What’s In My Travel Art Kit

travel art kit, portable art kit, diy travel art kit, portable art, art supplies for travel

Dear Wonderful, Creative You:

I am really passionate about making art on the go. Whether I’m camping for a week in the woods, in NYC for the weekend, or waiting in the doctor’s office, a travel art kit helps me put so much more art play time in my life. People ask me all the time about what’s in my travel art kit, so I want to share what I put it in and how and when I use it.

See this teeny little art kit? This is the small version. Now of course, the even more minimal version is the small journal and pen I carry in my purse daily, but any other time I might have a few minutes to create, I take a small travel art kit.

The most important thing to remember is that if your travel art kit is not portable, you won’t carry it. And if you don’t carry it, you won’t use it. So keep it small and carry it!

Mini Travel Art Kit

For weekends, day hikes, afternoons at the museum, or long waits at the doctor’s office, I’ll bring a mini travel art kit like this one:

Here’s some of the supplies I carry in my small art kit:

Small journal with hard cover like this Moleskine.

Watercolor brush with well of water.

Travel watercolor set. I made mine with a small tin, bottle caps, and squeezed in my own watercolors.

Drawing pens

Posca White paint marker

Fun and sassy recycled plastic zip pouches from Blue Q

Large Travel Art Kit

For a week’s vacation, art retreat, or an art date with friends, I’ll bring a slightly larger version of the mini kit. Again, I try to limit the supplies I bring because I want to be sure I’m willing to carry it around. As an added bonus, when you bring less art supplies, it creates boundaries that force you to push your own creative boundaries.

Another version of my travel art kit is to carry a mini version of my paper cutting supplies. If I am not flying, have good stretches of time and no tiny hands wandering, I’ll bring a tiny cutting board, Excel knife, and small scale paper cutting project.

Make Art a Priority

I’m a big believer in the idea that you have time for what is important to you. Everyone IS busy, but paying attention to how you spend your time can often reveal how you waste time on things you don’t really value. I’m guilty of this too.

If the idea of being more purposeful with your time speaks to you, you might decide to try this experiment:

Carry a travel art kit all week this week. Use it for 5 minutes here and there over the next week. At the end of the week, spend 5 minutes writing about your experience, both what it was like to make art at different times during the day, but also what you learned about how you are spending your time.

Looking for Ideas to Make a Little Art Each Day?

For ideas on what to do in your journal, I’ve got just the thing. Starting August 19th, 2019, I’ll be running a 5-day Inchie Challenge.

The idea is to make a small piece of art every day for 5 days. If you sign up below, I’ll send you my Inchie Challenge PDF workbook with tons of fun ideas on how to organize your small art by themes or projects, as well as some emails that will help you prep for daily creativity, in just a few minutes. We will get you creating now, during the challenge, and beyond!

Here’s How I Make Use of My Travel Art Kit

On our drive up to Acadia last week, we stopped for lunch in Camden, ME. We ate under some beautiful birch trees, and I got to admire the color and texture of the bark, as well as the hydrangea blooms nearby. Before we hit the road, I had a chance to draw for just a few minutes.

I didn’t try to complete the drawing, just capture a sense for reference. These small stolen moments are a delicious way to insert more art in my life, and build inspiration in my journals. You can do this too!

Daily creating is about keeping your art alive, making starting easier, and strengthening your practice of creative action.

Drawing What I See

Once we arrived at our campsite, I could see I had a wonderful space in which to create. I often had a bit of time to draw and paint in the morning while my son played.

Working on Art in Progress

Frequently I create new art pieces when I’m on vacation, even if they are small, but I also enjoy tinkering with some pieces that are in process and need just a few minutes more of my time.

Making Illustrated Lists

Another way I love to use my journal while traveling is to plan out the activities we will do on vacation. Illustrated lists are fun! For this one, we all came up with the ideas, I wrote and drew the pictures, and my son helped me color them in.

Completing a Small Art Challenge

This U project was an amazing way to create in short bursts of time. During the day I looked for U’s in nature and design elements, and then plugged them into the squares here. There are 100 in total so far.

