We’re all used to snapping pictures while on a trip, but a somewhat more unique keepsake that is seen less and less these days is the travel journal. This isn’t the case for José Naranja however, a Spanish artist that has spent the past few years cataloguing his travels around the world in stunning, eye-catching detail.

Spanish artist José Naranja has spent the past few years documenting his travels abroad in beautiful, colourful detail.
Spanish artist José Naranja has spent the past few years documenting his travels abroad in beautiful detail.

Having visited approximately 60 countries, José uses journaling as a way to keep track of his ideas and experiences. “Inspiration comes from real life. Travelling is such a special environment for that. Ideas pop up continuously, and I just filter them and process them in a beautiful way. Handwriting is the most flexible way to document experiences and ideas. Photography also plays an important role, but it can’t keep ideas or dreams. A notebook in the pocket is ready to receive any kind of information,” José told Lonely Planet Travel News.

Travel News - IMG_1058
An illustration of ramen.

Each of the pages contain intricate drawings, detailed lettering and idiosyncratic musings. Quirky entries in the journals include the blueprints for a Mexican “anti-stupidity” hat that has a wide brim and a built-in system to keep “silly” people away, as well as beautiful sketches of food and drinks from countries around the world, stickers and stamps, drawings of animals, clothing and buildings, as well as colourful illustrations based on street scenes.

Travel News - IMG_3412
The artist has travelled through more than 60 countries so far.

José now binds his own notebooks (a process that he has documented on his blog), and has even created versions of his own personal journals, called The Orange Manuscript that are available to buy through his website. He has also produced a select number of prints based on journal entries.

Travel News - 2018_03_02_IMG_2236
José said that notebooks are always ready to receive information and ideas.

“For me passion and fun are the key to creating good work. Otherwise, I can’t stand hours writing if I don’t feel it. I’ve doing notebooks for many years for myself, but it’s a surprise for people who discover my work in Instagram. It’s a nice and friendly community, so I'm happy to share it with them.

Travel News - 2013_10_11__NAR5812
José working on an entry.

More of José’s work can be see on his Instagram page as well as his personal blog.

Explore related stories

May 16, 2024: We started the day at the Centro Ecuestre Los Caireles.  There we met our hosts Miguel Angel and his brother Jesus, who own and run the farm.  (Miguel Angel wore a black vest.)  The Centro is a horse back riding school.  We shot pics at their farm and then headed to the town of Consuegra.  On the mountain overlooking the town, there is a castle and several windmills.  We shot pics and video of Miguel Angel and Jesus riding around the windmills and the castle.  This area is notable because it is where the fictional Don Quixote rode around in Miguel de Cervantes’ famous novel.  Afterward, we returned back to El Centro where we filmed our hosts riding by grape vineyards and olive groves to the nearby Villafranca de los Caballeros lagoons.
Spain Marketing 1379722


Celebrating Sustainable Spain

Jul 8, 2024 • 10 min read