Monday, May 7, 2018

Wish List Item Fulfilled: Sketch Tool Organizer!

Wish list item fulfilled!

Shortly after Christmas last year, I drew up a wish list of sketching materials and accessories that still elude me. The last item on my list was an upright, slotted sketch tool case that would attach to the inside of my Rickshaw bag with Velcro. A supplement to my Tran Portfolio Pencil Case, which holds all my colored pencils upright, the case I was looking for would hold all the other tools that don’t fit in the Tran’s skinny elastic loops. I even designed it and drew the pattern – but I needed someone to make it for me. I finally found that someone – and serendipitously, it was through the Field Nuts Facebook group!

It all started with a Field Notes trucker hat that I had offered up for swap. While negotiating the trade, I learned that the woman I was chatting with had an Etsy shop – filled with handmade garments, bags and accessories with a charming sensibility. Hmmm, this woman is creative and can sew . . . ? I proposed my idea – and she accepted!
The front slots have small pleats to give them more dimensional space.
A few weeks later, I am the very pleased owner of a unique sketch tool organizer that was custom-made for me by Brynn James. Although she worked from the pattern I had designed, she improved my original concept by making the slots more dimensional so that the tools would fit together better. It also accommodates more types of tools now. Even a fat Faber-Castell Pitt Big Brush Marker fits easily. All my usual daily-carry implements – which stagger nicely to minimize bulk – fit comfortably with room to spare (and I’m trying hard not to keep filling the available slots!).

Attached to the Rickshaw bag with Velcro
All Rickshaw messenger bags come with a wide Velcro strip on one inner wall. When I designed the pattern, I hadn’t thought about how tall brand-new Blackwing pencils are, so I attach the organizer to the lower half of the strip. It’s still fully secure. Because it’s made of several layers of fabric, the organizer is sturdy but also flexible. It conforms to the bag’s natural curve when the outer pockets are filled with my glasses, keys and phone.

On the bag’s opposite wall is a sketchbook and the Tran, and in between is my “purse stuff” (held together with a Cocoon Grid-It).
Top view of bag with everything in place

The bonus? In addition to everything else she makes, Brynn is also a textile designer, and she designed the lovely floral fabric. It goes beautifully with both the neon lime lining of my waterproof Rickshaw and the orange lining of my “summer” Rickshaw. Seeing all that color inside my bag just makes me smile!

It looks beautiful in both bags!
I took it out for its first road test a few days ago, and it works exactly as I’d hoped – and intended! All the tools are visible, upright and in easy reach. Really, that’s not so much to ask for, right?

So – one wish list item fulfilled! And there’s more good news – Brynn may start carrying the sketch tool organizer in her Etsy shop!

Here's my original pattern that I sent to Brynn, which she improved in the final product.


  1. Wow!!! Don’t you just love it when things work out so well?

  2. What a nice addition to your bag!

  3. What a great to access AND protect your art/sketching tools! I will order one from Brynn on her Etsy page. I also sew and have a sewing and embroidery machine. May try to make some personalized ones or at least cheerful embroideries that fortify the sewing and add to the fun.

    1. If you sew, I'd think you'd want to make your own! You could customize it to your heart's content for all the tools you specifically carry. That would definitely be fun as well as practical!


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