Tag: comicdiary

Keeping a Creative Travel Journal

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There are so many ways to creatively document a special trip. I don’t travel often, but when I do, I try to make a record of the trip that I will want to look back through and relive the memories. Adding a visual element to the travel journal makes it more interesting and captures the memories better.

One of the earliest ways I recorded a trip was to make a scrapbook, where I collected tickets stubs and postcards and photos and newspaper articles and pieces of pamphlets and magazines to tell the story of my trip. It was a long trip, study abroad to France for six weeks, so I kept a notebook of the places I visited and the photos I took there so that I would remember what each photo was about. It was very time consuming, but it was a very special trip that I knew I wouldn’t be able to take again.


Scrapbook page from my study abroad trip to France when I was at Brigham Young University. Click on the picture to zoom and look at the details.

On another trip to Madison, Wisconsin, I brought along a travel watercolor kit. Each evening I would scroll through the photos I took that day and do a quick sketch of the most memorable photo of the day. Next to the watercolor sketch, I wrote a sentence telling what was happening in the picture and the date. It didn’t take long, and it’s a lot of fun to look through. The kit didn’t have many colors, and I didn’t want to spend much time blending them to get just the right shade, so maybe next time I’d bring a bigger kit. And more than one brush.

Watercolor journal from a long business trip/family vacation to Madison, Wisconsin. The captions are tiny. From top left to lower right with links so you can explore the places we visited!
We tried orange custard chocolate chip ice cream from Babcock Dairy Hall at UW. Yum! 7-14-17
Giant globe outside the geology museum at UW we visited yesterday. 7-15-17
A giant cauldron a the cheese-making museum in Monroe, Wisconsin. 7-17-17
For family home evening yesterday, we helped do yard work at the church building. 7-18-17

Last August, I went on a very short trip. It involved a lot of standing in lines and waiting. I brought along a pen and a sketchbook. Whenever we were waiting again, I picked something to sketch. I took a quick reference photo, and started sketching. It was a lot of fun. It made the wait seem short, and I didn’t worry about making everything look great because I had the photo if I wanted to do a better picture later. Looking back through it, I wish it was a lot longer. This is a little strange, because it would require more standing around waiting in line.

Sketches made while waiting in line for Astro Blasters. If that doesn’t give away the location of our trip, you need more Disney in your life!

Waiting @ Airport to head home. This was the last sketch for our trip.

I am sure there are more ways to keep a travel journal. I will probably do some research before my next great trip, whenever that may be. Have you kept a creative travel journal? What did you do? Did it turn out well? What would you do differently? Are you planning to keep a creative travel journal in the future? What will you do?

As I described in my post last week, keeping a comic diary is another way you can make a travel journal.

How I Keep a Comic Diary

Last year, through a link on Arie Van De Graaff’s web page, I found Brittany Olsen’s Comic Diaries
page. I was delighted. I had just bought a brush pen and wanted more practice with it. I decided to draw a journal entry once a week in addition to my more traditional daily journaling.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be. With the new pen, it was hard not to draw thick, heavy lines. It didn’t look much like a comic, either. I ended up with big, blocky pictures accompanied by words that looked like they were in bold-face type. It was discouraging.

My very first attempt at a comic diary

And then one day, I suddenly received an answer to my problem. In my mind, I saw templates that I could put on the page to make blocks for my comics. They would be the size of the sketchbook pages, while the overall size of the inside comic would remain the same, despite the number or size of boxes.

I realized that I could use the brush pen to trace the boxes and get practice, while using a smaller pen for the words and drawings so that I created a better comic. It all seemed so simple. I wasn’t sure why I hadn’t thought of it before. Inspiration is like that.

I went home and dug through the recycling for the family size Lucky Charms boxes. They’d been on sale, and I’d bought several. There was just enough cardboard to make a good variety of stencils. Any other arrangement of boxes I can adapt from the existing stencils.

I use these stencils to draw the borders on my comic diaries. What a huge difference!

After a few hours of measuring, marking, and careful cutting, I had my stencils. I drew a comic diary entry using my stencils and new ideas, and I was thrilled with the results. It looked a hundred times better. It’s what I’ve done ever since.

My comic diary celebration of two years posting my stories, art and cartoons. Here was my post that day: https://summerbirdstories.com/happy-second-anniversary/

Occasionally, I accidentally skip a page. When that happens, I just add a family recipe on the blank page, comic diary style.

Seriously, try this recipe! We stole it from someone else on the internet (hence the name of the recipe)

Sometimes the weeks are extra full, and it’s hard to not cram everything that happened into the page. I think the best entries are when I share how I’m thinking or feeling, or when I celebrate one big event.

Life is full of highs and lows. Keeping a diary helps capture the emotion and the feelings in life.

I have been keeping a regular journal since high school. I have boxes and boxes of them. I can’t imagine wanting to reread them at all. I know writing in them helps me sort through events and how I feel, but I think they’re probably pretty boring.

My comic diary is interesting. It is more compact time-wise, and less text-dense. When people flip through it, it seems like they start reading without intending to, stopping themselves several pages in and apologizing. I don’t really mind, though. I hope that someday my children will find it equally interesting. It may be a good way to pass down family history. That way, they won’t have to read through boxes of journals to find out what I was thinking or feeling.

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