Trip Prep: Reviewing 2009 Travel Sketchbooks

June 3, 2016 | 9 Comments

I just want to share a few pages in my sketchbooks from a 5 week trip Wales, England (only ‘the north’), Scotland and Paris back in September 2009. This was my first big overseas solo sketching trip and I really love looking back through these books.

I put more effort back then into documenting the little ‘moments’ of the day with notes and I really wish to get back to do this again. It really makes the experience incredibly rich and even more so a few years down the track.

Taking a little timeout to flick through the pages is a great way to research and gather ideas for what I should do this year.

I also just re-read the following posts which are relevant for me again this year

My big trip is only two weeks away!

So here are a few pages…
(note: I have not photographed these pages flat to make it seem more like flicking through the books)





I have certainly developed my painting skills a lot over the years, but these sketchbooks are very precious and many of my current tendencies are contained within them, in an earlier manifestation. Its really fun to reflect on past and present – never despise your beginnings!

You can see the full sketchbooks in ISSUU here or the summary of all my day by day blog posts here

Have you recently looked through some early sketchbooks? What were your thoughts about them?


  • melinda mcnutt says:

    I really like your use of maps. I love maps. And to include them in your sketchbook to give context is a great idea, even for a local sketch.

    I wish that clicking on the image would allow a zoom in feature. I’d love to read what you write.

  • Hedwig BELLE says:

    Lovely to see your sketchbooks in Issuu!

  • SandraG. says:

    It truly is great to see past sketchbooks – shows how far I (we have come on this sketching/learning journey). Mine will NEVER be as wonderful as yours but I still learn from them. My only regret TODAY is that I didn’t take the time to document all of my days as you have and still do. Thank you for taking the time to share your wonderful sketches and journey(ies) love each and every post you give here – I always learn soo much from you : )
    Blessings, Sandra in AZ, USA : )

    • Liz Steel says:

      thanks Sandra – your books ARE YOURS …please don’t compare …and I am showing you the better ones in this blogpost. The memories are the important things and we can’t do everything we want in life. I am happy with the records that I do have.

  • Diane H Mutmansky says:

    These travel books of yours are wonderful! And really these books represent real life for me and the way I would like to do my sketchbooks. Never quite enough time, don’t want to hold people up sketches of what I am seeing along the way.
    I love your “Moments” and plan to use that as a writing crutch for myself on my next trip.
    Always learning something from you!

    • Liz Steel says:

      thank you! I want to get back to my moments too… it was SO special to re-read them… the little notes about stalling the car and using the wrong indicator (opposite than cars in Australia) just make me laugh!

  • tarek mimoun says:

    bonsoir lizz j aime trop votre travaille et je suis débutent dans ce domaine la je veux vous montrer mes sketch pour voir votre avis

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