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Travel Sketching basic supplies and techniques for beginners

Travel sketching is a very enjoyable activity. I don’t consider myself an advanced sketcher, but I am really enjoying recording places and people while on vacation. I think sketches have a way to bring back vivid memories at least as well as a picture would, and they are more unique.

You might also be interested in: watercolor and pen figure drawing

We traveled to Thailand for Spring break and here is what I brought with me. With these basic supplies you will be able to sketch while travelling:

travel sketching supplies for beginners

You can make a small portable watercolor set from a box of Barklays or similar candy and chewing gum packaging.

Here are the colors I used for my travelling watercolor box:

Paynes grey, sap green, Winsor green, ultramarine blue, Turquoise blue, permanent red, Alazarin crimson, cadmium yellow, burnt sienna, yellow ocher.

(Click on a picture to see a larger version)

We traveled with a group and a local guide and the rhythm was quite intense so most of the opportunities I had to draw and paint were during our travelling times or waiting in hotel lobbies. I will have to use my reference pictures to make more drawings of the places we visited.

Travel Sketching techniques

For drawing, I recommend you use a fine liner or fountain pen to make contour drawings. I like it better than using graphite as it will forces you to draw with assurance, knowing you won’t have the possibility to erase.

Don’t try to make your drawings perfect, little inaccuracies in perspective or lines that are not straight are part of the charm of sketching. Try to not use a ruler as it will make your drawings look very starch and unnatural.

Adding watercolor to your sketches

For adding color, the watercolor travel box will be very convenient. You can also use the watercolor pencils with the water-brush.


Here is a selection of my drawings and some of my daughter that she made from imagination while travelling:


Travel Sketching basic supplies and techniques for beginners
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