Arty moments, creative exploration and an insight into my world.

Outdoor Sketching and materials: The Messner Mountain Museum, Bolsano Italy

Each month I try to make a personal creative commitment, to develop my practice. One of the best ways to do this is with a sketchbook commitment, and to try something new in the safety of this space. I have always been nervous about ‘outdoor sketching’. People inevitably stop and stare over your shoulder, you feel awkward with all you arty stuff bulking up your bag, nerves get in the way - you name it, its so easy to find reasons not to do it. Much easier to just take some snaps and draw from them at home, right?! Well, yes, but your end result is likely to be far removed from the drawing you make ‘on site’. More than anything, this is about having off screen creative time, so drawing from a snap defeats the purpose!


A trip to the Messner Mountain Museum in Firmian, Bolsano, Italy, was the PERFECT place to get on with some outdoor drawing. The grounds of the museum are so expansive, that people rarely bottle-neck in one part of it. So you mostly feel that you have ample space to sit down, absorb the stunning landscape and have a moment with your art.

The Messner Mountain Museum, Firmian. Bolsano, Italy.

The Messner Mountain Museum, Firmian. Bolsano, Italy.

We found a great spot, with ready made outdoor seating and table onto a great view!

The perfect set up for some outdoor drawing

The perfect set up for some outdoor drawing


It is important to feel comfortable with the ‘stuff’ you are carrying. You really don’t need much, and to be honest my choice of materials are probably a bit ‘fancier’ than is necessary.


Im currently IN LOVE with the Duke Confucious Fude nib pen. Its a dip pen, which means it is refillable rather than a cartridge pen. It’s a little messier, but I don’t mind that at all, as it means I’m not throwing away more plastic into the world. Also, the ink runs out fairly fast compared to most other pens, as the nib is much thicker than normal fountain pens which makes for high ink useage. However, I’m happy to deal with that too, because the variation of line thickness you can achieve with this is just so great to work with, that I don’t mind at all. This is really a pen I have fallen in love with for the sheer pleasure of working with it! If you’re just starting out, don’t spend the extra on this pen, just find something that allows you to work with permanent ink, or use fineliners. Whatever feels good that is waterproof.

RajKaurArt_Messner_UrbanSketching 02.jpg


My current watercolour palette is by Schminke Academie. This is the ‘student’ range of paints which are just a bit more economical than their professional ‘Horadam’ range. For sketchbooking, this is perfect - the quality of paint is excellent and the range of colours is extensive. There is really no need to go pro unless you’re really nerdy about top quality paints. I would prefer to save those for original pieces intended for sale rather than personal practice. Honestly, they are gorgeous paints to work with, so there is no feeling of compromise as far as I am concerned.


Finally the sketchbook! The A4 landscape Hahnemule Watercolour sketchbook is beautiful to work with. The pages are thick and creamy, and the size is just right for outdoor drawing. The pages lay flat on a surface, which is SUPER important. I have sketchbooks by them in 3 sizes and I feel quite committed to the brand now.


I found out from an article that Christopher Niemann uses Rohrer & Klingner Inks. So of course I rushed out to buy some. I chose a deep blue, which is heavenly and somehow feels a bit gentler than black. I also love painting with blue ink with brushes, so rather than buy multiple colours I chose to save money and just buy one. Again, this is not the cheapest and the brand also makes a more economical permanent ink, so I encourage you to go with what works for your budget. When doing linework alone, you can get away with any brand. Just make sure its permanent if you want to wash watercolour over the top! If you want to paint with ink, the differences between brands shines through much more. So for now, I’m painting AND drawing with this one ink. I love it!

Very happy with the result!

Very happy with the result!

So there you have it! My current fave supplies and a fabulous day out with them.

I’d love to know your favourite materials for outdoor sketching and travel. Let me know!

Supplies overview:


SCHMINCKE AKADEMIE® Aquarell Solid metal box with 24 half pans

Duke 551 Confucius Fude Nib Fountain Pen

Rohrer & Klingner Traditional Drawing Indian Ink

  • Disclaimer: The links in this post are affiliate links and if you go through them to make a purchase I will earn a commission. Keep in mind that I link these companies and their products because of their quality and not because of the commission I receive from your purchases. The decision is yours, and whether or not you decide to buy something is completely up to you. I am an independent blogger and the reviews are done based on my own opinions. I am committed to reviewing everything totally honestly, and all of the items have been purchased by me, not donated or sponsored by a brand unless I explicitly say so. Thank you, and enjoy creating!