Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The Traveling Artist

Caran d'Ache Neocolor II watercolor crayons
For some reason I simply can't toss a few things into my suitcase and be confident that I'll have all I need when I get to my destination. I have to make lists upon lists to be sure I haven't forgotten something important... and this from a woman who used to teach workshops about planning and packing a travel wardrobe. But to make packing easier I keep a packed sketching kit ready for the road.

Jo Reimer's traveling sketch kit

The case is a tri-fold cosmetic case, found at AAA a few years ago. I've seen similar ones at the drugstore. Here's what's in it...
  • my small Moleskine journal, a tiny watercolor paintbox made from a mint tin, and a waterbrush. These live in my handbag at home, every day.
  • Winsor Newton travel palette with 12 basic colors.
  • a second waterbrush
  • 4 other rather small brushes with shortened handles,
  • a tiny spray bottle for water,
  • a tiny bottle of Indian Red ink and a dip pen for drawing, 
  • several half-sticks of Caran d'Ache crayons in a little plastic bag,
  • my collage/watercolor journal and a few extra bits of watercolor paper,
  • 2 UHU gluesticks and a small jar of acrylic medium with a spreader,
  • small children's scissors,
  • pens and pencils,including a couple of colored pencils
  • eraser and tiny pencil sharpener,
  • a tiny sea sponge,
  • several paper and plastic alphabet stencils,
  • a film container for paper clips and brads with masking tape wrapped around the outside,
  • a roll of clear packing tape that tears easily to use for magazine transfers.
  • small pad of watercolor postcards
  • a 2" S-hook, a carabiner and a large safety pen 
This all fits into the folding cosmetic bag. 
Tri-fold kit with left compartment folded inward
Kit opened all the way

On the airplane I position the S-hook or the safety pin somewhere in front of me on the airplane, hook the carbineer to the handle of my travel kit, and hang from the S-hook so my equipment is handy as I work.

Between trips this kit lives in my car where I also keep a spare, larger sketchbook.

What do you pack? What sort of packing case do you use? 


  1. Jo, this is helpful info. We are heading overseas this spring and I was wondering if you have had any glitches at airports if you take scissors, etc. with you. I assume all liquids you take are three oz. or less to meet the limits.

    1. Barb, I pack children's scissors which have rounded points. My art kit has no liquids since I have the filled waterbrush.

  2. Great ideas, Jo. I've read about a few of them in previous posts (or you've told me in person at art meetings) and have incorporated the mini-watercolors, spray bottles, and packs of watercolor postcards (with heavy backing torn off) into my own standard travel art supply kit which is a backpack. But I like the cosmetics case idea as it keeps water media items bundled together and easy to pull out and tuck into a daypack. Thanks!

    1. Sarah, I saw a similar case at Fred Meyer.

    2. See my Pinterest board, Art-Palettes and Paint Kits for more ideas.

  3. you are so organized and dedicated to your art Jo!


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