I've been wanting to make travel sketches for ages, and I've been filling my suitcase with all kinds of journals, sketchbooks and paint mediums on all my trips in the past two or three years. But it wasn't until my holiday a couple of weeks ago, that I finally started my first proper travel journal, documenting each day of my stay in lovely Dorset. (Well almost, I didn't bother to make a page for the shopping day in Exeter, when it was pouring down with rain all day long). Of course, I'm still dreaming of the ultimate travel sketch experience - placing myself on a cliff top, beach, in a busy town square, or café, my supplies spread around me, and sketching and painting right there. and then But that's rather unlikely. I like my holiday days to be filled, to be on the move, go places, see things, as many as possible. And my camera alone is usually already more than enough weight to carry around all day. And I'm also far to shy to sketch and paint in public.
So instead I'm relying on reference images. This also means a different, or rather extended, approach to my photography. Apart from the carefully composed photos I usually take, I now have to remember to also take photos that will serve mainly or only as reference for the scenes and objects I want to paint later. Most of them are rather boring photos, but that's okay, as they serve their purpose.
I took a travel watercolour box on my holiday too, but I never got round to do any painting. Instead, I just made simple pencil/pen sketches in the evenings, documenting different bits and pieces of a particular day, a double page for each day. Back home, I'm now adding colour to each page. It's so much easier to be able to look at the photo on my computer, rather than on the camera display, and by taking the time to paint the pages now, to do some research for the notes to add to the sketches, feels like going on all the walks, seeing all the sights again.
I decided to use a Molesking A4 watercolour journal. The pages are big enough for lots of details, and the landscape format, which I didn't like at all at first (but it seems almost impossible to find watercolour sketchbooks in a normal format) turns out to be quite useful for this kind of sketches. The paper could be a bit smoother for my liking, but it's a nice crispy white, and paper thick enough to flatten out after the paint has dried, which makes sketching so much easier.
So far, I've only finished painting the first page, but I hope to spend most of the weekends working on the other sketches, and to finish them all before I head off on my next holiday soon. Of course my travel journal will be in my suitcase too.
Linking up to the wonderful Paint Party Friday. Make sure to go and have a look at all the wonderful work of the other party goers. It's always so inspiring.