Fantasy Travel Sketchbook: Go anywhere on your own magic carpet.

[ 2 ] January 22, 2012 |

By Margaret Owen

Wanna get away? You can travel anywhere in the world from your living room rug.  Enjoy a fantasy travel sketch workshop with your family. This project can be as simple as drawing a picture of your destination, or as complex as answering every one of the questions below and more!

Travel Sketch MaterielsI asked my six year-old son what city in the world he might like to visit this week and a lively conversation ensued.  He enthusiastically chose Jerusalem, which surprised me as I have never heard him mention the city, and delighted me with the suggestion that we look up their currency and train tickets on the web.


I wanted us to have fun making stuff and not to spend too much time on prep.  While the library is a glorious resource I was interested in seeing how far we could get without stepping outside the house.  Our own bookshelves yielded quite a bit: atlas, nature encyclopedia, dictionary, old travel guides, and various picture books.  Too much computer makes me grouchy so when I turned to mine I focused on getting the bare minimum and then logging off for sound mental health!

Fantasy vs. Reality: Who is this project for?

Me darn it! I had a very clear idea of how great this project was going to look in a sketchbook; how creative and educational it would be for my son to have his own fantasy travel log in which to record his imaginary wanderings! So when he refused to use a sketchbook, wanted instead to staple everything together, expressed almost no interest in my list of clever questions and used only pencil I became irritable and controlling:  “Wouldn’t it be cool to do this in a notebook? How about coloring in some of those pictures? Could you at least glue the drawings onto one side of a rectangular piece of paper so it looks nice and is easy to photograph?”, and etc.

“No thank you Momma.  I am going to staple everything!”

Travel Sketch #3I did eventually manage to let him make his own double sided, hard to photograph, irregularly proportioned, mostly monochromatic art project in peace.  But, like so many interactions with my child, it required kicking my expectations to the curb.

Travel Sketch Workshop Instructions:

Pick a City, Any City:

Each family member can choose their own, or you can all “go” to the same place.Travel Sketch Collage


  • A sketchbook/piece of paper/recycled cardboard
  • Pencils, pens, markers, watercolors etc.
  • Scissors
  • Magazines/catalogues to cut pictures from
  • Glue stick
  • Dictionary, atlas, a few facts from the web
  • And you might absolutely have to have a Stapler.

I recommend beginning the project with only your imagination and looking up information as necessary to maximize fun and keep video game requests to a minimum.

Your Pictures:

Answer some or all of these questions with a combination of drawings, written/printed words and cut and paste.

1. Who do you want to travel with real or imaginary?
2. Will you be traveling by train, plane, automobile, bicycle, camel or submarine?
3. What do you want to eat there?
4. What famous architecture characterizes this city?
5. What do you want to see there?
6. Type, draw or stamp an imaginary train/plane/submarine ticket/bike map to include in your artwork.
7.  Imagine making a new friend there.
8. What might their name be?
9. What would you tell them about your town or city?
10. You’ll need a map, drawn or printed.
11. Where will you stay?
12. What historical events took place here?
13. How much of the local currency would you need to purchase your favorite snack?

Travel Sketch #4

Add visual variety to your sketchbook or picture by including:

A landscape/ cityscape picture.  A close up or still life, perhaps of vegetation or food, portraits of people and animals, coins and bills. Think about varying your pictures between close ups and landscapes seen from a distance and everything in between.  Maps! Drawings, writing, printed material, cut out photos, fabric scraps and anything else you can think of.

Did this activity whet your appetite for travel?  Join the author in Marrakech on a real life adventure!  Artists Margaret Owen and Elizabeth Hutchinson are hosting a travel-painting workshop March 11-18 at Peacock pavilions in Morocco.  No art experience necessary.  Have a look.

Category: activities: indoor, activities: outdoor, crafts

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Comments (2)

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  1. Oh my goodness, I’m laughing out loud! I love, love this idea, and LOVE how your describe this “collaborative” experience with your son. This activity is perfect for home-bound winter days. Thank you!

  2. Elyse Major elyse says:

    beautiful piece. i would like the following line made into a poster:
    But, like so many interactions with my child, it required kicking my expectations to the curb.


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