In one week, I will be on a plane to Botswana.

I am terrified. I have bought two travel journals and they are probably both wrong.

I really want to keep a travel journal–or at least to be the sort of person who keeps travel journals–and I am going with a pack of artists so I totally have to bring one. Sketching will occur. But then I get these books about travel journals and it’s all doodles on Moleskines that are eleven thousand times better than my best day sketching and I KNOW they only put the pretty ones in and not the pages that are like three lines and a doodle of a chicken, but it doesn’t help because ALL of my sketchbook pages are three lines and a doodle of a chicken.

(I kinda like the guy in this one book who just takes photos of everything and jots down notes and then goes back and sketches from the photos after he gets home and colors them digitally. I appreciate that. As a primarily digital artist, I will be at a disadvantage until they really kick up the game on tablets.)

Seriously, though, on some level I really want to be making the journals that look like Hemingway took up scrapbooking and they wind up galleries and then everyone will be terribly impressed at my mad on-the-spot drawing skills and insightful extemporaneous poetry and also how legible my handwriting is.

And while I am dreaming, I would like world peace and a pony.

I know people who take their sketchbook everywhere and draw in them and they are probably better people or at least better artists. I keep trying to get into the habit and it keeps sort of not happening. Possibly it’s because I don’t actually like drawing very much. I love painting. I will paint all day long. Drawing is the chore that leads up to getting to paint. If I’m drawing for fun, it’s basically as a punchline to a joke. This is arguably why I’m in comics.

Anyway, I continue to prep in other ways. I replaced my hiking boots that were pinchy. Apparently my problem is that I am a size 10, not a size 9.5. I was a size 7, once. Mind you, I was also a C cup once, too.

Anyway, everything is as prepared as it gets, I guess, except that you are supposed to make your checked luggage look really gaudy and crappy and distinctive because there’s a major problem with people stealing luggage off carousels, so the safari company suggests making them LOUD. I have purchased hot pink and blue leopard print duct tape. We will do this thing.

  • reply Wobin ,

    Definitely, definitely take a journal to write in. For me and my travel buddy, we made it homework to write in it at every opportunity, to record our take of what just happened, wherever we went. Having that after the trip made it so much richer in recollection. I could easily match photos taken with events experienced. You don’t need to have an hour by hour breakdown of exactly where you went or what you saw, but just having a record of what thoughts were passing through your head at the time will make coming back to it, years later, much more vivid to remember.

    Even writing down what happened in the half day that just occurred will show to you how much you’d’ve forgotten if you’d just left it. And Africa? There’s so much to see and remember!

    • reply Jennifer ,

      That sounds so exciting! Will you be updating here during your travels? I hope you have a great trip and become oh so inspired by what you see.

      • reply Al the K ,

        Have you seen David Hockney’s (expensive) book “Secret Knowledge”? To explain to all briefly, his idea is that a bunch of the Old Masters used versions of the camera lucida (ever play with those?) to crank out their paintings, apprentice painters aside for backgrounds and stuff. With no underpainting or cartoons found, that proves it to me. Since the typical luci reverses and inverts projected images, that IMO accounts for all the lefties featured in those paintings.

        So if you only take photos and borrow photos, I think you can riff off photos as underpainting or convert them into line drawings, perhaps with appropriate cartoony distortion, and come up with paintings that will be UV stylee.

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