Paris and Rome

My boy Jack and I had a fantastic time in Paris and Rome. We saw every inch of both towns and took a night train in between. Eight days of croissants, pasta, art, sunshine, laughter, and lots of drawings:


I didn’t really think before I left and just took my book and a fountain pen. Fortunately, Jack remembered to pack my old Windsor Newton watercolor set. I haven’t used these paints in ages and seeing them on the page made me feel like I had stepped back a decade. My colors look faded and dull after a couple of years under the care of Dr. Martin and his wee bottles of transparent technicolor magic. I pushed them and the Niji waterbrushes as hard as I could but they don’t have that gem-like pizzazz I yearn for.

Anyway, it  was still loads of fun and Jack was an awesome travel companion and even more fervent a devotee of the travel sketchbook than his old man. You can read all of my ramblings on the pages below — just click the thumbnails and they’ll spring into big images.

I’ll post some scans of Jack’s pages soon.

Welcome to Paris 
Notre Dame in the rain
Touristas Eiffel
Parisian critters
Aphrodite
Blind Contours
Louvre courtyard
Sleeping boy
Last day in Paris
Mes Pieds
Train to Rome
Piazza Navona
Domes of Rome

Looking for travel journals

I am excited about the many travel journals I have already assembled, but am always eager to see new ones. If you have any artists you’d like me to consider for inclusion in my new book, An Illustrated Journey, send me information and links or post them here under comments. I am mainly interested in journals that include both drawing or painting and writing too.  Thanks!

Another new book: An Illustrated Journey

My favorite travel companion is a nice, fresh sketchbook. I can see my new environment with more depth and perspective when I record scenes from the journey in ink and watercolor. Sitting with a pen or brush in my hand sears the sights and sounds into my memory and into the pages of my book. While I love recording the bits and bobs of my everyday life, my richest journals are the ones I filled when traveling to new places.

Which brings me to the subjects of my newest book, to be published in 2013 by HOW Books. HOW did a wonderful job with my last book, An Illustrated Life, and they are as excited as I am about bringing out another compendium, this time entirely focused on the art of illustrated travel journals.

I am just at the beginning of the process of compiling this book and am still assembling an incredible roster of artists from all corners of the world. I intend to include people who have visited exotic places as well as those who  just travel to the mall.

I also plan to create a video podcast with interviews with my contributors so we can all see them at work and learn first hand how they make their art. It will be fantastic!

I’ll be busy with two books in the works. I will be finishing up the first draft of my next book for Chronicle this fall and then continue sifting, gathering, visiting and interviewing people for An Illustrated Journey. I’ll keep you updated on my progress — I hope you’ll come along for the trip.

High in Dubai

Barj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building, stands across the road from my hotel. Last night, as I was on my way to the hotel gym, my colleague waylaid me and insisted I come to the top for a sunset cocktail.

Minutes later, we were at the foot of the building, the sun bobbling on the horizon.

Our friend had made reservations at the bar, Atmosphere, and we were ushered into the express elevator. Seconds later, ears popping we were on the 123rd floor.

We descended a flight of stairs and got our first glimpse of the view.

The city stretched before us. Zillions of wild skyscrapers, all lit up. It was like looking out of the window of a plane, too high to even trigger my vertigo.

Many of the buildings are still under construction. Their windows are dark but cranes are strung with lights.

After a martini and some snacks, we paid an exorbitant bill, and descended to reality again.

At the foot of the building, a crowd of thousands watched computer-controlled fountains dance to the theme from Bonanza and Michael Jackson’s Thriller.

Hours later, as dawn broke, we began our next day of filming.

We had to start early before the sun grew unbearably hot.

Our cast and crew worked together to make swift progress.

By 9:30 a.m., the sun was baking down. We had to take a break till mid-afternoon; we’ll return to shoot into the setting sun.