Travelling with paper and pen, three sketches from three countries

These are three of my favourite travel sketches, all done on the spot with no tarting up afterwards. I think they were all done with a fine tip felt-tip pen, but I honestly can’t remember for sure. I keep changing my drawing media.


Our friend Viv buying matches at the bar in Les Templiers in Colieure in the south of France in 2004. The bar was half a boat, complete with figure head. Viv is so short she had to stand on tiptoe to talk to the bar man. This is the hotel the Fauves lived in early in the 20th century. The walls are lined with paintings and one of the bedrooms has originals by Matisse that he painted there


Our good friend Brian is an excellent pianist and always wanted to play the piano in a cafe in Vienna. One summer he did it, playing Tales from the Vienna Woods in the Cafe Sperl whilst my wife turned the pages for him.


A real challenge. This was one of my earliest travel sketches, in Zanzibar in 2001. We went to a “cultural evening” at the fort in Stone Town, which was in fact really very good. Dancing, drumming and food. I was trying to scribble pictures of the dancers, with a sketchbook on my knee, and them jumping around all the time. The lady in the middle was dancing towards us, banging her head from side to side as she came. The man on the left was the sergeant major, keeping time for the whole ensemble by blasting on a football whistle hanging around his neck. The drummer was beating out crescendos on a battered cooking oil drum. This scribble catches it better than any photograph.


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