A Travel Sketchbook

10 minutes

In 2005, I was raising a 8th grader as a single parent and I had purchased my first home as a single adult. Money was tight. I dreamed of going to Europe but couldn’t foresee how I would ever do that.

During the opening weeks of every school year, many teachers receive an assortment of educational travel companies’ enticing catalogs geared toward student group travel. My school takes an annual student Europe trip, for example, but it is organized through the Foreign Language Department, not the Art Department. There was no chance I could change this fact, yet, I continued to flip through the pages.

Toward the back of one catalog I came across a lime-green form that requested a name and address. The fine print disclosed a possible opportunity to win a FREE trip to Paris and London. Although I’m not a coupon-clipping, survey-filling-out type of person, but that lime green card held my attention and I filled it out and dropped it in the mail.

I never thought about it again until early May, 2006 when the company called me to tell me my name had been randomly selected to go on this free trip with 19 other educators from across the USA. I had no way of knowing then, that this trip would forever change my life. Since that time, a day hasn’t gone by that I’m not dreaming of travel. This travel experience, as well as subsequent ones, changed the type of books I read and the kinds of movies I see. My personal artwork has changed, as well as my classroom curriculum. The experience of travel has brought me new friends and new ideas. There’s simply no way to describe the change that occurred in me after I took that trip.

This past week I presented at the Association of Christian Schools International conference. My topic was, Sketching Around The World. I told stories about how travel has changed my life and included the ways that travel has influenced what I teach in my classroom.  I then shared my personal, travel sketchbook with the audience through a PowerPoint presentation.

My little Moleskine sketchbook, measuring only 3-1/2” x 5-1/2” has been my traveling companion since 2006. I purchased it just before I went on that free trip. It is a conversation starter and several times people have wanted to buy the sketches as I finish them! I have set up some rules for myself when sketching in this book: I cannot enter the monument, landmark, building, beach or I cannot order a glass of wine, cup of tea or cup of gelato until I sketch for 10 minutes. I have to sketch fast because I always want to enter, explore, drink or eat. Slowly, after 6 years, the Moleskine is about to be finished. I have three pages left and I anticipate filling those up in December when I visit my daughter in California.

This past August, my brother and his family invited me to come and spend a week with them in Vail, Colorado. My niece and nephew enjoy learning about art from their Aunt Anita, and to express how delighted I was to be there in the mountains with them, I bought each of them a Moleskine. I explained to them the wonderful history of the Moleskine and then we began by drawing a lovely evergreen tree just beyond the wooden deck we were sitting on. This holiday week my brother’s family is vacationing in Florida and I was thrilled to learn that they each packed their Moleskine to further draw their beach environment. There is not better way to capture special memories than to draw them. I want to encourage you to invest in a sketchbook and invest in yourself as you learn to draw in this uncomplicated and relaxing way. You’ll be glad you did!

I just learned that I have been published here:


Check it out!

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14 thoughts on “A Travel Sketchbook

  1. Meg Fitzpatrick says:

    Your journeys always fascinate me; and now I’ve seen the wonderful vignettes you capture along the way. To many “bon voyages.”

  2. Jean Jernigan says:

    Still enjoying your blog. The sketches are especially special.
    Jean Jernigan

  3. Roseanne says:

    Anita, I love this blog post! I’m not a fine artist, but could use it for my creative medium of choice, which is writing. Excited to see where God takes you!

  4. Amy Johnson says:

    Insure it! It’s in high demand! Love you, sister!

  5. Lena Hobbs says:

    Anita, I just finished reading this wonderful and thrilling description of travel and what it has meant to you and to know you have assisted Jackson and Ava in their art interest and education with the purchase of their own Moleskine was so heart warming for me. Thank you dear girl for posting so that I too can share in your interests and those of my family. I must now go read it again. Love Mom .

  6. belocchio says:

    Your moleskine sketch book is a triumphant! V.

  7. David says:

    I only got one sketch in before my pen ran out of ink! :(. It turned out good however and I know from experience that the scene I was sketching will forever be available to me on paper as well as in my mind’s eye.

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