How to keep a travel sketchbook

little thumbnail sketches done on the road to document the trip

How to keep a travel sketchbook

I love to sketch while traveling. Capturing memories in a sketchbook and being able to flip through a travel sketchbook later is such a rewarding feeling. My sketchbooks are like a time machine. They instantly take me back to those places and that’s especially true for travel sketchbooks. I get a lot of questions about how I manage to sketch so much while on the road. This is what I found especially helpful to keep up a sketching habit while traveling. 

How to find time to sketch while travelling?

There are a lot of sketching opportunities even while traveling. You just have to use the time wisely. I sketch fairly quickly, therefore I sketch while having a coffee, drink or dinner or while waiting at the airport, while sitting in the car or waiting in line for something.

If that feels like too much time pressure, try doing thumbnails. Devide your sketchbook page into several rectangles and fill them with little drawings. That’s a great way of creating a little comic of your day, capturing the most important scenes without taking too much time.

What materials to bring when sketching on vacation?

In order to be quick it’s essential to limit art supplies. Bring a sketchbook that easily fits into your every day bag so that it’s always handy whenever you run into a sketching opportunity. Same thing applies for all other sketching or painting materials. The less choices you have to make the better. If you feel uncomfortable sketching in public use a small sketchbook, the smaller the sketchbook the easier it is to “hide” your sketching.

Every sketchbook has different paper with different properties. Use a sketchbook you know. Don’t loose precious travel time with getting to know your new sketchbook. Think about preparing your sketchbook pages with a first wash of paint. That makes your sketches more lively and parts of your pages are already filled. I find that this speeds up my sketching.

What to sketch?

I try to do a sketchbook page a day and add any moment that feels especially precious to me. That is a very personal choice and might be details that are unimportant to other people. But that is the beauty of a travel sketchbook. It represents my personal journey.

Other than in my every day sketchbooks I tend to record details of the day in writing as well. You can use the writing as a graphic element of your pages as well. And finally, why not stick tickets, receipts or any other paper in the sketchbook as well? Liz Steel has a whole class on sketchbook design which I really liked. It’s full of great ideas on how travel sketchbooks can be done.

But most of all: remember that your travel sketchbook is for you and does not need to be shared with anyone. Therefore don’t put too much pressure on yourself of producing perfect sketches. It’s about capturing a memory.

Hopefully this will inspire you to create more on your future travels. How do you approach sketching on vacation?

sketching on the ferry
Using every sketching opportunity
sketching the ferry while waiting for it to leave
Sketching the ferry while waiting for departure
little thumbnail sketches done on the road to document the trip
Sketching in the car and documenting the long drive
  • Lathelize
    Posted at 14:34h, 25 July Reply

    Thank you for this precious advices

    • Kerstin Schoch
      Posted at 23:18h, 25 July Reply

      Thank you Lathelize, glad it was helpful. Do you sketch on vacation? Is there anything you find challenging about it? Would love to hear what your experience is.

Post A Comment