Prepping For Paris - Extra-Special Items To Consider Bringing

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Prepping For Paris: Choosing A Journal can be found here.

Prepping For Paris: Choosing Art Supplies can be found here.

Extra-Special Items You Might Want To Bring
Getting ready to go to Paris or anywhere really, especially when you fly, is a matter of making choices based on how much you use an item, how much use you get out of an item and how much room you have in your luggage!

For me, extra-special items usually have to meet a few requirements or they get to stay home in the studio. I generally ask 3 questions:

  • Does the item or tool have more than one use? 
  • How much does it weigh/how much space does it take up (and can either be reduced)? 
  • Do I already use it in my journaling when I am close to home or at home?
The last question is to make sure I'm not giving into fear and taking things I don't normally use in my sketchbook. The following list is in no particular order of extra-special items to consider bringing along!

Washi Tape
Washi tape is both a decorative item that can be used on a page in place of art and it can also be used to tack other pieces of ephemera to the page if I don't have glue. However, who wants to drag a roll of 10 yards of one flavor of washi tape? Instead, consider rolling a small amount of tape onto a popsicle stick or tongue depressor: 

Washi tape can be used to add a fun element to a journaling page that contains mostly text; it can be used on a page that is black and white to add color; tape can be used to add hard-to-draw elements like a stamp or passport indicia or because they're just plain fun! I will be taking travel and seasonal themed washi tape: stamps, indicia, maps and autumnal leaves. 
I used washi on the page above to add a spark of interest
Extra Paper
I tend to save scraps of paper from projects I create in the studio and I almost always have a variety of papers to play with in my journals. These pieces of papers can serve a number of purposes: they provide a place for me to scribble a pen to get it started, to test paint colors and to workout a few thumbnails; a piece of paper can easily cover up a mistake, a drop of ink or paint and similar "oops;" when there is contrast between the paper colors, the scrap of paper can add importance or emphasis to a sketch or as a title block.

If the paper is cut into a shape like the banner or oval shape shown below, you can trace around the outer edges to easily create a shape on the page even if you don't want to add the actual piece of paper. 

Another fun thing to do is take along small envelopes with matching cards as well as paper cut into tags, circles, ovals and other shapes to use on your pages. Write secret messages or paint a small vignette on the interior card for your viewer to discover when they look through your travel journal. Many of these papers are a lighter weight watercolor paper so that I know I can paint on them if I so choose. 
A variety of papers in different shapes can add a lot of pizzaz to your journal pages!
Speaking of envelopes...I like to install an envelope or pocket on the back cover or last page of my journal to contain these small pieces of paper while I'm out and about. The second purpose for the envelope is that it's a great place to tuck receipts, candy wrappers, found ephemera and business cards to be added later.  

Adhesives
When we have bits and bobs of paper floating around, we need to find a way to keep them attached to the page. There is a host of adhesives on the market that will adhere just about anything to any surface. My favorite is double-sided tape while I'm traveling. You can get both permanent and non-permanent tape if you want to be able to reposition items. 

I choose a tape that is acid-free and narrow in width. I can always add more than one strip if I need more adhesion. Glues take time to dry and can shift while drying, especially if the book is traveling in your bag. Liquid glues also have to be declared as part of your fluids when you go through security. Glue sticks are another option, but I personally have never had good luck with items staying stuck!

Scissors, Tracing Paper, White Sticky-Notes 
If you're going to be adding ephemera to your page, it's helpful to have a small pair of scissors with you. Make sure they're less than 4 inches in length to keep from getting snagged by security. Tracing paper can come in handy for creating lettering, testing ideas before you commit, and for drawing the opposite side of a symmetrical item. 

For example, if you're drawing a wine bottle. You can trace the line you've drawn for the first side of the bottle onto a piece of tracing paper. Flip the paper over and position in the correct place. Trace over the first line drawn to transfer the image to the page!

White sticky-notes are a bit hard to find, but it's worth it (to me) to hunt them down. Have you ever skipped a page in your journal so you could write your thoughts down and then forget what you wanted to write? I have! I found my solution with a sticky-note. I write my thoughts and then stick it to the page towards the center seam so it doesn't fall out. 

Later, when I have time, I will transfer my notes to the page. The reason I use white is because I have found that some of the brightly colored notes can bleed if they get wet and if they're left in the journal for a long period of time, the color can transfer to the page and who wants that?! 

Other Art Supplies: Mark Making Tools
Even when you plan to do most of your journaling in pencil, pen and watercolor, it can be fun to have along a few favorite markers, colored pencils, or watercolor pencils in versatile colors that coordinate with your overall theme, if you have one. Using a variety of tools can break up the monotony for the artist as well as the viewer. 

With this in mind, I will be taking a few pens in sepia and graphite gray as well as a few ZIG Clean Color Real Brush markers or Faber-Castell® Artist PITT Pens with brush-tips. I will also be taking a few fountain pens filled with permanent inks because I like the quality of line work I get with a fountain pen. However, this requires taking ink through security and declaring it as part of the fluids I'm taking. 

If you are traveling with a fountain pen, I highly recommend you travel with the fountain pen either completely empty or full and placed inside a closed baggie. If the pen should leak, at least it won't contaminate the rest of your kit! If you have a favorite pen or pencil, only consider taking it on a trip if it is easily and inexpensively replaced. For whatever reason, it seems we tend to lose items, drop items and misplace items when we're traveling and no one wants to lose a favorite tool that cannot replaced!

What other extra-special items would you consider worth the space, weight and hassle to bring on a travel journaling adventure?
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