The Best Travel Art Tips for Summer

If you’ve seen the July/August 2017 issue of Cloth Paper Scissors, you may have noticed this on the cover: “23 Tips for Creating While You Travel.” Yes, we’ve loaded this travel and adventure-themed issue with a lot of techniques, projects, and ideas for creating art on the road, and we aim to deliver on our promise. So here are the 23 tips, and where in the magazine you can find them. We hope you find these useful for all your summer art adventures!

Even if your summer escapades consist of a backyard barbecue or a pool party, these tips lend themselves to any type of art journal project or technique.

1. Creating outdoors is inspiring, but corralling pens, markers, brushes, and erasers can be a challenge. Jacqueline Newbold recommends storing supplies in zippered cases that stand upright, so nothing rolls away. (Studio Spotlight, page 10)

While creating outside, keep pens, pencils and other tools in stand-up containers so they don’t roll away. (Art and photo by Jacqueline Newbold)
While creating outside, keep pens, pencils and other tools in stand-up containers so they don’t roll away. (Art and photo by Jacqueline Newbold)

2. Several artists have discovered, through trial and error, that traveling with a pared-down kit was the way to go. As tempting as it is to take your entire art supply arsenal with you, these pros maintain that you can accomplish great things with just a few key supplies. (Collage, page 6)

3. Joanne Sharpe is on the road throughout the year teaching and making appearances, so she finds it best to have an art bag packed that she can grab and go. Among her go-to supplies are a Moleskine® Watercolor Notebook, water brushes, a watercolor pan set, several pens, and assorted colored pencils. (Collage, page 6)

4. If you don’t like facing the blank page when you’re home, you won’t like it any more when you’re traveling. Gina Lee Kim and Jacqueline Newbold both offer great ideas for prepping pages before heading out. Jacqueline uses white and black gesso on her pages: “This adds variety and gives me textured surfaces,” she says. (Studio Spotlight, page 10; A Travel Journal Adventure, page 48)

5. Make a clever custom carrying case for your scissors using Kraft•Tex and a zipper. (Collage, page 11)

6. Some artists are hesitant to sketch people in public areas because they think they’ll be noticed by their subjects. Jane Davenport says not to worry—follow her advice and wear a hat and sunglasses to be less conspicuous. When she does this, she says, “I’ve found it rare that people even know I am sketching them.” (Café Creative, page 60)

Go incognito on your travels and no one will know you’re sketching them. (Art and photo by Jane Davenport)
Go incognito on your travels and no one will know you’re sketching them. (Art and photo by Jane Davenport)

7. Jacqueline Newbold uses small empty tins to make a watercolor palette. She fills half pans with watercolor paint, allows the paint to dry, and glues magnets to the bottoms of the pans so they stay in place. (Studio Spotlight, page 10)

8. Lighten your load by taking only a few paint colors—you don’t need the entire rainbow. Find out the key shades Rogene Mañas brings with her. (Collage, page 6)

9. Instead of sending the same boring postcards that everyone else sends, create your own unique mail art designs. Diana Trout shows an easy way to combine watercolor, pens, and ephemera to make gorgeous seasonal postcards that your recipients will love. (Mixed-Media Etegami, page 66)

Why settle for bland postcards when you can send original artwork to friends and family? (Art by Diana Trout, Photo by Sharon White Photography)
Why settle for bland postcards when you can send original artwork to friends and family? (Art by Diana Trout, Photo by Sharon White Photography)

10. Coordinate your color media with your destination. Joanne Sharpe and Pam Garrison keep the palettes of their travel stops in mind when choosing what pencils and markers to take. Going tropical? Choose turquoise, coral, gold, and beige. Heading to the mountains? A range of greens, bright and midnight blues, golden yellows, and browns work well. (Collage, page 6)

11. Instead of carrying bulky water containers for painting, Jacqueline Newbold takes collapsible cups that don’t take up much room. She even brings extras to hold brushes and other small tools. (Studio Spotlight, page 10)

12. Explore new locations to see what they have to offer for the traveling artist. When Suzanne McNeill traveled to India she purchased holi powders and mixed them with gum arabic to create watercolor. The vibrant shades give her journal pages a distinctive and authentic look. She also used local sepia-colored rocks she found near cave paintings to draw directly on her pages. Be sure to check local laws to find out what can be taken from local areas, and what’s off limits. (Drawn to India, page 72)

Local rocks can make beautiful drawing tools—check some out the next time you travel. (Art by Suzanne McNeill, Photo by Sharon White Photography)
Local rocks can make beautiful drawing tools—check some out the next time you travel. (Art by Suzanne McNeill, Photo by Sharon White Photography)

