Traveling is a wonderful way to explore the world and create lasting memories. Many travellers enjoy documenting their adventures through capturing photographs and write in journals, but for those who love art, a travelers sketchbook is an essential companion. There a wide variety of travel sketch options to choose from, in a wide variety of formats and price points. In this blog post, we will delve into the world of Artgecko sketchbooks for travel sketching, their versatility and how they allow us to express our creative ideas and draw our surroundings whilst on the go.
The Traveller’s Sketchbook: A Creative Companion
A traveller’s sketchbook is more than just a sketchbook; it is a portal to capture the essence of our journeys through art. It provides the perfect platform for travel sketching and drawing. The beauty of having your travel sketchbook is that it allows you to draw and create artwork whenever inspiration strikes, yet is small enough to pack away in your bag. Equally, drawing on the go, in an Artgecko Sketchbook, allows memories to be captured in alternate ways to photographs in a photo album.
Essential Tools: Travel Sketchbook KitA well-prepared travel sketchbook kit is essential for any artist on the move, you do not want to take up too much space in your travel pack! Besides the sketchbook itself, pen, ink and a sharp pencil are ideal tools to carry with you, along with some watercolor pencils and watercolor notebooks, which are equally invaluable additions. Watercolor pencils offer the convenience of both sketching and adding color to your work, whilst watercolor notebooks or sketchbooks provide acid free, thick pages that can withstand a variety of dry media and watercolor techniques. Make sure to check out Artgecko’s range of watercolour products here, which are ideal for most media like watercolour for example as well as pens, ink and pencil and other media due to its thick pages.
Travel Sketchbooks: A Canvas of CreativityTravel sketchbooks come in various forms, from simple pocket-sized books to larger, more comprehensive ones. They offer the freedom to experiment with different art styles and mediums, making each sketchbook a unique art journey of its own.
At Artgecko Sketchbooks, we have a variety of sketch choices that are ideal for traveling. For the all-round sketchers we have Classy Gecko in casebound and twin wire bindings with a lovely soft touch cover. For travel purposes, we recommend the A6 and A5 sketchbooks as they are small enough to fit into your bag and perfect for illustration!
We also have the Freestyle Gecko in size A5, for the free-spirited paint marker artist. Layer all you like as this sketchbook is created especially for paint markers and pens with its super bright white paper inside, for ultimate colour building. Feel free to adorn the cover too with your creations!
Nothing is more suited to sketching on the go than the PRO Gecko Sketch Tiles. For tonal sketching, enjoy the Toned Sketch Tile. Filled with Toned Black card and at 148mm squared format, this sketch tile is perfect for slipping into your bag. Enjoy the freedom of watercolour painting with the Watercolour Sketch Tile, sized 148mm squared, and Watercolour Postcard, sized A6. The size of the A6 is so handy for being on the go, you may even be able to fit it in your pocket! A great aspect to the PRO Pad range is the gluebound top meaning the pages of paper within the pad can be easily removed.
Lastly in the range is the Swanky. These journals are suited for all media artists just like the Classy, however they have a smart journal cover which means you can keep your sketches of your trip super smart, compact and together in one book. We recommend the A5 Swanky for travel sketching as it’s so handy for your pack!
Urban Sketching and Colored Pencils
Urban sketching has gained popularity among travelers and artists alike. It involves drawing on location, capturing the essence of cities and towns through art. For this technique, colored pencils are a big fan favourite, as well as alcohol pens and markers because they allow colour to be built up very quickly on the paper. Their portability and versatility make them an excellent choice for sketching and adding vibrant colors to your urban scenes. We recommend using a fine point fineliner and gel pen to really bring out the detail in your urban explorations.
The Calligrapher’s Pen: A Timeless Tool
When it comes to travel sketching, a calligraphy fountain pen is a classic choice. It’s smooth flow, sharp nib point and varied line widths add character to your travel sketches and allow great annotation additions to your drawings. You can even experiment further and spatter the ink for some dynamic movement and texture. Pair your pen with a reliable Artgecko Swanky Sketchbook and you have a winning combination for documenting your adventures with style.
Paper Quality MattersThe paper used in a travel sketchbook can significantly impact the final outcome. Choosing the right paper is essential for various media, from pen and pencils to watercolors and ink. Within our sketch products, there is a wide variety of paper types to choose from, meaning you can find your perfect sketch match to your artistic style but also have the freedom to travel and not take up too much space in your backpack! Acid free paper ensures that your work stands the test of time, preserving your travel memories for years to come. Whether your partner in artistic crime is a pen, pencil or you prefer paint, there is definitely something for you at Artgecko Sketchbooks.
