How to Make a Travel Sketch Kit

This month’s artist tip is about making your own travel sketch kit. Some of the challenges we face as artists are things like having inspiration strike when you’re not anywhere near your sketchbook. It feels the Creativity Gods are playing a cruel joke sometimes, doesn’t it? Having a travel sketch kit with you can help combat this problem.

Why Create a Travel Kit?
If you’re like me, and are on the go a lot and have the problem mentioned earlier having inspiration strike at inopportune moments, having a travel kit with you will allow you to get your idea out before it potentially escapes you. It’s also nice to have if you have a block of free time on a lunch break or before a meeting. There might be a park nearby with some trees you want to sketch. Whatever the motivation, the point of the kit is that is lightweight, compact and still contains everything you need for a basic sketch session. I use this kit as well when I’m on a vacation somewhere and don’t want to bring my full-size sketchbook and materials with me. On a vacation to Mexico last year this came in really handy. I had limited space in my luggage and also I wanted to have something small I could bring down to the poolside with me without looking like I was setting up shop for the day, and bringing unwanted attention to myself.

The Kit
Recently Society6 added zippered carry-all pouches to their line of products. The canvas-like pouches come in 3 different sizes (small 6×5″, medium 9.5×6″ and large 12.5 x8.5″) and have a zipped top. The inside of the size I have has 2 small pockets on the inside which is great for holding a pencil sharpener, eraser or any other small objects you want to keep contained. If you’re opting for a bigger size having compartments within the pouch can help keep the contents organized and more easily accessible. The one seen in my photos is the medium or 9.5 x 6 size.

Note: You can build your kit using whatever type of container or pouch works for you, but for the purpose of this article I’m going to be using the pouch I that have as an example.


Your contents can be whatever you like to use to draw or sketch. I have different variations of materials depending on where I’m going or what I want to do. I’ve included a list below of my basic sketch kit and some variations as well.

4.125 x 5.75″ sketchbook with elastic closure
2H pencil
Retractable eraser
Black colored pencil
Enclosed pencil sharpener
2 medium sizes Ziplock bags for pencil shavings or objects like leaves for later studies
Small ruler
Ball point pen
Brush-tip black marker or various size illustration pens

Selection of colored pencils
Selection of different colored pens
Charcoal pencils
Blending stump
Paint brush
Travel watercolor kit
Paper towel
5.125 x 8.25″ Moleskine sketchbook


Customization is key when building your own travel kit. You can switch it up whenever you want, or depending on where you are going. Just don’t get carried away packing it with too many things. Sometimes working with a limited selection of materials helps you focus on just getting your ideas out or capturing your subject matter rather than focusing on using different media. Remember to keep it light and portable so that it fits in your day bag, backpack or purse.

Experiment with different variations of materials to see what works best for you and your needs. Having a travel Sketch kit will not only help with getting your ideas down when inspiration hits but give you an opportunity to keep working on your drawing skills when you find you find you have a free moment where ever you may be.

Happy travels, and happy sketching!

For more info on the carry-all pouches available in my Society6 shop visit:

Barb Sotiropoulos

Barb Sotiropoulos

I’m a Canadian artist and designer specializing in coloured pencil and mixed media. When I’m not creating art, I love helping other artists by sharing tips and tricks that have helped me. You can find me on all of my social channels @barbsotiart or check out my past Q&A articles for COLORED PENCIL Magazine or my co-hosting appearances on the Sharpened Artist Colored Pencil Podcast.

2 Responses

  1. Thanks for the tips. It’s always hard for me to pick which supplies to take. Last vacation I spent more time deciding which pencils and paper to bring than deciding which clothes to pack!

    1. You’re very welcome! Thank you for your comments! I can definitely relate to not knowing what to take along. It’s been a bit of trial and error but I think I finally found a system that works for me that’s simple but has flexibility so I thought it was worth sharing!:)

Leave a Reply

Hey, I'm Barb!

I’m a Canadian artist and designer specializing in coloured pencil and mixed media. When I’m not creating art, I love helping other artists by sharing tips and tricks that have helped me. You can find me on all of my social channels @barbsotiart or check out my past Q&A articles for COLORED PENCIL Magazine or my co-hosting appearances on the Sharpened Artist Colored Pencil Podcast.

Let's Connect!
Blog Categories

Be the first to know about new artwork and print releases AND get a 15% off code for my Etsy Shop

%d bloggers like this: