D is for Doodling – Happy Hints for Jotting your Journey

Last Saturday I tweeted a link to a previous post asking:

“Do you write, draw or collect in your travel journal?”

@journeyjottings tweet on twitter

Ian, of @EagerExistance

Eager Existance  replied:

“write and collect. 

what would i draw?” 

@eagerexistence tweet on twitter

So I answered:

“Not so much ‘drawing’ as doing impressionistic doodles that’ll jog your memory better than words”

@journeyjottings tweet on twitter


Having recently spent a few weeks in France, while I wouldn’t usually share the scrappy doodling I scribble on my travels, it may illustrate how a few impressionistic lines can convey better than words, what you’ve done, and add details that later would be missed to even images that you’ve photographed.

Here’s a journal extract to set the scene…

“Lunch of salad + bread + goats cheese outside on patio –

“Walk through countryside – poppies and dog roses a mass – 

poppies in france

“Found ourselves in another hamlet/chateau? “

travel journal

 “stainglass in walkway/bridge connecting 2 parts of ‘house'”

French village

 The stained glass window is a small detail. But a detail nonetheless that was noticed and jotted down in my journal – Its a detail, I would not have remembered when flicking through the photographs had it not been for this little notation –

But the memory of this village is all the richer for it.


French villages

Like the turrets and spires and fortress architecture seen clinging to hillsides.

Doodle sketches do not have to be works of art to be expressive.


Almond bread

The almond swirl bread (above) was amazingly delicious, and that little twirl of the pen gets my mouth watering remembering the flaky, crumbly, sugary, croissant like, almond stuffed and sprinkled, twist… we bought in the Saint Quentin market 😉


Glass beer drawing

And the refreshing sparkling beer enjoyed in Uzes square…

Where, having brought my journal for the trip (I never buy a generic journal prior to a trip – My first encounter with local shop owners is always the purchase of a local notebook for jotting memories) …

we sat back “to take in the ambience of France”

travel journal

It’s rather daunting to show one’s version of the room in which one stayed in France when the likes of Van Gough have made French bedrooms so infamous –

Van Gogh's room in Arles, France

There’s a feeling comparisons and judgements will be made…

But this is my point –

  • We’re not aiming to create a work of art –
  • We’re not looking for something even worthy of judging for its aesthetic appearance…
  • We’ll looking for a twiddle of the pen that’ll convey the essence of a moment
  • Not to everyone…

But to you!

drawing travel journal

If I’d thought I’d be using this image to illustrate this post when I did it, it would look very different 😉

But you get the gist?

Bull's head

A squiggle brings memories flooding back that would not be so richly expressed by any other means…

Like a beautiful evening spent with newly made friends…

Vegetable garden

…Walking around their vegetable garden in the balmy Mediterranean evening air, picking sweet crunchy beans off the beautifully staked runners.

Or even a final baguette at Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris where I spent the last of my loose change before flying out of France.

travel journal entry

I’m not saying that its not fun to sometimes add a bit of colour when there’s the time or inclination, but…

Strawberries and Cream

‘D’ is for Doodle not for fancy-pants Drawing 😉

Do you doodle in your travel journal?

If not… Why not?

Do tell all in the comment below


Journey Jottings... highlights your holiday adventures

20 thoughts on “D is for Doodling – Happy Hints for Jotting your Journey

    • LOL 😉
      As you say, a few squiggles can quickly embody a scene/shape that it’d take an epistle to describe – and not wishing to doubt your word-smith capabilities, but would the two page description really be any more evocative?

    • Of course with your copy writing capabilities I can well understand words would be at the forefront of your descriptive prowess, but as journals are rarely shown to other people even the feint-est resemblance, particularly when its done by your hand, is so expressive ~
      I’m pleased I’ve given you permission to doodle shine!

      And yes, the strawberries in Scotland are D-I-V-I-N-E –
      Think it’s all the hours of UV they get (4am light/11pm dark) to sweeten them up 🙂

    • I guess it depends on who you’re comparing your drawing to?
      Our main problem is we’re all so self critical when it comes to illustration!
      If you can doodle, to me that’s drawing –
      So I’m happy to hear you do doodle on the go 🙂

  1. Pingback: Linda's Story-Map Journal - Travel Journal Interviews

  2. Pingback: Why Not Tell Your Story with Doodle Drawings... as Well as Words?

  3. Pingback: 101 Ways of Using your Map Journal

  4. I love the idea of doodles in a journal! It adds an extra dimension which, as you say, prompts the recollection of details you may not remember when relying on the words or photos alone. Having said that, I don’t draw….I just write (so far, perhaps I’ll draw in the next notebook! )
    Fairlie recently posted..Dressing up in a kimono rental in KyotoMy Profile

    • Sadly once we hit High School everyone is led to believe they can’t draw, and so they don’t… perpetuating the myth 😉
      Hopefully my scrawly doodles here should be inspiration enough that it is not a finished drawing you’re after – merely an expression of the moment for posterity!

  5. It is remarkable. I’ll jot notes down in my little Moleskin notebook and months and years later, I’ll remember the circumstances surrounding my notes. I’ll make notes on my iPodTouch, and I’ll forget those circumstances. The deliberate (and very slow) act of digging out the notebook, digging out a pen, flipping open the notebook to an open page, pausing for a moment, and scribbling my scrawl make a more long-lasting and meaningful memory for me.
    Henry | @fotoeins recently posted..Eat Like A Bahamian: Four Ways to Get ConchedMy Profile

    • I so love that Henry!
      I do believe that by writing and forming the words with your hand (rather than tapping a keyboard) the experience does get re-lived by your whole body and so re-enforces the memory ~
      Also, when I’m home, I love holding an item that was there with me – rather than peering in at a digital diorama 🙂

  6. Pingback: But I Can't Draw

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a blog post you'd like to share? Simply tick the box :)