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Sketching Success On The Road

It’s been a month since I’ve posted because I’ve been on the road! Where else? La Bella Italia!

This time my trip was part-business (lots of spring photos to take for future pieces), as well as part-pleasure to meet up with some UK painting friends for 5 days in lovely Emilia-Romagna. And another goal for this trip was to get in a lot of sketching.

As I’ve been travel sketching for the last 3 years, I’ve been learning about my sketching habits and refining what comes with me. One of the first habits I became aware of was that I treated my sketchbook too “preciously”, and was very serious about the quality of what went in it. This meant a sketch could easily become a full-blown painting, and it took forever to finish! That’s okay, but it meant I didn’t do much quick work.

My fix? On the next trip, I brought a second small sketchbook for quick sketches- one that just fit into my purse. I was ready at a moment’s notice for spontaneous drawing. Into this book, I drew little studies, and smaller subjects. But even these drawings would sometimes evolve into more elaborate pieces, and this sketchbook made my purse feel heavy so it often got left behind.

Next fix? You guessed it, an even smaller book! This one, however, has always been along on my trips and is my tiny writing journal (a blank-page Moleskine notebook, 3.5″ x 5.5″). I’ve made daily writing entries into these little journals for each of my trips, but (duh!) I’ve never drawn in them… until this trip. This worked out so perfectly! I scribbled all kinds of little things along with my notes, and it went everywhere with me.

This trip, I achieved my goal and sketched a lot more with these 3 – the “Precious”, the “Not-as-precious”, and the “Scribbler” travel journal.

Now to look at some of what I put into these books.

First, the Precious:

Bedogno Fountain, Emilia-Romagna (ink and watercolour, 4.5″ x 5.5″)


Bedogno House, Emilia-Romagna (ink and watercolour, 3.5″ x 4.5″)


Pots at the Casa Door, Emilia-Romagna (ink and watercolour, 3.5″ x 4.5″)


In my “Not-so-precious” sketchbook:

View from Caffe del Verone, Florence
(drawn on site, painted in hotel room)


Italian Iris


In The Garden, Bedogno

And a Scribbly collage:

Sketching in Travel Journal

I believe I’ve cracked the code to meet all my sketching needs and habits! I’m very happy with the amount of sketching I did in the 2 weeks – along with the visiting museums and friends, taking numerous photo excursions, and relaxing in the spring sunshine!



11 replies »

  1. Sounds like you have found a plan that works for you! Hope you had a great time! I enjoy seeing your work! Keep it up! Well done!

  2. Looking good Marion, keep up the good work. Enjoy them all…………………

    Dad and Susie

  3. Thanks for following my blog. I came to the same realization this trip about having more than one sketchbook. I am using a little 4×6 Canson notebook for quick sketches while riding the metro, waiting in lines, when I have few minutes to sketch. I really enjoyed visiting your blog and will return often to see what’s new. All the best.

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