My On-The-Go Pen Pouch

Another name for this post could have been “How I prevent losing my pens.” Maybe that’s not a problem you need to solve, but that was what caused me to talk about my pen pouch.  It came up in a discussion on Facebook about a sketcher who lost a pen so I thought I’d show you my solution to my scatterbrain-itis.

When I’m sketching on location I use, principally, a fountain pen, or maybe a couple fountain pens.  But I might add to the mix pencil, white gel pen, a black brush pen, and occasionally a waterbrush.  You get the picture.  I have several pointy devices in use.  I used to lay these in my lap, on the ground, slid into a pocket, and I’ve been known to stick one in my hair.

The result was a couple things.  While I’ve never lost a valuable pen, I have lost a couple cheap ones.  I once had a Platinum 3776 take a walk and nearly fall through a sewer grate.  It’s also the case that I was endlessly hunting for the tool I need at the moment.

The solution was my pen pouch, an idea I stole from my buddy Yvan, though his is fancy and hand-sewn.  I’m too lazy for that so I hunted around until I found a cheap, easy solution and it came in the form of a sunglasses case.

These cases are typically colorful sacks with a couple pieces of spring steel that can be compressed to open the case.  They are also perfect for clipping pens into the sack.  All I did to “create” my pouch was buy some D-rings at the fabric store and hand sew them to the sides of the sack.  To try it out I temporarily used a piece of a shoelace as the strap.  That was 8 months ago.  As I said, I’m lazy.  The only other thing I did was fold up some cheap watercolor paper to act as a divider so that pens clipped to opposite sides of the pouch don’t rub against one another.  As you can see in the photos, the divider is getting pretty beat up after 8 months.  I should have changed it before showing you the pouch but, as I said, I’m lazy.

This is the pouch with little pressure on the sides. The pens clip on either side of the opening.

Aside from preventing pen loss, once I got in the habit of only having one (ok..sometimes two) pointy devices out of the pouch at any one time, I no longer have to do the whirling dervish act of looking for my pens as I draw.

If you squeeze the edges of the case, it opens up, making it easy to replace the pointy devices. Here you can see the paper divider. I started with a plastic divider but the pens complained and yet they’re happy with the paper, which compresses and extends as I open and close the case.

Another benefit, that wasn’t anticipated is that with all my pens in one pouch, it’s easy to switch from my big “serious” sketching sack to my small, carry it everywhere sack.  I just move the pen pouch.  This has meant that I no longer have to duplicate everything.  Hope this helps someone.

7 Responses to “My On-The-Go Pen Pouch”

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  1. Alan says:

    Brilliant !

    🙂

    Alan

  2. Tina says:

    Great idea! I’m surprised by how many implements you are able to stuff in there!

  3. Sandra Schultz says:

    I’ve been using a similar travel pouch that hangs around my neck. It’s probably a bit bigger. It has an outer compartment where I put the pens and an inner compartment (no necessity to create a divider) where I put an Expeditionary Art credit card sized palette.

    I don’t know how to post a picture here, but here’s a link to the site. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B007VT39K6/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s01?ie=UTF8&psc=1

    • Very intersting travel pouch, Sandra. Thanks for sharing that. The only drawback I see is that it doesn’t have the pieces of metal sewn into the top edges. That’s critical to being able to easily clip and unclip pens while I’m working. I wonder if these could be added in some way. I’d still need a divider because I carry too many pens to clip only on one side. Even so, very interesting.

  4. Elva says:

    I didn’t allow myself to buy a good fountain pen until I proved I could go a whole year without losing an inexpensive one. My solution was a pen pouch. Only the pen I’m using is supposed to be out. Now, after about three years I’m happy to say I haven’t lost a pen. It also serves a second, very important purpose. I often change elevation by 3 or 4 thousand feet. When driving in the mountains pens love to bleed if not stored with the nib upwards.

    I have to say, your pen pouch is very handsome.

    • The chance of loss is something we all have to deal with and the pen pouch is certainly a help. Really, I like it as much for how it organizes my sketching time as anything else.