Summer is in full swing here in the Netherlands. In fact, we haven’t had such high temperatures and sunny weather so many weeks in a row for many years. No need for me to go away, as Amsterdam is the best place to be in summer.
But schools are out and many people are packing to go for a vacation with their family.
Are you planning a vacation? If so, what will you take with you, apart from the essential clothes, toiletries, passport and credit card?
Art materials, of course!
Make sure to pack light. Just like with your clothes (you may think you need to pack two pairs of jeans and three pairs of shoes, but you know that you’ll end up wearing that favorite summer dress or shorts almost every day anyway, and those flipflops are really most comfortable too).
First of all: don’t forget your sketchbook. Take just a few favorite pens with you – it’ll be sufficent, I promise. This way you’ll just grab a pen and start drawing as soon as you need to scratch your drawing itch – and won’t waste time on deciding which pen to use.
No need to schlepp around with a full set of colored pencils either – red blue and yellow, orange, purple and green will get you a long way (you can mix all the colors you want!).
If you like using watercolors, take just a small travel kit with you, along with a waterbrush. Or if you even want to pack lighter – here‘s a suggestion for an even smaller kit.
What about impatient family members?
You might worry about holding up your travel buddy /buddies if you want to sit down and draw.
If taking time for art is important to you, explain it to your company. It’s best to make an agreement on beforehand. For example – if there’s a place you really would like to spend a bit of time to draw on location, your company can go for an ice cream in the meantime, or a coffee. Read a book. Stroll around.
Don’t worry if you don’t finish the drawing. You can leave it unfinished, or take a picture for reference and add more later that day. Or even when you come back home again – it’ll be a fun way to work on all the memories you have of the places you visited. My pal (and Sketchbook skool teacher) Jean-Christophe Déflineoften works on his travel journal pages weeks, even months after he returned from a trip.
Mike Lowery, also a teacher in Sketchbook Skool, fills amazing travel journals, but hardly draws on location. He takes notes, and then when he has time, he’ll fill a page drawing his experiences.
So whether you are with kids, an impatient partner, or if you just don’t quite know how to fit your art habit into your vacation days – there are always moments that are suitable for making art. Be flexible and smart!
Hi I'm Koosje. I'm an illustrator and art teacher in Amsterdam, where I was born and raised. I went to school to study graphic design, then worked for ten years as an award-winning professional photographer. But eventually my love of drawing and painting took over and I became an illustrator. My illustrations have been published in many Dutch magazines and in 2011, I began blogging and started developing and teaching online art classes. In 2014 I founded Sketchbook Skool, which is a flourishing community of artists from around the world of all skill levels. View all posts by Koosje Koene