Drawing a blank

In one of those funny synchronicity moments, one of my favorite bloggers, Miss Tolly Moseley of Austin Eavesdropper, just posted on the Sketchbook Project and on how she wished she were a sketchbook-er herself. I started preparing a post for my own blog on this very matter just a few days ago, since I’ve been enjoying some great travel sketchbooks in advance of my upcoming April vacation and wishing I were this kind of record-keeper…while fully recognizing that I am NOT. My drawing skills are sadly lacking, though I am a decent painter. My theory is that it’s that whole 3D to 2D visual translation process that throws me off – I don’t know how to look at something and draw what I *see* rather than what I *know*. Yes, with practice (and more practice) I could improve my skills, but there’s so far to go that I just stick with words and photos and leave the sketchbooking to other artistic souls whose talents shine in this particular medium. They always look so fully absorbed and contented sketching away on the plane or in the park…but I am not they.

One of my favorite artist/authors is Vivian Swift. It doesn’t hurt that she can wryly make fun of herself…and her cats. The book I found recently at the library was called Le Road Trip, and it was full of little gems.
(All images copyright Vivian Swift and scanned from the library copy of LRT.)

This one, showing her list of non-clothing must-haves for packing, accompanied by historical travel quotes.


This one, showing a detailed watercolor and simple pencil self-portrait of herself as a traveller.


This one, a textual and visual representation of a normal, everyday moment. (Love the self-judgment inherent towards the end here. My internal dialogue – wait, I shouldn’t admit to that – my internal *ahem* monologue is often like Swift’s. I can relate. This is a meaningful travel moment. Think deep thoughts!)

Screen shot 2013-03-08 at 4.33.31 PMAnd this one, featuring the diverse windows of Paris.


I also love Kate Williamson‘s chronicle of A Year in Japan. I have the print edition, but she does have an accompanying site that features much of the work gathered up in one place for the book. Here are a few of my favorite pages.
(All images copyright Kate Williamson and directly linked to her website.)

A lounge.
Screen shot 2013-03-08 at 12.07.57 PM

A bento box.
Screen shot 2013-03-08 at 12.07.26 PM
A Shojin-Ryori meal.
Screen shot 2013-03-08 at 12.07.46 PM

Comparison of geishas.Screen shot 2013-03-08 at 12.07.13 PM

Sara Midda is also a great one for visual travel journals, with a lovely one featuring the South of France. You can see a limited sample of her precious pen and ink and watercolor work for yourself if you check out the Google book preview here. It doesn’t scan well, but I found one page of her farm drawings and watercolors online (below).


After revisiting these texts and sharing highlights, I got inspired to go visit the Sketchbook Project Mobile Tour that Tolly mentioned, here in Austin for SXSW. Thoughts to follow on that in an upcoming post.


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