14 September 2012

About Travel Journals: Interview in Travel and Art

A while ago I was interviewed in Travel and Art: Illustrated Travel Journals by the lovely Gill McCowen from Journal Craft.
Here it is:

"Interview with Maria Trujillo

I am delighted to share an interview with Maria Trujillo. Maria was born in Bogota, Colombia (South America) but now lives in Dunedin, New Zealand.

Maria Trujillo 

Gill McC - How long have you been keeping travel journals and what inspired you start?
Maria T. - I started keeping illustrated journals ten years ago, but didn't get started with travel journals until three years ago. I thought it would be nice to keep a record of my travels for fun and to keep memories of them. I was inspired by various artist journals I found in books and the web. Some of my favourites and most inspiring have been Gwen Dhien and her Decorated Page book, Martha McEvoy's Trumpetvine Travels website, Mari Le Glatin Keis' The Art Of Travel With A Sketchbook book, Gay Kraeger's and Christina Loop's Watercolor Journaling video, Hannah Hinchman's and Cathy Johnson's books, Dory Kanter's Art Escapes book.

Gill McC - Do you have a favourite type of journal?
Maria T.- I like small format not bigger than 8x5 inches, even 5 1/2 x 3 1/2 inches. I started using spiral bound notebooks with cartridge paper, then I moved on to Moleskine sketchbook but didn't like the paper for watercolor and I don't use the watercolor moleskine because I prefer the portrait format. I am binding my own now with Fabriano Artistico Hot Press watercolor paper 200 g and 300 g. Another little book I am using at the moment and I am liking is called Imaginote, it has 90g bleached kraft paper, half of the book is plain and half graph. 6 1/2 x 4 1/2 inches. The paper buckles with washes but I don't mind, and I can practice calligraphy on the graph paper.

Gill McC - What media do you like to use when you are travelling?
Maria T.- My favourites are ink, watercolor and collage with found ephemera from the trip. The tools are small and easy to carry around. Sometimes I use watercolor pencils too. At the beginning when I started, I used a lot of different media in the process, colored pencils, water-soluble crayons, acrylic paints, pastels, gesso, gouache, you name it, but my favorite is definitely watercolor.

Gill McC - Do you have any tips for 'journaling on the move?
Maria T. - My travel kit is constantly changing depending on the style I am using. At the moment I am into water-colour journaling so I carry with me a small kit in my bag all the time, and some other things in my suitcase.
TRAVEL KIT (with me all the time)

Maria Trujillo's Travel journaling Kit

Maxpedition EDC Pocket Organiser
Large Pentel Aquash waterbrush,
Pentel P205 Mechanical Pencil 0.5 HB,
Escoda 1214 travel brushes No.10 and 6,
Pilot Parallel Pen 1.5 mm with J. Herbin Rouge Caroubier ink,
Sailor Sapporo EF nib with Platinum Carbon Ink, Lamy Al-Star EF nib with Platinum Carbon Ink,
Winsor and Newton Bijou Box.
Left pocket holds hand made journal 14x10 cm,with Hot Press 200g Artistico watercolor paper
Right pocket holds the Bijou Box, microfiber sports towel, two small water containers (one to soak the brushes in, the other to moisture the paints), small eraser. Visconti Travel Ink Pot with Platinum Carbon Ink and glue-stick in my toiletry bag.

Gill McC - Do you complete your journal entry 'on-site' or do you continue working on it when you get home?
Maria T. - If I have time I try to finish the sketches on-site, but some times I just do a sketch and finish the colouring later at the hotel or where I am staying, out of photographs and color notes, but before the trip ends. I do collage with found ephemera at the hotel or where I am staying too.

Gill McC - Please share a couple of your travel journal pages with us -
Maria T. - The page on the left was one of my first travel journal pages done in September 2008 during a weekend I spend with my husband in Quito (Ecuador). Back then I wasn't confident about drawing so I made a collage mainly with the tickets from the places we visited. It was an amazing trip, we where treated like royalty by Andrew's colleague and his wife. When I see this page I can go back and enjoy the trip again.

I like the page on the right a lot, it was the first travel journal map I made. It was a weekend we spent in Wanaka (NZ) visiting some friends. We went and came back using different routes...The landscape was different, both ways beautiful. I can remember this spot clearly when I see this page...the smell...the temperature...the light...that's the beauty of travel journaling, you can be back to the moment in a second!

Gill McC - When you look back at past journals, in what way do you feel you have benefited, rather than had you simply kept a photo album?
Maria T. - It is a different kind of memory. The photos are accurate records of a place and moment, but while I take them it is like they steal the moment from my memory to put it in the picture, like missing the moment... I don't know it is difficult to put it in words...the journal takes more time, sometimes I can't do as much as I would have wanted (I am not yet as fast as I would like to be sketching) but when I revisit the pages is like living the moment vividly again, with all my senses... the pictures don't give me that...plus I feel proud when I look at what I have done...I suppose for a photographer it is the opposite!

Gill McC - Anything else you'd like to share?
Maria T. - My husband is very proud of my journals, when he tells someone about our trips or suggests places to people he shows them my pages. He says "WE can remember everything with your journals".

To see more of Maria's photos and blogs visit her profile here"

I hope you've enjoyed it. You can see more pages of my journals and tools here.
And don't forget to visit Travel and Art: Illustrated Travel Journals.


  1. What fun to have been interviewed! Congratulations. I admire your travel journals. I have brought travel diaries (for writing only) on trips in the past and only filled them during the first few days. Your journals are wonderful visual records. I love the sketch with the criss-cross fields.

  2. Thank you very much Kathleen! I don't do pages every day, just when I have time or if is something I don't want to let go. The best thing for me is not to make journaling a chore, I've seen that if a push myself I don't do it!