Lonely Planet Writer

This artist’s amazing sketchbooks could be the inspiration you need to start a travel journal

While posting snaps on Instagram is a great way to share your travel adventures with friends and family, there could be a more interesting way to document your trips and help you take in every detail along the way.

#drawnewyork – finishing the #sketch of the #morganlibrary

A photo posted by Dina Brodsky (@dinabrodsky) on Oct 23, 2016 at 6:16am PDT

Dina Brodsky, a Minsk-born New Yorker who works as an artist and curator, records her travels in an incredible series of sketchbooks that will have any avid explorer contemplating a new travel journal. Brodsky says she’s been keeping diaries since she was 13, but when her interest in art grew at university, her sketches and writing came together.

#drawanyway- St. Petersburg last summer…

A photo posted by Dina Brodsky (@dinabrodsky) on Aug 28, 2016 at 5:34am PDT

She started her incredible travel journals when she was spending a semester in Amsterdam, followed by a cycling, hitchhiking and train journey around Europe. It began as a way to document her trip, and as “something to structure my somewhat disorganised and chaotic adventures around”.

Sketchbook page from the cathedral in #Sevilla

A photo posted by Dina Brodsky (@dinabrodsky) on Oct 26, 2016 at 7:07pm PDT

While most travellers keep a smartphone or camera nearby to capture their travels, Brodsky told Lonely Planet for her, the process of sketching adds to the travel experience. “I think keeping a sketchbook, journal – or in my case both – forces you to slow down and interact with your environment in a way that a camera cannot. You end up spending more time in each place, meeting more people, and taking in the details of a place – sounds, smells, and textures. Keeping these books is part of my reason for travelling, and they feed the art that I make during the rest of the year”.

#drawanyway – Stockholm, ballpoint pen drawing, Kopmantorget, photo by @artyom_astafurov

A photo posted by Dina Brodsky (@dinabrodsky) on Jun 28, 2015 at 5:16am PDT

And Brodsky has travelled widely, giving her plenty of material for her artwork. Over the past ten years, she has gone on a number of cycling and sketching trips, finding the time to enjoy experiences like “cycling into the white nights in Iceland, waking up in the dunes near Noordjwik in the Netherlands, and watching the moon fade away, and a heavy fog rising above the sand”.

#sketchbook page from #stpetersburg

A photo posted by Dina Brodsky (@dinabrodsky) on Dec 3, 2016 at 6:22am PST

And if you’re wondering what destinations have been most inspiring to her as an artist, she says: “I loved every country I’ve been to, and would like to one day revisit all of them. A few cities stand out for me – Visby in Sweden, full of medieval church ruins and twisted trees, Granada in Spain, with its maze of streets where almost every corner looked like a painting, and Leiden in the Netherlands”.

While the task of creating a beautiful journal can seem a bit daunting, Brodsky has some pretty simple advice for people who want to start, beginning with picking a journal that you like, and drawing and writing every day, even it’s only for ten or 15 minutes. She says it’s important to start the habit, and you will get better with time. “Travelling is a good way to start keeping a journal, since that’s when you have the most free time, and an abundance of new impressions, but it’s a wonderful thing to carry over into your everyday life”.

#drawanyway – sketchbook page from #Visby, #Gotland

A photo posted by Dina Brodsky (@dinabrodsky) on Nov 9, 2016 at 5:44pm PST

As for where her adventures will take her next, Brodsky says she will is planning for a cycling and sketching  trip along the Danube river in Austria, which fans of her work will be sure to see pop up on her Instagram.  

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