We recently spent two weeks in north-central France, in a town called Montargis, with Gab’s old friend Jean-Pierre. These are pages from my illustrated journal that I did while there.
The first, best piece of advice I ever received about keeping an illustrated or sketchbook journal was to always, always travel with your supplies and be prepared. I take mine everywhere: walks, restaurants, museums, doctor’s offices, even church – a great place for meditative drawing. If you carry what you need with you along with your sketchbook, you will always be ready to draw at a moment’s notice, no excuses and more importantly, be ready to use small amounts of time where you might ordinarily be staring into space (traffic jams, airplanes, etc.)
If you have never kept a portable studio like this before, don’t worry. Everyone is going to work with different materials to suit their own style and needs, and you may not know what these are until you have tried it for awhile. Also, buying all new supplies can be expensive, although it is perfectly possible to keep a visual diary with little more than a good pen and a glue stick. Just get what you can and add to it when you can. For instance, I couldn’t really afford a whole set of good water color crayons in one go, so I buy one or two whenever [read more]
We spent a week in Budapest. I figure I averaged a little over a page a day which doesn’t sound too great, except that is the eternal visual journal work dilemma: do you sit still and draw or move on and explore new things? Do you create an image of your authentic Hungarian meal, or do you eat it while it is still hot? I am getting better at putting in rough lines and filling them in while waiting forever in airports and train stations. The journey – all of the journeys – continue.
Just wrapping up the final journal for 2014. It hasn’t stopped me from beginning the new one for 2015. Basically, the amount of journals that I am working on at any time expands to meet my addiction to sketchbooks as needed. These pages are some from my trip to Vienna in September.
Whenever I travel, I always think: THIS time I am going to get so much done in my journal; dozens of pages, chapters. And…while it may happen one day, it sure hasn’t yet. Sure, I always manage to make a few really special pages* but I more often find that the way I really remember a trip is by using a technique I learned from Asheville, North Carolina, author and illustrated journal instructor Gwen Diehn. It is terrifically simple and effective.
When getting ready for a trip, take a break from packing, get out your journal or sketchbook, and draw a page-size box. Divide this into equal columns. I like mine to be about 1 ½ inch wide, but it sometimes depends on the size of the paper. It will look something like what it is – a mini-calendar that you can then fill in daily, no excuses. Label each day at the top of the column. Then, fill each column with anything that comes to mind in a small, thumbnail size.
When you get home, I promise you will be surprised at how much information and memories you crammed into this format. These are a sample of calendar-style pages that I’ve [read more]
Illustrated journal pages. Hidden away and up mysterious winding steps in Zurich is a park called Lindhof Hill. There people play petanque, a kind of lawn bowling and kids practicing their parkour moves. Men play chess with giant pieces on a board on the ground. It’s fun to watch because there are men in elegant suits and men in work overalls and students, all playing together and arguing over the others’ moves.