Your Very Own Travel ‘Product Line’
In this case, I used a small watercolour sketch I did on a paddle trip along stretches of the North Saskatchewan River - and I used that piece as the backdrop for my postcard-sized ‘Business Card’.
Over the next few paragraphs, I’m going to convince you that you can have a ‘Product Line’ that reflects so much about who you are when you travel…and it’s a lot of fun too.
Think about it. When you’re on the road for a winter vacation or a hiking trip, cycling tour, cruise etc., you have time to take photos of the wonderful things you see. At the same time, if you plan things right, you can take a small Travel Journal. In this Journal you can do some quick sketches or small watercolour vignettes. The combination of these photos and sketches will give you all you need to start your personal ‘Product Line’.
So, let’s have a look at 3 items you can start with to get your own Product Line out there.
First, I want you to go through the travel photos you took on your last vacation or hiking trip or road trip. From that selection, I want you to identify 12 that you think speak most clearly about what kind of vacation it was.
Pick photos that show the nature of the place(s) you stayed/visited. Feature the wonderful and spectacular landscapes that caught your eye. Identify the special occasions or events you took in while you were away from home.
In all, I painted four small watercolours of the adobe houses and small buildings on a winter vacation in Zihuatanejo, Mexico. Two of them fit perfectly onto a page of a calendar I had printed.
Now, I want you to do a quick print-off of those photos and arrange them into an order that makes sense for the trip you took. Perhaps that ends up being ‘themed’ around landscapes or flower/plants or festivals etc. Alternately, it could be a wonderful mix of scenery and events and features that have meaning for you.
These four small block printed reproduced nicely as a page for a calendar that I had printed as Christmas presents for family and friends. The block prints are from scenes of a canoe trip across Canada in 2017.
The last step in this first example is to go to your local printer or find an online print outlet and upload those special images into a Calendar. That’s your first ‘Product’ - you’ll have a calendar for your own home - but you’ll also have it as a gift for your travel mates or family members and others. The example I have here is from an 1500km, month-long, paddle expedition down the Mackenzie River in the wilderness of the Canadian Arctic. I made up the calendars and had 12 of them printed for each of my paddle mates on that wild and wonderful journey. Everyone loved having a memento of that trip!
This is the example of a calendar I had done for our crew of 12 as we paddled 1500km along the Mackenzie River from Great Slave Lake to the Inuvik in the MacKenzie River delta. All 12 months had wonderful scenes along the way.
Second, is a product that can use either your travel photographs or your small sketches and watercolours. For my purposes here, I’ll show you what I did with a small set of watercolour sketches from a winter vacation in Zihuatanejo, Mexico.
As I walked around the town, I was struck by the wonderful bits of design on the many and varied adobe style homes. Over the days in that small fishing village, I made a number of little sketches trying to capture some of that charm. The result of that work was a set of 4 little watercolour pieces. Each of these shows a different adobe structure and, while none of them is an ‘actual’ place, they capture the look and feel of so much of the older residential side of the community.
One of my Travel Journal sketches that helped inspire even more small watercolour pieces.
I took those 4 watercolour sketches and used my iPhone to take good clear snapshots of each piece. At that point, I went online (to VistaPrint in this case) and used that online printing platform to make up the set of 4 note cards using my adobe home pieces. I think I ordered 20 sets of 4 to start and have done a couple of reorders since then.
In all, I painted four of these small watercolour pieces, and it was great fun to turn them into Art Cards - I had these printed through VistaPrint.
The wonderful thing about this part of my own Product Line is that I sold them through my small art studio, and I gave them away as gifts to family and friends. In addition, I donated several sets to the Food Bank charity in Zihuatanejo, and they sold them to buy food for their shelves. The project, it seems to me, worked for everyone.
Third, is something, again, that can use both your travel photos and/or you travel sketches. This is a product that you’ll use around the house and when you’re entertaining – drink coasters.
Start by looking through your travel photos and selecting something that is perhaps a little more bold and colourful (tiny landscape scenes will have a tendency to get lost in this small 4”x4” format). When you have your selection done, find one of the online printing outlets or one that makes promotional material and test the image out on their design page. You should be able to upload your photo easily, and you’ll see what the coaster will look like when you add the photo to the product. If you find it doesn’t look quite right, you can go back to your travel photos and perhaps make a better selection now that you’ve seen the layout and format.
A small watercolour vignettes of this fading Hibiscus blossom came from my winter vacation Travel Journal.
The same can be done with any of your small watercolour sketches from your Travel Journal. In the example I have here, I took a small and colourful watercolour I did of a fading Hibiscus blossom and uploaded that to the design page. You see the result here, and you can see that I added the location of the sketch too. (Always be sure to proofread before you go to the Cart for checkout and payment).
In the end, it was a simple exercise to take that small Travel Journal watercolour sketch and have it printed onto the last et piece in my own Product Line - Drink Coaster. I had these done locally and they were very cost effective (and I kept the business local).
There are any number of these kinds of items you can use for your Product Line, and many online platforms that feature promotional items (VistaPrint, Shutterfly, etc.) will have a surprising lineup of options. You can use your travel photos or travel art for business cards, mugs, t-shirts….the list is endless - so give it a try and have fun with it too.
These 3 examples are only the tip of the iceberg for you and your very own private Product Line. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise - anyone can do this! And if you’re brave and give it a try, I’m sure you’ll come away with the start of a really fun project that helps nurture an important part of your creative spirit….. and who doesn’t want their creative spirit in good health!
Another fun thing I did was take a small sketch from my Hiking Journal and turn it into Postage Stamps through Canada Post.
There are also lots more Tips and Tricks in my Facebook Group - Travel Journal 101. Please join in and have a great time on your next travel adventure.
There is also a YouTube Channel at Travel Journal 101. There you’ll find lots of short and simple video tutorials on how to do sketches and small watercolour vignettes in your Journal.
Please don’t hesitate to DM me if you have questions about how to start your very own Travel Journal.