How to Set up a Travel Art Kit

stamps watercolor HP sproket journals on table

You know how sometimes art can seem like such a pain to make? Not enough time? Too many supplies to pick from? What the heck do you even create this time?

Even though I am a working artist, I can sometimes struggle with these things too. But I’ve got a shortcut that works well for me and I think it will for you too.

Let me introduce the art travel kit. Out of everything I do for art, this is one of my favorite “art systems” I love to use.

It’s just so much fun. It makes art-making easy and approachable.

I’ve broken down my exact formula in this post below. You’re going to fall in love with this kit.

woman holding art travel kit pouch with art supplies and journals

This post contains NO affiliate links. All opinions are mine.

Whether using it at home, traveling from the kitchen table to your bedside, or if it’s slung into your backpack for a day out, a kit can make your art accessible and fun.

I’m pretty much in love with all things pouches. My husband likes to make fun of me and “my bags”. But let’s face it, a good bag can make all the difference in your life and your setup, can’t it? Those of us who love our bags know this is the truth. And if you don’t know, it may be you haven’t met your perfect bag match yet!

Now, here’s the little secret. This particular art travel kit has never actually left my house. I have another one for that. It’s smaller and gets popped into my backpack whenever I go somewhere in the car. This little beauty stays with me at the house. And I LOVE THAT!

Why do You Need an Art Travel Kit?

  • Simple to put together-all you need is just a few supplies.
  • Eliminates overwhelm-less overwhelm = more art making and fun
  • Makes art more accessiblethe more art you make, the more opportunity to learn, grow, and enjoy!

This little kit gets grabbed way before any of my other art supplies. It’s just so simple and relaxed. It’s all right there, ready and waiting for me, everything I need.

All the choices have been predetermined. Imagine, you’ll have only what you’lI need to work on your journals. No more extra supplies dragging you down. There are no heavy hitter decisions that you will have to make before you get to work. This takes that beginning edge off. You’ll already know what to expect during your art making session. And honestly, I think it expands our creativity because we have to find new and interesting ways to use the limited supplies.

Plus, it’s easy to transport. From coffee table to bedside table, from the floor to your lap, it fits perfectly in your hand and is so easy to carry around all over the place.

How to Choose the Perfect Pouch

Firstly, in my opinion, the pouch is super important. So I decided to include my best tips for choosing one.

  • Feel-how does it feel in your hand. It’s gotta feel good. Do you like the way the fabric feels? Is the size nice for your hand? Is it easy to carry? How about, is it easy to tuck in next to you?
  • Size-this goes along with feel. Does it hold what you want it to hold? Keep in mind, this is your travel kit, not all of your supplies. You only want the ones you’d use “on a stranded island” type idea. You want it not too big, not too small, but juuuuust right.
  • Durability-Does it sit nicely on the table or does it flop over letting everything spill out? Does it have enough give and stretch to allow for you to pack it with all the stuff you want in there?
  • Pockets-Do the pockets make sense? Are there enough of them? Do they fit your items well?
  • Zippers-Oh, zippers, you’ve got a big job to do. I cannot handle a bag with bad zippers. The ones that get stuck or are finicky. That’s a no go for me. The zippers have to perform over and over again with ease.
  • Look-is it pretty to look at? Does it feel “like you”? For me, I will sometimes choose journals or pouches that are just a bit more colorful than I naturally would want. Why? Because I want to easily spot them from across the room. White, black or neutrals can easily blend in. I want these sorts of items that don’t have a permanent home and move around with me to be easily spottable. A nice pop of color helps me locate the item quickly.

What to Put Into Your Art Travel Kit

stamps watercolor HP sproket journals on table

Next, let’s chat about what to include. I LOVE mine to be simple. That’s where the beauty lies for me and what makes it work.

  • Journal-for this kit I’ve got a writing journal, one big, one small. I’m trying to decide which one I like. In the past I’ve used the big yellow one (again, that pop of color making it easy to find). But I’m thinking of switching to the small black one because it’s just so darn accessible. At some point, I’ll choose and take the other one out. I also have a Hobonichi Techo Original Book that I am loving right now. It’s little, has a numbered page for each day of the year, and is so carry-able. Oh, I just love it and will probably do a whole blog post on this alone.
  • Collage Papers– I found these awesome plastic envelopes from The Container Store years ago. They are thin and streamlined, making them perfect for a travel kit. They don’t hold much and that’s a good thing. I tend to choose a paper collection that is thin so that I don’t make my journal too thick for the binding. That’s the theory anyway. We’ll see how it goes.
  • Glue Stick-of course you need something to stick the paper down with. A tape runner would also work.
  • Stickers-I haven’t used these yet. We will see if they get to stay.
  • Reading Glasses-I like to have a pair that lives just in this bag. That way they are always there and I don’t have to go hunting.
  • Watercolor-just a simple travel set will do.
  • Letter Stamps-along with a small acrylic block for mounting and an ink pad. I’m not a big stamper at all, but my goodness do I love this font from Ali Edwards. It’s also the perfect size for a planner/small journal.
  • Photo Printer-this is pretty much the coolest thing since sliced bread. It has no ink and is zinc based (how does it do that?!). This little contraption prints out sticker photos on the spot. You link it to your phone with an app and it can print any of your photos. The quality is so-so but for this application I see it as a win! This is a very fun tool.
  • Waterbrush-you need one for your watercolors. Water plus a brush all in one.
  • Pens-I like to use ones that aren’t going to smear with water.
  • Scissors-you could also include a small pair of scissors that I don’t have pictured here. Sometimes I just use my fingers to tear the paper.
  • Pouch-of course! I’m in love with this one from Delfonics.

