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The urban sketcher's kit is a treasure box. A lot of thought and planning goes into it. That is why I love looking at other people's sketching supplies! In my previous post, I showed the contents of my gouache sketching kit. Now it is time to reveal the secrets of my watercolor bag.

essential urban sketching supplies Julia Henze

Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, which means that I get a small commission if you buy something using them.

Here are my two kits side by side. How many differences can you see? :)


I have two identical palettes, one for gouache and one for watercolors. They have 18 wells for paints and a very large mixing area. They are airtight, so your paints do not dry out. Usually, I do not need this many colors and could easily do with a smaller palette, but I love this one for its mixing area and convenient wells.

Mijello 18 well folding plastic palette Jackson's Art | Amazon

Winsor & Newton professional watercolors Julia Henze

What is the palette filled with? For me, the choice is straightforward: it is Winsor & Newton professional watercolors!

Here are some of my favorite colors:

  • Cobalt Turquoise

  • Manganese Bule Hue

  • Cobalt Blue Deep

  • Ultramarine (green shade)

  • Cadmium-free Orange

  • Cadmium-free Yellow Deep

  • Cadmium-free Scarlet

  • Rose Madder Genuine

  • Payne's Grey

I also have two pocket-sized watercolor sets that I love to bring to my sketching adventures.

Winsor & Newton pocket-sized watercolor sets Julia Henze

Let's see what's inside!

Winsor & Newton Cotman Watercolor Landscape pocket set Julia Henze

Winsor & Newton Cotman Watercolor Landscape Pocket Set

contains just eight colors but covers all your sketching needs! There are also four empty pans you can fill with the colors of your choice.

I have used this set for sketching landscapes, urban scenes, and a combination of landscape and houses. So do not let its name mislead you: this set works well for more than just landscapes.

Winsor & Newton Professional Water Colour Field Box Julia Henze

Winsor & Newton Professional Water Colour Field Box

It's a pocket-sized field box set


12 colors in half pans

2 palettes for mixing

a water container

a sponge

a foldable travel brush


It is truly pocket-sized!

I fill the pans with my own colors; that's why the colors in this picture differ from those in the store.



Winsor & Newton Professioanl watercolor brushes synthetic sable Julia Henze

I use Winsor & Newton Professional Watercolor brushes. They are synthetic sable round brushes, sizes 3,6,8,10.

Professional watercolor brushes are not cheap, but they make all the difference.

W&N Professional Synthetic Sable round brushes:

size 10 Jackson's Art


I have a blog post about choosing colored pencils for urban sketching. As you can see in the photo, I don't have many colors. I carry my brushes, pencils, pens, and fineliners in a leather case.

I usually have three or four fineliners of different sizes and colors, a white pen, and a brush pen.

Winsor & Newton fineliner 0.5mm Jackson's Art | Amazon

Winsor & Newton fineliner 0.3mm Jackson's Art | Amazon

And of course, there is a lead pencil (2B), a sharpener (Amazon) and a kneaded eraser (Jackson's Art).


I do not usually use a sketchbook with watercolors. I prefer to use this Winsor & Newton Professional Watercolor Paper Block.

It is 100% cotton, fine grain, thick (300g/m2). I love it because it is glued on all four sides, which prevents the paper from buckling and warping. Use masking tape to keep the paper flat if your pad is not glued on all sides.

Winsor & Newton professional watercolor paper Julia Henze


I always have a collapsible cup, a napkin, and a spray bottle, both for gouache and watercolor sketching. The collapsible cup saves you a lot of space in your bag. It can be bought at art supplies and camping stores, or you can sometimes find it in supermarkets. Another valuable item in my bag is my tripod/selfie stick (Amazon). I use it to take pictures of myself and my sketches for my Instagram.


Sometimes a girl wants to go out with just a tiny handbag, even if this girl is an urban sketcher :)

Here's my survival kit for such occasions. Everything is pocket-sized, and there's still some room for my phone and lipgloss!

What's inside?

A tiny sketchbook, two fineliners, a water brush, a pack of tissues, and Vivia Colorsheets.

Vivia Colorsheets are watercolor paints in the form of paper. So amazing, they surely deserve a separate post. Paints can't get any more portable, convenient and mess-free. There are 16 colors, vibrant and rich.

Water brushes have a reservoir for water, so you don't need to bring a water bottle and a cup. Very convenient for painting on the go. I use this Faber-Castell Art and Graphic Water Brush: Amazon

Impressed? How small is your sketching kit? Or how large? What are the supplies you can't live without? Share in the comments!


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Hello, I'm Julia Henze.



Art is my passion. Urban Sketching is my love.

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