Travels with my Art

Paintings and Photographs inspired by Travels Around the World

How artists are documenting their way around the world

How do you document your travels?

People record their holidays and wanderlust experiences in many different ways; writing diaries, blogging, taking photographs, illustrating journals, compiling scrapbooks, making films for Youtube, adding to their Instagram feed or by updating their Facebook status.

Nowadays, with phones being so conveniently small and the cameras on them being of such a high quality, the majority of travellers opt for documenting their adventures in photographs taken on their mobiles.

For me, a huge part of my travel experience is in how I log my journeys and I do this in many different ways, by writing, sketching, painting, doodling, photographing, sewing and of course blogging.  In fact, I see the art of the travel journal or diary as an integral part of every adventure I have and in pretty much every country I have visited or lived in, I have kept a diary or sketchbook.

A selection of travel sketchbooks by Ali Dunnell of Travels with my Art

A selection of travel sketchbooks by Ali Dunnell of Travels with my Art


This got me thinking about how other artists or travel bloggers record their travels and so for this blog post I decided to get a group of bloggers and artists together to see how they are documenting their way around the world. The results were rather interesting, many artists opt for the sketchbook and pen option, transferring these into canvas later, but others use photographs, work on drawing apps on ipads, some create autobiographical comics or short films and one blogger has even used his experience to manufacture a unique ant hill art instillation.

How to Travel the World for Free

If you need some inspiration for how to travel the world on a shoestring, then click on the following link to the blog All The Rooms to get some ideas.

Now for the art inspiration. I’ll start with my own work…

Ali Dunnell of Travels with my Art

My name is Ali and I am the blogger behind Travels with my Art. I am an artist, photographer, textile artist and teacher and I travel the world recording images of life in sketchbooks, canvases and online. I use my day-to-day experiences and travel journals as inspiration for my artwork. My designs, predominantly painted in acrylic, oil or watercolour, are expressive and use bright colours with bold black lines. I also work with photography, textiles and create minimalist pen and ink designs.

People often ask me when and where do you sketch? Well, usually I find a place where I can be relatively ‘unnoticed’, get out my sketchbook and watch or rather draw the world go by.  Good places to be ‘invisible’ are on a train, on a bus, in a station, at the side of a noisy market, sat in a museum or in a busy town square, or while having a coffee in a restaurant or cafe. The note book I use is always small and discrete and I work quickly, so that in a few strokes of my pencil I have captured what is going on around me. I also jot down notes in the margin describing the scene, or even the colours so when I return to the sketch later (and when I say later, it could be later that day, that year or even that decade) I am instantly transported back to the scene and can transform my sketch into a painting.

A selection of Pages from my sketchbooks

Jacob Lemanski of Ant Life Space

By bicycle I circled the earth twice. I travelled 38,000 miles over 999 days and it was a very long way to go. Such a journey required more than patience; patience would have me waiting to arrive somewhere hundreds of days and thousands of miles ahead. I had to transcend that type of thinking. I let go of the future completely and the patience required to get there. I learned to exist only in the present.

When I returned home I created an art piece that captures this feeling, I call it an Ant Space. It changes of over time in an unpredictable way. What it will be can never be know and what it has been will never be repeated.

Ant Space is an art piece that exists only in the present.

Ant Space art installation by Jacob Lemanski

Ant Space art installation by Jacob Lemanski

You can find out more about Jacob’s work by clicking on the following links:

Websites – and
Instagram –
Facebook –


Hannah Dosanjh – Artist

Hannah Dosanjh lives in Wiltshire, graduated as an illustrator in 1989, has three children and was an illustrator before becoming a teacher. Although Hannah used to travel a lot, she is now based very much in her local area, where she is always looking for something interesting to turn into art.

Hannah said: “I paint anything that strikes me as funny, overlooked, or plain odd. Wood Street is about half an hour’s walk from my house, and I love watching people at play, which I contemplate at length. I am surrounded by brilliant subject matters: the dogs I see being walked every day, friends meeting up for some sociable shopping, wonderful people who work so hard to keep it all from falling down.  I feel very much like a Victorian Anthropologist studying tribal habits; honestly, humans are bizarre, filthy and wonderful. I prefer to paint  the “normal” and everyday; the more you think about our habits and customs, the odder they appear.”