So Much is Possible With a Traveling Art Kit

  • Opportunity to learn
  • Quick and easy access
  • Art every day- (or lots of days, I’m not really into the “every day” kinda thing)
  • Affordable– (or more so than a whole art studio)
  • Relationship-I guess what I’m really trying to say, is because it’s so easy, transportable, and simple, you have a chance to form a relationship with the kit and with your art. It becomes a little part of you, a warm spot that feels good to settle into, zip open the pouch, dig around inside, open up the latest crinkly page in your journal, and just start. Every day a new day of possibility.
hands holding art travel kit with pockets filled with pens and watercolor

Ready to Create Your Own Art Travel Kit?

To sum up, an art travel kit is one of my favorite ways to make art more accessible and fun. Try it out and see what you think. Every time I look at my kit or grab for it, I feel comforted in some way and excited about the possibilities.

Do you have a travel art kit? Will you make one now? Comment below and let me know!

All the best!


Pin it for later

21 thoughts on “How to Set up a Travel Art Kit

  1. Marilee says:

    What a great idea! I have a travel case with duplicate tools so it’s always ready, and I have a portable kit for my personal journaling with pens, washi, stickers, etc. But this has given me a wonderful idea for at home art. Working in my art journal has been difficult for a while and I think it’s cuz I have toooo many supplies to choose from. I’m going to put together a kit so when I want to art journal I just grab it and start. Thanks so much!

  2. Shay Kent says:

    That’s wonderful Marilee. I always love learning about other people’s setup. And I agree about too many supplies. It can feel overwhelming, can’t it? I can’t wait for you to set up your kit and see what you think. Hopefully, lots of good art-making ahead for you!

  3. Judith Burnett says:

    OMGoodness!!! You have just solved my problem!!! I’m in the midst of having to acquire materials that have gone missing (no telling how that happened) and rearranging an entire room to accommodate me, art supplies, and a family room. Because of this I have been unable to create! I have several projects I’m involved in yet I have to move from room to room to do one or the other, toting boxes of materials along with me. Very exhausting. Thanks for best idea I’ve ever needed!

  4. Shay Kent says:

    Woo hoo! That’s fantastic Judith that this idea came along at just the right time for you. Now you can carve out a little “nook in a bag” for your art-making. All the best to you in all your projects.

  5. Jakki says:

    Just a quick note – your link to the pouch leads to the Small version. The size you use is the Medium. They look exactly the same in the photo so it is easy to get confused. I read the tag in the photo of yours and did a quick comparison. Could you modify your link so it goes to the correct size?
    Really helpful blog – thanks so much!

  6. Shay Kent says:

    Yes Jakki! You’re right! Thank you so much for letting me know that. It’s all updated with the correct one. I really appreciate it. So glad you liked the blog. All the best.

  7. Shay Kent says:

    Hi Lisa! Don’t we love a good setup? Yes, we do! Love, love this pouch. I accidentally linked to the smaller-sized pouch but just corrected it. Be sure to click on the corrected link if you are interested in getting it. All the best!

  8. Janis says:

    Thanks for the great tip on artmaking on the go – even if only from room to room to the backyard. I would LOVE to see you blog at length on how you work in your Hobonichi planner! I am using the Hobonichi Cousin and am a first timer and loving the paper. I use the full daily pages for my creative space with watercolors, graphite and pen. Please do expound on your experience!

  9. Shay Kent says:

    Hi Janis! Oh gosh, isn’t the paper so awesome? I just love the way it feels, so smooth and beautiful to work on. I would love to do a blog post on the Hobonichi and think I will. I am new to it as well but I’m pretty sure it’s going to be a mainstay in my art-making arsenal for a long time, I love it so much. I’d love to hear/see your experience too, on your Hobonichi. Keep me posted. All the best!

  10. Leigh Larson says:

    Thank you Shay for this great blog post! You’ve given me some great solutions, not just for a travel kit, but also some storage ideas for my tiny studio. Win win!!

  11. Shay Kent says:

    Woo hoo! Isn’t that fun Leigh? And I LOVE organization and good systems. Total geek about it. Have fun putting everything together! All the best!

  12. teri says:

    this was very timely – headed out of town in a couple weeks and had been thinking about taking some supplies along to do a little journaling. now I can have fun getting some backgrounds done on some pages and putting a little “kit” together. what non smear water-resistant black pens are your favorites? always on the hunt for good ones!

  13. Shay Kent says:

    Hi Teri! What perfect timing for your trip! I’ve had some luck with Copic Multiliners, Sakura Pigma Micron, and Pilot Precise V5 Stick for my pens. I would always recommend testing first. Especially as I’m not overly particular so it’s possible I wouldn’t notice smearing as much as someone else might. All the best! Hope this helps.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *