Jun 15, 2017

R U Afraid Your Travel Journal won't Come to Life? Drawing & Painting Tips


You want to do a travel journal. The idea of setting up at a cafe, on a bench or on the beach and drawing a picture really attracts you.  You want a journal, something just for you.

But you are afraid to . . . .
 . . .work in front of people
. . . get started
. . .make a mess
. . . .be disappointed

I know what you mean. It's funny that little book you want to paint and draw in somehow feels you with fear.  It is a common feeling, I know, I use to feel that way too.
My sister, Maureen and I working on our Journals at breakfast time on the Royal Mile.  Sherry, my other sister, was staff photographer for the trip. 
Working on St. Giles Church - note the little designs on the top and bottom corners of the pages.  Those were put in as part of my prepping.  They make nice little 'treats' when you come to draw on the page. (See prepping your journal here.)

Those feelings can be beaten.  You can make your journal sing.  It will tell you stories of special memories.  Whether it was an afternoon in the park or a trek in the Himalayan Mountains. Those moments when you stop are when you really connect with a place.  Those pictures will be your  favourite mementos of the day.

I have just returned from my trip to Scotland and full of fresh ideas for how you can crack open that book and have success.

5 Guaranteed Ways to a Successful Travel Journal 

1.  Keep your equipment to a minimum -  You need to carry your book with you all the time so keep it light and portable.  My post on ideas for basic equipment is here.  My medium for this trip was ink, pencil and watercolour pencils.  When I was really pressed for space and weight I just had my book and a pen.  I was really pleased with how portable and workable this set up was.
This was a full day, sketching at breakfast then off on a day trip to Rosslyn Chapel.  I only took my pen with me and splashed on my colour late in the evening.  

2.  Start off small - Drawing the entire Edinburgh Castle is not a good starting point.  Better to pick a section to focus on.  As you get your sea legs you will feel more confident and knowledgeable, in tacking the big stuff.
Adding little symbols,  maps of 'where you were', small street scenes builds confidence, are fun and inspire you to do more. 

3. Focus on the most important thing and then add the details - Start with the boat, dock or building area that caught your eye.  Put it in the middle so there is room for details on all sides.  That way the most important thing is captured and as time permits you can add more.  What I find surprising is that once my focus spot is drawn the little extras on the side can be quickly suggested.  After all it is the focus spot that needs the detail anyway.
The coloured picture was done on the train.  Catching the lay of  the land and adding colour made the landscape come alive for me.  The trains all had chairs around a table which made it great for working. 

4. Add stuff later - Not everything needs to be done on site.  Later in the day you can add or finish up things: make colour notes, rough pencil sketch for later inking, spruce up your darks, . . .
It was raining as I huddled under the overhang to draw my gravestones.  Maureen and Sherry were searching for our ancestors. I added a bit of colour later to get them some context.  

5.  Pick up Brochures -   When visiting an area pick up the travel information, it will help in planning  ahead - what you might capture and where you might set up. They can also help later in adding the  final touches you didn't have time for.
I also love brochures for adding special pictures in my book.  I really wanted a bagpipe player in full regalia in my book. But there is no way anyone is going to pose for me but with the help of a brochure I was able to work on my 'man'.
I finished up 'my man' on the way home on the plane.

 Also brochures will give you ideas for symbols for the area which are fun to add as you decorate your pages.
Looking out the airport window, flight delayed 2 hours so lots of time to draw. 

 Your paintings are for everyone but your Journal is your own special way of celebrating your art, it's just for you.  Don't let your fear stop you.   Oh, and if you are worried about the people around you hanging over you and bothering you.  Turns out you are not as interesting as you think.  Most people are in their own world and will pay you no mind.  In fact, when I was working away on my 'grand drawing' of a section of The Royal Mile in Edinburgh and someone stopped me to ask where the train station was.  They never gave my work a glance.

 ***Last Drop-In Drawing session until Sept
 Great Opportunity to get some help with drawing:   Drop-In and Draw Sessions, Monday,  June 19,  10-12pm, or  1-3pm.  Expressions Art Gallery, 227 & Lougheed Hwy, Maple Ridge.  Bring your sketchbook and your project and come draw.  I will be happy to give you a few pointers as you work on your drawing.  $15 Pre-Registration Required. Contact Me.
Heads up, I have only 5 Drop-In Sessions scheduled for September, October and early November.  Space is limited.  Be the first to sign up.

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