What I used of my Travel sketch kit on my trip

As I was packing for our trip I shared a photos of my sketching travel kit I had put together and promised that when I returned I would tell readers what of the art materials I packed I actually used. You may want to refresh your memory. You will  in this post photos and listed the items of what I took.

Travel journal I used on my tripFirstly for my travel journals I took 2 Daler Rowney sketchbooks of 150 gsm cartridge paper, that are landscape format. I was a little worried that I was being over ambitious as we were away 9 weeks in all. I needn’t of worried as I filled those two and went on to a  third sketchbook that I purchased in Paris. It is a hard bound Canson 5.5 X 8 inch sketchbook that has 100gsm paper in it. To be honest I found this a better sketch book to use on the road. It was smaller and easier to carry about and the actual area it took up when opened out was less which meant I could write and draw in more compact spaces.

If you want to see a video of a flip through the pages of the first journal here is the link. In the next week or so I will video the other two books and share the page spreads with readers.

drawing equipment I used in my travel journalThis is what I found I used most from my travel art kit pencils, eraser and kneedable rubber, UHU glue, stapler, small cutting knife, scissors (not in the photo) pitt pens, washi tape, bulldog clips and paper scraps. These items in the travel kit were used constantly.

Art supplies I used in my travel journalMy watercolour paints, water brushes and inktense pencils I used occasionally probably because they were wet media and I found that it was simple to keep to dry media while out and about. It was more convenient to work without water.

Art supplies I did not use in my travel journalMy watercolour pencils I did not use at all. I also took a stencil knife and cutting board as I am usually a little more careful when cutting out images but I found at the end of a day tired after being out and about I took short cuts and resorted to scissors.

What I have learnt and what I will take in a travel art kit in future

If I was going to be away for only 2-3 weeks I would simply pack dry materials like pencils. The inktense pencils were new and I really did not know quite how they would behave and respond to the paper I was using. I like them but I wanted more muck about time with them. So in future particularly for a short trip I would take media I was familiar.

For longer trips it is a slightly different story as you can get tired of using the same media again and again. On a longer  trip of over a month, I would take watercolours again as after about 6 weeks I felt a real urge to use other media. On this trip as with any trip the time of year and the places we were at influenced what media I used. I did a lot of drawings in Museums where wet media is not permitted but dry media is.

Earlier in our trip in France I could have used them outside but to be honest at the start of the trip I was a little shy of drawing in public. It would have felt a little pretentious to pull out a painting kit in public. It is after all just a journal. I did slowly lose my shyness but it did influence what I used. Somehow a pencil feels much less of threat.

Towards the end of the trip I was in the UK and the weather kept me in the museums and galleries rather than out in the parks. Both sound like excuses which they are not. Many people find it hard to write a travel journal let alone draw in it too so I am happy with what I have done. But that is another topic. It is enough to say that in future depending on location and time of year on a longer trip I would take the watercolours and probably get more use out of them.

I hope readers have found this useful. Coming up I will share some of the items I purchased on the trip and videos of the other two journals.

Leornardo’s Viola Organista – or the importance of notebooks…

We all have ideas sometimes – whether strange, or beautiful, or unrealistic at the time it is worthwhile noting them down. Sharon keeps a journal, and a travel journal when travelling, I carry a notebook wherever I am – because you never know when the idea will strike. For us it might be a conversation, over a coffee, or getting a strange result on Google.

Leonardo da Vinci kept notebooks – jumping form one idea to the next. While he is known for his paintings and drawings, he is also known as a scientist – whether noting how the body works, or how people might fly like a bird, or swim underwater. He designed war machines, and textile machines, but above all he designed theatrical sets and special effects.

Hidden away in one of his notebooks were some sketches and notes for a musical instrument – part keyboard, part bowed instrument, the viola organista is like a bowed harpsichord – but sounds like a full string quartet. However, like many of his inventions, it was never built during Leonardo’s lifetime.

Enter, Polish instrument maker and pianist Slawomir Zubrzycki from Krakow. After 530 years hidden away in a notebook, the idea is brought to life when Zubrzycki decided to build the instrument to find out how it would have sounded. The result is both beautiful to look at, and beautiful to listen to. Let me know what you think in the comments 🙂

– And don’t forget to keep a journal or notebook for your ideas!

London to Brighton with a camera and some interesting cars

As Sharon went off drawing at the British Museum, I decided to take another route and follow the London to Brighton Veteran Car Rally to Brighton. The challenge with something like cars, old or new is to find an interesting way to photograph them.

One solution is to find some interesting detail that says something about the car as a whole.


Veteran car lamp


1901 Toledo

Or to find a particularly beautifully shaped or presented car.

