An Illustrated Journey

An Illustrated Journey: Inspiration From the Private Art Journals of Traveling Artists, Illustrators and Designers


When I was fifteen, I visited Paris with a group of other teenagers. Everyone had an Instamatic camera and snapped pictures of the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, Notre Dame. Being a snotty and contrarian teenager, I complained that all we were doing was taking the same snapshots as every tourist since the dawn of photo-graphy. If we were going to have such a cookie-cutter experience, I would just buy postcards. After all, they were better photographs than my companions were taking anyway.

Like most travelers, I wanted to be able to see the great sights of Paris from my own particular vantage, to have my very own experience rather than a prepackaged, generic tour. I didn’t want to read the same paragraphs in the same guidebooks, listen to the same canned narration from droning tour guides, plunder the same souvenir stands as billions before me. I wanted to be like Lewis and Clark, like Marco Polo, like Neil Armstrong—the first stranger in a strange land.

The wonderful artists in this book have solved the problem that irked my younger self. They, too, want to see the world through their own eyes, whether it be a Burmese temple, a Tuscan palazzo or the parking lot of the local Costco. They want to stop and drink it in, refresh their eyes and minds, dismiss preconceptions and replace them with wonder. They know that to truly see the places one has traveled so far to see, one need only pack along a pen and a sketchbook.

The travelers I have assembled in the pages that follow have voyaged all over the world, and they have embarked from every corner of it, too. Frenchmen who love New York, New Yorkers who visited China, San Franciscans in Rome, Italians in Africa, small town folks who enjoy being overwhelmed by big cities, and day trippers and long-distance adventurers. Some are professional animators, designers, illustrators and artists, but equally many are happy amateurs with no loftier ambitions, for whom drawing is a passion and a companion. And no matter where they hail from or where they’re headed, no matter how they earn their airfare, there’s remarkable similarity in their experiences and passions.

When we document a journey in a sketchbook, we discover the difference between vacationing and traveling; we become adventurers, discovering new worlds through a thousand tiny details. Unlike those who hide behind a pudgy mystery novel and a piña colada while plopped in a poolside lounge chair, the travel journal keeper clears his mind, refreshes his eyeballs and builds a cache of enduring memories.

About the Author:

Danny Gregory is the author of several successful books on creativity, including An Illustrated Life and The Creative License, and two illustrated memoirs, A Kiss Before You Go and Everyday Matters. He has a worldwide following of people who are inspired to develop their own creativity through illustrated journaling.  He was born in England, grew up in Australia, Pakistan, Israel and New York, and graduated summa cum laude from Princeton University. He is Executive Creative Director and Managing Partner of a leading advertising agency and lives in New York City.

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