Hannah admits that although she does sketch in public she often gets a bit self-conscious, “I find it very embarrassing to be caught doing it, so I usually pretend to take a photo of my companions and then jerk the camera towards my subject of interest,” she said.

You can find out more about Hannah’s work by clicking on the following links:

Website –
Facebook –
Hannah also sells her work on RedBubble –


Hillary Leben of The Hill Site

My website doubles as an autobiographical web comic and travel blog with an occasional animation posted as well.

My favourite things to document are the unexpected, bizarre, and funny events that happen both on the road and at home. There really is humour everywhere if you are willing to look for it. Some of my favourite sources of inspiration are: inanimate objects who, for some reason, need to have faces, millipedes and other evil things that don’t know why they are evil, poop, and the small, unexpected delights of visiting places I know very little about.​

The drawings are autobiographical and loosely rendered. I really like the spontaneity of the strokes, and enjoy capturing as much emotion as I can with the least amount of marks.

I am also an animator and film maker and have made animations about Amsterdam, Paris, and Spain, which you can find on my website or on my youtube channel. My website also features a Live Millipede Cam. It is a 24-hour video stream of an area in my home that is frequented by millipedes. If you watch long enough, eventually, you will see one!

You can find out more about Hillary’s work by clicking on the following links:

Video About Hillary and her blog:

Panchali Mukherjea of Freshly Mixed Hues

I live in a little seaside village in Kent, UK very near Dover called St. Margaret’s Bay. We moved there 4 years ago from London seduced by the wonderful views around us. We overlook the English Channel, the White cliffs are on our doorstep and the local beach is a 5 minute walk away. It wasn’t very difficult to be inspired. I joined a local art group and soon enough realised that despite spending many years away from art in a legal career I could still paint and that my style had really developed and changed from the one I knew of a teenage self.

I paint the changing hues of the sky and sea around me. I paint the huge rocks that lie on our beach like sleeping giants and the cliffs that people the landscape around me. Doing so helps me feel part of the landscape.

Travelling has always been a part of our lives. My husband and I (and now my 7 year old son) spend every spare minute of our lives like wanderlust struck people. We need to see and absorb new places foods, smells and colours to replenish ourselves. I try to document that with my words and art.

You can find out more about Panchali’s work by clicking on the following link:

Lisa Davies – Artist and Illustrator

I am an artist/ illustrator living and working in Surrey in the UK. I work regularly on private commissions and also sell my original paintings to clients in the UK and overseas.

I gain a lot of inspiration for my work from my travels with my family. I never go anywhere without my sketchbook, pencils and watercolour box.

I particularly love to holiday in Cornwall in the UK and spend most of my time there people watching and sketching all the fun characters I see. I take my sketchbook back to my studio and use the drawing as inspiration for the my final paintings.

You can find out more about Lisa’s work by clicking on the following links:

Maura Elko from Exploring the world with a Camera and a Canvas

Hi, my name’s Maura and I work as a digital graphic artist full time, with a travel blog as my side hobby currently. I have a huge love for travelling and art, and always want to go places and sit down and do some plein-air drawings and paintings while there.

The reality isn’t so easy however when you’re travelling and only have a limited number of days in a place. I do make quick sketches in person when I can, however most of the time I’m just taking lots of photos – which is another love of mine.

When I get back home and process all my photos, I pick through them and see which would make good paintings. I love experimenting in all kinds of art mediums – from pencil, oil paints, watercolours, and of course digital!  I hope to develop my travel blog further, create more art and inspire others to do so. As a long term goal I’d love to eventually take some people outside to local parks or even on longer trips and do art together!

Various travel sketches and paintings by Maura Elko

Various travel sketches and paintings by Maura Elko

You can find out more about Maura’s work by clicking on the following links:

Russell Wood from Origami Expressions

Russell Wood has been doing origami for about 30 years – off and on, ever since he found the diagrams for a flapping bird in a Rupert Annual in the early 1970s.

