A sketchbook is a great way to collect and explore ideas – and of course the best thing is to keep one on you and get into the habit of using it every day.

Wax crayon and watercolour pencils - inspired by swimming pool

Wax crayon and watercolour pencils - inspired by swimming pool

I’m not that good, but I do always try to find the time when I go on holiday. On my latest two trips, I tried to push myself to develop my ideas as well as just recording what I saw – and also to feel more able to take risks and make mistakes. Here’s how I got on:

LHS: stamps collected around Kyoto. RHS: roof panels from a Japanese temple

LHS: stamps collected around Kyoto. RHS: roof panels from a Japanese temple

RHS: Impressions of a Japanese fish market LHS: Development of previous roof panel

RHS: Impressions of a Japanese fish market LHS: Development of earlier roof panel

Manga collage

Manga collage

I loved the main character’s blue hair, so coloured it in, in some of the black and white panels – and even found a similar character in a poster to photograph and add in. This page also gave me the idea to make a collage using comic strips turned on their sides to represent skyscrapers.

Hong Kong by day

Hong Kong by day

Hong Kong by night

Hong Kong by night

I was struck by how different Hong Kong is by day from how it is at night and wanted to capture that somehow. The top card is from an art exhibition that captured the same scenes at sunset and sunrise, so was absolutely perfect. The bottom one is a Polaroid I took, with a picture from a flyer stuck on the reverse. The hinge is just made from tape.

Photograph, currency note, watercolour and collage all depicting Li River Valley, Yangshuo

Photograph, currency note, watercolour and collage all depicting Li River Valley, Yangshuo

These hills were breathtaking – I tried to capture them in as many different ways as I could.

Map of Maui tagged with activities

Map of Maui tagged with activities

Watercolour pencil drawings of leaf and flowers

Watercolour pencil drawings of leaf and flowers

Watercolour pencils are a great medium if you a bit nervous about painting, because you can draw everything nice and neatly first and then add water, creating the watercolour effect. I’m quite proud of these. Perhaps they could be a starting point for some sort of textile design.

Fish collage inspired by snorkelling trip to Molokini

Fish collage inspired by snorkelling trip to Molokini

Line drawings of everything on the bar in the Old Ship Saloon (inspired by Kate Bingham-Burt)

Line drawings of everything on the bar in the Old Ship Saloon (inspired by Kate Bingaman-Burt's work)

I’m not very confident at drawing and found this style very liberating – drawing in pen and accepting the first line I drew, rather than going back and correcting things. If only I had Kate‘s talent!

San Francisco receipts stitched into book

San Francisco receipts stitched into book

I wanted to experiment with mixed media a little bit. I was conscious of how much money I was spending(!) and thought something using all the receipts could be an interesting way to record how we’d spent our time.

Collage representing SF design district and pen drawing of my lunch on the paper serviette it was served on

Collage representing SF design district and pen drawing of lunch on the paper serviette it was served on

Such good crab and fries – one of the best meals of the trip!

Patterns inspired by Hawaiian roof tops

Patterns inspired by Hawaiian roof tops

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Further reading for the especially geeky: