Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Being an Artist on the Go

Good morning y'all!

I get a lot of art done while I'm at work.  Work being that place that gives me money to buy more art supplies (and other necessities like food and stuff, but mostly art supplies).  I don't believe I've ever mentioned where I work or what I do.

I am a dispatcher for Campus Security at a local private college in Mississippi.  As such, my job consists of watching endless cameras, taking mostly pointless phone calls (there are a lot of stupid people who both attend and work at a college), fussing at students about why I won't let them take 40 different ID photos and then pick the best one, and sending my officers to open this door or that.  I am very grateful that nothing major happens on my campus very often.  It's really nice.  My husband is a 911 Dispatcher for the local police department and he has a much more exciting job than mine.

That being said, while I don't have a lot of "free time" per say, my hands are often quite idle.  I have a huge bank of monitors in which I watch a whole lot of cameras, but that doesn't require me to push any buttons.  So with my idle hands, I create art to keep them busy.  ATCs are perfect for working on at work because they're small and usually not all that messy.  I don't often sling paint everywhere when I'm working on something that tiny - the bigger the size.... the more mess I seem to make.

So what do I carry to work on, what supplies, and how do I tote it all around?

When I started bringing more than just a sketchbook and a few pencils/watercolor set (that would fit in my usual over sized purse), I used decorative trunks of various sizes (ranging from very small suitcase to a little larger) I found at Michael's.  These are very sturdy trunks and they hold a ton of stuff.  During the summer when there were few students around I would bring 5-7 trunks!  I literally looked like I was moving in - but I'd just started making ATCs and I didn't know what supplies I might need.  As the year progressed I have minimized my supplied to one small trunk which holds my distress inks, paints, stains, and all my dylusions, tattered angels, and distress sprays (which I don't always bring with me) and one bag.

I saw this bag on the Gelli Arts blog (you can find the exact post here) and decided to pick one up for myself (since I wasn't lucky enough to win their amazing give-a-way).

It is a 15" Canvas Riggers bag from Harbor Freight.  Designed to haul tools around, this bag is well made, sturdy as all get out, and the perfect size for toting art supplies!

I have managed to slim line my travel supplies into just about only what I need for a project (or 2) that I am currently working on - a particular set of ATCs and/or a journal.

Here's my bag - sometimes it's a whole lot fuller than this, but I try to keep it as minimal as I possibly can.

Nearly every pocket is full and of course it is full to the top as well.  But look at all those goodies stashed in there!

I haven't taken the time yet to decorate my bag.  I have been too busy using it to worry about decorating!

I'm sure y'all can tell what some of the things are just by looking, but I've pulled everything out of the bag so you can see what all I've stuffed in there.

In the main body of the bag I carry:

A small box which contains ATCs I'm working on
My handmade art journal
The pink box with the latch is my "Zentangle Kit" - that's a different post all together - but I keep my Micron & Pitt Pens as well as pencils, erasers, etc. in there.
Another canvas pouch full of pens, Sharpies, more white pens, my souffle pens, an x-acto knife, etc.
A non-stick craft mat (because my boss would kill me if I got paint on the computers!)
A Heat Gun
Random Stamp set - that one is the January 2015 Layers of Life Kit by Unity Stamp Co - I plan on using it in my art journal
Koi Watercolor Field Set - I always have this watercolor set with me - it has 24 colors and comes with a fantastic water brush.  That way I always have some way of coloring something.  And I have been known to break it out and paint on paper tablecloths at restaurants!!

 In the pockets of my bag I carry:

Various paint brushes & palette knives
A couple of sponge daubers
Black & white paint pens
Stamp Blocks - 3 sizes
Another random stamp or 2
Sharp Scissors
A Water Mister
Black & White acrylic paint
Molding Paste - 2 tubes... I actually thought 1 was Fiber Paste - will need to change that!
Large Ranger Archival Ink Pad in Jet Black
Elmers Craft Bond Glue stick - the best little glue stick I've found yet
Color Box pigment ink pads in Frost White & Black
and my set of Neocolor II Watercolor Crayons

Like I said, this is kind of a "light" load for me, but I really only have the one set of ATCs which are very simple in materials and my journal.  Often there is a lot more.  I am so impressed with this bag though - it holds so many things and I keep stuffing it fuller and fuller!  The only drawback is the straps aren't long enough to put over your shoulder... otherwise it is fantastic.

That's all I can think of for today y'all.  See ya next time!
Happy creating!!


  1. Wow i am really impressed with your mobile art supplies. You almost fit in a whole studio in there :) Lovely...

  2. Thank you. I try the fit in as much as I can and still be able to lift it!


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