Ever since I started travelling more earnestly – back in a previous century – I’ve done my best to keep a travel journal. Looking back at them now, some were just a series of rough dates and towns, purely a reminder of where I’d actually been.  On a motorcycle trip overland to Kathmandu in 2005/6 these scribblings also became more detailed and illustrated.

Now I’ve started, I’ve realised this should be a long and comprehensive post..but I’m leaving for Morocco in a few days so time is short! It’s a big topic and I will write more on the theme at a later date.

So, on the bike trip, it wasn’t so much sitting and sketching the scene in front of me, as visualising what I’d seen during the previous day. I found that what worked best was a good old BIC biro for scribbling down the line-work then a splash of watercolour to bring it all to life. The biro works really well because you can start very lightly then add some darker lines for shading – and it’s waterproof. I recommend using a journal with 150gsm cartridge paper as anything lighter just buckles and goes transparent.

The pages below are a compilation from that trip. Loose biro sketches (from memory) with added watercolour. The sketches on the left are done while riding up the Karakoram Highway (KKH) in Northern Pakistan. Lots of sombre colours.. in contrast to the pictures (top and middle) to the right done in India. There was so much more colour there.



Here’s a classic version showing the process taken from a journal put together during our first weeks in France. As you can see, the initial sketches are really loose and vague ( I think the term is ‘gestural’) but jump out if the page when colour was added.




And here’s the kit I used on the bike trip. I’m actually taking slightly more to Morocco as I’m planning to do some paintings there too. I’ll do my best tokeep you posted on our Facebook  page – Take a look and leave comments. It would be great to hear from you.