Saturday, June 9, 2012

My travelbag of art supplies

First things first! My vacation has officially begun! It began yesterday with a storm. It was weird weather, the sun was shining but the wind was blowing really hard and the water was high at low tide so you couldn't walk the path next to the Wadden Sea because it was flooded. I spent a long time at the marina watching ships fighting the current and the wind trying to come safe into harbor. I just have to share one picture of that before we really get started:

Today it's still storming, but it's also raining so it's a wonderful day to get ready for my trip and decide what art supplies to take. I know people are forever fascinated by what other artists take with them when they go on vacation, so I figured I'd share what I'm taking this time, but also a little about what I take with me on a more daily basis. So let's go!

Wherever I go and whenever I go there there's three things I always carry with me: a small sketchbook (until recently that was the watercolor book), a drawing pen (usually a pitt artist's pen, but I use ballpoints or fineliners too) and this baby:

It's my Winsor & Newton Cotman watercolor set with 24 colors in it. I've had it for quite a while now (I actually bought it at the Tate Gallery in London, so it's extra precious to me) and as you can see some colors I use more often than others. You can also see I hardly ever use the tin for mixing colors (it's relatively clean), that's cause I usually blend paints on the paper I'm painting on. The cool thing about this tin is that it fits my waterbrush perfectly and has room for an extra watercontainer for said brush. I carry these paints in my bag pack all the time even when I go to work. I may not use it for days, but I feel naked without it.

When I go on weekend trips or day trips to the main land, or have an artsy friend over with whom I can art journal in public, I always carry this tote:

I've had it for years and I bought it really cheap at a Dutch department store chain called HEMA. I have no idea if they still carry them, but what I can tell you is that this small bag has a lot of space. I mean A Lot. You're probably curious what goes into it? Let me show you.

Gelpens, drawing pens, a gold an a silver marker, a ballpoint pen, a fineliner, a set of mini highlighters and one black Sakura glaze pen. Black glaze pens are fabulous for outlining things or drawing letters you really want to stand out. 

That's not all:

A set of 15 neocolor II watersoluble crayons. This was my first set of watersolubles and it is well used and worn. The black has broken in two. Also a set of  10 mini colored pencils. It took me a while to find a small set that actually could color (usually the mini ones are crap), but these made by Stabilo are pretty good. A tip I recently read online (I don't remember where) was that somebody shared the costs with a friend for an expensive good quality colored pencil set and they just sawed all the pencils in half, so they both had all the colors, but just shorter. I thought that was a marvelous idea and its saves a lot of space.

But wait, there's still more in this tote:

Scissors (actually there's two pairs of scissors in them but the small one for detailed cutting was shy, or maybe I just forgot to put it in the picture). A roll of regular tape, a pencil sharpener with container, two automatic pencils (one with a thin lead and one with a very thick lead), a small ruler (that I took out of an old organizer), some paperclips, a glue stick, erasers and two travel brushes (the metal thingies on the left).

I'm always amazed at what goes into this tote. It has one big and two smaller compartments. I put the pens and pencils and small tools in the smaller compartments and the big one is for all the coloring, the glue stick and the scissors. To seperate the different coloring supplies I use a very intricate system:

That's right, plastic baggies! That way like stays with like and I don't have to dig through the tote to look for one specific colored pencil or crayon. I swear when I first thought of doing it this way it was like a revelation to me (I know, I'm easily impressed with myself ).

So that's what I take when I go away for one or two days. But now I'll be going away for eight days and...I don't want to work in my regular sketchbook, because...I want to make a book especially for the trip. I have had all sorts of  notebooks in my hands. I have quite a stash, not only because I like buying them and making them, but because other people are giving them to me all the time too (this is not a complaint people, never stop giving me blank books, ever). What I mean is that I had a lot to choose from. Still none of them seemed really right and then the lovely Andria from Drawing Near was showing off her contributions to the index card a day challenge and I remembered how in the past I have made journals just by binding a bunch of index cards with bookrings. So I got together these:

Two types of index cards. One kind is lined which is ideal for writing, and as you all know I write a lot, and one kind is blank and has a nice quality to it for drawing, sketching and painting. I'm bringing a big stack, just in case, but they may not nearly all get filled on the trip. Still, when I come back I will have plenty of photographs to add, so the book will be bulky even  if I don't do one artsy thing on the trip itself.

However I do intend to be artsy and since I'll be constructing parts of a new journal I feel like I need yet more supplies to bring with  me.

Of course these days no journal of mine is complete without these:

Oh boy, was it hard to pick the ones I wanted to take. There's a reason I have so many different tapes and that is that they all get used a lot and I like having options. But I've limited my take along selection to seven rolls. I think I deserve some kind of medal for that.

I also wanted to take some stamps and bringing stamps means bringing ink.

So far there's only one  inkpad I really like and that's stazon, because it will stamp on anything and is waterproof. I'm bringing part of the set of stamps I recently got from the very generous Dawn E. Nguyen and haven't used yet (as you can clearly see) and I'm bringing an alphabet set that has been used quite a lot (as you can also clearly see).

For more decorative elements I'm bringing a bunch of cute stickers that I took out of an old stash in my studio. Some of these I've had for years, so this is good way to get rid of some older stuff.

Some are clear stickers which I really like but just forgot about. I cut the sheets to size, so they would fit in the bag that I will use to bring all my supplies on the trip.

I was a little doubtful about the next items, because often I don't end up using them, but better safe than sorry:

It's a small stash of pretty papers and some labels. I cut the papers to index card size. They are cheap papers, but have very nice patterns and are somewhere between flimsy and regular scrapbookpaper which is nice for collage.

After all this I was quite pleased with myself, considering I have art supplies and stashes all over my house with my studio as creative supply central. I'm proud that I could limit the amount of supplies I would be taking to this:

Now of course all of this would no longer fit in my blue tote. So I needed something extra and I wanted something that would fit everything: my watercolor tin, my blue tote and the extra supplies. Luckily I have done this before and here's my number one tip: get yourself a big toiletry bag with many compartments.

This is a big one with three compartments, but I have several other ones too. Some can replace the blue tote when I just need to take a little more and others, like this one, can just carry the blue tote as a whole. The size of this bag is about two regular toiletry bags. And as you can see everything fits perfectly.

This will fit in my suitcase just fine and when I go on the road I can just take out my watercolor tin, my blue tote and some index cards and put them in my backpack. The rest I will only use when I'm in my fancy luxury hotel, also known as my sisters house.

So there you have it. My vacation stash for the coming eight days. The only other thing I will need is my camera, although I'll probably mostly use my phone this time, since I love the apps so much (as you can tell from this post). The only other really necessary thing for the trip itself will be my e-reader and as soon as I finish this post I will try to figure out which books I want to take with me. I'm almost finished with the third installment of George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire and I need some new options.

Oh yeah, I may want to take some clothes and toiletries too, but really, that's not all that essential, is it? That's just filler for the suitcatse so my art supplies and e-reader don't bounce around in there.
As long as I've got that important stuff covered I'll be one happy vacationer!

Over there I will have access to both a laptop and the internet so I will probably post from my vacation address, but be warned, they will probably be holiday slides. Just think of it as a virtual vacation for those who are not so lucky the coming two weeks.

For now I wish all of you a wonderful weekend and next time we meet I'll be on holiday! Yay!