He said: “I have been doing origami since I was a child, so for a while now! It’s fascinating to see a model develop as you fold the paper, and origami helps me be more mindful. It forces you to stay in the present, focus on what you are doing and not rush.”

Russell is also part the blogging team behind Two Traveling Texans. He said : “I am always looking for new inspiration for models to fold and I like it to be something related to what’s happening in my life and the world. Travelling has become a big part of my life, and after a trip to Paris I was inspired to fold the Eiffel Tower.”

“The Eiffel Tower is an intermediate level model designed by Robin Glynn.  It takes around two hours to fold. I really enjoyed making this model because it brought back memories of my trip.  My wife and I went to the top of the Eiffel Tower and also picnicked next to it so we could watch the light show.  You can make an origami Eiffel Tower too!”

You can find out more about Russell’s work by clicking on the following links:

Ivona Harčarová from Ivona Harcar Travels Blog 

My name is Ivona and I am a freelance writer, travel lover, but also an open-minded thinker! I am from Slovakia, from a little town in the mountains and I am one of these people who dream out loud and cannot stay at home for more than a month.

I enjoy travelling, reading, writing and studying languages. I especially enjoy travelling alone because it helps me to know myself, but also the other cultures better. I like to look at the touristic spots but always search for local experiences and places without tourists and commerce.

I believe it is important to listen to your head and heart at the same time, while following my dreams, and it is this which also inspires my art. Each picture I draw is deeply connected to a specific feeling during my travels and it is linked to a certain sound, image, or memory. For me, there is nothing more relaxing than sitting at the beach, in a cafe, or by the window in over looking the mountains and putting on the paper what is in your mind.

You can find out more about Ivona’s work by clicking on the following links:


Finally, here are a few more pages from my sketchbooks


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  1. Embla Ester Granqvist February 23, 2018

    This was really interesting! I love to see when different artists take on the same subject, and this was like that, but bigger and better!

  2. thewonderer86 February 23, 2018

    Great post. Very inspirational.

  3. This Darling World February 24, 2018

    This is so inspiring!! I love seeing the different views through art. Gorgeous post!

  4. pmukherjea February 25, 2018

    Reblogged this on Freshly mixed hues and commented:
    I was invited to a do a collaborative blog with many other artists about how different artists travel and document their experiences around the world. It was wonderful to hear how others shared my passion for travel and how they express themselves through their art work.

  5. aroundtheworldinkatydays February 25, 2018

    This is so inspiring! It definitely makes me want to document my travels more artistically from now on! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  6. Wandering Blossom February 25, 2018

    Super clever!! 🙂 And makes for some really inspiring ideas!! I wish I’d have had more patience to make some sketches while traveling! Xxx

  7. unaveronicavagante February 25, 2018

    What an original post!
    I really like your sketchbooks.
    I like to take note of some observations I do when I’m travelling, I collect the tickets… but nothing very artistic.
    I really appreciate it 🙂

    • Ali Dunnell February 25, 2018

      Thanks for reading and commenting Veronica – I’m hoping to do some ‘tips for keeping a travel art journal’ on my blog – so watch this space 🙂

  8. delphinethebabbler March 5, 2018

    Oh my goodness, I’m so glad I came across this post, it’s all so beautiful and inspirational. I graduated from university last June and started on a travel journey in September. I’ve lately been having a bit of a crisis with how I want to really document and keep track of my travels. Sure, I take pictures, blog my travels, and buy some souvenirs here and there, but nothing really all that awe inspiring. I’m still working on how to continue and go about my travel journey. This post has definitely motivated me and gave me some ideas on how to create an art out of my adventures.
    I look forward to more of your posts in the future…happy travels! 😀

  9. MAGNY TJELTA December 8, 2018

    I love this blog post. I am always encouraging my students to ise sketchbooks and journals eapecially on holidays but also as a way to practice at any time in any place. Your blog post with input from several artists is very enlightening

    • alidunnell December 8, 2018 — Post Author

      Thanks for stopping by my blog and for the positive comments. I am an art teacher too, so I also encourage my students to always carry their sketchbooks – it’s the first thing I pack 🙂

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