Why (Travel) Art Journaling?

“Every Child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.”
Pablo Picasso—

The image above includes museum entrance ticket stubs, exhibit description brochure, a bookmark and some stickers from the gift shop. I tried a rendition of Van Gogh’s Starry Nights of my own with the water color crayons.

Art Journaling is the perfect way for anyone,  from beginner to seasoned artist, to personalize and record a trip. Especially a trip where you want to travel light and, with the current luggage fees, isn’t that every trip? Whether you are running downtown to visit an art exhibit with only a purse, or you are trekking through the mountains with everything you need on your back;  a journal, a few pens, and some basic art supplies are enough to get you started. Art Journaling is versatile. If you were on a trip that included city museums, beer gardens and a mountain trek, the same journal and art supplies will accommodate all aspects of your adventures in one small pouch.

art jounaling travel lite

In the picture above – if I were backpacking, the red pouch would be replaced with a ziplock baggie.

The rest you pick up on the way.  Any item you find along the way is fair game for your art journal: postcards, brochures, material, mementos, pictures you take, anything that helps you create a visual representation of your experience.

Art Journaling is easy. The best thing about art journaling is that anyone who can hold a crayon and a glue stick can do it. Everyone, from the experienced artist to the absolute beginner (with a little guidance) can make a travel art journal that will last a lifetime. Of course you can also keep an art journal if you are an accomplished artist.


The teabag packet/pockets hold business cards, small tags or other cards you pick up along the way.

Art Journaling is fun and unique. Art journaling allows you to create a lighthearted visual travelogue of your trip that’s far more powerful than a string of photographs or written pages in a journal. It can be the experience of a moment, a day, an event, a person or place, anything you want to capture and express in a way that’s uniquely your own. Think how impressed your friends will be!

pressed s-berry w/doodle   Pressed flowers take you back to a moment when the air was filled  with their scent. (Click on images to see larger.) phlox w/doodle         And doodling? Well, the College for Creative Studies warns: “Doodling is the gateway to illustration.” A secretly acquired recipe of a house specialty,  journaled while you awaited the made-to-order soup, brings back the aroma of the delicious meal in the obscure, backstreet Gasthaus. bell pepper soup

Bell Pepper

Okay – so the homemade soup took a while.

Two (or ten 0r twenty) years from now, when you hold your traveling art journal in your hands, turn the page and come across the receipt for the doll you brought home to your niece, you will remember the tiny shop and the tiny woman that ran it. When you look at the beer coaster from the mountain hut it will bring back the entire night’s experience of eating new foods and sampling a local vintage with new friends in amazing places. The business card from someone you met on the trail will remind you of the Italian photographer who sent you a picture of your back walking away down the trail. The same picture that now lives as the back cover of the very journal you hold in your hands. All this is to say how much more personal and immediate your own art journal is than any guidebook or even a written journal you take along.  This is why we think Art Journaling is the perfect art to practice on hut-to-hut treks. Or for that matter, why we believe it is an ideal art form to accompany you on all of your travels.

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  1. Sharon Sokol says:

    In reality I did journaling on my car trip (just my dog & me) from Mobile to Las Vegas (where my daughter lives) the summer after my husband died. I refused to take a camera; instead I took a small drawing book and ordinary pencils. Yep, your right – I open it & have many wonderful memories.