s mixing space.
But with soooooo many colours, who is really going to bother to mix anything?
I hope that my box’s modification gave you some good ideas on how to modify yours. If you have any questions you can ask them ay the comments section below.
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