Backpack Drawings: Documenting Journeys

First Backpack Drawing Box Experiment

After first visit to Drawn, before meeting Debbie Locke

Drawing Boxes No 1

This was real trial and error: Two pots; left – Charcoal pieces and red brick pebbles from the beach. right – ink cartridge with two pin pricks in.  Paper attached to bottom by blue tack.  Closed, sealed and put in backpack. Walked and cycled for 90 minutes.


Blue pieces added to very messy, inky bag containing (inevitably) bled cartridge box.

Charcoal Pot Drawing

Abandoned inky pot for return journey.  Broke down charcoal for to dusty, smalled pieces in other pot.

Second Backpack Drawing Box Experiment

After meeting with Debbie I used found object from home to create small drawing boxes. These experiments travelled by walking, train and car from my home in Bristol to childhood home in Wooden, Pembrokeshire.

Small Drawing Boxes

Small Box Drawings

Experimenting with paper from inner envelopes.

Small Box Drawings

Due to the confined space in the boxes and the rigidity of the wire that attached the pens there are many areas of ink bleed from stuck pens.  Even though desired effect was not made, I do like the images.  The capturing of dormancy and being stuck as well as small movements feels particularly poignant for the journey in which they were documenting.

Hand Drawing in Car – Layering

Hand Drawing in Car

The blue marks in this image from left to right – 5 minutes of drawing in car on Motorway (not driving!) with pen in writing position moving to 15 minutes of holding top of pen freely.  Layered with painted ink circles.


When creating this documentation became an interesting element. I wanted to be “free” and let my pen do what it wanted to but I found myself moving from keeping paper still to letting it move freely with the car, giving in to a tired arm and slackening the position, moving my pen away from the edge of the paper and back to a point as and when came to the end of the paper.

Hand Drawing in Car

Drawing Two Pens in Car

Close of up hand drawing made in car from Stakepole Inn in Pembrokeshire to childhood home in Wooden. 25 minutes. Holding both pens by the top in right hand.

The marks made from motorway driving and countryside driving are extremely different.  I love the freedom and layering of the countryside driving… Reflects the environment beautifully.

Third Backpack Drawing Box Experiment

Drawing Box No 3

The most recent drawing box is made from scrap pieces from local scrap store and jewellery wire (found in a drawer). A thick grey felt pen, black hand writing pen and water filled brush pen.  Box taken in canvas bag (carried on one side) for 40 minute walk and train journey.

Box Drawing

Box Drawing

This image is so very pleasing.  I finally feel like I have cracked it!  Adding water filled brush pen (as done by Debbie) to the box adds a beautiful layering effect. This crosses over into Peter Matthews work from previous post, and feels like the secret ingredient to this image making process.  Having a strong bond with the sea, and a homeliness when by and in it, having water as a contributing element of this drawing resonantes with me.

Home Project Reflections

Looking back at my experimenting with this process over the last few weeks is very satisfying.  It has (as with the boxes themselves!) been an interesting journey (that is merely beginning!) and a drawing approach that adds much to my whole creative process of immersing in “Home”.  Links made with the body as home, documenting experience as means of grounding an home making, documenting journey too and from home and different homes and using home found objects.


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