An Illustrated Journey is already well thumbed – a review

illustrated journey book coverI have had a very self indulgent week browsing Danny Gregory’s latest offering An Illustrated Journey.

Since I am saving my pennies to actually go traveling in September, I put off buying this book but then gave in to my desire to own it and I dont regret that at all.

Danny Gregory’s An Illustrated Journey highlights personal travel sketchbook journals of forty-three artists, illustrators, and designers. I loved seeing the full-color reproductions of page spreads from the artists’ travel sketchbooks.

Danny Gregory points out in his introduction how keeping a travel journal enhances the experience of travel.

When we document a journey in a sketchbook, we discover the difference between vacationing and travelling: we become adventurers, discovering new worlds through a thousand tiny details. Unlike those who hide behind pudgy mystery novel in a pina colada while plopped in a poolside lounge chair the travel journal keeper clears his mind refreshes his eyeballs and builds a cache of enduring memories.

Each artist in this book, shares a little biographical history and their thoughts on why they draw and how they approach drawing when travelling. It is illuminating to discover a common thread for these artists is that drawing while traveling not only enriches their travel experience but also enriches the memory of traveling as drawing helps them to remember each place with greater clarity.

Thoughts that are shared with the reader cover topics such as their response to drawing in public, common issues such as managing time constraints associated with travel and the process of drawing on location, philosophical points of view such as finishing the drawing on location or completing the page in the hotel room at the end of the day. I particularly enjoyed reading about the kit these people travelled with. As someone who hopes to be drawing while traveling next month, I found it revealing to see the choice of sketchbooks, art materials and the equipment these artists carry in order to draw on location.

My favourite piece of advice comes from Danny Gregory as in the introduction he says

Keep a travel journal and draw the things you see everyday on your trip. The point is not to create works of Art that will hand in galleries or museums but to form a permanent record of your experience, one that you can return to when you want to recapture the nuance and the revelations you discovered on your trip. Don’t worry about the quality of the drawings. Don’t be intimidated by the many lovely images you will soon discover within the pages of this book. Make your own images and you will make your own memories. If you persevere, your persistence will result in a lifelong habit that will take on many adventures to come.

I have learnt much from seeing the world through the eyes of these artists and found Danny Gregory’s latest offering more than inspiring. I will return to An Illustrated Journey to re-read snatches and learn more, but for the moment the book does what it sets out to do which is to make me want to grab my drawing gear and go outside to sketch!