Wednesday, July 3, 2024

Portland, Part 4: Diary Comics/Walk-Sketch Journal

6/23/24 My lunch at McMenamins Olympic Club in Centralia on the way down to Portland.

What’s the difference between my sketch journal, my walk-sketches, and my diary comics? Nothing, apparently, and it became especially evident in my sketchbook while I was traveling. I think the only distinction was in my mind while I made transitions from one to another as my processes and approaches morphed along the way.

6/23/24 Portland

Travel gives me an opportunity for intensive sketching that I don’t have during my usual daily routines and responsibilities. That intensity encourages a full integration of “destination” urban sketching (such as Ole Bolle, which has been on my “to-sketch” list ever since I found out about it) and more ordinary sketches of the type I make when I’m home. Away from home, everything is fresh, even the mundane, and it all feels part of my “travel journal” (which in this case, a three-day trip, was just my usual daily-carry Uglybook).

6/24/24 Lunch with Cindy (sketch of us from reference photo) and my takeout dinner

One of many reasons I chose to stay at the Inn at Northrup Station was that I knew from prior stays that it is in a very walkable area of the Pearl District. Just as I do at home, I took a daily walk around the neighborhood and sketched along the way. And when I travel, it’s only natural that I want to document more things like meals, which made it easy to make sketch journal/diary comics pages. (Almost all sketches were made from life except as noted.)

6/24/24 Portland (streetcar sketch from reference photo because it was always on the move)

When I make a series of small sketches as I do with my comics approach, it’s faster and therefore easier to cover more ground while traveling. This is something I discovered in 2019 in blistering Amsterdam. I talked about it again when an insightful urban sketcher made the samediscovery when she traveled. Doing it regularly at home leading up to the trip made it completely effortless while I was on the trip.

6/25/24 Pearl District

As I’ve said before
, the best way to prepare for travel sketching is simply to sketch on location regularly when you’re not traveling. 

6/26/24 From my last neighborhood walk in the "alphabet district" before I hit the road again.

Incidentally, you’ll note from my journal pages that I went to Powell’s City of Books, a can
t-miss mecca for book lovers visiting Portland. Hell-bent on downsizing my stash of everything, I nearly had to tie my hands behind my back to resist books I wanted, but resist I did. The only thing I succumbed to was a pack of three small notebooks with vintage colored pencil and color-mixing images on the covers.


  1. I enjoy seeing your travel journal pages. Doing the sketches this way makes it possible to cover more ground as you travel. My favorite of these is the one with the food and your friend Tina. Nah...I love all of them. :)

    1. It's a super fun way to make a travel journal! :-)

  2. I love the comic journal style! I wouldn't have resisted Powell's, my favorite place to get lost in a quiet corner. Although I too, am downsizing, I would have geeked out over those notebooks!!! I wanted to ask you if you found a place to order the Sharpie Creative White pens as singles or one color pack? I assume the excellent opaque white you are using is still the Sharpie. Anne HwH

    1. No source yet for Sharpie singles... and bad news today (see my Instagram). :-( I knew the fantastic marker was too good to be true! But I'd certainly buy another if I can find singles!

  3. Downsizing your stash? How are you going about it? We moved to an 800 sq ft apt so any ideas you have would be great!


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