10 Mar 2016

Essential Supplies for a Travel Lettering Kit

At home, I’ve got a great lettering set up. I’ve got a nice big desk, a comfy chair, and drawers of storage so all of my (many) art supplies are right at my fingertips. But some months it seems like I spend more weekends away from home than not, which can make continuing to practice lettering tough, since I can’t take my entire home office with me! Over the years, I’ve developed a travel lettering kit that is full of essential supplies to make sure I keep practicing, whether I’m spending the day at the park or a week in another country.

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Moleskine Notebook (5 x 8.25)

Moleskine notebooks have an outstanding reputation for being a great sketchbook. Beyond containing high-quality drawing paper, they also have the added benefit of an elastic closure and a hard cover. I love that the notebook stays securely closed, protecting my drawings and blank pages from getting crumpled in my bag! If you go with a gridded or dotted notebook, you can probably even get away without packing a ruler in your travel supplies.

Pencil Bag

I use an old makeup bag as my pencil bag, and it’s the perfect size. And it didn’t cost me any additional money, so bonus! If you have an old pencil pouch or makeup bag lying around, use what you have. This bag fits all of my basic supplies and more, so I have enough supplies with me even for a long trip.

Micron Pens (full set of liners)

I keep a dedicated set of Micron Pens in my travel bag so I never forget a size! I use the smaller sizes for fine details and the larger sizes for fills and larger letters, so I like to keep every size with me, including a Graphic 1 for big fill areas.

Lead Holder

I don’t like to bring #2 pencils with me on trips because without fail, the lead snaps. I have a sharpener to fix that, but the frugal person in me always gets frustrated over wasted materials. With a lead holder, I can slide the lead fully into the the holder when I put it in the travel bag, so the tip is fully protected. No wasted lead! Plus, if I’m going on a very long trip, packing extra lead takes up less room than an extra pencil.  

Lead Sharpener

Obviously, you’ll need to bring a way to keep your lead nice and sharp! The standard Staedtler lead sharpener is the perfect size to store in my pencil bag. If you want an even smaller option, this tiny little guy takes a little more effort but does a pretty good job!

Eraser

You’ll definitely want to bring an eraser to fix any stray lines, particularly if you’re going to attempt lettering in a car, train, or plane (turbulence be damned!). Any small eraser will do, but I like my Faber-Castell eraser that has a plastic enclosure. It protects my eraser from getting covered in ink should an accident happen in my pencil bag! Plus, when you have the eraser open the plastic casing gives you more surface area to grip.

Small Metal Ruler

I have a 6-inch metal ruler from college that has come in so handy for travel. It fits perfectly in my bag and is long enough for nearly all of the layouts I’d be tackling in a 5×8.25 Moleskine notebook. I find a metal ruler is best for travel because it’s flexible but sturdy, so it can handle being tossed around a bit in a travel bag without breaking.

Bonus: Brush Pens

Since I’ve got the room for it in my pencil bag, I always toss in a few brush pens for the road so I can stay on top of my brush calligraphy skills as well. Right now, I’ve been favoring Pentel Sign Pens or the Zig Cocoiro, but this option varies trip to trip!

No Excuses – You Can Practice Anywhere

When travel interrupts your routine, it can be easy to decide not to stick to a practice regimen. No matter where you’re going, this small lettering kit is sure to fit in any bag you bring. So no excuses – keep practicing!

What can’t-live-without lettering tool do you bring on trips?

  • Ariel

    Fantastic timing, Amber – I’m going out of town at the beginning of April and am already gazing in dismay at all the supplies I’d want with me. This should help me plan!

    • Amber Garner

      Just the essentials! No more, no less 🙂 You’ll drive yourself nuts taking all the things!