10 Travel Sketching Tips

“Travel is the only context in which some people ever look around. If we spent half the energy looking at our own neighborhoods, we’d probably learn twice as much.” Lucy R. Lippard

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Recently I began urban sketching to improve my skills. Aside from taking a travel sketching class and a few online classes on Craftsy, I am practicing my sketching and have put together these 10 tips which have helped me. You don’t need to travel far to enjoy and improve your sketching skills but you do need to practice.

10 Travel Sketching Tips

1. Choose your subject.

2. Decide what to keep and what not to draw in your sketch.

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3. Keep it simple.

4. Break the scene down into shapes. Look for the contours of your scene.

5. Practice Single Line Sketching – Draw your horizon line using one single line, meaning that you should try doing this without picking up your pen. Think of single line sketching as visual notation…controlled scribble…a ball of string unrolling across the landscape.

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6. Speed up. Speed forces you to simplify.

7. Loosen up. When you are trying to find the right line in your contour it is more likely you will find it after drawing several lines. This will prevent your sketch from looking stiff. Capture the essence of your scene, not all the details.

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8. Travel with minimal supplies.

  • A small to medium sketchbook
  • HB pencil and eraser
  • One or two archival ink pens such as Micron
  • For adding color you can include a few watercolor pencils & a water brush.

9. Practice sketching from life as well as from your photos.

10. Practice Practice Practice! Sketching is a skill and will improve the more you practice. Keep a sketchbook and sketch every day if possible. Sketch objects in your immediate surroundings. Go outside your own backyard, your neighborhood cafe, or park and sketch.

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Reconnect with your creative self!~Maria

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