Pocket-sized Watercolour Box


Richard Bell's Wild West Yorkshire nature diary, Wednesday, 10th October, 2007

AS I’VE MENTIONED BEFORE, I’ve been taking a break from my Sherlock Holmes booklet. I’m still reading books on Arthur Conan Doyle but I’ve decided to start a new project, on a subject that I much more qualified to write about: drawing.

I decided to start right away with one of the illustrations, rather than getting bogged down with a synopsis or storyboard. I know I want to start the book with the tools of the trade so here’s a dip pen and ink and watercolour drawing of the pocket-sized box that goes practically everywhere with me.

When describing it to people, I usually say ‘it’s just the size of a credit card!’ but when I came to writing that down in the context of a book I thought it might give readers the impression that the box is wafer thin, so I substituted ‘bar of soap’ for ‘credit card’ but I don’t like the sound of that either – a bar of soap isn’t such a standard size.

The stump of an old brush that I keep in the box has hardly ever been used and I’ve recently been comparing my watercolour box, as you do, with another artist and he had a Winsor & Newton version of the box where the half pans of watercolours are arranged landscape, rather than portrait, if you see what I mean, enabling you to insert a further row in the middle, so you get a total of 12 colours rather than 10 in the box.

However, the whole point of this small box was to simplify my selection of colours, so 10 should be plenty for me.