I knew, when I went to America last October, that I wanted to draw while I was there (I draw every day) and, if possible, to keep a sketch-journal. I’d done this once before, in Melbourne when /Karen/ and I went to Continuum and met Neil Gaiman and Robin Hobb and I had been putting it off doing it again until an occasion justifying the purchase of a Moleskine sketchbook (that first was a present from Deb).
This is what I generally keep in my handbag: Debden notebook (indexed), Moleskine sketchbook, diary, another sketchbook and notebook if I’m in transition, an exercise book if I’m in the middle of a first draft, scratch paper with drawings on the back which I have forgotten to take out and file, a packet of monochrome Pitt markers, a packet of earth tone Pitt markers (new arrival), a pencil box with Prismacolors and a mechanical pencil, a pencil sharpener with shaving catcher. That’s my everyday handbag. If I’m going somewhere art-related after work, I may take another bag with charcoal and pastel pencils, kneadable eraser, water colour pencils, travel watercolours and a larger sketchbook. If I’m going home for the weekend, there will also be at least a document box of paints, paint brush roll, rubber stamp blanks, corner cutter, lino carving tools, stamp pads, dip pen, bottles of ink, more sketchbooks, some pads of paper, watercolour postcards, canvas boards, glue, scissors, fancy paper, scrapbook, ruler, etc.
All this for someone who does most of her drawings in biro on memo pad.
Since I was planning to travel relatively lightly (interesting fact: my total luggage weighed in less than the change in my weight in the last two years) it was impractical to pack on the usual scale.
In the end, I took advantage of large ziplock bags and packed: Unipin pens, Pitt markers, glue stick, scissors, Prismacolour pencils, watercolour pencils, a few inexpensive paintbrushes, numbered stickers, blank labels and index cards and a mechanical pencil.
I agonised over the sketchbook/notebook/diary/travel journal situation until the night before we left, and settled on an A5 moleskine sketchbook for everything related to the trip and my usual debden notebook for everything else (ideas, fiction, notes, transient stuff), with a moleskine cahier for backup (not needed).
If you can’t wait to see how it ends, the journal is up as a set on Flickr: USA 2007 Moleskine.