13. Pam Garrison loves metal paint palettes, but she discovered that even small paint-filled tins add extra weight to totes and backpacks. Take her advice and choose lightweight plastic palettes for traveling. (Collage, page 6)

14. If you’re flying to your destination, do some research and see what items are and are not approved by the TSA. Pam Carriker makes sure all of her supplies are TSA approved before she arrives at the airport to avoid having to go without her favorite materials. (Collage, page 6)

18. Don’t limit yourself to the usual suspect supplies in your travel art journal—mix things up. Gina Lee Kim uses washi tape to attach tip-ins, which are flaps or pages attached to existing pages that offer more room for art and journaling. Even her choice of tip-ins is uncommon: transparency sheets that can be painted with watercolor. Experiment before you go to see what materials work, and to find the best ways to work with them. (A Travel Journal Adventure, page 48)

Transparent tipped-in pages create extra interest in a travel journal and offer great opportunities for adding even more mixed media. (Art by Gina Lee Kim, Photo by Sharon White Photography)
Transparent tipped-in pages create extra interest in a travel journal and offer great opportunities for adding even more mixed media. (Art by Gina Lee Kim, Photo by Sharon White Photography)

16. Carrie Schmitt likes to ship her artwork home from her destination. This is a smart move, since you won’t have to worry about your pieces being damaged in your suitcase or carry-on. (Collage, page 6)

17. It’s easy to find commercial travel journals, but it’s so satisfying to make one that perfectly suits your needs. First-time bookmakers need not worry—this issue contains two projects that are perfect for all levels. Suzanne McNeill shows how to make an accordion journal using sari fabric for covers. And check out a sewn travel journal with leather covers that’s expandable; complete directions for that can be found in Online Extras. (Drawn to India, page 72; A Travel Journal Adventure, page 48)

Make your own custom journal before you travel and include any type of paper and pockets you like. (Book by Jeannine Stein, Photo by Sharon White Photography)
Make your own custom journal before you travel and include any type of paper and pockets you like. (Book by Jeannine Stein, Photo by Sharon White Photography)

19. If you’re worried that people will peer over your shoulder while you’re painting in a café or restaurant, Jane Davenport has a simple solution: Pick a spot where your back is against a wall. Then, relax for a moment, place your order, and enjoy the ambience before taking out your brush and paints. (Café Creative, page 60)

15. On long road trips, Rogene Mañas makes good use of the dashboard of her car, While her husband drives she molds pieces of paper clay (to use in her artwork later), places the pieces on plastic sheets, and sets them on the dashboard to dry. (Collage, page 6)

20. Did you know that many hotels now feature artists-in-residence? Roberta G. Wax’s discovered that more and more U.S. hotels are putting local artists in the spotlight, offering residency programs that often include classes and other events. Look for these hotels the next time you’re planning a trip. (ArtWork, page 28)

21. We rely on map apps to help us get where we’re going, but you can use them as art inspiration, too. Annie O’Brien Gonzales uses a Google aerial map of Venice, Italy to inspire a mixed-media painting done in beautiful saturated colors. Use this technique on a canvas or in a travel journal, adding to your story. (Expressive Painting, page 20)

Use aerial maps as your next painting inspiration. (Art by Annie O’Brien Gonzales, Photo by Sharon White Photography)
Use aerial maps as your next painting inspiration. (Art by Annie O’Brien Gonzales, Photo by Sharon White Photography)

22. If you’re going to an area that has an art supply store, Rogene Mañas and Carrie Schmitt recommend buying your substrates (canvases, boards, paper) there instead of schlepping them around. You’ll have less to carry and be able to work in any size. (Collage, page 6)

23. Jane Davenport understands that not everyone is comfortable with making art out in the open. That’s why she suggests gaining confidence by practicing first where you feel comfortable, such as a favorite coffee shop. (Café Creative, page 60)

Get the July/August 2017 issue of Cloth Paper Scissors magazine and start your art adventures today!

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4 thoughts on “The Best Travel Art Tips for Summer

  1. The postcards on the front are the first things that jumped out at me when my issue arrived. Can’t wait to create a few of my own. I am also using some of the travel tips when I fly to my sisters homes this August.
    Great issue.

  2. This just might be my favorite issue yet! I’m a huge fan and follower of Jacqueline Newbold and have viewed her video, “Art Journals on the Go”. So, to have her back in this issue is lovely! Also, love the postcards and so much more. I can sit and read from cover to cover. Now, I just need to get out there and do, not just read! ha! Thanks for all the inspiration!

    1. Thank you, Robin! Glad you found so much to inspire you. Definitely try some of the techniques–I’ll have a blog up soon about the postcards, which are so much fun to make–you’ll love the techniques! ~ Jeannine

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