Adding Color to Your Sketches
Whether you are exploring a bustling city or a serene landscape, add colour to your travel creations to breathe life into your creations. Watercolors, with their vibrant hues and portability, are a popular choice among travelers. With a set of watercolors and a trusty watercolor brush, you can create stunning, expressive works on the go and bring part of your trip back with you on the paper in your trusty travel journal.
Travel Sketching: Capturing Details and Impressions
The art of travel sketching goes beyond drawing what you see; it's about capturing the essence of a place, the atmosphere, making sense of your surroundings and the emotions you experience. With just a pen and a sketchbook, you can document the world around you, leaving no details forgotten. Equally, by bringing your sketchbook along with you on your travels, you instantly find a way to see the world in more detail and take in aspects of the places you visit more thoroughly than if you were to simply visit and look around. This is because by drawing your surroundings, you are forced to look further into the details around you and spend more time taking in the scenery. Travel with more impact with your pens, art materials and document everything on the paper in your travel journal.
Carrying Your Art Everywhere
A significant advantage of a travel sketchbook is its portability. Tuck it into your bag or backpack and you're ready to create wherever your journey or trip takes you. Carry your memories with you. Unlike a studio setup, a travel sketchbook or journal allows you to capture fleeting moments and ever-changing landscapes.
Building a Sense of Inspiration
A travel sketchbook is not just about drawing; it's about connecting with your surroundings and finding your creative awakening in unexpected places. It allows you to observe the world with a keen eye, appreciating the little things that often go unnoticed. During these moments, why not try different techniques and styles like single line drawings, different variations of observational drawings or timed sketches to improve your style and improve your creativity.
Painting on the Go
As we have already covered adding colour and texture with pens and markers, let’s talk about painting. Painting can be a bit intimidating for some artists, but a travel sketchbook provides the perfect opportunity to experiment with media such as watercolours and gouache. The fluidity and translucency of watercolors allow you to create beautiful washes and capture the atmosphere of your surroundings. Gouache can add some dynamic elements to your work with its opaque nature and vibrant colors, gouache allows you to add bold highlights and detail to your creations, making them truly stand out. The paint can also be layered heavily or watered down for a more watercolour look. Try the PRO Gecko Sketch Tiles or even the PRO Acrylic Sketchpad for painting on the go!
Head to this link to see some helpful painting techniques!
Travel Sketchbooks for Animal Lovers
For animal enthusiasts, a travel sketchbook can become a personal menagerie of wildlife encounters. With just a pen, pencil, some markers and watercolors, you can immortalize the animals you encounter on your journeys, adding a unique touch to your sketchbook and enjoy the great outdoors and natural surroundings at the same time. We recommend our PRO Gecko Watercolour Sketch Postcards for this activity.
Artworks by @acoe_illustration and @stephiawalker
Exploring Landscapes Through Art
Landscape painting is a wonderful way to appreciate the natural beauty of the world, it’s also super fun to do! Whether you're standing on a mountain top or sitting by the sea, a travel sketchbook can be your companion to capture the vastness and beauty of the landscapes you encounter in your journal.
Portrait Sketching: Capturing people on the Move
Sketching people on the move can be challenging, but it's a valuable skill to develop. With practice, you can quickly draw the essence of a person in your travel sketchbook, forging intimate and authentic portraits using pens, pencils and pastels for speed. If you feel you need it, add a splash of gouache afterwards for more impact.
Don’t Forget the Writing
While travel sketchbooks are primarily about drawing and painting, never fail to remember to write some notes too. Adding notes, thoughts and anecdotes alongside your sketches can add depth and context to your work, creating a truly immersive journal of your travels. Adding notes to your journal is also a great way to fill up those pesky blank spaces in the corners or your masterpieces!
Creating Your Masterpiece Beyond the Pages
Travel sketchbooks offer a plethora of opportunities to create art beyond the pages. You can use your sketches as notes for larger paintings, turn them into postcards to send to loved ones, or even explore the world of illustration based on your travel experiences. Why not up your creative game and add photos too, making a fully interactive album of memories which is so much fun to create and look back on.
Artwork by @edinburghsketcher @malcolm_p_hall and @c.lemontine
A traveller’s sketchbook is a gateway to the world of art and exploration. With just a sketchbook and a few pens or pencils, you can embark on a journey of creativity and self-expression. So, the next time you plan a trip, don't forget to pack your own travel sketchbook, carry around those memories with you and let your artistic spirit soar as you capture the beauty of the world one sketch at a time. If you are in need of some help on where to start, head to our Instagram account to find many an example of artwork to get those creative juices flowing. We do recommend however just to get out there, see the world and jump right into creating. Never fear the dreaded first page. With the great outdoors as your muse, your journal pages will not be blank for long and you will have filled your first book in no time. We hope you have a great time traveling and happy sketching!