Monday, October 1, 2012

Supplies for the Travel Journal

To go along with my handmade travel journal, I selected a travel supply kit to bring with me on my trip.  I didn't want to be hauling along a whole bunch of stuff, so I just selected my favourite supplies that I used the most.  Keep in mind, however, that we were driving, not flying, on our trip, so I didn't have to worry about bringing certain items on the plane, and we were travelling in our RV, so, while space was an issue, it was not as much of an issue as it would have been if I had needed to fit everything into a suitcase.

Here's my travel journal and my pencil case, out on the sidewalk and ready to go.  Except I think I should do up that zipper first.
I did, however, manage to fit everything (other than my journal itself) easily into one pencil case.  If I had made my journal a bit smaller, I could have probably fit it in as well - something to keep in mind for future trips...  The pencil case I used is just one big case that everything gets dumped into.  It's just about the most basic case that there is, and I've had it for years, but it holds a lot of stuff and, because it doesn't have any interior pockets or dividers, it makes it simple to see all of the contents at a glance.  It is a bit bulky, but it is good enough for this trip!

And here are the contents of my travel supply kit:

All lined up, with my travel journal in the background.
  • Faber-Castell Pitt Artist Pens in fine and super-fine - I have the medium and brush versions as well, but the fine and the super-fine are the ones I reach for most.  These are my favourite pens for drawing and sketching.
  • Watercolour pencils (not shown) + water brush - This is probably the most portable way of using watercolours.  The pencils can fit into any pencil case, and you can keep your water brush filled with water so that you can use it at any time without having to worry about carrying water separately.  I currently use Lyra Rembrandt Aquarell watercolour pencils and a Pentel Aquash water brush.
  • Uni-ball Signo Broad white gel pen - The best white pen ever.  I use it for writing on dark paper, doodling, and adding white highlights to watercolour sketches.
  • Sakura Gelly Rolls in black, yellow, and lime green - These are great dependable craft pens.  As with the Uni-ball Signo, I use them primarily for doodling and adding highlights of colour.  These are probably the three colours that I use the most.
  • Staedtler Triplus Fineliners (not shown) - Great for sketching and writing, and I also love the case that they come in.  Unlike the Pitt Artist Pens, these ones aren't waterproof, so I can't use my watercolours over them (unless, of course, I want that kind of effect).  I originally bought the set of ten, but have long since customized it by adding in my favourite non-standard colours.
  • Mechanical pencil + eraser + spare leads - Although I am starting to use wooden pencils more often, I decided to bring just one mechanical pencil with me on this trip.  Since I'm not too fussy about mechanical pencils, it's just my 0.5mm Pentel Fiesta, and I'm also including a Pentel Hi-Polymer eraser  and Pentel Hi-Polymer leads (not shown).
  • Small glue stick - UHU glue, my favourite, for collage.
  • Small pair of scissors - These originally came out of my dissection kit from university - but they were the only small scissors I had.
  • 15 cm ruler - Just in case I need a straight-edge or want to measure something.
  • Pencil sharpener.
  • Binder clips - For holding the pages of my journal together if I'm using it outside on a windy day.
  • Small envelope of collage items - I probably won't doing much collage in this journal and, if I do, the items I use for it will probably be ephemera that I collect on my trip.  But I did bring along some extra paper scraps - just in case.
Here's what everything looks like in the case, with my sets of watercolour pencils and Steadtler Triplus Fineliners shown on the left.  I put those on top of everything else when the case is closed.  It's a perfect fit.
Of course, having selected these items, I can't help but wonder if I should have included more gel pens, or if I should have brought a fountain pen, or if I really will use all of my Staedtler Triplus Fineliners on this trip...  Still, I have to draw the line somewhere.  I'll share my reflections on keeping a travel journal and some pages from my journal after I return, so stay tuned for that!

Have you ever kept a travel journal?  What supplies did you bring with you?

Read more: Binding the Travel Journal + Pages from the Travel Journal


  1. I'm packing a travel kit right now and I'm going to do a blog post on it -- I'll put this link in to yours when I do. Love seeing what others pack to make art on the road. I do mail-art, collage and keep a travel journal. Thanks for sharing your kit.

    1. Thanks, Pamela! I also love checking out kits like these that other people pack. I think it's a way to really see what supplies that people use the most and would want with them anywhere. I'll check out your blog post as well when I have a chance.

  2. Great kit! I might add something if you would excuse:

    This scissors would be easy to carry, cut and paste ephemera you collect while traveling. And you can sketch around those ephemera.

    I would love to see what you have sketched after your holiday.

    Have a great trip!

    1. Thanks for that recommendation! Those scissors look way more awesome and useful than my dissection kit scissors - and thank you as well for recommending the green version to me. I love green!

      I will be sharing some of my travel sketches and journal pages soon. I have returned from my trip now, but it is taking me a while to adjust back to my normal routines!

  3. Awesome! I love that you shared your kit - I've got my eye on that mini waterbrush pen - not only is it super cute, it looks very convenient for art work! Looking forward to your return :)

    1. Thanks, Azizah! I absolutely adore my waterbrush. It has quickly become one of my favourite supplies ever and I seriously don't know how I ever did anything without it. Before I got it, I hardly ever used my watercolour pencils; now, I use them on nearly every sketch I do. I would highly, highly recommend a waterbrush!

  4. Thanks for the list, especially the Uni-Ball Signo and the waterbrush pen. I'm putting together my first watercolor and sketching kit to take on day trips to the Blue Ridge mountains and a local national forest. Wish I started drawing fifty years ago instead of waiting for retirement. (Not much talent but plenty of enthusiasm. Fortunately, my wife is encouraging and our poodle isn't critical.)

    Jeff The Bear

    1. Thanks for the comment, Jeff. The waterbrush and the Signo are definitely among the supplies that I use the most on this list, and I would highly recommend both of them. I think it's great that you've started to draw. Maybe late, but certainly better than not starting at all.

  5. I got a Staedtler Triplus when I ordered the Stabilo 88s below. I like the Staedtler, too. I'm privately calling them "Lindy legacy" pens, after the well-made American ballpoint pen that offered an artists' array of color choices. Back in the 1960s, the Lindy was 39 cents vs. the Bic's 19 cents, but it was a better product in my opinion. I think George at My Supply Room has some photos of the Lindy. Jack/Ohio

    1. Thanks for the comment, Jack. I had never heard of a Lindy pen before, but I found the photos you mentioned at My Supply Room, and I can see the similarity. It's interesting to learn about these pens that are no longer available today.


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