Big thanks to Darsie Beck for sending over this nice Field Easel Art Bag for this review.
Darsie Beck is an urban sketcher from Seattle, Washington who came up with an idea to make a portable two-in-one easel bag six years ago. The bag was released in 2014 and the first sale was to Gabriel Campanario, founder of Urban Sketchers. Since then other sketchers have reviewed the bag and you can check out some of their reviews below.
This is a rather compact shoulder sling bag designed for portability. The bag is big enough to fit a 8 by 10 inch sketchbook but that would really stretch the interior. A typical A5 sized sketchbook at 5.8 x 8.3 in can fit in with plenty of space left.
The bag is made of canvas-like material, the type of material that's most commonly used to make bags. This bag is available in four colours, namely Red, Sage, Black, and Grey.
This plastic hooks at the end of the straps can rotate freely.
The shoulder strap has a long piece of velcro that you can use to attach another small stationary pouch that's included.
That's the front of the pouch.
Having the pouch attached to the front gives you access to more of your drawing tools. This will be quite convenient for those who likes to switch drawing tools often, eg mixed media artists. The velcro strap is long so it secures really tightly.
This soft pouch is designed to hold pens, pencils, basically, the usually drawing tools. The two small pockets in front have different sizes. The small pocket can hold one pen and that's great for putting a fountain pen or any pen you want to protect against other pens. The larger front pocket can fit several pens. The back pocket is the largest and can fit long brush pens. Because the way the pouch was sewn, there's another tiny pocket inside the back pocket.
Here's the pouch from the top.
There's a zipped pocket on the front cover that holds a thick piece of hard plastic sheet. This is to provide support when you put a sketchbook on it in the easel mode.
It's a clear sheet of plastic but I've drawn some rectangles and a square so that I can use them as viewfinders. Note the corners of the plastic are hard edges so be careful not to cut yourself. Anyway, this sheet of plastic is actually not meant to be removed often, unless you really want to use it like a viewfinder.
The front cover of the bag opens to reveal a zipped and two mesh pockets. The zipped pocket is a flat pocket that's more suitable for holding flat items, like paper, tissue, cards.
The wire-mesh pocket can hold items like erasers, ink bottles, batteries or even a mobile phone.
On the left side of the bag, there are three long vertical pockets, two bigger ones and one small. These are great for holding long brush pens. The small one is only big enough to fit small diameter brush, pen or pencil.
On the right side there's a zipped pocket that you can unzip to reveal a large mesh pocket. That pocket is big enough to hold a small water bottle, perhaps the size of a 500ml mineral bottle.
If you don't need a bottle, you can put other stuff in this pocket and zip it up.
On the back of the bag is carrying handle and a big open pocket. This pocket can fit an A5 sized sketchbook. Since it's an open pocket, it allows you quick access to whatever you put there.
The main compartment and pocket is zipped. This prevents things from falling out. Inside this compartment are 4 pockets, two big and two small. The big ones are big enough to hold A5 sketchbooks or the stationary pouch. The small ones are big enough to hold 12-pan watercolour boxes.
This is the other hard plastic sheet included. This piece has velcro on both ends that attach to the square velcro on the back of the cover.
The velcros attach quite securely.
This is the easel mode that allows you to rest your sketchbook on it while you stand and draw.
Notice that there's a small watercolour box attached to the cover flap.
The watercolour box can be attached to the cover using the elastic clothed rubber band on it. You just have to slide part of the box under the rubber band. The palette shown in the photo above is the Portable Painter Palette.
It's best to use a waterbrush rather than a normal watercolour brush with this set up because there aren't any place to hold bottles for washing. If you prefer normal watercolour brushes, you can get those clip-on cups for washing your brush. That would be something extra you have to bring out.
This is how a Winsor & Newton Cotman Sketcher Pocket Box will look under the rubber strap. Note that part of the mixing wells are under the strap. When mixing colours, the strap would probably be accidentally made dirty since it's in the way.
This is how a typical 12-pan metal box will look under the rubber strap.
To further secure your sketchbook, you may want to use large clips to clip the sketchbook to the cover. That would prevent the sketchbook from moving around accidentally. And it would also prevent pages from flipping around with strong wind.
This is a smart design. It's great for those who want to pack and travel light. It's a small bag so you can't bring all your art supplies along, which is great because that would keep the weight down. The bag when empty is light and when packed with supplies is not too heavy.
Overall, this is a very functional product for urban sketchers, people who draw outdoors.
The price of the Field Easel Art Bag is US $85 not inclusive of tax and shipping.
You can find more details and get the bag at https://www.darsiebeckartist.com/field-easel-art-bag.html