Wednesday, March 16, 2016

The Art and Habit of Travel Sketching Lecture in Manchester

I am preparing some great travel-sketching tips, inspiration, and tool ideas for my lecture in Manchester. Happy to report that I will be pulling from the experiences from yet one more amazing sketching expedition of 2016. In a few weeks I will be heading to Cuba. These last few months the US government has been gradually easing the restrictions on travel to the forbidden island. I have been extremely curious about the country and can't wait to draw the Trinidad's colonial architecture, street musicians of Old Havana, and all of the colorful characters that I would meet there.

As usual, when going on a sketching adventure I am making a new sketchbook. I typically use colorful fabric prints or old maps for my covers and commercial book cloth for the spines. For this book about a very special place I decided to try out new material– leather. A friend of mine is a shoe maker and I am heading to his shop to rummage through a pile of leather scraps that might work.

A new sketchbook is in progress. The signatures are sewn together and ready for the next step
My time-tested DIY sketching gadget is an elastic pen and watercolor holder that fits snugly around my sketchbook and keeps everything organized. It has an added benefit of protecting the pages of my sketchbook by keeping the book tightly shut. The holder is super easy to make out of an extra wide elastic.

Elastic holder/organizer is easy to make on your own fitting precisely the size of your book and the shape of your tools
I am also taking a make-up artist tool-belt with me. Designed for use by makeup artists is clips around the waist and allows for easy access to your water colors, pens and pencils while your hands are busy holding a sketchbook. It is especially useful for those of us who do a lot of sketching standing up. Not having to hold your pen in your mouth while you are switching between that and your brush frees you up for conversations with the locals.

Makeup artists use this belt for painting faces–I think it makes for a perfect sketcher's belt

I am only hoping this would not look too much like a dreadful fanny pack when I travel
Happy sketching and see you in Manchester!


  1. Rita,
    I will not be in Manchester and so cannot ask you this question in person during your workshop. Would you mind sharing your source for the makeup artists tool belt? I have scoured the web and cannot find one as nice as the one in your picture. Many thanks for your amazing sketches and for sharing all of your adventures and tips. Also, I am one of the admins for Miami Urban Sketchers, so if you will be passing through on your way to Cuba, please let me know and we'll arrange to sketch with you, even if it is only at the airport! Thanking you in advance and not kidding about sketching in Miami, Pat Oblak, or

    1. Sorry for the delay and thank you for the kind words. The makeup artist belt that I use is by Japanesque. I hope it helps in your search. I believe it is the one of the smaller ones that they offer.

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