This craze is sweeping the Urban Sketchers online, and I have completely fallen for it. I made my first tiny watercolor tin in a mini-sized Altoids tin, and I have used it incessantly ever since. When I was in Amsterdam this spring, I was delighted to find that one of the huge items for the Dutch tourism industry is tiny mint tins. I bought several at different museums. At 1.75 x 2.25" they are slightly larger than the Altoid tin, but about a quarter of an inch. Six empty half pans (which I ordered in bulk from Cheap Joe's) fit inside, as oppsoed to five in the Altoid tin, but I have the same number of colors. I just put the ultramarine blue in the bottom right directly into the corner of a tin instead of in its own half pan.
I can get almost my full regular palette into the tin, missing only yellow ochre and viridian green. I don't have as much mixing space as my full one, which I still get out to do finished, stand alone watercolors, but this is delightfully easy to use with a water brush (a pen-like contraption with water in the barrel that you squeeze gently as you use the brush) for quick sketches. It's perfect also when you're standing up or working in your lap at the theater and don't have space to set out cups of water for dipping.
Here are the colors I squeeze into my tiny kit. The first one I made didn't have the lemon yellow, and I missed it, so I've got three colors in that section. Everywhere else only has two. The purple fits along the side in the Altoid tin and at the bottom in these new ones. I usually use Windsor and Newton professional grade watercolors.
Martha Kelly is an artist and illustrator who lives and works in Memphis, Tennessee.
Get studio email updates from Gideon and me.
To subscribe to this blog, by email: