The simplest art on the go supply you really need is a pen and a small sketchbook! It can be a black pen, ballpoint pen, or even a marker!
Why a black pen and not a pencil?
I encourage people to start with a pen vs. a pencil so there’s no desire to erase, or “fix” a sketch you are working on. The goal of taking your art on the go for me is not about the final outcome as it is about the overall experience and act of creation! The moments or time spent sitting down and capturing a scene– whether it be a full building, a crowded market, or a simple doodle of a detail, is what is beneficial. Stopping to capture the details, and then taking the time to look at them a bit more deeply (to draw them), will make you retain so many more memories than you would otherwise.
But that doesn’t really address why a pencil doesn’t work just as well.
It is true, either way you will be spending time capturing the moment, but worrying whether your rendering is completely accurate, or a carbon copy can be quite frustrating for some. I want you to let go of the rules of perspective, ease up on photo realism (use your camera if you want a photograph), and just relax, draw and be creative! Again, concentrate on the act of creation and enjoy the moment.
Another reason I love a black pen is the ability to tell a story in itself. My line may be wobbly, because I was riding on a trolley when I drew it. Or it may be shaky as I was squatting on top of a rock to get a view. These marks tell a story just as much as what I’m drawing and add another dimension to my final piece!
Lastly, I just love the look of an ink drawing. In most cases, I add watercolor (hence, my black ink is permanent/water resistant), but I do think an ink drawing can stand on it’s own as well.
But, if all else fails, and you forget a black marker, I’m here to say there is nothing wrong with an everyday ball point pen! It still is the same as a black pen in regards to keeping you away from perfection- no erasing, and truly can be found almost everywhere if you forget one. That means no excuses!
So, grab your pen and a your notebook and start creating!
My go-to black pen are Sakura Pigma Micron Pens, aka “Microns” as most people call it. They come in a variety of widths, from very fine line 005 to thick 1.0. In general, these are all fine tipped markers, but the more you experience the line weight difference, the more you can use them effectively. My only complaint with Micron pens is that they do dry up relatively quickly (I use mine daily so this may have to do with it too.) But, for the price I find them worth it and have been using them regularly for years. Below are some links where you can purchase them online: