Traveling As An Artist

By March 9, 2018 Uncategorized

I love to travel whether it is a short day trip or an international vacation. Since getting married and adopting a dog, I generally travel by car. While I have more space in the car, I try not to overpack. Over the years I have learned a few things that make trips an enjoyable and creative experience.  As we move into the spring and summer months and start to travel more, take the following things into consideration.


A picture is worth a thousand words.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words and I cannot agree more. In past years, I would bring my professional DSLR camera on trips. This camera took amazing photos but I ended up not using it as much as I thought I would. For me, it was just too bulky and heavy to carry around all day. Instead of my professional camera, I ended up using my phone’s camera. Now I am not a professional photographer and wouldn’t suggest a phone’s camera is a perfect fit for everyone. Today the camera on my phone is perfect for taking snapshots to be used later for a painting.

My newest addition to my traveling supplies is a camcorder. I got this camcorder primarily to use to film my videos for my blog. But I have found that I rather like to film when I am on a trip or doing something fun with my family. Of course, there is a camera on my phone but I can’t change the screen aspect while filming. Like cameras, many smartphones take high-quality videos.

Sketching Equipment

I have previously admitted to being the worst at sketching, but I have tried to bring a sketchbook on my trips. I always want to pack light so I have found a solution that works for me. Instead of bringing a sketchbook and pencils, I just bring my iPad Pro and Apple pencil. Now, this is an expensive alternative to packing paper and pencils. But if you have access to this equipment it can be a huge help. Not only do I have a way to sketch, I can also use my tablet in place of my laptop if I so choose.

If you want to stick to old-fashioned pencil and paper when traveling, then I have a few thoughts. Don’t bring a huge heavy sketchbook. Bring a medium to small sketchbook that you can carry in your backpack or purse. No need to bring a ton of pencils. One hard, medium and soft pencil are enough for me. If you sketch with ink pens then bring your favorite few.

Travel watercolor set

Travel watercolor set


Painting can be difficult when traveling. Depending on the length of your trip and your mode of travel, you will determine your paint limitations. If you are flying then check the latest TSA and airline rules. You won’t be able to bring huge tubes of paint in your carry on baggage. I can not even imagine trying to pack all my oil painting supplies into a suitcase. I do have a brilliant little watercolor set made for traveling. The paint is not in tubes but dried out cakes, has a little brush, and a built-in-pallet. This travel paint set is perfect for some quick paintings.

Getting Inspired

Inspiration is everywhere when you travel. Sometimes the trip itself can be the inspiration needed to produce some great artwork. I love to people watch and have been guilty of taking sneaky photos of strangers that would be good paintings. However, taking sneaky photos may not the best thing to do. I would ask before you want to take a picture of someone especially if it is a child. Most people are agreeable if you explain that you are an artist.

Another way to get inspired while traveling is to visit local galleries. A quick Internet search can help you find some great galleries. Sometimes off the main road, local art galleries and exhibits can be a way to get an authentic feel for the community. I try to go to at least one art gallery on my trips if possible.

Knowing what art supplies to bring when traveling can take some trial and error. I try to always to be ready with something in case inspiration strikes. Let me know in the comments below what supplies you will be bringing on your upcoming trips!