Special thanks to Etchr Lab for sending over the Etchr Slate for this review.
The Art Satchel has the space and capacity to pack a lot of drawing supplies and tools. The Etchr Slate is lightweight version for those who won't want to deal with the weight of the Art Satchel.
This is a slim profile messenger bag designed for sketching outdoors whenever you feel the sudden spark of inspiration.
The Etchr Slate has several nifty features. It is made with tough waterproof exterior, has a detachable shoulder strap and comes with the ability to deploy it for use in standing mode so that you can stand and sketch comfortably.
There are two pockets, one in the front with a zipper, and the other under the flap secured by velcro. Since the bag is rather slim, I had to use a flat water bottle instead of my usual cylindrical one.
The bag only comes with one colour but there are two sizes available: regular and mini. These are the dimensions:
- Regular: 38 by 31 cm (14.9 by 12.2 inch)
- Mini: 35 by 26 cm (13.5 by 10.2 inch)
The slim profile and size is great for those who want to pack light. With the regular-sized Etchr Slate, I was able to pack an A5 sketchbook (5.8 x 8.3 inch), two pens, a pocket watercolour brush, a waterbrush, a box of six pencils and a small sharpener in the main compartment. All the items can be held down by rearrangeable elastic tabs to prevent items from knocking one another.
The main highlight is the standing mode usage which provides a comfortable support for drawing while standing. This is great for drawing at places with no benches, crowded or tight spaces — basically anywhere. This is the main selling point for me.
On the back, there are 4 rings that you can use to hook the strap onto. To deploy the bag in standing mode, you have to unhook the end of the strap and hook it at the far end. You can deploy it even while standing. It's easy.
A few days ago, I was sketching at Haji Lane, the narrowest street in Singapore, and there was this shop that caught my attention with all the plants at the shopfront. I had to get close enough to be able to see and draw the details. This is where the Etchr Slate was really helpful because I was able to stand close and have support to draw on for the one hour that I took to complete the sketch. It would have been incredibly tiring to hold my hardbound sketchbook and do the same.
You can paint on it but it’s not easy because of all the painting equipment. I had to use a waterbrush instead of my normal brush. I'm using the regular-sized Etchr Slate and painting on it definitely feels constrained. It’s difficult use a water tray without accidentally knocking it over. The best sketchbooks to use are spiral-bound ones so that they take up less space on the support.
In addition to the standing mode, you can also set it up as an easel using the tripod mount behind the bag. I don’t use that feature because it would mean bringing a tripod out. With this bag, l like to keep it light.
Overall, it’s a great looking and functional product. I can't say much about the durability at this stage but everything looks well stitched. The bag's backed by a two-year warranty so durabilty should not be much of a concern.
To find out more details about the Etchr Slate, visit https://etchrlab.com