I love traveling with friends – painters and non-painters. When I travel with the painters we gear up and choose locations where we can spend time with our paints or pastels. I love the way painting helps you enjoy the moment instead of rushing on to the next thing.
When I travel with my friends who don’t paint, I take pictures which are supposed to turn into paintings when I get back home. Once I’m back to real-life, that magic almost never happens.
So, for a recent Mediterranean cruise, I decided that to take a sketching kit with me and grab any minutes available. I packed the kit and did a local dry-run. Then I lightened it up even more.
- several black Micron pens*
- a white Uni-ball pen*
- three water-soluble graphite pencils in their tin
- several drawing pencils*
- a small sharpener*
- a kneaded eraser*
- three water brushes
- a Koi watercolor kit
Everything fit into a cosmetic bag. (The asterisked items were the ones I used the most.)
I bought several little sketchbooks, trying to decide which would be the most portable and might tolerate moisture if I wanted to add watercolor. At the last minute I saw a little journal with multi-colored sheets on the clearance table at Barnes and Nobel. I am a sucker for anything with lots of bright colors. After a little cover decor, that won the spot in the suitcase.
I also took a 4×6 inch watercolor block and blank postcards as well as a 7×10 watercolor block (which turned out to be too large to be useful.)
I started sketching right at the airport.
On the ship’s organized excursions I was usually lucky to make a few pencil sketches on site, many while standing.
I embellished the book and added section titles on the long bus rides.
I also did a few sketches on route. (Tour bus passengers are really good at holding a pose, especially if they’re asleep!) I left blank pages for notes and pasting in tickets, maps, etc.
Most days I didn’t take the little watercolor kit because it added more weight to my bag than I thought it would. On days when we were on our own I was able to do a few watercolor sketches on the watercolor block while sitting at a café or park bench. I did a few onboard, too. I pasted those into my sketchbook when I got home.
By sheer luck I had downloaded “The Urban Sketcher” by Marc Taro Holmes to read on my Kindle. It was an easy read with good suggestions. There’s a sketchbook in my purse at this moment so we’ll see if the habit continues on this side of the globe.