Tag Archives: sketching

Travel and Art Making

IMG032Do you travel? Do you make art? Do you make art while you travel? I do. When we began traveling, I would keep a written journal of our trip. Then I decided to make some art while I traveled. First I took my sumie supplies with me to our first OAT trip to Vietnam. They turned out beautifully, but I seldom had the time or enough space to grind the ink and set out the supplies. For India I tried an altered child’s board book. But my prep and or supplies were not right. I had trouble working on the surface and not enough pages and I finally just gave up. For China I tried colored water color pencils and note cards, but was not impressed. It was also difficult to handle all the pencils while on a boat along the Yangtze River. I finally turned to small sketchbooks. My first one was one I bought in India that I used for the Grand Circle Travel trip to the Copper Canyon in Mexico. That one was published in Somerset Studio’s ArtJournaling magazine! I was validated and absolutely thrilled. I could do this!

journals050Along with the sketchbook, your supplies can be very light and limited. I usually use a small pouch or large zippered pencil case. I like the Sakura, Koi travel water color set because it comes with a waterbrush. I carry extra waterbrushes, waterproof fine line black pens and often a nice pencil and stump for shading my ZIA bookmarks to give away. My kit also may include a few colored pencils and pens, some textures like small pieces of shelf lining or corregated cardboard cut from a coffee sleeve, a small bottle of water( hotel shampoo size),kneaded eraser and paper towel.

IMG_041The joy of travel now includes the making and decorating of the journal before the trip. This one I made for a cruise to the Sea of Cortez. I used one sheet of 12×12 double sided paper for the cover and embellishments on all the pages.

journals051Preparing the book in advance allows me to use a lot of materials I wouldn’t take along on the trip. For this one I used the paper sparingly by adding both the positive and negative pieces of the paper as you can see from the sun and its outline above. I also used acrylic paints. Other books have stamps and distress inks, collage elements and insides of business envelopes. Make the pages so pretty you can’t wait to work on them. I usually add my itinerary and sometimes air travel. For OAT trips I add a list of our fellow passengers. Sometimes I add a pocket in back for this and that.

IMG_0031IMG_0045I used a store bought Moleskine sketchbook for our cruise to Vietnam. I decorated the edges with distress inks. On the earlier pages, I added a lot of cuttlebug die cut leaves, flowers and branches as green is the color I associate with Vietnam. Patagonia was our latest trip with OAT. I made this book. I decorated each page spread with a different sun. I used a whole lot of my rubber stamps and cling stamps. And once again I inked the edges as I feel that gives a finished touch to the pages.

On location, when the bus driver says we are going to have a 10 minute photo stop, that is when I do a 10 minute sketch of the beautiful scene. I just do simple lines. When I get back on the bus, to my room, to the ship’s lounge or whatever, I get out my watercolors. I never mind what the real colors are, I just paint in the colors I feel like painting, though I do try to keep snow kinda white…hehehe.  Often I’ll then go back in with my pen and do some details or refine lines. Sketching on location gets the day, the scene, the setting into your heart and soul. When travelers come home and look at a photograph, they may or may not remember where it was taken. On the other hand, if you’ve sketched it, you may remember all the details..where you stood, what the weather was like and the whole feeling of being there.  I will try to sketch anything, even if I think I can’t. The joy is in the experience.

journals052I love to share my art with others. I take along a batch of bookmarks. Some of them are blank, while others, like those above, may have inks or stamps or images on them waiting to be filled with patterns and sayings. I love to do zentangle inspired art(ZIA) on planes and in my spare time and the small area makes these the perfect surface. When people are interested in my art making, I often give them one of these for their interest. I also give them to fellow passengers or people who have been kind or helpful along the trip.

journals053Here are a few that are finished. For the girl I used an Elegant Writer pen. It is watersoluble so the shading is made easy with a waterbrush.

On trips I often offer to teach someone how to sketch, how to do a zentangle pattern and have given spontaneous lessons. I’ve taught complete novices who were surprised at their results.  Recently I decided to take my friends up on the suggestion to lead a travel sketch group. Since I love OAT(Overseas Adventure Travel) and GCT(Grand Circle Travel) and have taken 12 trips with them, I thought that would be a great fit for this kind of travel. I formed my first group to go to Peru and Macchu Picchu this August 17, 2015. Well…2 people are going with me…sigh. Other group leaders told me I needed a longer lead time. So I will give it one more try. I have booked a group to go to Dubrovnik Croatia next April 12th, 2016. You can see the trip at this link http://www.gct.com/cta2015  My group is called Linda’s Travel Sketchers and the service code is G6-26533. So far, I am going alone…but have hope. I’ll be teaching as much as people want every day. There is no charge for the sketching and painting instructions. So come along and sketch the world with me. If that isn’t in the cards, go forth and sketch your world…even if you think you can’t!

Sketching and painting in a grid

sketchbooks016Sometimes you would like to sketch several small montages instead of a whole scene. On this first page I had gathered the fall leaves in Wisconsin and brought them inside to sketch.  Here is my process. My favorite everyday sketchbook is the Visual Journal by Strathmoresketchbooks017I use repositionable tape and section off the areas. (I re-use the tape for other pages and just keep it inside my cover.)Then I use watercolor washes to give the sections a cohesion even though each section will be a separate picture.sketchbooks018After painting in all the sections, or adding journaling in some, I remove the tape and have the option of writing in the empty lines.sketchbooks015This second page I did because the architecture in Balboa Park is quite intimidating to me.  By breaking it up into small sections, I am a little braver to capture some of the interesting details.  This is a simple technique that I hope you will try in your sketchbook. Now go make art!

Sketching on location

class pics019ImageThis morning I sketched on location at Misson Trails park in San Diego.  It is near my house.  My usual sketch kit consists of a waterproof black pen, travel watercolor set, paper towel, small bottle of water and some textures, and a sketch book. Currently I am using a Strathmore Visual Journal, 5.5×8, watercolor book. I use Pigma 01 and 03, stadler pens or Prismacolor in waterproof black. Today I did my sketch with an elegant writer pen by Speedball. It has a calligraphy tip and bleeds when you touch it with water.  I have 3 watercolor sets. Two are the Koi by Sakura in 12 and 24 colors. I like these because they come with a wonderful water brush. I also carry an extra water brush, green in color, by Kuretake.  I like my windsor-newton paint set because it is so tiny, but it only comes with a small travel brush. Water brushes are so convenient because you don’t need an extra water source. I carry the small hotel shampoo size water as a back-up or to wet the brush when it isn’t flowing as much as I’d like.

My process is to sketch in pen on location getting down simple lines. I am not interested in making a realistic, detailed painting…only my impression of the scene.  I guess I do okay as two of my travel journals have been published in Somerset studio’s ArtJournaling magazine.   After the sketch I will watercolor in the scene ignoring lines I may have made in error.  Then I may add details with the pen again.

So, give it a try. Sketching on location will enhance your experience. You will see details you may have missed and remember the scene more vividly later.

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