Drawing While Traveling - Sage

Drawing While On The Road

Drawing while on the road I find challenging and rewarding.  I would like to share my thoughts on time, subjects and materials.  My guiding principle is to make it easy to draw anytime, anywhere and anything.

Drawing While Travelin
Ink & Graphite
Pentalic 3×5 sketchbook
People waiting for the start of the Ben Harper & Innocent Criminals Concert, Les Schwab Amphitheter, Bend OR. 6 Sep 2015


My husband and I have been on the road traveling to see family, friends and the West.  For those of you who know the West, distances are vast.  We can spend the better part of the day driving to get from point “a” to point “b”.  Then there are the necessary tasks such as having breakfast, lunch and dinner.  With the onset of the fall season, daylight hours are getting shorter.  With so much going on, I had to purposely find the time to draw and paint.  I’d like to share what I do.

  • I carry a small 5″x3″ drawing book in my back pocket and a pen.  I tell myself I don’t need to finish a drawing, just get started.  If the book is handy, I am more likely to start a drawing.
  • I use sitting around waiting time to pull out my pocket drawing book and sketch.  For example, while waiting  for my morning espresso to brew, I draw what’s in front of me.
  • My husband and I make drawing part of our look-at-scenary time.  At the end of day, I also sit comfortably and draw what is around the campground.
Drawing While Traveling
Drawings done while waiting for morning espresso to brew
ball point pen
September, 2015
Big Trip


Oddly enough, considering subject matter can be a stumbling block to consistent drawing.  There is so much to see when traveling.  How does one decide what to draw?

When I’m making our espresso, I just draw something near the stove so I can keep my eye on the espresso.  The hardware of our camper is interesting, as are bottle tops, soap containers and shoes.  They all have lines, shapes and shadows to look at and study.

One idea that has helped me in finding subjects is to view drawing as a method of investigation.  I don’t have to worry about composing the next great drawing or painting.  I just need to study what is available like picnic tables, juniper trees, rocks and more rocks!  I’m investigating as I am seeing and drawing.

Drawing while traveling and hiking
Graphite and ink
Pentalic, 5×8 sketchbook
Done during big trip 2015


I think it is important not to let materials be a stumbling block either.  As I alluded to above, I have found pocket size drawing books to keep handy.  I used 5×3 and 5×8 sketchbooks (journals) from Pentalic.  I use them often.  But, any pencil and paper will do.

For drawings that I might want to use as a record of our travels, I will consider lightfastness of the inks and archival quality of the paper.  I use good felt tip pens like those by Faber-Castell or Sakura.  If I’m feeling intimidated by the subject, I start in graphite.  Pretty soon I’ve switched to ink and am deep into drawing.

I like ball point pens too.  Many are not lightfast.  However, pens have the benefit of being portable and easily available.  Plus, I like the feel of the pens.


Recently, I have been following artist James Gurney’s blog.  One thing that has struck me is that it he is constantly drawing.  Have five minutes?  Pull out the pen and draw.

And, so it is.  My drawing goal for this trip is to keep on drawing.  Make it easy.  Make it fun.  Do more!

Drawing While Traveling
Steens Mtn, Page Springs Campground
September 2015


I wrote this post while we were on the road.  However, due to technical difficulties, like wi-fi not being available, I didn’t get it published.  Still, I wanted to share my thoughts and I hope you enjoy them.  Thanks!


4 thoughts on “Drawing While On The Road”

  1. your background as well as your approach to drawing and sketching is so similar to mine it’s amazing. I carry pencil and pad when doing air travel or my small sketch/watercolor/pen set when in the RV.

    1. Hi Sandra! Maybe what I’m describing is a natural part of artistic growth. Do you find that your travel sketching help your later compositions? Or, do you do them for the simple pleasure?

      I’m curious, what is your favorite type of pencil and pad? If you want to, I’d love to seek a photo of your set. Thanks for stopping by! (Lots of questions!)

    1. Hi Stan! Thank you for the comment, I appreciate it! The bottle caps are endlessly entertaining. Speaking of drawings, every once in awhile, your charcoal drawings of the tractor at the dump come to my mind. They were wonderful!

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