What's in your bag? Emmeline Pidgen

What's in your bag? Emmeline Pidgen


In this new feature, the team at IPSE take a peek inside the bag of an inspiring independent professional. First up, we thought we’d meet with Emmeline Pidgen, the winner of the Inspire Award at the IPSE-QA Freelancer Awards 2016. She’s been busy working on some fantastic projects, and we thought she would make the perfect candidate.


Emmeline Pidgen

Where are you based?


What’s your occupation?


How would you describe yourself?


How many years of experience do you have in your field?


And what do you usually carry in your bag?


Obviously it’d be tricky to find someone these days who doesn’t carry their mobile phone with them at all times! My phone acts as my connection with friends and family, as well as allowing me to work on the go, from wherever I am in the world. Social media’s an integral part of promoting my business, so, believe me, those apps are well used!


As an illustrator, you’re always going to find me with a sketchbook in my bag! I’m pretty sure I have a collection of almost a hundred, but, big or small, they’re always perfect for jotting down ideas when inspiration strikes or for sketching landscapes and memories as I travel. I love getting away from screens when I can, and as I work with both digital and ink illustration I have a bit of a luxury in that I can grab my sketchbook and work wherever I like, from cafés to forests!

Pencil case

Another illustrator’s staple, the pencil case! I specifically picked out this Cath Kidston pencil case as it was such a perfect size – just big enough to allow me to carry around my favourite few pens and pencils without letting my bag get messy! I love using brush pens to sketch on the go, as they give such gorgeous paintbrush line-work without the risk of carrying bottles of ink around with me (I’ve learnt about this the hard way…).


I picked up this lightweight purse whilst on holiday in Orkney, Scotland, earlier this year. I do have another purse (which is absolutely huge), but as I tend to walk a lot I prefer to keep my purse as light as possible to make up for the extra art supplies I carry! I love that this purse is a little bit unusual, and is made of lovely textured felt. You’ll always find my National Trust and English Heritage membership cards in there in case I stumble across a castle or historic gardens on my adventures!


Over the last five years or so I’ve made a habit of always making sure I carry at least one book with me at all times. I love to read (my home is literally brimming with books), and it’s just perfect to whip out a novel and jump into a fictional world whilst on a long journey, or sitting underneath a tree in a park. I read a lot of sci-fi and ‘magical realism’, as well as of course a lot of graphic novels and picture books (hey, I promise, picture books are for adults too!).


I’m usually quite forgetful in making sure I have my glasses with me – I only ever use my prescription glasses for the cinema, gigs or for driving, and I’m awful at remembering that I actually own sunglasses and should probably use them. I love a bit of a vintage style with my glasses, and luckily they seem to be the sort of look that suits me!


A bold fuchsia lipstick and at least one (or maybe two or three) lip balms are with me at all times. I find the lipstick is a flash-quick way of making me look a little bit more presentable, and once I found this colour I couldn’t get enough of it. I’m a true believer that lip balms are forever useful – they’ve even come in incredibly handy in slight emergency situations with rubbing hiking boots on a huge mountain climb!

Toy dinosaur

Well, what can I say? There always ends up being some sort of weird thing like this in my bag. Sometimes it’s a mystery, sometimes it’s a memento, sometimes you just need to carry around a toy dinosaur, just in case.