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John Payne
Wilma and I headed up to Glacier National Park in July of 2008. Doesn't seem that long ago.


This was our first big post-kid trip, and we took the Amtrak from Chicago to Glacier (30-hour ride). This was my first trip since I started illustrated journaling, so this was my first travel journal entry. I packed along my journal, watercolor pencils, artist pens and waterbrush.

My whole travel journal for this trip is in July and August, 2008 in my blog at I'll post more later on my process but I wanted to post here about my favorite entry of that trip.

We had a long hike up to Sperry Chalet for an overnight stay. The 6+ miles and 3432' altitude gain were tough, but worth it. The Chalet has no electricity or running water, except for a sink at the restroom, supplies arrive by pack mule, but it was enchanting! This place is staffed with cooks, wait staff and housekeeping and even a baker (fresh bread and cake!), and they made us feel welcome. But I digress. After the hike Wilma took a much deserved nap, so that left me in full quiet, sitting on this balcony in the wilderness with un-rushed sketch time, so I took it all in. I took pictures and did the color work at home, but all the layout and pen work was done sitting on that deck in the clear mountain air, with snow drifts to walk through to get to the head or the dining/kitchen cabin. This is heaven and it all comes back when I view this sketch.
Fran Meneley

I was in Taos, New Mexico the week before last for a class with artist, Sas Colby. Here a are a few pages from my travel journal.

We spent the week at the Mabel Dodge Luhan house - an old, storied and charming adobe just a few blocks from town, tucked up against the Taos Pueblo lands. That's Mabel and her friends Frieda Lawerence (wife of D.H.) and painter Dorothy Brett in the upper left hand corner. I found a little sketched vintage postcard that I wanted to include of the now famous Taos church. We did watch the full moon rise over the morada from Mabel's huge guest room windows - but the photo in the bottom right hand corner is from a gallery guide, it's Moonrise Over Hernandez, by Ansel Adams.


I mapped the places we went in Taos - only a few as we were mostly in the studio drawing - and I mapped my sweet little room in the studio building. I'm so enjoying the layer of richness that mapping brings to my travel journals.


I made a little pocket for my class notes out of some artist paper I had and a little watercolor drawing I did of Guadalupe from a drawing moment at the sculpture park one day. I love pockets in my travel journals for writing that I want to keep, but have a little more private. I spent some time drawing the morada in walnut ink with a haiku from our walk there one morning. I also included a little sketch of Mabel's birdhouses on a tea bag! That's right...dried tea bags! They make wonderful stained paper - soft and transparent - they are just the right size to capture a moment and that can be added to a travel journal with a couple of dots of glue stick.
Fran Meneley
New York City
Posted July 6, 2011 by Fran Meneley in Maps, Travel Journal

I've just returned from a trip to New York City, taking my daughter to college orientation. While she was orienting for a few days, I had a chance to fly solo and explore the city. I made this little journal before I left and used bought postcards for the cover.


Besides the postcards all the other "artwork" was made by my pen or bits of FREE stuff from around the city and touristy magazines from the hotel room. A book mark from a wonderful used and new bookstore, The Strand and a coaster from Prune, a restaurant I was very pleased to try by the chef/author Gabrielle Hamilton.


I saw a Normal Heart on Broadway. Raw and honest to the bone, it is a look at the beginning of AIDS activism in New York in the 80's. After the show they were passing out a letter from the show's writer and creator, Larry Cramer. I wanted to keep it so I fashioned a little envelope out of a paper bag and secured it with some decorative tape I had brought along. I love making little pockets and envelopes in my travel journal for either private writing or bigger pieces of ephemera.


Inspired by John Payne's blog on mapping, I made a little map of some of the places I went as I traversed the city.


Wanting to branch out and see parts of the city I hadn't seen before, I did a walking tour of Harlem. A great way to learn history and see things that go by in flash from the window of a bus or cab.


My daughter and I went to the MET to see Alexander McQueen's fabulous multi-media exhibit. Hours were spent lost in a couture dream. Walking through Central Park towards downtown, we stopped for a soda at a little cafe nestled in the trees. Lovely to spend a moment like that with my grown up girl. A sushi stop later in the afternoon will be remembered by the chop stick cover.

I am certain without taking the time make this little journal of our time together, these few fun and precious days would be filed away in the "soon to be forgotten" bin of my life.

Happy Travels and Journaling!
John Payne
Thoughts on Maps
Posted June 20, 2011 by John Payne in Maps
Most people learn better with visual instructions than with written instruction. Therefore maps and other illustrated journaling are a more direct pipeline into the mind's processes. It just makes sense to tap into this strength.

Some reasons for maps are that they are great memory promptors, they are a reference for "next time" visits and the map creation process helps digest what the trip could be (if you're doing it pre-trip) or digest what just happened (for post-processing).

Maps can be simple and small. As an example, Wilma and I were visiting a couple friends for a couple days in northern Minnesota. LTJ_217b.jpg We had a one-day canoe trip into Boundary Waters for a packed lunch, and I wanted a small map to show were we went.

Maps can be larger but not have excessive details. The idea is to prompt memory. If you need full detail, get a real map. This past Spring Break we visited Seattle where our son just got a job. LTJ_296b.jpg I wanted to show the relative position of the sites he showed us. I decided to show shorelines and major highways and the visited sites. That left out a ton of Seattle detail not related to our visit.

Or, spend the time and do a more detailed map. This map was of our trip to Glacier National Park. LTJ_141b.jpg I invested a bunch of time in the journaling; pre-trip, in-trip, and post processing. It was too much fun. So I created this map after the trip. I just love maps, and I want to learn more about cartography and early map making techniques.

So, that's my two bits on the topic of maps. Give it a try if you haven't already.
Gill McC
Maps are always a good addition to a travel journal and you can employ one of the tricks you learnt at school - tracing!
"I thought it would be a good memory prompt to show visually some of the places we visited in Cornwall. I traced a map of the area and overwrote it with notes."
From the travel journal of Gill McCowen
Click on the image to view original
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