Travelogue Created Through Comics, Sketches, Illustrations and Collages

How do you keep record of the places you’ve traveled to or lived in? Do you store photos on your hard drive or the cloud and pull them out to look at them from time to time? Joe Secco turned his experiences in Palestine into a non-fiction graphic novel. Others like artists Maria Rivans and Andrei Autumn turn them into art.

 

After years of traveling and experimenting with different ways of documenting my travels, I’ve found that a combination of many media works best for me.

 

I use a combination of travel sketches, comics, illustrations and collages to keep my memories of a place safe.

Comics

Comics travel Korea

I enjoy using comics and caricatures to save funny conversations, funny observations, striking faces etc. on paper. I think comics work really well in capturing simple, hilarious exchanges between two people next to me on the bus, for example. I remember Adrian Tomine’s New York Sketches 2004 as a wonderful example of what I want to do with my portraits of people I see on the streets and the streetscape in a new place.

Comics are also great to quickly save dialogue. When the couple at the table next door are having the most delicious conversation you can overhear, a quick comic is great to capture that. I always carry a small palm-sized sketchpad with me for such emergencies.

Travel Sketches & Illustrations

Journal blog sketh

Journal blog sketh

I feel travel sketches of places, landscapes, buildings, interesting things are more in-the-moment than photographs are. You’ll probably think me weird if I say that I actually prefer sketching a scene to taking photos of it. In the act of sketching, I’m using all my powers of observation. I’m noticing details that I may not notice when I use my camera.

For ladies who enjoy sketching, I highly recommend carrying a sketchbook in your suitcase. You could fill in the sketches with watercolors, color pencils or markers, as this blogger does. Sometimes I like to leave my sketches black and white and simply ink them, when I don’t want the color to interfere with the scene. Here are some beautiful examples of travel sketchbooks and illustrations.

Collages

I also really like this idea of a collage of sketches and penciled illustrations with notes. Of course, it is also possible to create collages with photos and memorabilia.

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?

Memories Come Alive – Preserve The Golden Moments In The Form Of Collages

Preserving memories of golden moments from holidays exactly as you experienced them is not easy. Photographs carry some of the essence of a moment. But not all. Videos can capture a moment visually, but they don’t have the same kind of immediacy as old-fashioned scrapbooks.

I like something tangible, something that I can feel and pick up and see whenever I want to refresh my memory. Something with a narrative, and many links to the past that I can pore over for hours and recall warm memories.

Memories and Objects

bukhansan-park

Bukhansan National Park

And often my memories are attached with some object I picked up when traveling -for example, a sketch gifted by a South Korean acquaintance of a beautiful 600 year old temple in the Mt. Bukhansan National Park near Seoul. Whenever I look at the sketch, it immediately brings back the scent of the incense, the sounds of the forests during the 2-hour meditation sitting on the porch of the temple. This sketch was far more intimate and evocative than a photograph, I think, and I immediately added it to my scrapbook collage, with some notes and photos taken at the temple.

 

 

I think a collage is a fantastic way of preserving the golden moments of your holiday. If you haven’t made one before, I strongly encourage you to do so.

 

When done well, collages can even become works of art that are not just jumbles of photos. I want to share with you some ideas on how you can make a travel collage.

Travel Collage Ideas

Scrapbook collage

Scrapbook Travel

Browse Pinterest for ideas and you’ll be amazed at what some creative people have done with their travel scraps and bits. You could make it as spare or as full of items as possible. I really like this lovely way of saving the route of your journey on a map, embellished with objects that possibly make sense to no one else but you. But the whole has a pleasing effect that even strangers will pause and wonder at.

I personally like to save as much of my trip as I can. I save receipts, tickets, underground railway passes, maps, flight tickets, baggage tags, bookmarks, pamphlets along with photos and anything else that reminds me of the place I visited. This could get crowded. Here you can see one way of scrapbooking. It may or may not work for you.

You may prefer something prettier like this.

Enlarged, framed memorabilia

Martha Stewart offers an idea to turn your travel memorabilia into framed pop art. You could scan a ticket, maybe a currency note, a flight ticket, the scan of your visa or passport etc. Martha Stewart suggests candy wrappers, food labels, menus etc.

Digital collages

Collage Monuments

I personally prefer old-fashioned collages for their character. But many people prefer digital collages. They’re great because you don’t have to worry about your scrapbook getting wet in a flood, burned in a fire, lost when you move home. If you have thousands of photos you want to preserve, you won’t have to rent storage to keep them. You can make digital collages with many free and premium tools online.

