The Not-So-Happy Scrapbooker
I used to be really big into scrapbooking. Like a lot of new moms, I thought I would document every sneeze and fart that my child would ever take. And in the beginning, I did just that! I had a closet full of punches, stamps, stickers and glues. I had reams of cardstock in various colors and patterns. There were scrapbooks of all shapes and sizes just waiting to be filled with photos and ephemera. And I took enough photos to fill them all at least ten times. Does this sound familiar to anyone? Just me? Fine.
Previously, I would take hundreds of photos, jot a quick note, collect various ticket stubs, then throw it all into a folder to be compiled later. The idea was to sort out everything and put it together when I returned home. Except, this never quite worked as planned. After returning home, details are forgotten, timelines are lost, and even more devastating, I simply lost the spark to create. The work is just too overwhelming. As a result, I have dozens of half-finished travel scrapbooks with whole layouts abandoned (raise your hand if this is you too). The system was clearly not working.
Behold, the Humble Art Journal
As the towers of failed scrapbooks piled up, I started to look for something different. And over time, I began to notice art journals as a possible solution. The concept of a simple art journal had not occurred to me before. Because I considered it a hobby for “real” artist types. I limited myself. But I started to realize how silly that was. I already kept a Filofax for task lists and appointments. It would be a natural transition to add in daily sketches. I never considered myself some great artist, but I wanted to at least try. Learning how to sketch and paint has been a fun adventure.
Now that I am art journaling in earnest, I’ve grown more comfortable with my own art. However, I’ve mostly completed projects at home. For the simple fact, it is easier. There is quick access to papers, a water faucet and all my desk supplies. Even when I’ve done the occasional sketch around town—it is often just a line drawing, to be colored in later. I still haven’t reached my ultimate goal. Which is to take the show on the road. I want to learn from my failures at scrapbooking and document things while they are still fresh in my memory. Slowing down to capture moments in analogue is a fantastic way to stay in the moment. Pictures are great. But it can make you lazy. The added element of journalling, allows you to cherish small details. For me, a travel journal on the road is the ideal way to document a journey.
A New Way Forward
During my last few trips, I’ve been experimenting with art on location. Painting on location has a lot of romantic appeal. But logistically, it is a lot of trial and error. Especially since I loathe over packing. Some ladies are fine bringing out a full suitcase of supplies, but that is not me. If you want a manageable everyday carry that isn’t too minimalist, check out my current Sketchkit.
Travel Journal Sketchkit
Small supply kit kept in my daybag/purse:
Every Day Carry, Artist Edition: pens, waterbrush, teeny palette, small rag
Sketchkit I use for travel journalling:
Putting it in Practice
So far, my experiences journalling on road have been wonderful. I have not produced as much art as I hoped, but my journal is steadily growing. Drawing is a habit and I am still developing that habit. Bringing the sketchkit on location is a start. Keeping everything small and portable increases the likelihood I’ll have supplies on hand.
Next up, allowing more time in my travel routine for sketch breaks. Slowing down for analogue! It takes practice, but it is all part of the fun.