Travel Illustration Kit




About: Quirky gifts, colorful paintings, detailed drawings, silly graphics--I do it all.

An artistic friend of mine was gearing up for a trip to the woods, so I made her a travel illustration kit with drawing pencils, charcoal, an eraser, watercolors, brushes, India ink, a pencil sharpener, an empty jar for water, a travel-sized towel, a watercolor paper pad, and a sketch pad.

​About a month ago, I found this sickly wooden box in the trash at some house that was being demolished near our neighborhood. A hideous decoupaged rose adorned the top of the box and the bottom was falling off, but I am a total sucker for well-worn vessels of any kind. The container made its way home with me, and inside the lid was a faded, silver-leafed cameo with the penciled-in date of 1923 (which I thought was pretty cool). I scraped the rose off the top, gave the whole box a once-over with sandpaper, and refinished the exterior with some wood oil.

The small watercolor kit was made by fitting cut popsicle sticks in the interior of an old mints tin and filling in the spaces with artist watercolors. The tin had a bank logo on the lid, so I hot glued a piece of leather to cover the logo and added a little "watercolors" label. 

​Drawing pencils were cut to length and sharpened.

​ For the books, I simply cut down a larger sketchbook to fit inside the lid. I found the sketchbook in a trashcan when I was walking home from work awhile ago. The book had significant water damage on the bottom edges of the paper; I'm really glad I was finally able to find a use for the undamaged part of the book. The watercolor pad is bound together using leather cord and each page is scored for easy tearing. A small bit of elastic is stapled to the inside of the lid to keep the sketch book and watercolor pad in place, and I glued some scrap leather over the staples to keep things visually tidy.

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    10 Discussions

    Ditto to having a "cool friend like you". I'd also like to live in a neighborhood like yours; mostly anything in a rubbish bin 'round me is just... err, rubbish!

    I draw and paint but when I feel like taking a couple of pencils and a note pad along, I end up with a heavy backpack. Worse still, I rarely use anywhere near all the things I've hauled along. Having someone provide a ready-made kit could be the answer. Or maybe I just need to bring some self-discipline with me:)


    5 years ago on Introduction

    Yeah no problem. I draw alot so I know how tough it is to carry things around, and I would've never thought of anything like this. And I like making stuff but I never know what to make so I was just curious about how you get your insperation (which you told me)


    5 years ago

    How do you come up with ideas for the things that you make?

    1 reply

    Usually the things I make are intended as gifts for someone specific, so the gift receiver serves as the inspiration for making. For this project, a friend of mine expressed the desire to do more illustration work, and she was preparing for a relaxing vacation in the woods. I thought a compact little art kit would be a nice thing for her to take on the trip.