I hope this post will inspire some readers to create collages. If you do make something you’re proud of, feel free to share below!

A Beginner’s Manual of What to Do In Colombia and South Korea

If you want to know the first steps in making life easier during your move to Colombia and South Korea, I’m here to help. Let’s cut to the chase.

After Moving to Colombia or South Korea

First Steps

After you’ve entered the country, reached your accommodation, done all the paperwork, etc. you’ll be hit by the jet lag, the confusion of a new country and disorientation. Possibly anxiety. Don’t be alarmed, it’s common for many people to take a few days to adjust.

 

Some employers may help by setting up the apartment, taking you out for a meal and orientating you. Not all. That’s why you need this list of first steps:

Information

Pick up a copy of the local On Arrival magazine. It will contain info and ideas that you’ll be grateful for.

Internet

You may not have internet access as soon as you move in. You may be able to catch a wireless connection from an office nearby to Skype friends and let them know you’re safe. Or you could visit an inexpensive “PC Bang” in Korea (they’re everywhere) or Internet Cafe In Colombia. Coffee shops are also an option.

Beat jet lag

Try not to sleep through the day. It will keep your jet lag as low as possible.

Your apartment

Apartment at downtown Bogota

You may find yourself spending the first few days in a hotel, while the teacher before you vacate the apartment you’ll be living in or you hunt for an apartment. In Korea, you’ll find tenants who leave can leave behind a mess. Those who come in place of them will be expected to clean. If your employers aren’t kind enough to get the apartment cleaned before you get there, you may have to scrub it down yourself. Keep your chin up. Try to explore the neighborhood for a few days.

Communication

Getting a cell phone in Korea for foreigners is a pain. It can take months to get through the process. Skype is a more convenient option. Plus it’s free if you don’t buy credit to call landlines and cellphones back home. Even then it’s cheap. I recommend Skype for Colombia as well, though getting a cell phone here is easier than in Korea. Avoid buying from street sellers or unauthorized sellers, as they could be selling you a stolen phone. Expats can get pay-as-you-go plans easily from stores. But for monthly contracts, you’ll need a Colombian ID.

Groceries & necessities

7 Eleven Store

7 Eleven Store in Bogota Columbia

There are convenience stores like 7-Eleven, Buy the Way, Family Mart etc. everywhere in Korea. You can get water, snacks, beer, ramen (which you can make and eat at the store), electronics, household goods, medicines etc. Larger grocery stores though will have lower prices. Colombia has local open-air markets that are incredibly cheap and fresh. Find a market near you.

Bank accounts

Most employers will set up an account for you with the same bank they use, and automatically deposit your wages into it. Your passport may be enough to do this, or you may need an Alien Registration Card (ARC). You’ll get an ATM card and a Passbook as well, which can be updated by the bank with your transactions. Carry some cash with you when you move in, you may get paid only after a month.

Make friends

You could invite your neighbors in Colombia for drinks or a meal. You’ll find they are very friendly, hospitable and more than eager to help. In Korea, things are more formal and restrained. You could start by bringing some gifts (a fruit basket is nice) to your neighbors and introducing yourself.

Find healthcare

After moving, scope out the area and make sure to find a doctor or dentist you could go to for emergencies. Register for health insurance if you haven’t already. Healthcare can be free under the NHI program, if you meet certain criteria in South Korea. In Colombia, healthcare is widely available with public and private systems, though the quality between the two is very different.

 

I hope this checklist will make your first few days and weeks easier after the move. Good luck!

Martial Arts

Taekwando School

Taekwando School

A Hobby to pursue in South Korea to learn about the formalized styles

When it comes to martial arts, there is a stereotype about Korean that we westerners have. We seem to think that every Korean has grown up on Taekwondo, and can split tables with their palms without a hair out of place.

After living in South Korea for a while, I realized that Taekwondo and other martial arts in the country are like baseball. Lots of people are interested in it. Many kids train in it in school clubs. But not everyone is super dedicated.

I have always been fascinated by the martial arts. So I thought it would be foolish to give up an opportunity to learn about the formalized styles of Taekwondo, Taekkyeon, in the land of their birth. I highly recommend a martial arts program for expats to get a deeper perspective on Korean tradition and culture.