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What I Did This Summer – Travel Journalling

Cover Page of My Travel Journal - mixed media collage

Cover Page of My Travel Journal
– mixed media collage

Over the next several posts, I am going to share my summer art adventures – travel journalling and art from my Italian vacation, the amazing art from people I’ve met on my travels, and some summer sketching trips in my local area.

First up, an intro to my travel journal from my 6-week trip to Northern Italy:

My GoalTo fill every page of my journal while on the trip 

I didn’t achieve this goal. I got a little more than halfway through, while travelling. I do intend to fill it now that I am home, working from photos.

My Kit in Action - wine glass optional!

My Kit in Action
– wine glass optional!

My KitAs light as possible

I used a small leather pouch purse as my art kit. It held a 5″x 8.25″ Moleskine Watercolour journal, a 3″ x 5″ pocket sketch pad (80 lb), 2 – .005 and .01 Staedtler Pigment liners, 3 graphite pens (2B, 4B, 6B), 24 Derwent Inktense Coloured Pencils, Winsor & Newton Professional Watercolour Compact Set (14 colours), a tiny container of White Gouache, a tiny container of Masking Fluid (with a few toothpicks), a travelling toothbrush holder with 9 Watercolour brushes, 3 Koi Water Brushes (small, med, lg), a kneadable eraser, a travel package of tissues, 2 bulldog clips, a few blending sticks, a collapsible camping cup for water, a 50ml spray bottle, and a clip mini light (for sketching in low light). In the back zippered wall of my suitcase, I put an 8.5″ x 11″ piece of white plastacore to use as my easel board – I had a small nylon daypack that I would use when I took the plastacore with me.

Lots of supplies for such a small purse, but it worked beautifully. Each day I would go out with either the full kit or some scaled down version.

I did buy a few more things in art stores over in Italy, mostly small impulse buys and replacement pens. But I did pick up some larger watercolour paper that joined the plastacore in the wall of my suitcase.

My MethodMostly sketching on site

The biggest challenge for me was time management on site, so I did 2 types of sketches – the 5-minute sketch and the 30-minute detailed sketch.  Most of the watercolour was done later on that day from photos. I did manage to use the Inktense pencils and water brushes on site a number of times because there’s little set-up required.

Sketching Pigna, Liguria over an amazing lunch

Sketching Pigna, Liguria over an amazing lunch

Not all my drawing work was done on site – I worked off photos a couple of times, usually at night in my accommodations.

Almost all drawings were done with pen directly to paper – this was something I deliberately chose to do, because I am a notorious eraser when I work with pencil.

Picking Subjectsin the moment

When something grabbed me, or had a story attached to it, I drew it. I have a big interest in architecture, so I ended up drawing lots of buildings. I realized partway through the journal that I was not including people in my drawings, so I took on a few subjects with people in them. (To complete the journal, I am going to work from photo subjects that have people in them.)

Only while in the Valle D’Aosta did I know that I wanted to draw as many of the castles in the area as possible.

I am now madly in love with sketching and watercolour – it just may be “my thing”. And I have started a new journal with everyday subjects.

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