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.
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
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.
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.