Travel Sketching Tips: How to Create Art on the Go and Capture Memories

Travelling often leaves us with lasting impressions and fleeting moments of inspiration. On our recent business trip, we practised the joy of sketching and creating art amidst our busy schedule. Here are some of our favourite tips and stories from the road that will hopefully inspire you to weave creativity into your travels...

NOLA Airport

Picture: NOLA Airport

Early this Spring, Marie and I travelled to New Orleans for Creativation by Namta, the Annual North American Art Material Trade Show.

Mardi Gras WorldCreativation by Namta

Picture: Mardi Gras World

This event is a hub for retailers and industry professionals, offering a chance to connect with business partners, see new products, and immerse ourselves in the art materials industry. It feels like summer camp for art material retailers!

Canadian Women in Art Materials!Heather and David from Opus celebrating a lifetime achievement award

Pictured Left: Canadian Women in Art Materials! Left to right; Willow from Iron Oxide Art Supplies, Jamie-Lou Nicol from Holbein Art Materials Canada, Marie and I, and Kim Fjordbotten from The Paint Spot.

Pictured Right: Me and David Van Berckel from Opus Art Supplies. I painted a picture of his first shop as a present to him for his Lifetime Achievement Award.

  Heather and Marie at Stoneground WorkshopHeather with Keith and Kyle

Pictured Left:Marie and I attending Stoneground Paint Co's Watercolour Workshop

Pictured Right: Photo with my friends Keith and Kyle from New Wave Fine Art Products. We've been working and playing together since near the beginning of both of our companies :)

HP with Stoneground and Mint GardnerCanadian Women in Art Materials P2 - Annette and Lisa

Pictured Left: A sweet little Stoneground Paint Co Huddle! Left to right: Russell Clarke, Eric Rowe, Me, Sarah Simon (The Mint Gardener), and Jenny Rowe.

Pictured Right: Friends Annette Wichmann and Lisa Roberts from Kensington Art Supply

Trade shows like Creativation are always busy, and this vibrant city added to the hustle and bustle. Despite my best intentions to promptly share a recap, it took time.

Heather Painting

The convention hall, with its less-than-ideal lighting and hectic pace, isn't conducive to capturing great photos (although, our pals at Stoneground Paint Company really had the most BEAUTIFUL booth by a LANDSLIDE...we spent quite a bit of time here and taking pictures!).

HP in Stoneground Booth

The real magic lies in the people we meet and the unique atmosphere of each host city. A lot of effort by Namta goes into selecting a fantastic location and organizing activities to maximize our experience.

Heather and Marie at Mardi Gras WorldCafe Du Monde

Art'O Matic with Tara & SigridFrenchmen Street Art Bazaar

Pictured left: Our friends Tara and Sigrid from The Japanese Paper Place choosing vending machine art from an Art O'Mat at The Old No. 77 Hotel

Pictured right: Frenchmen Street Art Bazaar

NOLA Mural

French Quarter StreetFrench Quarter Street 2

Reflecting on this trip, what stands out most isn’t the trade show itself but rather the moments of discovery and inspiration found through sketching. Even though we were attending an art material trade show and travelling light with only carry-ons, the most important item for me was my sketchbook.

Heather Sketching in Blue Chair

The true highlight of the trip was the time spent observing and sketching. My top tip for creating lasting memories, no matter the length of your trip, is to keep a sketchbook. It allows you to see the world differently and truly absorb the essence of a place.

Close up of Heather sketching in Blue Chair

Sketching helps you slow down and choose what to focus on, making the most of downtime and experiencing a place on a deeper level. Drawing a scene, or even sketching in a location without focusing directly on it, creates a vivid sense memory — it’s the act of drawing itself that brings you into an awareness of the present and primes you to make a connection to the moment. This is a richer experience than merely snapping photos with your phone.

Musician ChazSketching Chaz on Frenchman St

When I sketch, I don't just observe; I absorb everything around me. The sounds, smells, conversations, and temperature—all these elements get captured in the sketch. This sensory immersion helps me recall the mood and atmosphere of each moment vividly.

 Riverwalk Sketch


Here are my tips for what to pack for travel sketching:

Keep it light

Resist the temptation to bring all your supplies. Limit yourself to essentials that are easy to carry and use.


Stoneground Palette

I prefer a few different tools—my etchr sketchbook, my Faber Castell Grip Fountain Pen with Octopus Write & Draw Permanent Inks, a travel watercolour kit (Like my Stoneground Palette & my custom Holbein Tiny Watercolour Tin), and a few pencils.


Don’t forget practical items like a water bottle, hat, snacks, and sunscreen.

HP laying in grass

Embrace the art of travel sketching and see how it transforms your journeys. Happy sketching!

Heather Phillips