• Eleanor Finlay-Christensen

Tuscany, Watercolour Travel Sketchbook

Watercolour travel sketchbook illustration. The painting is of a landscape scene of the Italian countryside, with views of the fields, Tuscan villas and mountains in the distance. Above are fluffy clouds and a blue sky. The illustration is in a sketchbook, above the sketchbook is an open tin of Winsor and Newton Professional watercolour paints. Below the sketchbook is a white ProArte miniature paintbrush.

Torre del Lago Puccini

In 2015, when I was 17, I had the amazing opportunity to take part in the National Theatre Connections programme. This led to us going to Italy to take part in a youth theatre festival hosted by Teatro Rumore at the Gran Teatro Puccini in Torre del Lago Puccini.

Torre del Lago Puccini is a village in the Viareggio municipality, Lucca province, Tuscany, Italy. The area has some of the most stunning landscapes I have ever seen, so I had to paint some in my travel sketchbook.

Watercolour Travel Sketchbook

This watercolour sketch is based on a photo I took on a bus journey from Torre Del Lago Puccini to Viareggio. It was a warm summers day in June. The bus journey took us past fields, olive groves, vineyards and gorgeous Tuscan villas. The bus was tiny! It was probably one of the smallest buses I’ve ever been on.

I used a Derwent Graphic HB pencil to sketch out the composition in my Moleskine Watercolour Sketchbook (pocket size) before I began painting. I'm really enjoying creating tiny illustrations at the moment. This sketchbook has a lovely texture to the pages, with 200gsm cold pressed watercolour paper. I have found that this paper does warp a little - if lots of water is used.

Painted using Winsor and Newton Professional watercolour paints and ProArte Miniature paintbrushes. These paintbrushes are great for creating small details.

I have been using this Moleskine notebook since January as a travel sketchbook, documenting some of the places that I have been to in the past.

During the last year, I gained an appreciation of the fact that I enjoy creating travel illustrations more than most things. Obviously, covid put the breaks on travel, so, I set myself a New Years resolution to create a series of illustrations based on places I had already visited, using my own photographs as reference images.

I love to try and recreate the essence of a place when I'm painting, the feel of a day, the way in which the clouds scurry across the sky, the excitement of being somewhere new. I really enjoy painting light and capturing the time of day when I visited a place.

Watercolour travel sketchbook illustration. The painting is of an Italian landscape scene with fields, houses and mountains in the distance. Painted with Winsor and Newton Professional watercolour paints.

Photograph of the Italian countryside in the Viareggio municipality, Lucca Province, Tuscany, Italy. Landscape views of fields, houses and mountains in the distance. There are large fluffy clouds and a blue sky.  Photograph taken by Els Christensen.

This was my reference photo, which I took using a Canon 600D DSLR camera.

I enjoyed the time in Italy so much and would love to return one day and explore more.

Materials used:

Derwent Graphic Pencil HB (for the under sketch)

Moleskine Watercolour Notebook. Size: Pocket (9 x 14cm)

Winsor and Newton Professional Watercolours

ProArte Masterstroke Series 60 Miniature paintbrushes

Thank you for taking the time to read this, I really appreciate it.

- Els


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