Danny Gregory, An Illustrated Journey


I mentioned this book when discussed a variety of inspiring resources for sketching. I have now read it cover to cover, pored over the drawings, watercolours, and journal pages loaded with notes and comments about places, and I love it! It showcases the travel journals of a number of people and each of them talks about how they started sketching, how it affects the way they travel and what they see and hear when they are on site, the kits they carry while travelling (most frequent advice: travel light!). All super fascinating.

In his introduction, Danny Gregory writes:

When we document a journey in a sketchbook, we discover the difference between vacationing and traveling; we become adventurers, discovering new worlds through a thousand tiny details. Unlike those who hide behind a pudgy mystery novel and a piña colada while plopped in a poolside lounge chair, the travel journal keeper clears his mind, refreshes his eyeballs and builds a cache of enduring memories.

Almost everyone in this book agrees. Drawing while traveling has made them more deeply in love with both, has rekindled their love of sketching and has made travel something they plan for and look forward to for years.

I don’t want to put down people who like to read mystery novels on vacation (heck, I do that too!), but sketching has added a whole new side to the experience of traveling for me. And it is something I don’t ever want to lose. It has also added renewed pleasure in the discovery or rediscovery of the area I live in. I have always liked to do “tourist days” around Montreal. Now I do it with a sketchbook in hand. I see so many things differently. Houses, parks, whole neighborhoods, local business, people walking down the streets and stopping by for a chat with acquaintances, hidden gems in unexpected places.

The book includes some sketchers whose work I like and already knew, such as Liz Steel and Pete Scully. I have been introduced to others whose sense of colour just bowls me over, or with an ability to convey the energy of scene with minimal lines, or on the opposite end of the spectrum, show idiosyncratic details that maybe only they perceived. I will most likely go back to this book for inspiration.


Gregory, Danny. An Illustrated Journey: Inspiration from the Private Art Journals of Traveling Artists, Illustrators and Designers. How Books, Blue Ash, OH, 2013.

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