Whenever I travel I take my sketch book.
It’s not just about recording where I’ve been, the camera does that much better -to me it’s about understanding the architecture and ambience of a place and how people live and thrive there.
Sitting down for an hour or so, to sketch a building or a landscape, helps me to immerse myself in the environment.
I hate shopping and sketching seems to be a better option than lying on a beach or taking a side trip to a shopping street or a market.
Keen observation lets you sneak into the mind and marvel at the skills or imaginations of ancient architects, carpenters or a stone masons. When you draw something – stroke by stroke, you don’t just look, you see.
It’s also a great way to capture memories and emotions that photographs simply can’t.
When you sketch, you’re creating a personal, unique record of your experience. Looking back on your sketches can help you remember not just what you saw, but how you felt.
Sketching helps to capture the zeitgeist of a place in a way that photography can’t. For instance, I have something like 6000 photographs on my iPhone and a few hundred scribbles in my sketch book.
I can only revisit the photos by scrolling through the camera app, but I can recall and draw most of my sketches from memory. The act of drawing sears shapes and shadows into my brain, seemingly forever.
That’s why I call it travelling with my pencil – it adds a depth and breadth that passing-by can’t.
I encourage anyone who wants to see and savour the awesome beauty of the world to give it a go.
There are plenty of sketching schools or classes to find on line. I promise you’ll be better off for it.