Travel Sketchbook Tips – Number Two: What to Bring

I’m leaving in a few days to travel to Vietnam and Cambodia (want to come with and share the experience? learn more here). Note that since I live in remote Alaska, it is going to take me a few days to get there. Before I leave, I wanted to write a post about what I’m bringing with me.

First of all, there is nothing wrong with keeping your sketch kit simple and affordable. A notebook with unlined paper and pen or pencil will suffice! Really lined paper would be fine too. However as a professional artist I have lots of art supplies, and I wanted to share a few of my favorites for taking on the go.

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Summer Sketchbook

In the last year or so I’ve been changing up how I work. I’ve been taking more photographs when I travel, and spending more time working in my studio, working from photographs and specimens. Nevertheless field sketching has always been an important part of my practice, and remains so now.

I travelled a lot this summer so I mostly used my sketchbook to slow down and have a moment of reflection in a new place as well as to document the landscapes, plants, and other things I found. I thought it would be fun just to peek into the disorganized pages of my sketchbooks.

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Ode to Workspace - The 2 x 2' Camp Table

As an artist it feels like table space is prime real estate, as I never have enough space to lay out supplies and work. It was a big step for us to get a new dining room table last week. We moved into the new cabin after Thanksgiving and now we have space for furniture. Actually it is still quite a work in progress but we are moving that direction. When we finish putting the tongue and groove up in the ceiling we can move the bed and will have even more space. Last year we lived in a 16' yurt and much of our activity centered around a little 2x2' camp table that we bought at REI for a rafting trip. Whenever I wanted to draw, I cleaned off the table and set up shop. One of the reasons why I've been working in my sketchbooks is because they are small and portable, and I've been limited by space. By next summer I am going to turn the yurt into a dedicated studio, but right now it is a transition zone, though it does have more table space.

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A pond in the woods

I just got back from a trip to the north eastern United States to visit family. We decided to go in October so that we could get home to Alaska before winter set in too hard and so that we could catch some of the nice fall weather there. One of the places we went was my grandparents' cabin on a pond near Rangeley, Maine. This has always been a very special place to me.

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