Veteran car

Veteran car

I had arranged to hire a (modern) car – which I picked up at Victoria Station on the Saturday and promptly parked while I checked out the concours display in Regent Street.

After a month driving on the ‘wrong’ side of the road it was a relief to be back on the left – although London traffic and street layout still offered its challenges for a ‘Colonial’ driver. I took some photos of the superbly presented cars – and picked up a copy of the program – with the all important route.

The weather forecast looked promising – as did the pre-dawn sky at 05.00AM when I drove to Hyde Park. I grabbed the camera and braced against the cold as I walked up toward the start. Sure enough one of the cars from 1900 was just getting up steam, so I stopped for a chat and took some photos.

Steam car

Steam car

I took a few shots of the 1901 Toledo steam car – it looked show-room new. I liked how the support pit crew all wore Toledo overalls – nice touch!



The 1904 Gardner-Serpollet deservedly won accolades as the most historically significant car – it was one of only two surviving cars of that make from that year. These are rare cars indeed!

1904 Gardner-Serpollet steam car

1904 Gardner-Serpollet steam car

Some cars glided smoothly and silently by. Other steamers had a healthy howl from the burner – at least with those you know their burners were still alight – although those driving petrol cars nearby looked a little nervous! In the early days there were about equal numbers of steam, petrol (gasolene) and electric cars on the road – petrol (gasolene) cars didn’t really start to dominate until after 1906, boosted in 1913 when the first electric-start vehicles were produced.

Another way to add interest to a photo is to present an antique car with an antique look, such as a black and white image.


1896 Salvesen

So then it was time to put the sat-nav and my driving skills to the test. I put in the steam car stop as the destination, and set off in what I thought was good time to get ahead of most of the cars so I could see them at the way-point. The satnav had other ideas, and after about 45 minutes’ driving I found myself pulling back into Hyde Park! The GPS must have lost signal at some point and re-directed me back to the start. After that I referred to it as the ‘doubtful Thomas’…

The second go was more successful and I arrived at the steam car stop after a quick belt down the motorway to try to get ahead of the cars.

It wasn’t long before the the first one arrived for water and soon after came several more.

1900 Mobile

1900 Mobile

Two more CX stanley steamers arrived – being 1905 they weren’t in the Rally but did the run anyhow in fine style.

CX Stanley

CX Stanley

With two steam cars to go – one apparently seen not too far away but stopped with a problem, the other not sighted, I decided to head off to see the finish line.

This time the satnav behaved and I headed off to Brighton. Miraculously I found a park on the sea front a few hundred metres from the finish line so I grabbed the camera and headed for a bite of lunch and watched the cars coming in.

The Toledo arrived looking as though it had just driven down the road, and about 15 minutes after arriving it was off under its own steam to do a quick sprint up and down the sea front – the driver remarked to me that he needed to let off a bit of steam as the pressure was still very high.

Toledo at Brighton

Toledo at Brighton

I never did see if the Salvesen had completed the run, and I feared it may have had some problems near Brighton. Someone had seen it by the side of the road.

As the afternoon came on and the clouds began rolling in, I headed back to my hire car. I arrived back in London as the sun went down and prepared to fly out the following day.

steam car rear

Mobile steam car

More Drawing in the British Museum

I have 2 page spreads of my travel journal to share as I did some more drawings at the British Museum.  Jerry wanted to see the London to Brighton veteran car rally and I didn’t. So he hired a car and followed the rally while I toddled off to the museum to draw. We both had blissful days. No doubt he will share some (not so boring) photos of cars soon.

Egyptian sculpture in the British MuseumClick on the image to see a larger version.

This statue with the head of a lioness is Sekhmet, who is an ancient Egyptian goddess associated with destruction. Her name means ‘she who is powerful’. It comes from Thebes and is dated around 1350 BC, making it over 3,000 years old. You can read more about the sculpture on the British Museum website

Here is the page spread in my travel journal.

Egyptian sculpture in the British Museum in travel journal

The next drawing was done the following day in Room 1 which contains an exhibition about the Age of Enlightenment a time where collections, classification and observation of the world enabled people to understand the world in new ways. In one of the cabinets a small figure attracted me.  It was a few inches high and described as a figurine.

Egyptian sculpture in the British MuseumClick on the image to see a larger version.

Egyptian sculpture in the British Museum in travel journalOn this page spread of my travel journal I have edged the pages with strips of a map. It was a free map of the bus routes and I simple cut it up and glued it to the pages. I also had a postage stamp left over after writing postcards – so I added it to the page.

These drawings also fill the EDM drawing challenge 38 “Draw at a Museum”

For more information about this drawing challenge look under the tab at the top of the screen titled EDM Drawing Challenge. The  challenge also has  a yahoo group, a flickr group and Facebook page.