My Pretend Journey to Chile

I like my sketchbooks but find it hard to use them for my daily life, or daily at all, it just doesn’t interest me to sketch the oatmeal I had for breakfast, or my hand, or living room chair. I seem to do best at exploration when I am learning something. I discovered this many years ago with my card collection, I like to use them to learn something.

After buying a few books on urban sketching and travel journalling or sketchbooks, I thought how interesting that was and that perhaps I could use a sketchbook for making my own trip up. For years I have read and enjoyed Paul Theroux’s travel books, but I don’t enjoy real travelling, it’s too expensive and safety issues make me anxious as well as language barriers.

After reading Eduardo Galeano’s books and doing an architecture study of Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer, I realized how ignorant I am of South America, and became interested in that continent. I then read a travel book called Wild Coast: Travels on South America’s Untamed Edge by John Gimlette, and saw Anthony Bourdain travelling around there on television as well as Monty Don in his television program Around the World in 80 Gardens. Intriguing.

I mentioned to someone that I was interested in doing this pretend travel, and I looked up Chile and saw a Frommer’s Guide for that country and I thought how good it would be to plan a pretend itinerary with a book like that. Then I saw that one of my favourite publishers, Dorling Kindersley, had an Eyewitness Travel Guide for Chile, so after reflecting on that I bought it.


I have some of their Eyewitness books on animals and architecture and they are comprehensive with lots of visuals and maps. This is really just the thing for a proper itinerary and exploration. Due to the size and heft of this book, I think I might be pretend travelling for an entire year in Chile.

To get free shipping, I added an odd little book to my order that was under $10 called My Venetian Sketchbook by Isabelle de Borchgrave. I have more than enough examples of sketchbooks but in this one she uses several styles including an abstract style that looked interesting as you can see by the cover. The pages have photographs and art montages, with lots of fascinating stuff about Venice.


I can’t decide if I want to devote an entire sketchbook to this. I was going to use my new large 8.5 x 11-inch Zeta sketchbook for maps, but it was too limited a subject. It might be good for my Chile journal though and I could have fun splitting the pages up in interesting compositions.

So that’s my plan. I like to have a good plan with back-up books and research.

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4 Comments on “My Pretend Journey to Chile”

  1. Roseanne Dix Says:

    what a fascinating plan. I love the idea of a travel sketchbook. Chile is an exciting choice – you could add little bits about the wonderful writers and poets too – such a creative country. Make the maps a part of it too- add words from favourite authors – pieces of art from artists – you might have to buy a bigger sketchbook. What do you think?

    • JJ ColourArt Says:

      Exactly, and I have a huge anthology of Pablo Neruda’s poetry. The ARTS would make a great exploration as well.

      This sketchbook is the one I did the relief map on the cover which I haven’t finished. So you know my track record with finishing things. I just can’t get inspired though, yet the thought of this kind of exploration really fascinates me.

      This one has 26 sheets with 52 pages double-sided and it’s heavy paper so I should have no problem doing both sides. You never know, I might need another one if I get inspired and like it as I expect too.

  2. murielmakes Says:

    Sounds like an exciting and fun plan to me. I am going to try and keep a travel sketchbook when I go to visit my parents…just trying to decide on what size!

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