Travel Journals for Artists

Travel Journals for Artists

Inspirations and Ideas from Artist Prashant Miranda

Illustrator, muralist, animator and author Prashant Miranda has documented his life during the last 25 years in over 300 sketchbooks. Needless to say he is the SketchKon artist and instructor we went to for an insider’s look on travel journals for artists and what kind of creativity and inspiration can come out of such a (possibly lifelong) pursuit.

Also enjoy exploring the bounds of your sketchbook with techniques and inspiration from the Sketching Collection, available now.

A Place Where Memory Lives

Says Prashant: “My sketchbooks are memory keepers. They are time travelling devices that take me back exactly to that space and time when I had made that mark on that page. We all have stories and it is through these stories that we pass on our memories, ideas, thoughts and actions to others. Sketchbooks can be a very powerful medium to share these stories with the rest of the world.”

andamans prashant miranda travel journals inspiration

Prashant, can you give a brief overview of what SketchKon attendees will learn during your panel discussion on travel journaling?

Much like any form of visual journal keeping, travel journals capture the essence of that space and time. I think the seminar will be a conversation between several of us and the audience on how travels affect our lives and how documenting these journeys through our sketchbooks are memoirs of our life.

How do traveling and journaling work together, and why might artists keep travel journals?

Journaling seems to be a contemplative act for me. It forces me to reflect and observe on experiences that could be fleeting. While travelling, many of such encounters are little snapshots that one can easily forget. But journaling allows for us to spend a little more time to soak in and meditate on those moments.

What all goes into travel journals — and what does not?

All sorts of things go into my travel journals. People whom I meet along the way, beautiful buildings and architecture, nature or the seasons that affect the mood of the space. Penning down my first impressions of a place is important for me, because if I revisit the place, I always have that first memory, which I could easily have forgotten otherwise.

It’s usually memories that I want to remember that go into my journal, and things I want to forget can be left out!

How can travel journals help artists improve their skills?

It is a practice like anything else. If you practice it every day, your skills are bound to improve.

Can you walk us through a typical travel-journaling session (where to be or not to be, how to start, what materials to use, how long to do it…)?

It all depends on what you want to journal. It could be a glass of wine, or an ancient monument. The first thing is to be comfortable. Find a spot that you would want to spend some time in. Under the shade, or a pleasant perch for you and your materials. I usually start with drawing, and if there’s  time then I color it in. Sometimes one has to work quickly if the light is changing fast, or if the weather changes. I use pen and ink and watercolors.

I like using watercolors because it is a portable medium, it dries quickly, and it all fits in my bag. I usually spend up to an hour depending on the time of day, or the amount of detail I want to spend on my drawing.

Any prompts for readers who need help sparking an idea for their travel journals?

Just start keeping a journal, and draw every day. It  can be very simple at first, that’s how I started, and over time one will have a library of travel journals that has chronicled your life.

What are some of the best or most insightful lessons your students have responded to that you are willing to share with us?

3 P’s are important to me. Passion, Practice and Perseverance. These have certainly helped me in my art.

What are your top 5 tips for creating a travel journal?

1.      Keep it simple.

2.      Have fun.

3.      It’s only a page in your life, if you don’t like it, turn it over.

4.      Practice, practice, practice.

5.      Capturing the essence and mood is more important for me than the reality.

More with Prashant Miranda

Prashant splits his life between Toronto and balmy India. He is a talented painter, muralist and animator but also a deep and gentle man who will inspire you with the beauty he sees in all parts of the world. At this year’s first-ever SketchKon , Prashant will be teaching: