A while back, we stumbled across Natalie’s sweet comic-style art on Instagram and, upon learning she was preparing for a big hike, asked if she would share about her supplies and packing process with us—and she said yes! Read on to learn all about Natalie and the backpacking trip she has since embarked upon.
Natalie Wetzig is an animation director from Colorado, currently residing in Los Angeles. She has worked on animated features such as Lego 2, Lego Ninjago, and Rio 2, and directed for the TV series DC Super Hero Girls and Jentry Chau VS The Underworld.
When she’s not drawing for work, she’s drawing outside, documenting her adventures through comics and quick watercolor paintings. Natalie has done many backpacking trips, including the California section of the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT), earning the name Quick Draw because of the many quick drawings she created while hiking.
At present, Natalie is preparing to hike a significant portion of the Continental Divide Trail (CDT). The CDT is a scenic trail that travels 3,000 miles along the Rocky Mountains from Canada through Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, and New Mexico all the way south to the border of Mexico. She will start in Canada and hopes to end her hike in Colorado, where she will reunite with her family. Natalie plans to share many sketches and paintings of her adventures along the way.
Natalie loves using watercolors when she backpacks because they’re portable, lightweight, and dry fast. Through a lot of trial and error, she’s landed on the following kit for this upcoming hike.
Natalie’s Art Supplies
Daniel Smith Watercolors: Manganese Blue, French Ultramarine, Phthalo Blue (shade Red), Phthalo Blue (shade Green), Permanent Green Light, Hooker’s Green, Sap Green, Perylene Green, Transparent Pyrrol Orange, Alizarin Crimson, Opera Pink, Quinacridone Magenta, Imperial Purple, Cobalt Teal Blue, Cadmium Red Medium Hue, Lemon Yellow, Indian yellow, French Ochre, Quinacridone Gold, Quinacridone Gold Deep, Burnt Sienna, Burnt Umber, and my favorite: Sodalite Genuine (great for doing ink-like grey tones for comics!)
Tombow Fudenosuke Brush Pen, Hard Tip
Bic Mechanical pencil (with extra 0.7mm led)
Staedtler Eraser (cut into 1/3)
Winsor & Newton Designer Gouache, Permanent White (0.47 fl oz)
Fluid Cold Press Finish Watercolor postcard block (4x6)
Stamps (to mail my paintings so I don’t have to carry them)
A piece of old sock to clean my brush and palette
A5 Cold Press Watercolor Sketchbook from Rock Your Notebook
1 small binder clip
3 plastic baggies of varying sizes
Gossamer Gear Mariposa backpack: The Mariposa is marketed as having 7 pockets. Well, I’ve found the 8th, haha! For easy access, I can stash my A5 sketchbook behind the removable back pad that doubles as a sit pad. Storing a larger sketchbook is key, so accessibly has swayed me to choose the Mariposa for this trip. If the tools are not easily accessible, no drawing or painting will happen. The Folio Palette, drawing tools, and watercolor block all fit into one hip belt pocket.
This kit weighs just under a pound at 14.6 oz (not including the backpack).
“I find adventure painting adds incredible perspective to my life. There is something so humbling about traveling, observing the world, and observing myself in it. It has taught me resilience, deep self-love, and curiosity and respect for all things around me,” she says. “Yes, I’m an artist, but when I’m in the field, I feel more like a good friend listening.”
“There is so much wonder, moments of fun, sadness, comedy, friendships, love, hate, joy, fear, horror, hope, and kindness. Painting and storytelling make me believe that all the challenges, struggles, and wins are worth experiencing and worth sharing. It makes us ask big questions. What does it mean to be human in this fast and ever-changing world? Life is fleeting, beautiful, and hard. I hope my work inspires people to live it.”
Thank you so much, Natalie for sharing your philosophical reflections on adventure painting and your dutifully-planned travel kit with us. We wish you the best of luck on your hike and would love to see what you create on the trail!