It’s July and at last the sun has come out – and so has my sketchbook. The ground is dry enough, the landscape is rich with nature and I am literally running to the hills.
I’ve been taking time out to draw when on holiday – I love how my travel sketchbook slows me down, throws all of my senses wide open, and paves the way to spontaneous encounters with locals and fellow visitors alike.
So, in the hopes of convincing more people to embrace the sketchbook on their travels, here are my recommendations.
1. The travel kit
The travel kit: water, my little box of water colours, a dipping pen and ink, a couple of sticks of charcoal. I take a regular notepad or, depending on my outfit (and therefore the size of the handbag), an old clipboard borrowed from the kids.
Also I stow away lots of offcuts of paper and this is my version of a sketchbook. I love to sketch on recycled papers, different textures, things with print in the margin. Not only does it give my drawings a different look and feel, but I don’t have the guilt of opening that pristine sketchbook and ruining its beautiful white pages with scribbles!
One of my favourite times to sketch is on holiday when life seems simple and stress free. It’s so much fun to capture the classic siesta after lunch, or the swimming a length underwater challenge.
However travelling with a sketchbook doesn’t always have to be at exotic locations. The main thing is to get out there. Take a look at what’s on your doorstep and make the most of it.
3. Travel sketchbook subject
I used to sketch quite a bit on the beach, singling out the exceptional figures that brave the beaches of the Mediterranean.
I love to draw the curvaceous types and often exaggerate their figures. But it has gotten me in a little trouble when my subjects would stride over to be to see what I was sketching and I would have to explain that I was only “playing around with proportions”. I tend to stick to people I know now!
4. Really look at what you’re painting
In south Africa we were lucky to get the opportunity to go on safari as a family. Instead of pointing and shooting with a camera I made an effort to record what I saw in the sketchbook. It felt like I was looking at things properly for the first time. I was really looking at the wildlife, animals and spectacular landscapes.
5. Enjoy it!
After a recent trip to France I was really inspired to just get out there and draw. Sitting in the cafés of Marseille, travel sketchbook and a glass of red wine in hand, it reminded me just how meditative the whole drawing process is.
Drawing outside chimes perfectly with the notion of mindfulness and headspace. So turn off your phone, get out into the beautiful world that belongs to each of us and ENJOY it!
And no more procrastination for me…. I am going to enter the Sky Art Landscape Artist of the Year.