How to Maintain a Travel Sketchbook Journal
By Ama H.Vanniarachchy
Travelling is fun. It is exciting and adventurous. Travelling creates wonderful memories. But how do you capture these memories? Is it through photographs or as simple notes?
Before digital cameras were popular many people had their travel journals, in which they took simple yet informative notes about their travels. Once the photographs were printed they were attached to these journals. These travel journals were fun to revisit as they would bring so many wonderful memories. The personalised little notes, sometimes maybe a little doodle, and then the photograph were precious souvenirs of past travels.
Since digital cameras became popular, people seldom spend time and effort to create a travel journal. All travel memories have become mere digital albums or videos. But I personally believe that a personalised travel journal with your own little sketches is amazing. They enhance our writing skills, poetry, creative ideas and drawing skills. This has many more benefits, which I will be sharing with you today. First of all, I will tell you how to make a travel sketchbook journal.
Why a sketchbook?
Writing is fun. It is a great way to express how you see and experience the places you travel to. But doing it through sketches is even more fun. This is a unique way to express how you experienced interacting with a certain place, food, culture or people.
Through sketching, it deepens your insight into what you are sketching as you pay attention to the details. You may notice the actual colours of food you are sketching or its texture. You may notice the little details of a dress of local culture while sketching villagers.
When you are sketching you spend more time at a place. This explains your chances of interacting with the local communities. When you are sketching at a place, the locals will surely notice you. They may come and peep over your shoulder. This may lead to you starting over a friendly conversation with them. It is always great to create friendships with the locals.
You get a chance to get familiar with places, other than just seeing places in a hurry and clicking photographs. When you are sitting at one place for some time, this is a great moment to spend quality time studying the place of your interest.
So let’s get started.
Things you will need.
A sketch-pad - Keep a good quality sketch-pad, but not too large. I advise you to keep a sketchbook that is no larger than A4 size. Make sure it has a hardcover.
Pencils - Keep graphite pencils as well as some coloured pencils.
Eraser and a sharpener.
Pens - Gel pens are great. Do not carry ink pens to avoid the mess.
Pastels - A small box of pastels (better not to carry soft pastels as they may be messy while travelling).
Watercolours - A set of 12 colours is sufficient for a travelling artist kit. It is convenient if is a watercolour tablet set. Tube colours would be messy.
Brushes - Natural hair brushes are great for watercolours. About four sizes of brushes will be sufficient.
A water container.
How to fill the sketchbook journal
Choose what to draw.
Make sure to include a variety of sketches. This should be something you ate or drank, a beautiful landscape, wildlife, historical monument, locals you meet, the place you stayed, the station/airport or local bus stand, etc.
You can draw a meal that captures your heart during the trip. It could be the container, the table arrangement or a delicious meal or a drink.
Once you choose your subject of interest, sit in a comfortable place. Do a quick sketch of the details you notice. Add the colours as you like. Once the watercolours are dried, highlight certain areas with pastels or pencils. Once you are finished colouring, you can outline the details with a black gel pen.
Note that you need not be accurate with the details. It is important to capture the impression you experience the fleeting moment, not details of what you see.
Keep a small note after every drawing. Include the date, place and subject. You can add details of the place or food such as the history and geography of the place, name of the food and how it was made, names of the people or details of the culture etc. You can also say why you felt like doing a sketch of the subject and what captured your attention.
Sounds interesting? Once you start this habit, I am sure you won’t give up.
Happy sketching and traveling.