How to Pack for Travel Sketching

All you really need for travel sketching is interest, a love of travel, a love of sketching and some simple gear. Since you want to travel light, look for sketchbooks that are not too big. Look for strong binding and quality sketch paper like the Moleskine pocket notebooks. This one has pockets in the flap where you can save scraps of notes.


A sketchbook with a sturdy cover can also double as support if you’re drawing with the sketchbook on your lap.


Sketching Kit

Travel Sketching Kit

I personally carry two sketchbooks. One is around 5.5 inches on its longest side. Another is large, around 9 by 12 inches, which I always keep in my suitcase for larger illustrations or drawings that I want to enlarge.

I also carry a mixed grade graphite pencil set, eraser and sharpener. A set of 2B, 4B and 6B is enough to sketch on most mediums. Color pencils also make a good addition for quick coloring of scenes. I also carry a thin liner pen (sketch pen and fountain pen) for filling in details and drawing outlines.

When buying watercolors, look for compact sets that also have compact mixing palettes. You might want to carry a set of oil pastels or charcoal sticks depending on your choice of medium.

You can also find a nice sketch kit bag or these lovely little journal bandoliers to carry your art supplies with you without misplacing anything.

Travel Sketching

Travel Sketching

Once you’ve got into the habit of sketching your travels, you’ll find you never want to take another photo again. You’ll get closer to your subject, spend more time in a location letting the atmosphere soak in while you sketch, and maybe strike up a friendship with people who look over your shoulder to see what you’re doing.

When your travels are over, you can bind all the various mediums into a single scrapbook or collect them all in a single folder. Now that’s a better travelogue than a photo album, isn’t it?


Do you have stories of drawn and illustrated travelogues that you care to share below?

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