As you can see, I keep my travel art kit supplies limited, and work small. I find working small is playful, precious, and invites me to begin. That’s why this month I’m hosting an Inchie Challenge, and I’d love for you to join.

What’s an inchie, you ask?

An inchie is any piece of art, a few inches in size or smaller. For the purposes of this challenge, it’s 3 inches or less.

Join us! You can participate by creating a piece of small art each day from August 19 – 23rd, 2019 and posting it with #mindfulartstudio and tagging me @amymaricle

I can’t wait to see what tiny creations you make!

Creatively Yours,



  1. Amy B Fratto

    I’m heading up to Bar Harbor in another week. This is very timely as I am trying to figure out what I want to bring from a creativity stand point. I will be putting together a travel kit to bring as well as one for my kids to each have. It will be good for the trip up and back as well as while we are there.

    • Amy Johnson Maricle

      Hi Amy: Oh! You will have such fun! I’m so happy I could help and tag me if you share anything you create, I’d love to see!
      XO Amy

  2. vikki

    thank you !!! Love your mini travel art kits and your U drawings.
    Peace, love, and Mindfulness, Vikki

    • Amy Johnson Maricle

      Hey Vikki:

      Oh that’s amazing to hear. Thank you so much for taking the time to say so. Happy creating!

      XO Amy

  3. Marion

    Thanks for the great reminder about the patterns we can see in nature and so ften overlook. I’ve sometimes made pencil rubbings of bark on a tree – it’s almost like being there again.

    • Amy Johnson Maricle

      HI Marion: Oh I LOVE the idea of the bark rubbings. How very fun! Can’t wait to hear more about what happens with your travel art kit!


  4. Diane

    I LOVE your small travel kit that fits in the little zipper pouch. That’s exactly what I’m looking for!! Thank you!!

    • Amy Maricle

      YAY I’m so glad to hear it Diane! XO

  5. Saalik

    Loved the two page spread of branches and leaves. I am looking to start some ‘therapeutic’ art but can’t picture how to start.

    Keep posting..


    • Amy Maricle

      Hey Saalik:

      Oh I’m so happy you liked it! There’s lots of ways to use art for well being. I have a class that is a great starting place and will lead you step by step.
      Art Journaling 101 Happy creating!

  6. Suzie Amelia Kline

    I googled your travel kit and found such a treasure here! It’s inspiring to see what you’ve done and I’m bringing your words and art with me as I prepare my own travel art kit for an upcoming trip! Thanks, Amy!

    • Amy Maricle

      YAY so fun! I hope it serves you well Amelia! XO

  7. Gretta

    Funny I’m heading up to Harpswell Maine on August 14th!

    • Amy Maricle

      I hope you have a wonderful trip in that beautiful land, Gretta! xo

  8. Anne

    I love the inch studies with U’s
    I will be teaching a class with patterns from Nature and you are an inspiration. Thank you for always finding beauty … inch by inch!

    • Amy Maricle

      I’m so happy I could offer some inspiration Anne! XO

  9. Rebecca

    I like the way you simplified your art travel bag. I bring way too much. Thanks for sharing the tips!

    • Amy Maricle

      Yes, for me bringing limited supplies is the key, especially if I’m busy with family and have limited time. Xo

  10. Marcia Sorini

    Thank you for your simplicity! I tend to overpack and never take anything out
    I think this will be doable for our upcoming trip to Croatia. I like the idea of
    making a list of your day and coloring it in.

    • Amy Maricle

      Hi Marcia – What an amazing trip – I hope you record it all! xo

  11. Penny

    I’m really looking forward to the Inchie Challenge. I want to push my slow drawings to a new level. Can’t wait already!

    • Amy Maricle

      HI Penny:

      Oh I’m so excited for you! It’s going to be so much fun.

  12. Laura Reichert

    This is the year 2023…I am late to the game but wanted to know if you could send me the Inchie Challenge PDF workbook. I am starting an Inchie challenge for myself. You may email it at your convenience if you still have it available to send. 2 days a week every week of the rest of my life I have day-long infusions which keep me tied to an IV pole for almost 6 hours each day. Working small and simply will be the perfect way to spend my time artistically and creatively. I am new to your facebook followers and I am excited about learning from you and others.


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