Last year when Mike and I were standing in front of a massive waterfall, trying not to freeze while taking Instagram worthy pictures (as one does), a girl approached us in broken English and asked if we could give her something. We looked at each other and then back at her. So she asked again. Realizing that we probably thought she was asking us for money, she rephrased her question. She asked us if there was anything small we could give her related to our trip - anything from food, an Icelandic coin, a picture. Really, anything.
She went on to say that she was traveling alone from Korea and making her way around the country collecting things from fellow travelers in exchange for the trinket she had collected prior to whatever she got from us. Essentially, she started a paperclip project, but the idea wasn't to exchange things for something better. Instead, it was to see what small things people gathered along the way in their journeys. She then documented every exchange (where the person was from, why they were in Iceland, and what the trinket meant to them). She encouraged us to stay in touch and continue the project ourselves, creating a big tree of travelers. I'm guessing eventually these would become a book? Or at least a cool keepsake. Either way, Mike and I thought it was a great idea and a really cool way to meet strangers.
Unfortunately, we had nothing tangible to give her because we're the worst and left everything inside the tour bus. So instead, she took out a notebook, jotted down a story from our trip and took a picture with us. I'm convinced we must have been the lamest people she came across.
Anyway, her project stuck with me. Not that I'm planning on confronting strangers and starting some sort of random collection, but I wanted a better way to document my travels other than my glorious ugly magnet collection. So, during my trip to Joshua Tree in November, I started sketching.
Those who know me know that I'm an artist (more specifically a designer/animator), but that doesn't mean that I'm drawing all the time. In fact, my 9-to-5 in front of a computer makes it pretty hard to want to create in my free time. So forcing myself to sketch (something I used to do on the reg) has been a great way for me to get back into analog art. Plus, its a cool way to document a time and place.
I didn't want to set rules for myself or make myself draw something just for the sake of it. So I try to have my sketchbook handy for whenever the mood strikes. I try not to spend more than 10 minutes on any given sketch. Mainly because I'm lazy and want to get back to other things, but it also helps to keep me focused on getting down the gesture -- something that art school really pounded into me. It helps to have a pocket Moleskine so I can carry it around without it being a drag, and I can access it whenever.
Here's what I've drawn so far...
Admittedly, most of my drawings right now are either airport- or Amtrak-based since I seem to keep facing epic delays and there's not much else to do. I'm hoping to draw less people-in-despair and more cool-iconic-cityscapes. But you know, draw what you see around you, right?