The experience, the moment, and the memories are why travel sketching enhances any journey, be it across the globe or across your neighborhood. Sketching requires that you slow down and embrace the place and the moment. The sketcher is actually part of the environment in a way that the hurried tourist with their cell phone camera does not experience.
A sketch may be a work of art that ends up in a frame, yet that is not the primary goal of travel sketching. A travel sketch journal is primarily for the artist; appreciation by others is just a bonus. This removes the pressure to create a masterpiece each time you sketch, just draw and paint what you want to remember; “good or bad” are not relevant. If you are the only one who ever looks at your sketches, if you enjoyed doing them and if they bring back memories of the day, then you are a successful travel sketcher.
An added benefit is that you will see the sights more clearly than most other travelers. Sketching requires that you look closer at the shapes, the colors, the shadows, the people, the buildings and the landscape. In that sense sketching is a bit like meditating on the scene before; I have a friend who sketches as he prays.
So, if you are new to this whole idea, it is worth the effort to learn just a few things to make it easier. Let go of the “I can’t draw” fears, who cares? You are the only one who has to ever see what you do, and if you find joy in the process it is worth it all.
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Very well said!