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The travel kit.

Updated: Sep 1, 2022

And so you arrive at your holiday destination. You have it all planned in your head. You are going to rest, you will read lots of books and you'll make art every day!

Yes, making art in the rays of sunshine may be something that's high on your priority list. So high in fact that you pack half a studio in your travel bag, you want to make sure you won't be missing anything.

Sounds familiar? It definitely does to me. I've done it many times. The bag is full, the art journal stays blank forever. But then one day something in my brain has connected.

I've realised why don't I ever actually get any art done during my holiday at all.

In Summer 2017, I had that great conversation with Nicki Dennett, a Derbyshire based artist who I interviewed for Wanderlust.

Nicki brought a pile of her travel sketchbooks - she said that she and her husband always fill one each during their holiday, however short or long the trip is. And I am sitting there, looking at her jaw-dropping collection of books, breathing heavily (I was 8 months pregnant!), cramp in my foot and guilt in my throat. And I am asking myself: how come I always have the exact same resolution, but the difference is that I come back home with my book as blank as it was to start with.

It took me a few days to have that eureka moment (I suffered from an awful baby-brain, I still do in fact), but finally as I was going through some pictures that we took on that day, something rather obvious occurred to me: all of Nicki's pages in her art journals were made with a pen and a set of watercolours. And that's it, no fancy supplies or techniques. Even though Nicki is extremely skilled and can do some real mind-blowing magic, for her travel books she decided to stick to the simplest of supplies.

I realised that even though I limit my supplies when it comes to daily art journaling, I don't limit them as drastically when it comes to travels. And as we are shortly going to take a little break, I am committed to pack as little as possible. I have already tried it twice and each time I have done much more than in the past. Filling a book during one trip is still not happening for me, but if you have a small child you understand the reason. I did manage to create every day though, even more than at home and so it brought that extra quality to my free time. Once again it turns out that less is more.

Are you eager to do some art journaling while on holiday but aren't sure how and what to pack? Read my travelling artist do's and don'ts:

Do pack everything in a small smart pouch or a folder to keep it all together.  Do make sure that your ink pads are protected so they don't open - a rubber band does the job. Do take an art journal that has got good quality paper. You won't want to waste your time on gessoing each page before you can start drawing, painting or writing. Do keep in mind that you won't want to spend hours on a page - take a journal that is big enough but still so small that the size of it isn't daunting.  Do keep it compact and modest. Rather than taking a whole bag of washi tapes cut yourself a few strips of your favourite one, stick them on a sheet of plastic and put between the pages of your art journal, so you can use them later.

Don't set yourself too much of a goal, e.g. "I will art journal for 40 mins every day!". Be kind and forgiving to yourself, there may be days when you don't feel like doing art at all and you would much rather spend a whole day reading books in the sun. Don't pack too many wet mediums. Try to avoid them as they are often the cause of a disaster in our handbags. Swap liquid watercolours for half-pans, acrylic paints for watercolour pencils and a waterbrush etc. Don't pack any big water bottles/sprays and sharp tools in your hand luggage if you are traveling on an airplane. Otherwise you'll have to wave them goodbye during the security check. Don't forget the essentials like a rubber or a pencil sharper.

And most importantly... Don't leave your kit in the hotel room while on holiday - take it with you. Make a sketch if you see something beautiful, a very quick one is enough - you can add the colours later. Don't be afraid to sketch when people are around. You are an artist, you are supposed to be brave and a little different :)

Enjoy my free holiday art kit checklist in the Creative Sparks Library!


Packing as little as possible can be the key for you too.

Why won't you try it out? And if you are about to tell me: "I want to make sure I pack everything I may need" - I am going to say: if you are serious about making art, supplies won't stop you from getting the work done. As long as you have something you are ok. Lack of supplies is never the real reason why we don't make art.

Need some extra help to make your daily art practice fun, varied and interesting during your holiday? Check out my new offering - 100 Small Steps. Join and you'll be able to start art journaling with me right away.


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