Art Supplies for Travel

Art Supplies for Travel

I’m heading off to Munich, Berlin, Cologne and Paris (I can’t believe it) on Wednesday night.

It’s a trip that’s been 3.5 years in the planning (and gentle saving) and, as I’m usually from the school of “if it fits, pack it” (we rarely fly anywhere), I’ve been reading articles and making lists to make sure I only take the necessities this time.

I plan to be drawing and painting as much as possible. I’ve put together my ‘Postcard Project’ and I want to do some really terrific pictures for the lovely people who are trusting me to send them great art for their walls.

But I’ll also be carrying my kit everyday. I want to paint on the plane, on the train and in cafes. I really want it to be easy. And so this is what I’ve come up with.

My travel art kit
Art supplies stacked
Aerial view of art supplies in travel pack

The clear lidded zip pouch came in a set of 3 “Clear Cells” from Kathmandu. This middle sized one fits my pencils comfortably and just the one brush needs to be on a bit of a angle. But there’s heaps of room for all this:

My travel art supplies kit in a watercolour painting.
  • one Winsor & Newton travel set of watercolours (I’ve actually had this set for over 25 years)
  • one Winsor & Newton travel set of gouache paints (I replaced the watercolours with tube gouache… it’s not setting hard like the watercolours but it doesn’t seem to be going anywhere either, so I think they’ll be ok… and to complete the story, this is the set I bought because I loved the original one I had, but couldn’t find it, but as soon as I bought the new one I found the old one… always the way)
  • one small ruler (I don’t use it often but it’s good for sharp folds and for tearing paper)
  • lip gloss (because I simply can’t paint with dry lips)
  • mechanical pencil
  • Aquash medium waterbrush (I like this size and brand)
  • Derwent water spray (I may end up using this more for taming my frizzy hair than for art… we’ll see)
  • #8 round brush (will suit my A5 paper size)
  • 2 x waterproof pigment ink pens (I prefer .5 and .8 sizes)
  • white gel pen
  • double barrel sharpener
  • kneadable eraser (this is like blutac and is great for gently removing pencil lines)
  • small plastic cup (just in case)
  • 12 watercolour pencils

I’m also taking a Rhodia notebook (boy, this was a big decision! Like this one, but A5 size) to complete the set. It doesn’t quite fit in the pouch, but I’m ok about that.

Contents of art travel kit on display

I also made myself a notebook of 200gsm Canson Watercolour Paper (cold pressed, so it’s a little rough) by cutting up 20 A4 sized sheets and folding them in half. I then sorted them into 4 ‘signatures‘ of 10 pages each (double sided if needed).

The beauty of this booklet is that I can remove just a couple of pages at a time – meaning I don’t have to take a fairly heavy notebook each day. I’ve added a loop of elastic to my daily planner (another story) so I can take the pages with me in that (it’s also homemade and really light).

The covers are made out of plastic from old display books (so light but sturdy), and I cut a 15mm spine from the same stuff. Then taped it all together with some patterned duct tape I couldn’t resist in Target last week (I really don’t get out much, we were there to find party favours) and used black hat elastic to make 4 loops to hold the pages. I taped the loops down on the outside of the booklet. You can see a 15 second video of that book here.

And then I decided I also wanted to have an ‘ultralight’ art set. So I replaced the cheap paints in a teeny, tiny, Mont Marte kids paint set with my favourite Winsor & Newton gouache colours and painted the lid like a giraffe (like “gouache”, get it?). The giraffe was inspired by Jennifer Mercede’s giraffes. I’m a long time admirer. It was a total indulgence and quite a blissful little project.

My giraffe-gouache paint set.
Inside the giraffe paint set.

I’ll pop it in this little pencil case with just a few essentials, and use the watercolour paper that I add to my planner for the day. I’ve included a grey SAI brush pen in this set, as well as the rubber/sharpener combo and the ever-necessary lippy.

My ultralight art supplies kit.

So there you go! I think I’ve got all I need… artwise at least. I’m struggling to leave other favourite supplies at home (dip pens and ink… how can I go without for 25 days?) but I’m pretty sure there are art supplies shops in Germany and Paris, in case of emergency.

Now to pack the rest of my stuff I guess. Should be a breeze.

(If you’d like to receive 3, 5, 6 or 10 of the artworks I create on this trip, posted to you as real life, actual, glossy postcards while I’m away, you can. Just click through here and take a look. I’ll be bringing home plenty of ideas and inspiration to share. Thank you!)

Shiny Happy Gift Ideas

Shiny Happy Gift Ideas

I really love choosing gifts, but I may be the only one in my family who does! So if you’re open to ideas, here are a few ‘shiny happy arty’ gifts that I’d recommend.

An ART MUG full of marshmallows (or those yummy French Vanilla Cashews from Coles!). If you’re local, I’ve got a good selection here in the studio. If you’re not, you can order directly from my Society6 shop (they’ve got a lot of great specials on before Chrissy).

Xmas Mugs lores

If you’ve got littler ones, or no paint in the house for yourself, I have a very limited number of my ‘Just add water’ Paint Along Packs. It includes everything you need to paint my ‘Owl and the Pussycat’ Online Paint Along – a terrific thing to do with or for little ones you love.


If you’ve already got some paints, or know someone that has, take your pic of my other Online Paint Alongs. Each one starts with your very own personal Pep Talk and there are videos and written instructions to take you through, step by step. I’ll be adding to this library a lot next year, but there’s already plenty to choose from.

Screen Shot 2015-12-02 at 11.53.07 am

If you’ve come to one of my Studio Paint Alongs, or even watched one online, you know I ADORE the Golden brand of Acrylic Paints. If you have a budget of $60 to $100 for a special artist in your life, let me put together some paints and brushes in one of my art mugs. (It’s a gift I’d love to receive!) Just email and let me know how much you want to spend and I’ll do the rest.


And of course I couldn’t finish without suggesting my brand new, totally designed and printed in Toowoomba, Birthday Calendar. These are also available in limited quantities and you can buy directly from me ($20 includes postage to anywhere in Australia) or you’ll soon find them at the Toowoomba Regional Art Gallery and the Toowoomba Information Centre. Remember to write your birthday in it before you give it away!


Some truly special things that I also love (I am not being paid by these people – I just think they’re terrific!):

FOREVER SPIN metal spinning tops from Canada

SPINELESS CLASSICS are an entire book on one poster

This DIY Christmas Elf from my friend, Lauren, at MOLLY AND MAMA

The book, ‘Drawing with Children’, by Mona Brooks

Burch & Purchese Fruit Salad White Chocolate

So there you go – my first burst of ideas for the season. Onwards and upwards everyone!

The mugs are here!

The mugs are here!

I recently ordered a few mugs with one of my owl paintings on them, and after getting a huge number of lovely comments and likes on Facebook, looked into getting a few more made.

And because I seem incapable of doing just one thing at a time, I chose three of my ‘signature’ designs – my most colourful favourites – that I knew would make me happy to drink out of!


I’m very happy with how they turned out – the colours are shiny and happy – and the cup is ceramic and light. In an executive decision between my Mum, new friend Melanie and myself, we compared a few mugs and were unanimous that this was the one we liked best.
The “Bloom” and “Angels” mugs have been extensively tested with hot chocolate and marshmallows, while the “Owls” mug is very good at holding a ginger/honey/lemon beverage.
The “Bloom” and “Angels” mugs have been extensively tested with hot chocolate and marshmallows, while the “Owls” mug is very good at holding a ginger/honey/lemon beverage.
Face paint and funny faces are optional.