A Curiously Small DIY Sketch Kit

This post is related to art supplies rather than a sketching excursion. One of the artists who attended our event on 11/15 mentioned a DIY (do it yourself) miniature art kit which was very intriguing to me. I want to sketch when traveling but don’t like to carry a lot of weight or bulky items. The DIY aspect seemed like a particularly appealing challenge especially for creative people – how to put together a customized and relatively inexpensive kit?

After browsing a variety of websites for ideas, I decided to start with the basics … an Altoids case. I purchased the mints at a local market and emptied the contents for future disposition (I’m not so keen on bathing my teeth in sugar!). After taking some measurements of the case I thought about my personal art habits and started to research whether the appropriate supplies are available for purchase in small sizes or able to be modified to a smaller presentation. I was quite surprised as to what is available “off the rack” … for example: crayons, watercolour pencils, pens, water vials, and watercolour paint sets.

After acquiring a sample of several items, I played with their fit into the Altoids case. With thought, quite a few items can be positioned in such a small space! At this time, I’m not sure what I want to include in my kit as I am a novice artist and haven’t developed strong preferences yet. But, the beauty of this arrangement is that it can be customized as tastes change. I included some photos of several arrangements in this post. It might not be clear, but some space was left for missing items I have not yet trimmed to size (chamois cloth, sponge, eraser, graphite pencil, etc.). I’ll publish a follow-up post when I have had some time to play with this setup a bit more. In the meantime, please share your ideas if you would like!

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4 Comments on “A Curiously Small DIY Sketch Kit”

  1. Kathryn Law says:

    What a nifty combination of small materials you’ve assembled! I’ve been using an Altoids (actually, Myntz–better quality tin, flat lid for mixing, and sugar-free candy!) palette for a couple years, with half- or full- pan watercolors or gouache. If you have Campanario’s book Art of Urban Sketching, page 27 shows one similar…but you have all these other neat implements too. I had never seen those tiny Caran D’Ache pencils!

    I’m new to the area, hoping to make it to the Sept. 12 gathering. Looking forward to it!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. AJ Tauber says:

    Thanks for your feedback, Kathryn! I am now using a slightly larger tin case which fits my favourite items much more easily. I’ll have it at the upcoming event if you care to take a peek. These larger tins are available at California state park gift shops (and probably elsewhere) … usually filled with chocolate. :) In my case, now that the original contents are gone (!), I can fit items that are longer in length and even carry a few business cards for our group.

    In any case, welcome to the area! We very much hope to see you on 9/12. Please contact us if you have any questions about the event. We’re happy to hear from you.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. AJ, it was really great meeting you and all the sketchers yesterday, what an enjoyable day and great photos on the blog! I look forward to the next time! In the meantime, I’m reachable using my first and last name as one word, at gmail and/or blogspot.


    • AJ Tauber says:

      Great to meet you too, Kathryn! Thanks for coming out. We enjoyed hearing about your adventures with ink … well done! We’ll be in touch soon with more information about the group. See you soon!


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