My Bag As It Now Hangs Under My Drawing Table

I wrote this Blog before the social distancing hit that we’re all facing. It seems so quaint now. Me rambling on about a commute that I no longer can do. Oh well, here we go.

One of the things I’ve been working on lately is to make an art bag fo being on the go. Or commuting. Mostly commuting since I’ve been in NYC for two days a week recently. Since my commute isn’t during rush hour (at least on the way in) the train time table doesn’t match up with my time table so I have time to wait at the station and do some drawing. So I need some art supplies with me.

All last year I carried my Just-Stow-It art bag that I bought many years ago. It’s a bag specifically designed for artists and I like it but it’s a pretty big bag. It’d designed to carry 14×17 inch pads of paper so it’s bigger than your average bag. I like that about it but for this art bag I wanted something smaller. Plus my art bag is beginning to fall apart (I bought it in 2009). I had to sew the shoulder straps last year as they were beginning to tear off the bag. Not a good sign. The art bag is also black nylon and I prefer a canvas bag. I like the feel of canvas better.

The other problem I had was that I had to pack the bag with art supplies every day. My art supplies: pens, paper, markers, erasers, and such all have their place that I keep them in my studio so I’d pack them in the bag and then have to unpack them so they were back in place for when I needed them at home. That was kind of annoying. So I wanted to put together a set of art supplies to just keep in the new art bag. Fist I had to figure out what supplies.

A couple of years ago I bought a modular type art supply bag. It’s around 6×9 inches and is supposed to hold pens and paper on its own and then you stick that in another bag. I wanted to use it to hold my 5.5×8.5 inch sketchbook but the bag is a little too small for it. I think that’s why it’s been sitting on the shelf for years. But it will hold some of my cartoon art card stuff. I have a small aluminum art card case and that fits right in a sleeve on the from of the bag. Along with that I fit a sign pen, a mechanical pencil, a lettering marker, a kneaded eraser, and some flat portable reading glasses. It is good to go.

I ended up being a messenger style canvas sling bag that’s 10.2×13.6×4.4 inches. That’s about half the size of my Just-Stow-It art bag and was just about what I wanted. It had a bunch of pockets to put things in and I had to decide what I was going to keep in it. I wanted to be able to grab it and go so it had to have permanent supplies in it. At first I threw everything I could in it but then I narrowed down the stuff. I put a small photo tripod, a small flashlight, a small Swiss Army style knife, a D-Ring, small headphones, mints, a train schedule, and a lease cleaning pen in the bag. Along with the modular art supply bag these are my go stuff.

I wanted to put some more stuff in there too so I wanted another modular bag. They made a bigger one so I ordered one. It was only after I ordered it that I though to check the size of it. Fo some reason I assumed it would fit but when I got it the size was a smidge too big. The canvas bag is 10.2 inches tall and the modular bag is 10.5 inches tall. It does fit in with the corners bent but it’s not ideal. It is big enough to fit a couple of file folders I need to have with me. As long as I bend over the tabs.

Since I’ve been working on my art cards while at the train station I wanted to carry some color markers with me. I have a ton of markers at home but since I don’t want to be packing and unpacking the bag I needed more markers for it. Not a lot. I got some Pitt Artist Brush markers. I wanted to use tham because they’re India ink based markers. They’re different from my usual Copic alcohol based markers. I got a couple of the six marker sets. A blue set and a flesh tone set. They fit well in the pockets of the larger modular bag. I’ll probably need some more stuff to go in there but I’m not sure what just yet,

The one thing that goes in my bag and always messes up my packing is my camera. It’s a Canon Powershot SX60 that I bought back in 2015 and I use it to take street photos when I’m in the city. The problem in that it’s about 5x5x4 inches. So it sits on the bottom of the bag and bulges out. That’s less of a problem when I’m heading into the city to specifically take street photos but as an everyday camera it’s less than ideal. I’m looking to buy a new smaller camera to carry in the bag but the one I want costs about $400 dollars so it’ll take a while to save up for it.

One other thing I had to do with the new canvas bag was to waterproof it. Or at least water resistant it. A couple of weeks ago as I was walking to Penn Station I got caught in a downpour. I was carrying my Just-Stow-It art bag which I thought was waterproof but turned out to be closer to water resistant. The stuff in the inner compartment was dry but I had my inkbook in an outer compartment at that got damp. It wasn’t a disaster. Only the edges of a handful of pages got wet but it still annoyed me. This was a twenty minute walk in a downpour so it was really worse case scenario.

My new canvas bag wasn’t waterproof at all. So I ordered some waterproofing spray that was for boat canvas. That ended up driving up the price of my $35 bag to $50 but I knew what I was in for if I didn’t. I gave the bag two coats of the spray and that seemed to do the trick. I’m still going to avoid the rain though. Plus I have enough spray to give it a couple of coats ever year for a few years. Here’s to art on the go.