Art Journals & Travel
By Laura Bray
August is a huge month for vacations. Most artists I know take along a sketchbook or art journal to record their trip memories, sketch on location and write about their thoughts and feelings about the places they visit. Travel journals are a wonderful souvenir and a keepsake that can be passed on through the generations. (I have a secret wish that someday my great grandchildren will treasure mine.)
All this sounds wonderful until you begin packing. Being artists, our love of our tools often gets in the way of common sense and before we know it we have an entire bag, filled to the brim with art supplies, and nowhere to put our clothes!
I am planning a trip to the Santa Ynez Wine Country next month and wanted to share some tips with you on getting prepared and packing your travel journal kit.
My travel journals contain sketches, watercolors and ephemera I collect on my trips. I have whittled down my supply list over time and can carry everything I need in small pouch.
Here's what I pack:
Sakura Koi® Water Colors Pocket Field Sketch Box. It includes a Koi Water Brush which has a water reservoir handle, so there's no need to pack brushes or little containers to hold water! The colors are deeply pigmented and easy to work with.
Sakura Gel Pens. I am personally a huge fan of the Soufflé™ three dimensional gel ink pens, but there is a wide variety of Gelly Roll pens to suit any taste. I love these pens because they will write over practically anything! I often use them to sketch over some of the ephemera I pick up on my trip. For instance, I doodled all over a plane ticket stub from my trip to Spain last year.
It's a great addition to a journal and gives your sketch a little extra interest when it's done on scraps that are souvenirs in themselves. I also doodle over trip photos or postcards using these pens.
Sakura Pigma® Micron® pens in Black and Sepia. These are great because they are waterproof so if I do a sketch and want to add watercolors, my original ink lines don't bleed. They are also archival, so my big dream of my journals lasting through generations actually has a chance of happening!
Glue to adhere ephemera to your journal pages.
Scissors (Don't carry them in your carry-on though! You'll have them taken away.)
A Journal. Pick something with thick pages, so you can write on both sides of the page! Journals with watercolor pages are my personal favorite.
That's really all you need to pack. I've found that if I limit the supplies I bring with me, I become much more creative in using what I have with me and even develop new techniques for my supplies for projects at home.
I also like to do a little prep work before I leave. I love anticipating all the fun I'm going to have traveling and getting my travel journal ready gives me an excuse to spend plenty of time thinking about my destination.
I always buy a brand new journal for each trip. I love having a fresh place to start recording my memories.
I will often search used bookstores and online shops and auctions for vintage postcards, photos and books about my destination. I sometimes use these to prep pages in the journal or create a cover for my journal. I found an old photo, from 1949, of an odd couple in Solvang, and used acrylic paint and my Sakura Gelly Roll pens to alter it for the cover of my journal for my upcoming trip to the Santa Ynez Valley.
I also transfer pages (search the internet for image transfer techniques and find the one that works for you) from old travel books or maps onto my pages. These make great backgrounds for sketches.
Finally, I will often do a watercolor wash over some of my journal pages just to add some color. This gives me starting point for sketches and collages and helps overcome those moments when I don't know where to begin. If the background is done, I find that I am better able to jump into the project. To do watercolor wash, I use a damp sponge to wet my page, then immediately do a light wash of color. Sometimes I use multiple colors, but I usually keep it down to 2 or 3. While the page is still wet, I sprinkle sea salt all over it in order to get a unique pattern on the page. When the page has dried, I shake the salt off and have little white stars or snowflakes all over the page.
I also just figured out today that I can put a Sakura Stickler
™ (a vinyl outline sticker) onto the page, do my watercolor wash and then pull the Stickler off when the page is dry. The Stickler ends up creating a resist and the image of the Stickler (I used a butterfly) is left as a faint, white image on the page.
Want more tips for your travel journal or want to see the products I mentioned in action? Check-out Sakura's YouTube videos here. Here are the ones I especially like:
|Enter to Win Your Own Sakura Koi® Water Colors Pocket Field Sketch Box!
(Valued at over $25!)I know I've gone on and on about Sakura today, but I think you know I would never recommend anything to you unless I really used it myself. I like their products because they last a long time and are a bargain for the high quality results they produce. I promise I'm not getting paid by Sakura, but I did arrange for them to host a drawing for my ezine readers. They are offering a Sakura Koi® Water Colors Pocket Field Sketch Box to one lucky winner! Simply go to my blog, leave a comment in this entry and I'll pull a winner on August 5. Then you can take your own cute and compact watercolor set on your next journey!