Saturday, April 23, 2016

#AtoZChallenge, T is for Travel Journals

Of all my journals, my travel journals have to be among my favorites. Every time I go through them I'm taken back in time and place and feel like I've just been on a mini-vacation.

Some of my tips for art journaling on the road include:

  • Travel light. Choose a sketchbook that fits into your purse, carry-on, or back pack so you can have it with you at all times.
  • Whatever your medium, take a sketchbook with heavier, rather than lighter paper. You might start out thinking you don't like watercolor, but then end up buying a set somewhere during your travels. Be prepared for new choices. 
  • Pens and pencils: I'm a big fan of water-soluble pencils. You only need between 6 and 12 to have a wide range of colors. Throw in a waterbrush, a black ballpoint or roller pen, a mechanical pencil, and you're ready to go!
  • Before you leave home, pre-tone some of your sketchbook pages. Laying down a light watercolor wash or a background of soft pastel can save a lot of time when you reach your destination. It will also help to give your sketches a more finished look.
  • A large-size, heavy-weight plastic zip-lock type of pouch or folder is a must-have for collecting museum brochures, ticket stubs, menus, flyers . . . you know, stuff! Bring along a glue-stick as well if you'd like to paste anything into your journal on site, although it's often easier to collage once you get home.
  • A small viewfinder. I used to think I could get away with not having one, but now I think it's indispensable. For me, at least, seeing a new mountain vista or city-scape for the first time can be overwhelming. A viewfinder helps me to break down the scene into sketch-size pieces. It's also a helpful tool for isolating detail I might want to make a special note of.

Whatever type of sketchbook and materials you choose, keep in mind that you don't have to travel to an exotic or expensive locale to start a travel journal of your own. How about looking at your hometown through the eyes of a tourist? Take a journal to local museums, galleries, parks, and restaurants and record what you find. Pretend you're seeing it all for the very first time--perhaps you are, especially if you visit places you may not have considered worth seeing before. Off you go!

Tip of the Day: Another kind of travel journal you can make, and without leaving home, is to create a journal based on a location you've always dreamed of visiting, but haven't got there yet. Find images online, in travel magazines, and from friends' personal hordes and photos. Bon voyage!


Li said...

One of my GREAT regrets is not keeping travel journals when I was younger. It's amazing how soon some of the details can fade from memory. (Remember that little cafe? With the funny waiter and that cat on the barstool? Was it New Orleans? Florida? You can't remember either? Lemme think...crap.) So frustrating. :)

Deb Atwood said...

Beautiful travel journal! That is a great idea to record your memories right along with your mementos.

Anonymous said...

THIS IS GREAT. Finding your blog for the first time while out blog hopping from North Carolina during the #Challenge before hurrying on to visit as many blogs as possible on Sunday, our day off. Your theme is perfect for me . I love the presentation of the information. Easy to read (the whole point) and easy to navigate. I started my paper crafting fun with Altered Books, and those techniques have led to other things I enjoy. Your T post have wonderful suggestions. I'm hooked.I will be following. If you have interest or time, I have been writing about hotels and inns, the architects and settings. On the letter T day it was about tea at a lovely hotel yesterday. If you have time or interest....Join me.

Valerie Storey said...

I love altered books, Stepheny! A travel-themed altered book sounds like my next project, LOL!

Li: Maybe starting a new journal based on travel memories would bring a lot of those great experiences back. I think you'd be surprised at what you recall.

Thank your for the input, everyone! It's been a bit difficult for me to reply as quickly as I would like to your comments, but don't think they go unappreciated. We're nearly at the end of the challenge and I very much look forward to continuing the conversation!