Thursday, June 21, 2012

What's "Sketchpacking"? Why do it?

What is "Sketchpacking"?
One of the great things about coining a term is that you get to come up with the definition! The word "sketchpacker" came to me while I was surfing a website of a backpacker's hotel, and it used the word "flashpacker" and gave a definition. It happened that the reason I checked out the hotel's website was because I was going for a sketching trip to Penang, and this was to be our accommodation. So since I was going to be backpacking on a sketching trip (or is it the other way round?), the word "sketchpacker" was born.

The relation of "sketchpacker" to "backpacker" sounds like you need to be traveling on a low budget. And not everybody who sketches while on holiday may be going to an urban area. Hence I'd like to expand the definition a little bit and propose the following:
A sketchpacker is someone who goes on a trip and records his impressions, experiences and inspirations with his sketches during his travels.
This is broad enough to cover travellers of any sort (flashpackers, backpackers, holiday-makers of any budget, skill-level, ethnicity, age or gender), and any type of content pertaining to one's experiences during a trip (urban, rural, natural, inspirational, etc.). At the same time, there should be some intention to sketch during the trip as a means of keeping a record of what one has experienced.


Why Sketchpack?
Sketching is a great way to experience a place! Here are some good reasons to sketchpack:
  1. Your sketch is not meant to be a masterpiece, so there's no pressure to do something so finished and spend too much time doing it.
  2. It is meant to be a quick record, so you don't have to spend too much time at one place trying to finish each piece.
  3. At the same time, sketching forces you to slow down, savour the location, and spend more time observing and absorbing the environment.
  4. It is personal, so you're not trying to live up to anybody's standards. 
  5. Your sketch is more than a visual record. As you sketch, you are recording your emotions and impressions.This helps create stronger impressions and memories when you go back and flip through your sketchbook in future than if you just shot a photograph and tucked your camera away (doesn't hurt having some photos and text to go along with your drawings! Turn your sketchbook into a scrapbook!).
  6. It's fun!
Why "Sketchpack" and not "Sketchtravel"?
Well, too bad, "Sketchtravel" has already been taken. It's an awesome compilation of works from artists from all over the world! Check it out! You can check out their official blog too, but some of it is in French.

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