To join me on a virtual sketching trip, download a travel sketch-journal here.
I add tutorials to them so you can learn the techniques and details you see in the sketchbooks.

My former workshop students asked me to upload my workshop workbooks to make them available to everyone. So you can also download a workbook and give yourself a workshop! Enjoy!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Prep For My Nature/Journaling Trip to Hawaii

Hello! I've been nose-to-the-grindstoning the last two months to get my new book The Southern Swamp Explorer ready for press. Every day, all day, no weekends off. Finally, yesterday, I sent off the last three proof copies to my proofreaders and turned off the computer for the day. Boy, does THAT feel weird!

While it was off, I started, finally, collecting together what I want to take to Hawai'i -- wait. . . .I don't think I've mentioned the trip I am taking for nine days over Christmas to scout out Hawai'i as a possible nature sketching/journaling workshop site! That's a NASA photo of of The Big Island at right. It's about 50 miles across.

One of my recent students has a house on The Big Island in Hawai'i, and I'll be staying there for part of the time. My idea is to take this trip using all of the tips and techniques I use in my Nature Sketching/Journaling class, taking in the wonders of each lovely spot and recording them in my sketchbook. Normally I travel with someone else, and that kind of dictates what you end up doing. I'll miss my traveling buddy Daniel, but by myself. . . well, I'll try new ideas out.

I am traveling l.i.g.h.t. I want to be able to carry everything in my backpack and fannypack -- on the plane, while I travel in my rental car, etc. So I've been paring down everything I can, and the process is amazing.

In this blog I am going to outline my travel kit, and when I get back I'll tell you how it worked. Here's the plan for right now.

All of my drawing supplies need to fit in my fanny pack, so I got a sketchpad that is 6x9, the Robert Bateman Cover Series with 100% recycled paper (which is marvelously heavyweight and smooth) -- I used one like this in Costa Rica last spring (see blog #1). To prepare the sketchbook, I scanned in a roadmap of The Big Island from Hawaii, The Big Island Revealed, by Andrew Doughty (looks excellent, comes highly recommended) which I will also take. With the map on the cover, I'll always have a convenient map handy. I also decorated it a bit with the Hawai'i banner across the end just to pretty it up. I haven't yet covered it with clear package tape, but that's the next step. I'm expecting it to get rained on, and the tape will repell rain for quite some time. It weighs 13 ounces.

Inside the cover I've fastened a light, clear ruler and two business cards in case I lose it.

Next comes my drawing kit. Here's a scan of it. The stuff all fits in my clear plastic "cosmetics" container, which I use as a bug jail for sketching bugs. Actually,all the sharp goodies are put first into a little snack baggie to keep them from scratching the "jail" -- I need it scratch-free so I can draw insects I put inside (only briefly, to draw; this ain't death row!).

Here's what I put inside: magnifying glass on a colorful string so I don't lose it, business cards to give away, mechanical pencil, extra leads, kneaded eraser (that blobby gray thing at top), paintbrush with water in the barrel (it's blue, LOVE it!) , blue wipe cloth. eraser in pink barrel, a pencil sharpener for colored pencils (at bottom), a couple of pencil smudgers (tortillons, at left), safety pin, paper clips and a rubber band. That weighs 5 ounces.

I was going to just take my watercolor pencils in their flat metal box, but then I realized that, weightwise, the box could be replaced with a whole slew of other pencils, so I added a lot of in-between colors from my workshop kit. I've tried several different brands, and they mostly work fine. These are Staedtler (which I haven't used before) and Van Gogh and Faber-Castell, both of which are great. All together, they still don't weigh as much as half the original pencils IN the metal box

I'm taking my gold calligraphy pen (in center) with which I can make lovely initial caps. They really dress up a page.

All these things go in the fanny pack. Also in there is my smallish flashlight (4 ounces). Hawaii is in the tropics, and the sun will be going down around 6pm, so I might get caught out. I'd like to see the lava eruptions at night (if there are any) and it could come in handy. A flashlight is also super for looking into crevices for insects. Next, I have a very thin 9"-12" foam pad which weighs less than an ounce, a 3"x5"x ½" little packet with an emergency poncho in it, and a couple of energy bars. There is a pouch to carry a water bottle which slips on the belt, and I'll get a bottle for it when I'm there.

The whole fannypack, without the water, weighs 3 pounds exactly, and I'll probably stuff some other things in it, too (chapstick, sunscreen, deet, etc.). And maybe my little binoculars, which still will probably total less than four pounds.

Then, in a separate camera bag slung over my shoulder, I'll carry my camera bag, which weighs in at just under a pound. The camera is an iffy thing. I've noticed that when I have the camera sometimes I'll take a picture and skip drawing. So I may have to ration camera use. I probably should clip my cell phone onto my belt, too, in case I fall off a cliff. Well, I may look like a burro with all that gear, but I'll have everything I need to have fun with.

Sometimes I wear a fishing vest instead of using the fanny pack. It distributes weight evenly over the shoulders and is more comfortable than the fanny pack. I'll have to think about it. I don't wear it when I'm with Daniel because he thinks it looks goofy, but hey, I don't care.

So there's the sketching end.

For the workshop end, I'm taking along my workbooks from both the nature sketching workshop and the nature journaling workshop. I can show these to anyone who is interested, because they really do outline what I teach in the workshops. As well, I can give away my business cards (see inside the sketchbook cover) which have this blog address and my workshop website address on them. (By the way, I got those business cards at for free -- you just fill in what you want them to say, choose a design, and click. All you do is pay shipping and handling, $3-$4. Don't they look nice? And no, I didn't get paid to say that -- I just think they're a terrific deal!)

Now, as for the clothing, Hawai'i has ALL the climate zones except one, I understand, from sea level to the top of Moana Loa. I'm told that in addition to shorts and T-shirts I will need my fleece jacket and jogging pants. So, since it's December in Oregon, on the plane I will wear the jogging pants with my summer-weight safari pants over them. The safari pants have zip-off legs to make shorts, and lots of pockets, perfect to travel in. And I'll wear several layers of tops including my jacket. . . hey, maybe my change of clothes can consist of a swimsuit, a pair of sandals, a sun hat and some extra underwear! I'll have access to a washing machine if I need it. Cool!

So there it is. I think everything else (paperback, comb, first-aid kit, teeny travel towel, toothbrush, maps, addresses, sunglasses, bird book, cellphone charger, etc.) will fit in my pack which I can skooch under the seat in front of me on the plane.

Now I must clean the house for the house-sitter and make her a list of what to do in emergencies. (and hope Jesse doesn't pounce on her like he did the last house-sitter). Jesse says he will get along just fine without me, and he has already hung his stocking (in progress, at left). Well!

Merry Christmas and/or Happy Holidays, dear friend! I will blog again when I return, with results of my trip.

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