My loves, as many of you know, I started my journey with the Acer Swift 7 back in late June of this year, and since then, it has completely revolutionized how I run my business on the go and in the air. Since so many of you have asked me throughout the year about my studio essentials when I travel, I thought, “Why not put together a holiday shopping guide for the traveling artist that showcases everything I use?” Below is a compilation of my can’t-live-without items to gift yourself or the nomadic illustrator in your life this holiday season.
1. Acer Swift 7:
I’ve had 4 months with my Acer Swift 7 and it is every bit as lightweight and easy to work with as I had hoped it would be. I brought this beauty with me on my London sabbatical this summer, to San Francisco for the launch of my RC wine labels at the start of fall, and on my most recent trip to Mexico City and Oaxaca just a couple of weeks ago. Not once did I have to worry about the battery dying while I was working in-flight or while tucked away in remote cafes burning through deadlines. It also has shaved a good 10 pounds off my personal handbag luggage weight.
Shop my Acer Swift 7 here: https://amzn.to/2PBPXTR
2. Canson Sketch Pad (11 x 14 in, 65 lb):
I’m often asked about the type of sketch pad I use when I travel, and truthfully, I prefer something all-purpose and cheap. I tend to get too precious with my art when I buy expensive paper. This particular Canson sketch pad fits in my carry-on, has a fine texture to it, and is relatively inexpensive as far as art paper goes. Though it is meant for dry media, in my long experience using this paper, it holds up extremely well with inks, gouache, and markers. This is not, however, meant for true watercolor. You can find it at any Blick store in NYC or online.
3. Tombow Markers:
I’ve been using these markers for the better part of a decade. I was introduced to them during my first fashion illustration lifestyle sketch class at FIT. They glide on the paper quickly to capture gestures and can blend into gorgeous washes with a little bit of brush and water. That makes them particularly great for travel, since they can act as both marker and paint, and you don’t need a palette or table set up. I also find them to be perfect for catching subtle skin tones in portraits and figures, and they can provide a really nice base outline for your sketches that will blend in after water and paint.
4. Winsor & Newton Gouaches:
Next to Tombow markers, these gouaches are the perfect paint to travel with. They have the potential to act like a watercolor or acrylic and are super easy to pack in your carry-on with their 14 ml tubes. If I can make a suggestion, it would be to ensure you have your primary red, yellow, blue, black, and white to mix your orange, green, and purple and bump the colors up or down with the neutrals. That also ensures you aren’t bulking up on too many supplies.
5. 1/2″ Princeton Angular Shader Brush:
If I had to choose one brush to paint with for the rest of my life, I would choose this one. It allows you to achieve both thick and thin lines and will whisk out at the end of a brush stroke due to the angled bristles. I would advise toying with it to ensure you feel comfortable, but more often than not, I’ll bring just this one brush with me and capture the finer details with my colored pencils.
6. Caran d’Ache Colored Pencils:
And speaking of colored pencils, I look no further than Swiss brand Caran d’Ache when it comes to my go-to essentials. This particular pack has 120 colors to choose from! I love them because they are water-resistant (I’m really not fond of colored pencils or lead bleeding with my paints) and I’m always guaranteed to find a color to match whatever base coat I’m outlining and edges I’m defining.
7. Personal Phone for Photography:
I think it goes without saying that I’m always traveling with my phone, but it’s important to note that I photograph all my artwork on my travels and email the images to myself to clean up on my Acer Swift 7. A lot of people might assume that I’m dragging around a scanner, but that just isn’t practical for short trips. Though you might not need to buy a new phone this season, I did want to include it since it’s part of my essential art supplies.
And there you have it, friends – my holiday shopping guide for the nomadic illustrator. I hope this was helpful, and do let me know if you have any questions on the above!
Much love and happy holidays!
All Photos by Laredo Montoneri.