Although I've been travel sketching on and off for most of my life, I didn't really take it too seriously until I made the decision to do so. I remember the exact circumstance: I was turning 40 and my husband encouraged me to go on a life-changing art trip to Italy. It was one of those major bucket list things: To go on a trip specifically for my art practice.
I decided that since I was going on an art trip with a group of fellow artists - sans husband and kids - I was going to live out my fantasy of spending most of my days during the trip in the pursuit of art.
Before going on that trip, I prepared for it by researching what would be the best art materials to take with me for travel sketching. I also tried to read as many blogs and books about sketching that I could find. That's when I discovered all about the growing movement of Urban Sketching. I was hooked.
Unfortunately, at the time, I couldn't find any travel sketching or urban sketching classes in my city or online. There weren't as many books available either. So, I just tried to learn as I went along.
So, I packed my travel sketching kit and went on an art adventure. I tried recording my trip from the moment I got on the plane. And, I tried to sketch at least one thing every day - from the streets of Rome and the ruins of Pompeii to the coast of Amalfi and the Tuscan Hills. It was bliss!
My fellow art tour mates were very supportive of my travel sketching practice. They looked at my sketches from the day and asked a lot of questions about sketching materials and techniques. It was then that I began playing with the idea of teaching sketching classes.
I didn't act on that idea immediately. However, I did get invited to teach art classes in a local art studio (the same people who organised the Italy trip). Since then, my art life has evolved and grown a lot. But, that travel sketching class idea was still put on hold.
Then, a couple of months ago, I received a very exciting invitation to hold a workshop at one of Adelaide's wonderful art supplies shop. The manager of the shop is one of my lovely Italy art tour mates. And yes, the best part: I get to teach Expressive Travel Sketching, live in Adelaide.
So, yes, come 4th of March 2017, Saturday, 1 to 4pm, I'll be holding the first ever Expressive Travel Sketching Workshop at Art Stretchers Adelaide. To learn more about the workshop and/or to book your spot, go to this page: Expressive Travel Sketching Workshop (Adelaide).
We're only able to allocate 8 places for this workshop and a few of those places have already been pre-paid and reserved. So, if you want to join us, do book your place soon.
In a nutshell: It's all about travel sketching using your own way of expressing what you see in the world.
It's not about getting perfect perspectives and straight lines. It's not about drawing and sketching in photographic ways - you have your camera for that.
Expressive travel sketching is all about recording your experiences using lines, shapes, textures, and colours that speak to you. It's about putting down memories on the pages of your sketchbooks. To make your experiences last longer, better than any photograph could.
In the workshop, I'll be sharing some materials, tips, and techniques to help participants learn how to record their travels in their sketchbooks with confidence and joy.
There is no magic formula: You just need to start where you are!
Over the last couple of years, I've been privately sharing information to friends and peers whenever they ask questions about my travel sketching practice. What are the best materials to use and take with you? How do you begin a sketch? How do you sketch quickly?
When pressed for time, all you really need for your travel sketching are two things: Your sketchbook and a pen. They're the only materials I use consistently.
When I'm able to take my 'extended' travel sketching kit with me, here's a list of additional basic things I use:
I usually bring this kit in a separate bag or backpack, together with a DSLR camera and other travel gear. I keep my essentials (i.e., small sketchbook, pen, pencil) in my handbag, so I can easily take them out when there's a quick opportunity to sketch.
I'll be sharing more tips and techniques at the Expressive Travel Sketching Workshop. And hopefully, also in future blog posts if any of you are interested. Just let me know through comments or emails!
Shai has been managing and blogging here at ShaiCoggins.com for 17 years. Here, she writes about creativity, productivity, and how to recharge for a better, happier lifestyle. She is the author of Today: Life Journal, Colour Bliss: Kaleidoscopes, and a little known children’s book.
A serial entrepreneur, Shai also currently runs Vervely.com, a boutique digital media agency offering online content, community, and conversion marketing services. Her blogging experience and digital work have been featured in various media, including being listed in Fast Company’s “Most Influential Women in Technology” list.
Originally from Manila, Shai lived in Singapore and the USA before moving to Australia with her British husband. They have two children, a pet bunny, and a rambunctious rescue Labrador.