XO-LP // Laura Palmer


Love Letters to a New Year.

5 tools for the traveling illustrator

It's no secret that we #nomadlyweds spend a lil time on the road. 

When you're both self-employed, you have no children and your husband is really into working with hotel and airline point systems, you tend to be free to roam. It's a lot of fun, of course, but we always have to be ready to work from the lobby of a Holiday Inn for the day or find a coffeeshop with wifi in the middle of Montana when you get an urgent client email from the road. 

After a year of road trips and nearly two years (gasp!) of going solo, I've narrowed my list of crucial illustration tools to a lil bag of the very best. 

5 tools for the traveling illustrator

Paper Mate Flair Pens

This is my go-to illustration tool. I always travel with them, whether I'm heading to the post office or New York City, I always have at least one with me. The key: bring a healthy stash of them along when road tripping or spending more than 3 days anywhere. As with any pen, they tend to be misplaced once in awhile (or once a week...), and for me, this is the ONLY pen I want to use for quick sketches and daily drawings. Being without one would be the worst. 

Business Cards

When you draw your way through every city [at the bar, at the pool and on the airplane] people tend to ask questions. "Do you draw all the time?" "What are you making?" "Wait you get paid for that?" 

When your tray table is down and you have your empty ginger ale cup filled with Paper Mates, you are bound to have someone ask questions. 

I believe that someday one of these folks sitting in the aisle seat, or sipping cocktails at lunch next to me, well someday one of them will need an illustrator, right? So I'm always equip with a stack of contact cards. Someday one of these chance meetings will pay off. Someday.

An assortment of other markers

Color is important, you guys. Like when the hefty British bros next to you at the Key West Hilton want to know if you're "gonna make that lime green or what?" Also, many projects I'm working on need a little hand coloring. I like a few Stabilo pens mixed in with my trusty Paper Mates. Their bright colors and fine points are a nice compliment to the flair. I keep my markers neatly tucked in my adorable Pamela Barsky pencil pouch my dear Rebecca sent me. Because pencil pouches are rad- and this one says "DRAW EVERYDAY."

[Additional author note: You're never too old to ask for crayons at a restaurant.]

Pocket size sketchbooks

This is key. I'm not always lugging around my backpack (but it's been a lifesaver as a carry on- and it's cute.), so my standard sketchbook can get a lil bulky in my handbags. I've found that a few baby Moleskines are a perfect stowaway. I've taken to drawing in them as full spreads- so much more fun than just a one pager. 

On our most recent getaway I drew alllll the fish (Follow me on Instagram my friends and you'll see all the little sketchbooks too!)

Another notebook working it's way to the top of my list: Muji's A6 blank books. Portable, simple and cheap- these badboys are excellent. 


Finally, and potentially most importantly for a gal that runs an online biz- I need a way to connect to my clients, the social medias and the interwebs as a whole. Thus I must travel with my Iphone. All the places. I've preached on about my love of Adobe Capture (which has some truly bad ass new features) and Scanner Pro (love), but really- these tech tools help me to really get the job done from anywhere. 

So that's what I need to keep the dream alive from the Keys to Coeur D'Alene. 
What tools do you keep with you on the run?