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FRIDAY NEWSPOST - Documenting Travel Through Comics

HippieVan at 12:00AM, Sept. 5, 2014

Often when I'm trying to introduce a friend or family members to graphic novels (or I'm trying to convince them that comics can have more substance than Archie or Superman), I will gift them a copy of something by Guy Delisle. For those of you not familiar with him, Delisle is a cartoonist who chronicles his time spent in China, North Korea, Burma, and so on. I'm not entirely sure why, but I find that his graphic novels make a really good introduction for people who aren't familiar with the medium.

It got me thinking, though, about just how perfect comics are for documenting travel experiences. I haven't had the opportunity to travel all that much, but when I do I find I have a much better time trying to reproduce my favourite moments through pictures than words. And if you have a camera out every time something exciting happens, you often miss out a little bit on the experience itself. My own solution is to make little sketches of the things I couldn't get a photograph of - just enough to remind myself of what it was like later.

For someone more disciplined than me, though, I imagine that sort of thing could be easily turned into a very cool comic. The only problem with travel comics is that the experience is often pretty personal, and may not always be as interesting to others as we might like to think - like any comic based on real life, I suppose. I've definitely read at least one travel diary-style comic that I found to be horribly self-indulgent.

Do any of you supplement photos and diaries with drawings when you travel? Have you turned any of these adventures into a full comic? Or do you have any travel-related comics you've really enjoyed?


Kim Luster's The Godstrain reached 200 pages last week! The Godstrain features fantastic watercolour illustrations and has been nominated in an incredible seven categories in this year's Drunk Duck Awards, so be sure to give it a read!

Have a comic milestone, a community project or some comic-related news that you'd like to see in a newspost? Send it to me via PQ or at hippievannews(at)!



ozoneocean at 9:50PM, Sept. 22, 2014

Most of the time I just don't feel moved to draw when I'm away... and rarely what I'm looking at. I feel that my mind pictures will catch what my cam doesn't. -and I HATE and loathe people coming up to ask about or compliment me on my art.

bravo1102 at 6:50AM, Sept. 5, 2014

I've been on a couple of trips where I didn't bring the sketchbook only to find myself in a store buying one and a selection of pencils. Cameras aren't everything. And sitting in an art museum sketching is a great way to meet people. If only I wasn't just sitting there waiting for the wife to get out of the bathroom. ;-)

kawaiidaigakusei at 2:40AM, Sept. 5, 2014

Usually the sketches I make while traveling grasp much more of the memory than an actual photograph. I find the camera is limited to the resolution, the lense, the flash, the lighting, and the angle. When I draw a sketch, it focuses on exactly what I see from where I am sitting. I have made sketches along my travels like when I was sitting on Berkeley's campus and decided to draw all the buildings around me or while I was in the downtown square in Lisbon and strangers were walking up to me to make conversation because I was drawing something. The only downside to drawing is that some images last a short amount of time. They are what we see in passing and they disappear faster than I can grab my sketchbook and pen to recreate it on paper--that is when a camera would come in handy. Nice post.

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