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.
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!