Gill McC

Ah well, I dreamt of balmy spring days wandering the streets of Sorrento and sketching in the sunshine, but sadly the weather had other ideas. So, my journal comprises mainly of sketches I painted from images, and printed photos.

I like to start my journal with an itinerary page - a brief outline of what we did each day - and a weather record

I also like to include a map of the area - I simply go to Google Maps, print it to the scale and size I need and use old fashioned tracing to transfer it to my journal.

Do you suffer from 'blank page syndrome?' where it seems far too intimidating to make that first mark on the blank white page... Well, there are a few tips and tricks I have up my sleeve to get around this problem. For this journal I decided to use a technique that Jacqueline Newbold teaches in her wonderful DVD 'Art Journals on the Go'- to pre-paint some pages. I wasn't quite sure how this would work out, (especially as the colour ended up rather more intense than I had intended as I used Winsor & Newton Artists watercolours for the first time - the pigment is far richer in these pans than in the Cotman Student grade paints I am used to.) however, if you trust the process you will find it all works perfectly -

I sketched these trees from photos I had taken during the morning, by the time I sat painting in the hotel lounge in the afternoon, a full-blown storm had roared in - so the background seems very appropriate

The other pages worked well too - the first matched the colours of the flowers perfectly, and the second reproduced the look of the stucco on the church.

There are many techniques you can use if you do not feel your sketching skills are up to scratch - although I always say that keeping an illustrated travel journal is not about creating great art, but about creating memories...

This is a technique that anyone can do - I had a poor quality photograph of this wonderful wisteria-clad pergola, taken under grey skies so the lighting was not good. I converted the photo to greyscale, and printed it on watercolour paper - then simply added colour over the top. Do make sure that you only do this with a printer that has waterproof ink - such as Epson Durabrite, or a Laser printer.

There were many ceramics in Sorrento - a speciality of the area - many of them were on walls or pavements. I decided to re-create the look of a wall to mount the photos on. This was easily achieved by using a water soluble ink to draw in light brick lines (I used a Rotring Art Pen), then I loaded some raw sienna on my paintbrush and painted the bricks - just touching the ink lines and allowing the ink to run.

This was one of the few paintings I did in-situ, a wonderful pizza served in the tin tray in which it was cooked -

More to follow...
Tags: Italy, watercolor
Liz Steel
I am very excited to be part of this blog – thanks to Gill for the vision and all the hard work to set it up!
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Kansas City
For me, travel journaling is the ultimate!! Obviously visiting famous places is very exciting but simply being in a strange place makes you notice all kind of differences in normal day things. Although, being an architect, I love to see and sketch lots of buildings, my favourite journal pages and the ones that contain a combination of experiences – like a good cup of tea and accompanying scones with a view to a baroque building! Here are two from last years big 11 week sketching adventure in USA, UK and Italy.
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This year I have a three week trip coming up in July- I am going to the Urban Sketchers Symposium in Lisbon Portugal and then two weeks in the UK.
In my usual style I have started journalling my trip preparations – 6 weeks out. It is essential to think about the important things to take early- such as what paints... Whether to test any colours before I go and then prepare a new clean kit a few weeks earlier so that I am all ready to go.

Check out this link to follow all my preps...but I will post here all about my final travel kit (when I have decided what to take!)
Erin Perry

A couple of months ago we took a 5 day trip to Portland Oregon. I'd been there once before for an Art & Soul retreat, but had spent all my time in workshops and not seen much of the city.


I knew with 5 days I wouldn't need a large journal so decided to try out a new chunky board book I'd run across. They are a series called Brand New Babyby Karen Katz.


I loved the small chunky size of it - a 5.5x6" board book on thick wooden pages, that I gessoed and papered before I left. I thoroughly enjoyed working in the book and have already ordered a few more to use in the future for short trips,

It was fun sitting in cafes and coffee shops and writing down the day's activities and my impressions of all we'd seen and done.I added postcards, brochures, street detritus and business cards.


My travel journal kit of glue stick, paper tape, scissors (blunt-nosed for the plane), Staz-On ink pad and a few rubber stamps proved yet again, that, at times, you can to more with less.
Fran Meneley

When I travel I take a small journaling kit to have at the ready for journaling my journey. I use a small Kokuyo bag with a roomy interior that holds my favorite travel journaling supplies:

Peerless Watercolor papers
A glue stick
2 water brush pens
small scissors - remember to take them out of your carry on
mechanical pencil with an eraser
Sharpie black poster paint pen
2 "S" size Faber-Castell PITT artist pens
White Uniball Signo White pen
A couple of colored gel pens
White crayon for watercolor resist
Folded up cocktail napkin for cleaning my water brush pens
Small set of rub on letters
A couple of small glassine enevelopes

I like to use journals with water color paper. I either take one that I've had made with Fabriano Artistico 140 lb. watercolor paper or I also like Moleskine watercolor journals. I try to stick to a journal that is around 8" X 6" - they fit in my bag nicely. A few supplies go a long way to creating wonderful journal pages.
Diana Hollingsworth Gessler
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I write an illustrated journal-esque travel article for Southern Lady magazine and recently went to Roanoke, VA with a dozen other travel writers on a media tour. The rallying cry was "It's a Blue Ridge Day" which will become the title of my article. We were trundled around, albeit in style, to some very interesting places. The exciting thing about these travel writers is that they were all curious and asked lots of questions. The only difference, other than they are seasoned writers for many publications, was that when my companions uncapped their pens and cameras, I opened my watercolor kit and sketchbook.