Having advocated for drawing, and being passionate about making your own mark and taking ownership of your creative uniqueness, I shouldn't admit to this, but I love adding photos into my sketchbooks. :)

I don't like adding the shiny, 6x4, out-of-a-booth kind, but I do like collaging in the textures, colours and shapes that I take photos of whilst travelling.

Printing the photos onto matt paper means that they don't look so out of place in your sketchbook and hopefully you will see echoes of the shapes and patterns that you have been drawing. I think that being selective and adding maybe 5 or 6 images allows you to curate your sketchbook, rather than it becoming a scrapbook. In going through the process of deciding what to draw, and making drawings where you have made decisions about what to leave in and what to leave out, your photos can become about the same narrative, and help to tell the story of what you saw.

I prefer a random approach to where the photos go, using them to fill up the spaces of my sketchbook, and seeing what juxtapositions they make with the drawn and printed elements. 

Make a cup of tea and give yourself some time to revisit your holiday and sort through your photos. 

Look through your sketchbook and remind yourself what you were trying to say with your drawings. Look for photos that reflect that narrative.


Print the images at A5 to fit the page of your sketchbook. Print the photos onto lightweight printer paper or onto cheap tracing paper. I used this. I put one sheet at a time into my printer feed tray. Please note that your printer may dislike using tracing paper and it may cause a paper jam. If you choose to use your printer in this way, I can take no responsibility for your printer or your frayed temper :)


Using Liquitex Matte Medium, stick the photos into your book. Use a soft brush to spread the glue as the thin paper may tear. You can dry the pages with a hairdryer.

How does it feel to be given permission to use your photos? ;)

Do you feel that the photos bring the drawings to life? Or are you now a convert to travel sketching? Do the photos feel like you are cheating?!

In the forum, how us some of the photos that you are adding in to your sketchbook. Is it hard to choose? What are your drawings and photos saying about the place that you visited? 

When you stuck your photos in your sketchbook are there some interesting juxtapositions of pattern, drawings, textures and photos?

Click grid images to see full size images.

I chose to use photographs that would add colour to my sketchbook. I also wanted some of the textures of the place. I used some of the photos I had taken of close ups of door locks and handles and the peeling paint of the doors, to compliment the linear drawings I had done. I also added photos that had blocks of colour and large shapes to compliment my shape based drawings.


Helen Hallows


Nurturing Creativity since....

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Nottingham, UK

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