Adapt your sketching style to the situation

What is your Travelsketching style? Trick question! You need more than one to make it work. Here are some examples of the different styles I have used on this trip to Tokyo and Seoul, with explanations as to why I used them

Really quick and loose – 5-minute sketches

We were in Tokyo for the honor of attending Saori and Dijiaro at their wedding, a week later they took us 56km out of Tokyo to this amazing tiny museum and cafe. I could have sketched multiple sketches, and spent hours doing so, yet that would inconvenience my traveling partners, and one must always be considerate. So I stood and quickly did the ink work, no more than five minutes. When we sat down for a cup of tea I added the colors. I got a sketch in, and was respectful of their time. Lesson here: practice 5-minute sketching.

In Seoul one morning I was out looking for coffee, it was about 6C, but the flowers were too stunning for me not to give them some attention. So a quick sketch with the paint added back in hotel room was the order of the moment. Lesson here: practice 5-minute sketching.

Savor the moment – take your time

We were in Seoul, waiting for my niece and family to join us for the Festival of Lights. Sitting comfortably on a rock by the stream I had plenty of time, well not unlimited time so I did hurry a bit, but probably spent 30 minutes on this.

In Shinjuku I got up early, grabbed coffee at 7-11 as no cafes in Japan open early, then headed for this temple, the sun was just rising. Tokyo is the safest city in the world so I was not concerned at all being out that early, of course the fact that I was sitting on the steps of the local police station while sketching added to my security. I spent an hour and a half on this, watching the sun rise, adjusting the sketch to the light every few minutes. These are the best times, when you are immersed. People walked by on their way to whatever their day held, I captured a moment, my moment. Some of the best times I have traveling are early morning sketches, with tea and the place my only company.

Sketching from a photo

There are times when all you can do is snap a pic on your phone. Unlike Urban Sketching, us travelsketchers know that photos are our way of connecting back with a time and place we could not spend the time with when it happened. This is a sketch from a photo in Seoul, we were visiting a Hanok village, but time was short as we had to catch a bus, so I took a photo of the tree and the rocks. Then in the hotel room, with some meditative music on the Bluetooth speaker I pondered the tree and its resilience, the rock and its strength while I sketched, nice way to end a day.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Andrea Moran says:

    Thanks for all of your wonderful sketches and helpful hints! I appreciate that you take the time to send them out to all of us!


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