The Best Kind of Souvenirs 1


On my first trip with other artists, I learned the habit of buying a sketchbook from every place I go. I never use those sketchbooks while I’m in said place. It’s just nice having a little reminder when I use it later. It’s a nice way to interweave memories.

Sketchbooks are better than any photograph because the feeling never seems to disappear. If you have a photo on the wall, eventually, it becomes common place.

Sketchbooks and the sketches in them always feel fresh with memories.

As I said before, one of the ways I love processing the world around me is through sketching. When I look back at sketches I’ve done, my memory has to work a little harder than it would with a photo, yet, at the same time, it has the distinct ability to call up so much more. With a camera, it is so easy to rely on the technology to remember everything. I usually find myself not really enjoying the moment. I’m just trying to capture it all so I can remember later. Is there really anything to remember if you don’t enjoy it in the moment?

With a sketch, while I’m still trying to capture things to remember later, I can’t rush around getting it all down. I have to pay attention to what I really want to remember. I’m actually looking and involved with what I’m sketching. Not just thinking about clicking so I can find the next thing. The act of sketching in itself is an amazing way to retain the sensations of a place or moment. I have no trouble remembering when I’m cold or too hot while sketching or even what a place smelled like or the environment. The sounds. There’s something about the action that helps my entire body store the memory, not just my brain cells. (Edit: About a day after writing this, I had a conversation about this exact phenomenon. Apparently, it’s called kinesthetic learning.)

On this trip, I expanded my art supply buying a bit. There were just a couple things that were harder to find or more expensive in the states. Every time I use these new tools, I’ll think of where I bought them and who was with me. Also, how Margo teased me about buying art supplies, yet she just so happened to pay me right before we went to the art store. What did the woman expect?!

2/3 sketchbooks

I bought 3 sketchbooks. The one on the bottom is from Holland. They didn’t have much of a selection so I just grabbed a typical sketchbook. As you can see, the green one is an accordion type with watercolor paper. I have made accordion type books for myself. They are fun to use and play with the special layout options. I also liked that it was green. I don’t normally buy green sketchbooks. The 3rd is a slightly plain sketchbook. I just happened to like the combination of flat gray cover with bright red binding. I may or may not still have unpacking to do which could be why it isn’t available to photograph. We’re not going to talk about that, though.

Nib Holder

I didn’t realize nib holders could be so beautiful. I love pin and ink drawing, but the only nib holders I have ever come across in the states are ugly brown and black plastic ones. I may have gasped when I saw this one.

Travel Palette

Travel palettes were so reasonably priced. This one was under 5 euro. As it should be, yet rarely is in the states. I’m excited to have something to throw in my purse. I love my metal palette and I like making my own with tins. This is just another option. Like sketchbooks, one can never have too many palettes.

Pencil Pouch

Another thing I can’t seem to get enough of, bags to hold my tools. This is made out of canvas and was pretty much the only thing I could afford from the expensive art store. It’s pretty perfect though.

Water Brush

The only water brushes I’ve seen in the US are cheap plastic ones where you squeeze the whole barrel to get the water out or in. This has a handy plunger and a tiny button which allows the barrel to be much sturdier. Not to mention, it was similarly priced to the ones here.

My first LAMY

One thing that has always held me back from sketching has been my handwriting. I know. It’s silly. Yet, I see other people’s sketchbooks where the writing just adds to aesthetic and then I look at mine where the handwriting takes away from it. I get a little sad. I’ve seen so many sketchers rave about these and I found one in a store at the Warsaw airport. I don’t like sketching with it, but it does make writing a bit easier. More importantly, I enjoy writing with it.

Side story: Did you know there are actually ways left handed people need to write that improve handwriting? I didn’t. My handwriting instruction literally consisted of the teacher saying, “I’m going to show the right handed kids first…” Cue first grade me day dreaming until the teacher said, “Ok, left hand kids, just do what I told the right handed kids to do with your left hand.” What?!

Now I have a whole book on how to write left handed.


About Elisha

Elisha Dasenbrock is an award winning, international watercolor artist. She paints with a limited palette on claybord. Dasenbrock graduated from the American Academy of Art in 2009 and has been painting professionally ever since.


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