Much of the recent online dialogue about creativity has been about establishing patterns, routines and incorporating art into our everyday lives. What happens when our schedule and structure changes? How then do we navigate our desire to be creative?
As many of you know I’m doing a bit of traveling this month to visit family and friends. I am now stateside after having a lovely experience at the Alive Conference just this past week in Berlin. Amidst all of this traveling, I want to incorporate art making time as much as possible. How and when?
I packed myself a small blank sketchbook and two small pads of watercolor paper. I brought two pencils, a sharpener, eraser, and two pens. I also brought a small watercolor kit. The original aim had been to create my own travel watercolor tin, but when I couldn’t find the right colors to create my own palette I bought this one instead.
I’m pretty pleased with this Winsor & Newton set. It’s small enough to fit into my purse. I keep a really small plastic container for water with a sponge and then one of two watercolor pads with me: either my Winsor & Newton 7 x 5 spiral pad or my Kilimanjaro Watercolor block.
(In case you love the idea of making your own watercolor traveling tin you can find a tutorial here.)
In addition to my drawing and painting, I am an avid writer. I looked at the current journal I was working in and kept thinking about the weight. So rather than sticking with my A-Type inclination (I must finish one journal before I start another!) I opened up one of my thin and small Moleskines to bring with me on my trip.
Writers, you too can find different ways to travel without bulking up your luggage. Find an app to take with you on your ipad if you don’t want to carry a laptop. If you don’t want to write, record yourself and transcribe it later. Or you can go old-school like myself and use a small portable Moleskine and a pen. I particularly like the thin, soft cover Moleskines for writing and drawing. They have both ruled line journals and their blank sketchbook versions which are lightweight and thus, don’t add a whole bunch of weight to your carry-on luggage. I love mine, one is already half full from my notes and journaling from the conference!
Establishing a routine can be difficult enough all in itself, but to also make room for art while you travel? How the heck do we do that?!
(1) Be mindful.
Think about moments in your travels where you have a brief bit of time. Are you playing with your phone or could you have a sketchbook and pen at the ready?
(2) Be forgiving.
Think about when and where you can make art, but also honor your time in a new city, or with your loved ones. If you can’t get your art in one day, don’t beat yourself up. Just consider when you might next create!
(3) Be open.
Traveling means you may not have all the resources you are accustomed to having. Make it a game to find objects of a certain color with your camera while you document your experience, or, do quick contour drawings. There are many, varied ways you can express your creativity without image references and a studio space.
While I was in Berlin, it was a whirlwind trip that included a two-day conference, so I didn’t have much free time. When I did have a minute to myself I was so tired from all the fresh air, walking and socializing of the conference that I even fell asleep on my bed sitting up. (Ha, that never happens!) I did manage to do some contour drawings on my way to Berlin.
I’m hoping in the future to incorporate an afternoon of every trip where I can sit for a minute and be with my sketchbook. I love to photograph everything and anything, but now I’m being more mindful with my camera shots and I want to spend some time making art on location. It’s another strategy for me to slow down and be mindful in our ever quickening lives.
It’s a daily choice we have to make: do you want to incorporate your creativity into your life? Let’s find a way to make it a reality together.
How do you travel with your creativity? Can you make art “on the go?” (Click to Tweet)
BE COURAGEOUSLY CREATIVE: Create your own traveling artist kit. Talk about it in the comments below! Take a photo of your kit and tag me @ArtistStrong on Twitter and Instagram so I can celebrate your decision to travel with your creativity.
*Please note: today’s article includes affiliate links. There is no additional cost to you if you purchase through one of my links, but it does help Artist Strong. Thank you for being part of the community; together we make it the best place to help you grow and learn as a creative.
I always take some supplies with me when I travel (which isn’t that often). When I went to the gathering recently, I brought my small sketchbook/art journal which has some watercolor paper in it, two brushes, a small plastic container, a bunch of pencils, and my Pebeo watercolor set (hand size). I refill it using tubes when the colors get low.
I love keeping art travel journals and have done so for years! I keep a variety of small bags or roll-ons for art supplies depending on how much time I think I have to devote to art making. Basic necessities: small journal, some rubber stamp pads in various colors, permanent black fine tip pen, tube of glue paste, some water-soluble oil pastels or crayons, a small pair of scissors, a few rubber stamps, and a squeeze tube of glitter! I will also prepare a good number of pages in my journal for inspiration when I’m just too tired from sightseeing to do anything at night! You can visit my travel art journal page on my website to see some examples of my work to give you some ideas: http://www.kentuckygirldesigns.com/TravelJournals.html
Wow it sounds like a pretty extensive kit you take with you Virginia, do you take a camera as well? I often want more art supplies but then I do love having my camera too. I know I’ll be taking a peek at that link thanks for sharing 🙂
I have a bit of a deja vu since I last commented on the topic of sketch kits here as well 🙂
Mine consists of a watercolor palette (I have two, larger Sakura Koi and a smaller Van Gogh) and a pencil case with a water brush, pens & brush pen.
My favorite sketchbook is Canson with regular paper which works just fine for my light washes.
I find it hard to make the time to sketch when I’m travelling to foreign cities where I spend my entire time surrounded by people and don’t take time to dedicate to my practice.
I sketch often when I’m in my hometown where I sit around in cafes and go to the beach, and in the city I live in as well.
Nela, ha! 🙂 it is hard to make time for art when you are in a group and exploring a new city. Thank you for sharing!
Whether I am traveling or at home, I always, always have a small moleskin pad in my purse (I believe it’s about 3″x5″) and a pen or pencil. I draw musicians when I go to concerts (even if it’s dark – good way to practice contour drawing), draw people or building when I’m waiting to meet friends … anything. I also do a lot of mixed media in my travel journals – I will paste plane tickets, pieces of maps and brochures – I always travel with a glue-stick. Then I write and or draw when I can – I add things all the time.
Lisa I love your approach. Your travel kit is simple and easy to carry around. And you make art your priority, so great to see! I wonder how many people hold back from creating while traveling because they are nervous to create in public spaces as you do. How do you navigate any feelings of discomfort?
I always take watercolor supplies with me when I travel. I get so inspired that I have started adding an extra free day to my trips when I can, just to do art. When I travel to see family in Idaho every other summer, I add 4 days to the trip and I rent a cabin in the Tetons just for solo art time. If supplies are too heavy, I ship a package to my destination, play away then ship a package back to myself before heading home. I just throw packaging tape into the box before I ship it. By doing this, I can make jewelry, work with polymer clay, paint with my acrylics or do mixed media. You can’t just hit an art supply store in the mountains.
Beth that’s awesome! I totally want to add time or fully incorporate an art making day into my travels now too. I love your idea of sending a package to yourself. It’s like a present to you and your desire to be creative. Thank you so much for sharing. 🙂
My travel kit usually just consists of my trusty moleskin and black fine-liner! I like to make quick continuous line studies of people and buildings as I move around, especially in train stations, parks or coffee shops. I also love making watercolour studies, the little sets where you can swap the paints in and out are ideal! I love being able to customise a palette before I head out (beachy tones, forest tones etc.). Like you I love having my camera on me as well- if I’m busy exploring during the day I can take some snaps and make studies from them in the evening!
Kate that sounds wonderful. Sometimes I can still feel self-conscious creating in public but those are the tools I love to use when I am out and about in those places you speak of. It’s a great idea to customize palettes if you know where you are headed, too. And yes, a camera is an integral part of today’s travel kits. Thank you for sharing!