I busted out an old travel sketchbook recently and sighed audibly as I relived those moments in time when I sat, stared, sketched, and took it all in. But then I quickly realized: oh dear, these sketches are over 10 years old! That’s a problem. I’m not sure why my travel in the past decade has prevented me from keeping up my sketchbook — am I too much on the go? Do I try to squeeze too much in? Am I traveling to the wrong types of places? Or is it more of a sign of the times (ahem, Instagram)? Regardless, I promised myself, I resolve to do at least one sketch per trip for the next year…

I’m off to Napa Valley for Thanksgiving this month, and Art Basel in Miami next month, to start. Who knows what 2014 will bring and where I’ll go next, but I’ll have my sketchbook (and my handy bucket list “Now or Never” notebook) by my side. If you happen to see me oddly staring into space and being — God forbid! — seemingly unproductive, just know, there’s good reason: I’m making the most of my time.

Sketch, photo & styling by Erika Brechtel

Erika Brechtel

Erika Brechtel

Creative Director

Desiring an online space to explore well-rounded, inspired content in all topics she loves most, Erika created 'The E List' (formerly the Small Shop blog) in 2010. When not enjoying an “occasional" glass of wine and wanderlusting for even warmer climates, Erika can be found sharing laughs with friends and family, and trying her very best to keep up with her 6-year old daughter (yet failing miserably).

  1. I wish I could sketch that well! We’re off to Australia end of this month (yay!) to enjoy the vineyards and water. Such great sceneries for sketching, but since it’s not my forte, I’ll stick with photographs 🙂 Enjoy Napa & Miami x

  2. Just returned from a trip abroad and I remember seeing people sitting on bridges and steps, sketching what I was frantically snapping with my iPhone. It honestly made me pause and consider that they were probably getting more out of their time there than I was. I think we think we’re capturing more with our camera, but I would bet the great artists of the past all hoped we all would sit, study and admire details that sometimes took decades to complete- something certainly achieved when capturing your own perspective on them in a sketchbook. Pick it back up and keep it handy so you can take it all in.

  3. you are very talented. I just found my own sketch book after reading this post and put it in my bag, so I can start sketching on the tube on my way to and from work every day:)

  4. I used to sketch so much as well!! And write poetry during my travels and write long letters to my friends about what I had done that day…..and now life is so hectic that I don’t have much time for all this….I think its also about having a child and traveling is just different now……hmm….glad you will retake it again. You are talented! that sketch is beautiful!

  5. hello! thanks for the motivation to keep up my calligraphy sketches!

    may i ask where you got that lovely brass pencil holder? i’d love to have it in my life.