Art Fair Insiders

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10 Things You'll Find in Every Artist's Bag

The contents of a bag on a counter

Construction workers have their hammers, hard hats, and gloves. Police have their handcuffs, flashlight, and gun. Doctors have stethoscopes, tongue depressors, and syringes. You get the idea. Every profession has certain equipment and supplies that come with the territory. Artists are no exception, so we asked our Facebook followers and did a little research to find the ten things that you will find in almost every artist’s bag.

10 Things You’ll Find in an Artist’s Bag

  1. Sharpie, Pencils, Pens, Paint Brushes: Okay, technically these are four different items and should take up almost half the list, but this is my list and I make the rules, so I’m counting them as one.
  2. Zip and Velcro Ties: I have absolutely no idea why an artist would need these. Can someone enlighten me?
  3. Tablets, and/or Laptop: For taking notes and keeping track of measurements. These are never used for games, Internet browsing, or Facebook updates that would distract the artist. Never, ever. Yep....What?!...Don’t look at me like that.
  4. Tape Measure or Ruler: Good for measuring. No, really!
  5. Sketch Pad: Makes sense. No explanation needed.
  6. Pencil Sharpener: Just in case.
  7. Camera: This isn’t for everyone, but sometimes it’s nice to capture images and use them later for inspiration.
  8. Water Bottle: To, you know, carry water for cleaning brushes. I guess you could drink it too, but maybe do that before you actually start to clean your paint brushes.
  9. Snacks: Also not for everybody, but taking a little food break once in a while is good for creativity. At least that’s what the little devil on my left shoulder tells me.
  10. Phone: Yes, the phone can be helpful for artists, as long as it’s not being used just for texts and phone calls.

Do you have anything in your bag that we didn’t include here? What If you could only have one item in your artist bag? What would you choose? Please comment below.

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Comment by Richard L. Sherer on December 1, 2019 at 4:32pm

Like Cindy Welch, I am always writing things down at shows, even after doing them for 20 plus years. I have to remind myself to put thos new things on my lists for loading for an art show. I have two lists:  one for the cabin or condo we are renting, and the other for loading the truck. Some things get deleted over time and others get added.

Comment by Cindy Welch on November 29, 2019 at 4:52pm

Scissors, tape, note pad for shopping list for forgot things.

Square or other device for sales.

Comment by David J Teter on November 29, 2019 at 4:16pm

A really basic tool kit: 6-in-1 screw driver, small hammer or mallet, folding saw, utility knife, pliers, multi-tool pocket knife


I had to fix my broken chair once so without it I would have had to stand the rest of the day!

Comment by Barry Shandler on November 29, 2019 at 3:16pm

ZIP TIES ..... absolutely essential for connecting My Pro Panels together and for connecting the Pro Panels to the cross stabilizing bars of the canopy 

Comment by Troy Smith on November 29, 2019 at 10:19am

Richard & Brian - In the past I traveled extensively across the US doing events and we carried the heavy-duty carpet tape which solved more than one challenge. I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving.

Comment by Troy Smith on November 29, 2019 at 10:16am

Connie - I have to agree with you on the phone, it probably takes the cake on having the most useful options.

Comment by S Brian Berkun on November 29, 2019 at 9:10am

Duct tape or other "grip" like tape, you never know!

Comment by Richard L. Sherer on November 27, 2019 at 12:33pm

Pocket knife - always carry one,  but remeber people at shows asking to borrow it.

Comment by Connie Mettler on November 27, 2019 at 12:03pm

Probably the phone, if it was the only thing I could have. Useful for many purposes, especially to take credit cards, check the weather, check in with the committee for emergencies or find a volunteer to booth sit, stream music in your booth 

A couple more: some cash, a box cutter, sun block, xanax

Comment by Richard L. Sherer on November 26, 2019 at 6:28pm

Duck Tape 

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