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Travelling through Art during COVID 19

We are weeks into lock down, but right now, it is more and more obvious to us – that travelling isn’t likely going to be possible any time soon.

It is especially hard to face this truth when we are restless at home and anxious in destress and escape during these times. So some people have been occupying themselves through binge watching new shows, building home gyms, but what else can you spend your time that can be more rewarding.

Hi. I am Noemi, and I’ve been exploring the more creative sides so I could better express myself in the future (and even past!) trips. Art is also a stress-reliever for me as well. Perhaps it will inspire you to dig through your past travels and express that trip in a different way as well.

What better time than now? Here are the 5 best ways to reminisce and travel through art from your couch at home.

1. Sketching

Drawing and illustrating is one of my favorite past times ever since I was in Secondary school. When I finally had my graduation trip to Japan, albeit on a budget, with some of my close friends, I wanted to make sure to remember those moments through art.

Gouache painting of my friends and I  going to Japan Osaka and Kyoto. Demonstration on how I used art for travel
Gouache painting I made of my friends and I travelling to Japan in 2019.

People are often intimidated by drawing or sketching, when it just takes a lot of practice and time which now in this pandemic, some of us can find an abundance of. One of the ways you could start practicing to sketch was to copy and sketch scenes from a show or movie that you found beautiful or breath-taking.

Travelling can be very fast-paced, so I understand that you might not have time to sit down and sketch. What you can do, is to take quick snapshots with your phone. In your downtime or after the trip, you can start to sketch out and give new life to these photos. Travel nowadays are about images and videos, sketching and drawing out scenes allows room for slowing the experience down.

2. Journaling

What’s interesting about sketching is that alongside that when I was travelling, I began journaling as well. Journaling is also one of my favorite ways to express how I enjoyed myself through travelling because it’s also the easiest.

A page of a journal my friends and I made when on our travel to Japan
A page from the journal my friends and I made for our education trip to Japan in 2016.

Besides the traditional journal writing, what I did was to collect brochures, receipts, everything that was related to the areas that I was visiting. Then after I went back home, I started compiling, cutting and pasting it to a blank book and simply wrote about my trip.

This is also a fun way to collaborate with your friends and family on their thoughts and experiences about the trip.

Of course, this isn’t possible now but one of the projects that you could do during COVID 19 is to create an inspiration or bucketlist journal of places you want to visit. You can visit sites such as Pinterest to start compiling images and places in countries you want to visit when COVID 19 eventually ends.

 Another idea is if you had the habit of collecting receipts of brochures saved “just to remember the place” you can put it to good use and start journaling from home!

3. Photography & Image Manipulation

Photography is one of the more popular forms included in the skill set of travel blogging, but there’s a common misconception that to take good photos, you must have a DSLR – which I believe is false. You can take good photos with just a phone as well.

Digital image manipulation is the process of putting an image through photo-editing softwares such as Photoshop or Gimp. It can range from simple adjusting of colors to changing the whole context and mood of your overall photo and gets your viewers wondering “How did they do that?”

The basic elements on getting started with image manipulation are tools you’ve probably already heard and used before – brightness, contrast, hue and saturation. What’s more, these tools that is integrated into the gallery when you’re looking through your photos.

You may also be interested in this technique which is called compositing where you can blend various images to look like one image, and there are many video tutorials online to teach you on the basics of it.

This is a video on the basics on compositing with an example!

How to Do Compositing in Photoshop CC for Beginners

I personally am my mother’s photo editor and I use Photoshop, specifically the healing brush to erase away things that could be ruining the image. Alternatively, as you might not be on the laptop all day, a mobile application I recommend that has some basic capabilities on compositing such as masking is PicsArt.

4. Video Editing

People get intimidated when they hear video editing or graphic motion when it’s actually way less complicated, especially with how there are accessible and easy to use applications on the phone right now.

Travelling through Art during COVID 19

Whenever I’m on a trip, I like taking videos and photos of events around me with the intention of cutting it down and making a sort of video collage at the end of my trip to share amongst my friends and family to look back in the future.

One of the ways that you can edit videos is through Premiere Pro, but there is also a mobile application that I recommend which is YouCut. It has the basic functions such as the Trim tool, and being able to input music as well putting a text overlay.

If you want to take it a step further, one of the things I am currently learning right now is graphic motions using After Effects through Youtube tutorials since I feel like it will help in the quality of my video work.  

5. Culinary Arts

Here in Singapore, I’m blessed to be exposed to many foods across cultures, such as Nasi Lemak, Hainanese Chicken Rice, Roti Prata – but usually we get these foods through hawker centers.

Quarantining made me realize how we could make these dishes in the comfort in our own home instead of queuing, plus isn’t it much more delicious if you make it yourself?

This past weekend, I was inspired to make authentic Mexican tacos but before I make them, I made sure to do my research.

It involved a lot of video-watching, a lot of Googling for alternatives since most of the ingredients on how to make a homemade tortilla were not available to me. Upon doing the research, I had a newfound appreciation for tacos and it’s importance in Mexican culture, and inspired me that one day I will get to actually go to Mexico and discover their range of foods.

Tacos

To conclude, art has given me ways to express myself and travel back to the places I’ve been through painting, photo and video editing and cooking. Remember that art doesn’t have to be beautiful or perfect. Like any other skill, it comes with practice and time, which you could utilize now while you have it. Art has also given me inspiration on how I can express myself in a more creative way as well, and hopefully, it has inspired you as well.

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1 Comment

  • Reply
    Vania
    June 17, 2020 at 10:03 pm

    Your painting and journaling are truly gorgeous Noemi 🙂

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