“Travelling – it leaves you speechless, then transforms you into a storyteller” Ibu Battuta

My travel sketchbook journal is a Fabriano hard backed A5 notebook that looks a little frayed around the edges now. Its done good though! Vienna, Austria. San Francisco and wider California, Bucharest, Romania. And last but not least Wroclaw, Poland.

Flicking through this book is loaded with happy memories.

It is fitting that the summer or holiday season is a time in which we can carve out much needed space for ourselves to indulge in some R&R. For some of us it means reconnecting with our creativity. It is also the time in which you may find yourself starting a sketchbook habit.

There is nothing particularly different about the travel sketchbook in comparison to your standard one except that you might have more time to indulge in drawing, you may become more bold in sketching what you see and experience or you may get a chance to try new mediums.

One of the travel journal’s important features for me though has to be the feel good element, the ability to recall the experience at a later date and have the sights, smells and tastes of a place on a recurring redial on the pages of my sketchbook.

I do have a favourite sketch which spans over 24 hours and reminds me of a happy place and time…

  1. It started life as a pencil sketch of an artichoke whilst sitting on a bench outside of Joannie’s Cafe in downtown Palo Alto, California. A yearly ritual with my cousin. I was waiting for my breakfast table with the sun beating down on my back and watching the Sunday market traders and passersby. I just had to buy the wonder that is an artichoke…so sat sketching it during my wait. (I also discovered on this trip how much my children loved deep fried artichokes!!!!)


2. That same day we were heading off to the Monterey Coast to Paojro Dunes. With a house right on the seafront hidden behind the dunes. The vegetables got packed up too and thrown into a main sketch to remind me of the market. Radicchio lettuces, oddly shaped plum tomatoes, San Farancisco Sourdough baguettes, loopy sweet peppers, and buckets upon buckets of sunflowers.

3. ….And upon arrival all of them got thrown into the largest Californian salad complete with creamy avocados and walnut oils and sloshed down with a glass of Monterey red wine. All overlooking the Pacific.

It does something to you…uninhibited travel.

The travel journal is a type of sketchbook that houses a specific category of sketches. I have one that runs parallel to my year for all those trips that can be classed as a break away or a holiday. It sits alongside my other sketch books on my art shelves and gets pulled down when I start a new trip.