If you want to remember your travels vividly, pick up a pencil and sketchbook. An article on Artsy pulls from several studies which prove drawing helps improve memory! This is because drawing engages the brain in productive ways.
Sketching, painting, and illustrating are all things I already love to do on a regular basis. But, I’m always open to learning more about drawing from life—as opposed to referencing a photo. Travel journaling is the perfect opportunity to observe objects as a whole, take better notice of details, and document special moments in your life!
I scoured Instagram and found a few journal spreads I really liked featuring travel illustration (plus, I share what I learned from them):
Keep it small. It can be daunting to fill up a big surface. I want to enjoy my trip while I’m on my trip. I’m always looking for ways to balance the experience with the documentation.
Merel Djamila (@mereljournals) handles it beautifully! She uses a small notebook, highlights one drawing per page, and fills the space with an itinerary, some text, plus small ephemera.
It’s straightforward and kind of minimalist, which leads to my next pick...
Keep it simple. This journal spread by Isabel Lucas (@journal.traveler) proves all you need is clean linework and two colors! It has all the elements you really need: location, short insights, and informative doodles. I love her use of location markers to highlight every stop on her itinerary.
This seems like a manageable amount of time and effort to spend on a journal on-the-go.
Or, do the complete opposite: go big and be detailed. This is ideal for the traveler with more time on their hands.
I like how Anya Toomre (@anya_toomre) rendered the leaves and the impression of height compared to the walking couple. Equally impressive, the tower on the opposite page has so many interesting shadows.
I imagine these paintings took a while to do! An efficient way would be to ink first, then loosely paint to fill.
Experiment with (vertical) formats! The travel entries by Anne (@goudenlijntjes) are a stroke of genius to me. I love everything about this: the lettering, the map, the paintings, the text… all of it. All the elements work so well together.
I’m at a loss for words because my brain’s already trying to think how I could apply this to my next journal entry.
This looks good enough to eat! The colors are so vibrant; the food looks delicious; the text is clean and doesn’t distract from the illustrations. (*Chef’s kiss*) Wonderful.
I also love to illustrate food but I know how long it can take, so I’m giddy to see this journal spread by Tuzlu Kadin (@tuzlukadin).
There’s so much material and so many artists out in the world to be inspired by. One of my main takeaways is I can see how much fun and creativity went into each journal. Travel journaling should be fun and should encourage you to try out new ideas!
If you’re as inspired as I was by these travel journals, but you need more help, you can read this to get started!
Written by Nicolette "Nikki" Bautista
Nicolette is a Manila-based creative freelancer and Cambio & Co's Community Storyteller. She's written on the digital space about mom-and-pop's, small businesses, and social enterprises. In the pursuit of her eclectic interests, Nicolette has a broad portfolio including short videos, album art, and storybook illustrations! Find her on Instagram @of_nicolette and ofnicolette.wordpress.com