Nock Co Cases: An Urban Sketcher’s Companion

When I received the Nock Co newsletter Brad Dowdy sent, letting people know that he was closing the company down, the first thing I did was rush to buy every case I could lay my hands on. After I had secured my order I let myself feel the full measure of regret that such a great company is soon going to be no longer.

I use Nock Co cases a lot. This is just what I scrounged from a quick pass around the house:

Final Nockshot? A bevy of Nock Co cases.

The Nock Co website is still up and there’s still some stock left, so I thought this would be a good opportunity to write how I use some of my Nock Co cases, and recommend that you go get a case or two or more while they’re still around.

Sadly the Sinclair, my go to Urban Sketching case is out of stock at the moment. If it will be restocked or you find one in the secondary market I highly recommend it. Like all Nock Co cases it is built to last, and like all Nock Co cases it can hold much, much more than is advertised. My Sinclairs hold a slew of brush pens, fineliners, a mechanical pencil and an eraser, a waterbrush and a folded up piece of paper towel. I have several of these Urban Sketching kits deployed in several sketching bags, ready to go when I am.

The Tallulah is not sold out, and is also a must have case for Urban Sketchers. It holds a mini version of what my Sinclairs hold (again, it can hold so much more than the advertised two pens) and is compact enough for me to be able to toss it and a Stillman and Birn pocket alpha into my purse as an ultra portable urban sketching kit.

Got coloured pencils? Like sketching with woodcase pencils? The Chimneytop is for you. That’s where I keep my coloured pencils and their graphite counterparts. The design is simple but effective in that the middle zipper allows you a better view and access to the pencils you’ve placed inside.

The Brasstown is also sold out at the moment, but if it comes back in stock it’s a must have. This is where I keep the fountain pens and machined pens that I have in rotation. If they aren’t in a Sinclair, they are in a Brasstown. The Brasstown keeps them safe from scratches, and can hold even the widest barrelled pen. Like all the other cases, it can hold much more than advertised.

You really can’t go wrong with a Nock Co case, and I’m really going to miss them. The design, the material, the construction quality – there are many case makers out there but not many that get it so right all the time.

Now go get a Nock while you can.

Sketching Tools: Nock Co Sinclair and Tallulah

As I’ve recently overhauled my sketching tools and have grown to like my new setup, I’ve decided to document my current sketching kit, as a reference to myself and others.

Sinclair on top, Tallulah on the bottom.

First up are my pen and pencil cases, the Nock Co Sinclair and Tallulah. I used to use the Sinclair as my main sketching case because:

  1. It can hold much, much more than three pens. Much more. Mine had four Staedtler Fineliners, two or three Japanese brush pens, a white gel ink pen, five Faber Castell Pitt brush pens, a mechanical pencil, an eraser, a woodcase pencil, a sharpener, a waterbrush, and a folded paper towel square.
  2. It has two zippers, which means that you can sneak in extra large pens, like the Sailor Fude ones, or full length pencils, and still zip the case around them.
Partially full Sinclair.

The Sinclair is no longer my main case and I now use it to store a more extensive selection of sketching tools (mostly Faber Castell Pitt brush pens). The reason is that it can hold so many pens that I was tempted to fill it to the brim and bring all those pens with me. As I decided that to gain speed I needed to pair down my sketching tools and expand my watercolour palette, I replaced the Sinclair with the much slimmer Tallulah.

Tallulah ready to work, on top. Sinclair on the bottom.

The Tallulah is marketed as a two pen case. Oh, Brad. I have four Staedtler Fineliners, a Uni-ball Signo Broad white gel ink pen, a woodcased pencil, three (!) Sailor Fude fountain pens and a waterbrush. If the Tallulah had two zippers instead of one I could have closed the case. As it is, I keep it open and propped up in my sketching bag, as sort of a pen organizer. If I need the Tallulah to close, I can pare down my pens to one or two Sailor Fude pens, lose the waterbrush (if I keep two Sailor Fude’s in my kit), and replace the woodcased pencil with a mechanical one, or lose the pencil entirely as I generally work directly in pen and watercolour these days.

See, I can close it if I need to.

The Tallulah is so slim and light that it really works with my low profile sketch kit. It’s actually the anchor around which I built my new kit, with the other two being the Stillman and Birn Alpha sketchbook that I’m using, and my Schmincke watercolour tin.

If you are an artist looking for a storage solution for your pens and pencils, I highly recommend giving the Nock Co Sinclair and Tallulah a try. They are handsome workhorses that can take a beating (especially the zippers) and can hold many more pens than you would normally imagine.