My mobile paint studio

//My mobile paint studio

My mobile paint studio

I travel quite a bit for work, and spend far too much time in a hotel room. A few months ago, I stepped into the figure painting world. It dawned on me that if I could somehow transport a relatively small footprint of equipment along with me on my trips, I could set up a mobile painting station in the hotel room. So I headed to the sporting goods store to pick up a storage container that would pack easily, filled it up, and tested it out. Here’s how it’s worked out… TSA My first concern was the paints (and distilled water). They’re liquids, and y’know … TSA liquid restrictions. I’ve carried my kit through security at least six times now. Knock on wood, but nothing’s been flagged. Now, one potential caveat: I’ve got Pre-Check, and these security occasions have been through Pre-Check lines. But the airports have been a wide variety of size (Boston, Tampa, Austin, Dallas). I never check my bags, if at all humanly possible. Plus, given the massive US cold snap of late, I really didn’t want to have to check my bags and subject my paints to frigid temperatures. The kit So let’s talk about what I brought with me. I’ve been trying to keep the equipment to a minimum, since … again… no checking bags.

  • Plano stowaway box – the trick with the storage was to find something that could easily fit in my suitcase. I’m very particular about packing (think George Clooney in “Up in the Air”). I didn’t want something that caused me to rejigger my processes. The model I picked up was pretty flat. Fits nicely on top of all my clothes.
  • Paints – So far, I’ve just brought along a handful of flesh painting colors. I’ve been using this article as a guide for how/what to paint.
  • Brushes – A couple of various brush, but mostly the 0 and 00 sable brushes and a flat, wide Tamiya brush.
  • Mixing cups – Handy for having water (for thinning) handy
  • Light – I tried several experiments, but at the end of the day, I broke down and bought an Ott Light. This model uses batteries.
  • Reading glasses – This is how magnify… easy to store, comfortable to wear, cheap to acquire. I found the highest strength at the local drug store.
  • Silicon baking mat – Easy to pack, clean, and helps to ensure the hotel desk doesn’t get messed up.
  • Napkins – I use them for cleanup, and dabbing brushes… and more. They also come in handy as packing material to help things stay put in the Plano box.
  • Wet Palette  – I found this handy thing in the local comic book store; it’s targeted to wargamers. If you haven’t used a wet palette before, they are a must have for acrylics! Yes, you can make one of these with an old dish and a paper towel, but I liked that my traveling kit was a bit more robust.
  • Figure holders – These are custom crafted out of 1″ dowel, based on inspiration from this thread. (Scroll down)
  • Windex Wipes – We all know the joys of Windex for paint cleanup. These wipes are a handy, TSA-friendly form.

I’m sure this kit will continue to expand, but so far it’s working great. Granted, by the time I get back to my hotel room on work trips, I don’t have a ton of time to really go crazy. But it’s a nice distraction from a long, tiresome day and keeps me connected to modeling.

What about you? Do you have a mobile routine?

By | 2016-10-29T19:09:35-05:00 December 24th, 2013|Modeling thoughts|3 Comments


  1. Brent Sauer January 4, 2014 at 3:04 am - Reply

    Like you, my job has me traveling ridiculous amounts of time. I’ve tried over the years, with varying levels of success, to take the hobby with me.

    I’m actually going on the road for two weeks and am going to attempt to take another project with me. I’m only going to do kit assembly so we will see how it goes.

    • Jake August 13, 2014 at 5:54 am - Reply

      Brent, how did your mobile modeling work out?

  2. […] to take actual modeling work on the road with me, I focus on figuring painting. I wrote about my mobile painting setup recently, but since I hate checking bags with a fiery passion, I avoid anything with sharp edges. […]

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