Why I love Concertina sketchbooks for travelling

The quest for the perfect mobile art kit is ongoing and depending on the materials you decide to work with this can be quite a challenge.

I have found that the key is to edit down and to make a decision before you set foot out of the door that you are going to create drawings using one or two simple mediums.

When I fly I opt to travel with as little luggage as possible. The benefits of taking a carry on bag are a cheaper flight but also a speedy exit at the airport without having to wait for the carousel and baggage handling delays.

However for the travelling artist it is not just about trying to edit down the clothes and toiletries but managing to pack in a compact art kit that will enable creativity on the move.

Having travelled with ordinary paper covered sketch books for many years I know that drawings and paintings risk getting dog eared or worse spoiled with spilled toiletries bursting out of containers.

Choosing a sketch book that is robust is important. The other problem is finding that if you work big, and I love to work big, some sketch books can be frustratingly mean in size if they need to comply with small sized luggage restrictions.

It was during a trip to Cadiz a few years ago that I stumbled on the ideal travelling sketch book. An exhibition run by the Spanish Urban Sketchers displayed both finished work and a wonderful array of what appeared to be a hand made concertina sketch books.

The exhibition showed the concertina books opened out in full enabling you to follow the journey each artist had taken as they wandered the city streets making notes and sketches.

Drawings merged and the visual notes were frequently interspersed with written diaries. The pages were sometimes expanded into wide landscapes but there was also the opportunity to include small sketch notes and many artists had interspersed both really successfully.

The next time I walked into my local art shop I asked if these were books that you could buy. Enter stage left in my life what I consider to be the best sketch book for the travelling artist – the Seawhite Concertina sketchbook – I have not looked back!

I took the first book to Majorca in June 2016. A key benefit of the Seawhite concertina sketch book is the hard backed cover that protects the pages and also acts as a handy rest as you work on the early pages. The books are filled with good quality cartridge that can take a light watercolour wash.

I tend to travel to countries where the climate is warm so watercolour dries much more quickly here than it does at home. When travelling it’s easy to be distracted with all the new sights, sounds and experiences so it’s useful to have a handy book that can be carried in a small day pack.

The concertina design and the hard backed cover fulfill the need for robustness and artwork protection but also deliver on quality with good cartridge paper.

The Seawhite concertina sketch book is A5 in size and has 70 possible working surfaces as the pages are double sided. Each 140 gsm page is 2 sheets joined for stability. The hard carrying case protects your work as you travel around and also acts as a useful support.

Artistintheshed Conclusion

I have absolutely found my favourite sketch book for air travel but I think a great addition to this superb range would be a watercolour paper version to complement the current book.