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Is Your Art Case Drowning in Chaos? Tips You Need to Know

Is Your Art Case Drowning in Chaos? Tips You Need to Know

What Should You Have in Your Art Case?

As a professional artist, I understand the struggle of carrying around a bulky and cluttered mobile paint case. Unfortunately, it's a situation we often find ourselves in, leaving it unattended until the weight becomes unbearable and closing it feels like a Herculean task.
Today, I want to share my experience and give you some insights and suggestions into what you should have in your art case to make it more organised, efficient, and enjoyable.

Here's What's in my Case Right Now -

  • Selection of paints, some tubes with caps missing
  • A string of gold beads (I don’t know why they’re there?)
  • Lost caps off paint tubes; must replace them!
  • A pack of gold leaf, half the pages bent in the corner
  • Gold leaf size with the lid all covered in dried gummy bits
  • Brush holder with a selection of brushes in it
  • An Artist's apron with paint stains on it
  • An empty glass jar with paint dribbles down the side
  • A sponge
  • Pot scrub (It’s for texture finishes, ok!)
  • Dropper bottle
  • Spray bottle half filled with water
  • Small cardboard box
  • Remnants of glitter in the corners
  • Palette knives in an assortment of sizes (Opps one is rusty.)
  • Pen (Doesn’t work.)
  • Three pencils (Two need sharpening.)
  • Eraser (In quite bad nick, must replace it!)
  • Sticking plasters
  • Chapstick
  • Set of pastel pencils
  • Scissors
  • Pad of disposable palette sheets with dog-eared corners (Must straighten it up one day!)
  • The $2 coin must have been for parking, I guess
  • Name badge from some course I did ages ago
  • Dried-up glue stick
  • Leaf skeletons
  • A couple of screws
  • Screwdriver
  • One D ring (I should top those up.)
  • A scrap of material (Not sure what that was for.)
  • Hand towel with paint all over it
  • Photos of my cat
  • Seven business cards, three of which are mine
  • Receipt for varnish from Art shop (Need that for end-of-year tax.)
  • Half a ruler (I don’t know where the other half is, ok!)
  • A red button
  • Notebook
  • And last but most definitely least, a dead fly hmmm that has to go right!)

Let's Look at This a Bit Closer

First and foremost, let's talk about the essentials: paints. Of course, as an artist, you'll want to have a selection of your favourite paint in your case. However, be mindful of tubes with missing caps. It's essential to replace them to prevent your paints from drying out.
A disposable paper palette pad is indispensable when it comes to cleaning up while out and about.

A brush holder with a selection of brushes is a must. The one I have is a foldable one that flips in half, providing a stand that makes it easier to select a brush when I need it. It's always a good idea to have an artist's apron in your case, but if it has paint stains, it might be worth giving it a good wash or considering a replacement.

An empty glass jar with paint dribbling down the side can be helpful for water or mixing colours, but remember to clean it out before packing it back in. I have a super cool foldable rubber brush jar that helps save space and is much less risky to carry around than glass.

Working in Mixed Media?

To enhance your artwork, consider including a pack of gold leaf. However, check if any pages are bent in the corners, as this can affect their usability. Similarly, ensure your gold leaf-size container is clean and free from dried gummy bits, providing it's ready for use whenever inspiration strikes.

For adding texture to your artwork, include a sponge and a pot scrub. A pot scrub can be a handy tool for creating different finishes. And remember to have a dropper bottle and a spray bottle half-filled with water to assist with various painting techniques.

Drawing Bits and Pieces

Keep a pen, some pencils, and a pencil sharpener, plus a replacement eraser in your case, as you can guarantee one will disappear. These writing and drawing tools are handy for sketching or jotting down ideas.
Personal Items
Sticking plasters may seem out of place, but it's always good to be prepared for unexpected accidents. As for the chapstick, well, we all need to take care of our lips, even while engrossed in our artistic endeavours.

Other Stuff

I find it's a good idea to have a small cardboard box in your art case to keep small stuff organised because this box can serve as a storage solution for items, such as remnants of glitter or loose leaf skeletons that are at risk of breaking since they're so super fragile.

Speaking of organisation, palette knives in an assortment of sizes are indispensable. However, if you find one is rusty, consider replacing it to avoid any unwanted rust effects on your artwork.
To explore different techniques, consider adding a set of pastel pencils. They can add a unique touch to your artwork. And keep a pair of scissors for any necessary cutting tasks, especially for mixed media items.

Useless Stuff

Now let's delve into the miscellaneous items that may have found their way into your art case. It's not uncommon to stumble upon a name badge from a past course, a dried-up glue stick, a string of gold beads, or even a couple of screws and a screwdriver.

While these items may seem out of place, they somehow found their temporary home among your art supplies. Assess their relevance and remove what doesn't contribute to your artistic process.

If you stumble upon a scrap of material, try to recall its purpose. If it no longer serves a creative function, it's time to bid it farewell.

A hand towel with paint all over it is a sign of a dedicated artist. However, consider washing it or replacing it to keep things fresh.

It's understandable to have photos of loved ones in your art case, such as your cat. They can be a source of inspiration and remind you of the beauty beyond your artwork. Mine are there because I use them for my pet portrait artwork, but you know what I mean, right?

In terms of networking, having business cards is crucial. Ensure you have enough, and remember to update the information. As for any receipts for art supplies, keep them handy for your end-of-year tax preparations.
What about the half-ruler with no matching partner?

It might be more of a frustration than a helpful tool, so consider replacing it or finding its missing half to restore its functionality. And as for the mysterious red button, it's up to you to decide its fate. If it holds sentimental value or sparks your creativity, keep it.

At the end of the Day

As you clean out your mobile art case, consider excluding non-essential items to make it easier to transport. And by refining your selection, you'll create a more streamlined and efficient setup, allowing you to focus on your art without unnecessary distractions.
Remember, your art case should reflect your creativity and professionalism. With a well-organised and curated collection of supplies, you'll be ready to seize any artistic opportunity that comes your way. Happy painting!

Posted: Monday 17 May 2010


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