Monday, July 14, 2014

My Final Answer: The Tote Wins

Simple tote on the left, trusty Rickshaw Zero messenger
bag on the right.
Shari Blaukopf’s two-day workshop was a very close approximation of conditions I’ll probably encounter during the symposium and general travel: Although I had my car with me, it was parked far enough away from the sketch locations that going back to it during the workshop would have been time-consuming and inconvenient, so I needed to have with me everything that I might need for a whole day. Temperatures were in the high 80s, so I had to have a hat, sunscreen and a large water bottle, plus a snack for the long days. In addition to my usual “Stefano” sketchbook, I wanted to have a large watercolor pad, a full-size watercolor palette recommended by Shari (not my usual tiny Trader Joe’s mint tin and tiny mixing tray) and a plastic cup to rinse out traditional brushes (I resisted using a waterbrush). I also needed my portable stool.

I shoved all of that (more stuff than I’ll be bringing to Brazil) into a simple muslin tote – the same one I used last week during a few dry runs. I had all my other sketch supplies and usual “purse stuff” in my Rickshaw Bagworks Zero messenger bag, as always. As the workshop moved from one sketch location to another and to and from lunch, I carried it all with comfort and ease. While sketching, I threw the tote down at my feet without caring whether it got dirty. Although its unstructured form has no pockets or dividers, the mostly large items it contained were easy to identify by touch.

Rickshaw Bagworks Velo backpack
During transport to Brazil, I’ll put my trusty Rickshaw Zero bag and all of its usual contents into my Rickshaw Velo backpack, along with my tablet, water bottle, snacks and other things I’ll want to have with me on the long flight. (My sketch supplies won’t be as conveniently accessible at my side as they usually are, but I don’t suppose I’ll encounter any goslings to sketch spontaneously while at the airport anyway.) Meanwhile, the empty tote will be folded or scrunched in the bottom of my rollerbag, awaiting my needs upon arrival.

That’s it. Come hell or high water, the Rickshaw/tote combo is what I’m taking to Brazil, and I declare my travel sketch bag issue officially resolved!

(No, I have no affiliation with Rickshaw Bagworks – I just love everything Ive bought from them!)


  1. Looks like your hands are free to sketch the world!

  2. my art supply purchases are totally driven by Tina's favorite art materials list :) and i'm yet to be disappointed: love my RIckshaw Zero bag, and indeed i also use this bag/tote combo while sketching outside


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