You can learn a lot about someone by what’s in their bag. Each month, we spotlight a creative who’s willing to open up and talk about the things they carry—from practical tools to personal memorabilia and everything in between.
Today, our very own Matt Scribner, Underbelly’s art director, reveals how, among other things, he maintains a growing sticker collection without breaking his back.
I’ve had a ton of bags over the years—backpacks, roll tops, messengers—and all of them had their issues. This Baron Fig bag is probably my favorite. Apart from loving Baron Fig sketchbooks and other products since the brand started a few years ago, this simple, minimal messenger bag has a lot to love. It carries a surprising amount of stuff without feeling too large; it opens up pretty wide to look inside, even when it’s on your person; the quality of the canvas is really nice and I think it’ll take a long, long time before it tears—even with everyday use.
A few years ago, I made the switch from designing with my mouse to using a tablet. After fumbling around for a while, I eventually was able to get way faster with it. The Wacom tablet allows me to get more into the details, and while illustrating I can be more fluid and create smoother, more natural lines. I have a larger one on my desk, but this small-sized one fits in my bag, and I use it regardless of where I am.
A lot of people don’t love the new Macbook Pros because of the keyboards, ‘useless’ touchbar, random problems, shallow keyboard, but I’ll be honest, I really like it. The touchbar gives me a lot of opportunities to do quicker actions or even find colors easier in Sketch, Photoshop, and Illustrator. I also really love the volume and brightness sliders. As for the sticker, one of my favorite agencies, Yeaaah! Studios in Paris, created this three-eyed tiger sticker. Their fun and playful illustration style combined with some darker themes and subject matter strike a tone that I really love.
Over the past few years I’ve collected around 70 decks of playing cards. I love cards because they are mini prints you can use. I’m really interested in how designers create these despite (or maybe because of) the constraints this type of project presents. The Rarebit deck by Jay Fletcher for Theory11 is one of my favorites. Its simplicity and quality make it one of the classier decks that I own.
I’ve carried a knife for years. Seems like I find a use for it nearly everyday, whether it’s opening a box or package, or cutting zip-ties. It’s proved really handy. I also hate big, bulky knives. I love the iQ because it’s really thin and I barely feel it in my pocket, not to mention it’s a real good looking. I also backed it on Kickstarter so I paid a ton less than what it’s actually going for now.
I love playing video games, and don’t have much time to do so. So having a system that I can play on the go and get a small chunk of time in, such as the times I'm on an airplane, has been a great way to get some Zelda or Skyrim in.
I hate feeling like I have anything too bulky in my pockets. As a kid, I used to carry around a George Costanza sized wallet filled with those stickers you’d get from machines with the cardboard slips. I loved them too much to put them on anything, but still didn’t want to store them out of sight (especially the X-Men ones). Having a wallet like that literally gave me back problems from sitting on it after too long. Now that I’m (mostly) an adult, everything pretty much needs to be ergonomic. Now I use a super thin wallet to hold 3-4 cards, which is really all you need, unless you have some rad stickers and need to store them somewhere.
I used to replace a pair of $10 sunglasses every couple of months after I would lose them, or when they would break. After hearing that the cheaper ones were terrible for your eyes, I spent a little money on a nice pair, and I’ve had them for years without losing them or breaking them. Go figure.
I love these headphones, and they’re necessary when working in an open office to really block everything else out, focus, and get some work done. A handful of us here at Underbelly were really into finding the best pair of bluetooth, noise cancelling headphones—Sony 1000X, Beats 3, or Bose QC35. We all had different priorities (sound, price, and comfort). The Sony’s have cool features, like gestures you can make on the side of the earpiece to perform certain tasks. They also sound great, but are less comfortable after wearing for long periods of time. The Beats 3 are really cool looking (we’re designers, so looks matter), and the sound is pretty good, but really “bass-y”. The Bose QC35s offer great noise cancelling abilities, sound amazing, are really comfortable after long periods of time, and are the least expensive option. They were the best choice for me. Now no one has to hear me blasting Will Smith through my earbuds.
This is hands down the best recent purchase I’ve made. Airpods are great for a quick, hands-free call or to listen to a book. They’re also less bulky than my noise-cancelling headphones so they can fit in my pocket. I use them almost daily.
I love this phone because of its large screen and amazing camera. However, I do not love how the camera sticks out, allowing it to get dinged by everything. So I bought a super thin case (also from Supr Good) which protects the camera a bit and isn’t bulky.
I used to carry a bunch of books in my bag with me. Sketchbooks, comic books, normal books … all which seemed to get trashed with the constant use of my bag. Having an iPad Pro has made everything really handy, and all tucked into one thin device. Sketching on it is really incredible, I can erase without the mess of an eraser or have eraser lines, I can duplicate sketches without worrying about variation, I no longer have to scan my sketchbook to get it on my computer, and most importantly I can”‘undo”. Using the Apple Pencil with it gives a much more natural feel to sketching as opposed to a normal stylus. There’s not that rubbery resistance you’d get with a standard stylus and the iPad recognizes it better so it detects the angle and pressure sensitivity. Alongside with that, I love reading comic books, and using Comixology or Marvel Unlimited on the iPad is awesome. I use the larger iPad Pro so it feels like having a full-sized comic, and I have a huge library at my disposal. (In case you’re curious about what comic books I’m reading right now, check out Headlopper, Seven to Eternity, and the 2015 run of Doctor Strange).
Underbelly is about to move into a new space soon. We’re working to make it just right for our team. Many of us have been reading Make Space to explore some amazing ideas for building out a creative space to support our biggest internal value: collaboration. If you’re looking to get a more creative and collaborative space in your office, I highly recommend this book.