Is There Anything Worse than Losing Your Sketchbag?

The last year of the Before Times, I almost lost my sketchbag. Lucky for me the coffee shop where I had mindlessly left it, put it behind the counter and I was able to retrieve it.

More recently, in the After Times, I haven’t been so lucky. I’d hadn’t taken my main bag out throughout the pandemic and rarely after it. When I found out that Laurel and Marc Holmes were coming to visit I decided that I should prep for the occasion and, eeeek…I couldn’t find my sketch bag.

I don’t really know when I lost it. I’ve been carrying my tiny bag and I couldn’t remember the last time I’d used the big one. What I did know was that it was missing, along with a couple sketchbooks, my good travel brushes and paint kit, a couple fountain pens and mechanical pencils and the rest of the bag’s contents.

I’m putting a new sketchbag together – this time a backpack. I decided to go this way so I could carry my WalkStool or tripod in it rather than carry those in my hand. I’m still working out how to use it but here’s what it looks like so far.

The main bag: It’s a Samsonite backpack that seems particularly suitable as a sketchbag because of all its storage segments.

Front Pouch: This is where all the pens, pencils, and waterbrushes go. Lots of room for expansion here. Not necessarily a good thing 🙂

Small pouch: I use this for clips, kneaded eraser and such

Main section: This is the big space. It’s got some storage pouches in the back but I’ve reserved the main space for my WalkStool or tripod. I’ve also got one of those roll-up seat pads that I use mostly when it’s been raining and benches or ground are wet. Notice the small pouch at the front of the pouch. I use this to carry small pieces of watercolor paper.

Back pouch: I looooove this section. I think it’s for a laptop but it’s just dandy for carrying my backing boards and larger format papers. I also keep my paint kit in this section. Carrying 9x12s was impossible with my old bag. Not anymore.

Paint Kit: As the name implies, this holds my palette, brushes and paper towels. Water is contained in Nalgen containers in the side pockets of the backpack.

Now all I’ve got to do is train my brain to know where I put everything. While sketching with Laurel and Marc I found myself opening ever section to find stuff. For me, getting use to a backpack instead of a messenger bag will also take some time. The whole thing only weighs about five pounds, though, and my shoulder is less tired after a long session. But I can’t retrieve stuff from it without removing it like I did with the messenger bag so It’s not as convenient for stand-up sketching.

9 thoughts on “Is There Anything Worse than Losing Your Sketchbag?

    • ..that’s true. This is why I have a small bag as a daily carry. But when I go for a longer session, I need to be prepared. With this pack I’ll be able to drop in gouache or oils, a portable easel, tripod and I can be a plein air painter 🙂

  1. Maybe your old kit will still turn up. I was constantly losing thing in the During Times and I never left the house!

  2. It’s fascinating to me that as my bag and sketch kit keep getting smaller, yours is getting bigger! 😉 I downsized to a small bag at the beginning of the pandemic, and I got to like it so much that I hardly ever carry my larger, former “daily-carry” bag anymore. I also downsized all the tools and materials to fit in the small bag, and only occasionally miss some things I took out. I’ll look forward to hearing how your new backpack goes!

    • I suppose that’s true. My main bag has always carried a lot of pointy devices and sketchbooks. My lost bag had everything I needed except the ability to carry 9×12 format. I can’t find a direct replacement so I had to do something else.
      My daily carry bag, however, is fairly small and the equipment is minimal, mostly because I want it to be a no fuss everyday carry. Maybe I should take photos of it too 🙂

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