Travel sketching from a boat

A Guide to Travel Sketching From a Boat

Travel sketching allows you to capture destinations and memories with paper and pencil. With travel sketching, the way you see the world around you changes. You become more appreciative of the places you’ve visited and will remember them more vividly even if you have already left.

Besides becoming more appreciative, Darren Fisher shared that drawing helps you build a better self-understanding and boost your mental health. It will help you develop a better understanding of yourself, and it will help you reduce your anxiety, improve your quality of life, and promote creativity. Devoting a little of your time to drawing can make your life more enjoyable, and you get to do something productive each day.

If you’re an artist looking for new inspirations, travel sketching from a boat can offer you different perspectives and allow you to expand your skill set.

Do you want to learn how to sketch your own adventures in ink & watercolour?


I will show you my exact sketching process in ink and watercolour. I have travelled around the world in the last 3 years and this is my go-to system of creating beautiful yet quirky illustrations to capture the magic of my discoveries.

We will work through 3 projects, step by step (pictured below), all of which are real-life examples of things I have sketched along my travels. I provide the photo references you can work from.
We will start by choosing a composition, laying in the initial pencil sketch, adding ink lines, layering watercolour and adding the final touches.
This and much more are included in my course, Sketch Your Adventures, click the button under the image to find out more!

Sketch your adventures modules

What Can You Expect From Different Types of Boats?

Sketching from a boat is a unique experience. The smaller the boat the more you will have to adapt to the rocking of the vessel. Yet, boats offer views that most people rarely see, making them ideal for artists. If you travel to London you can visit one of the many Royal Parks, hire a rowing boat, and sketch the shore and scenery from the water. For something steadier, you can ride a local river ferry and enjoy the scenic views.

Lastly, if you have a bigger budget, you can choose to go on a luxury sea trip. These trips are great for artists as they not only take you to different locations where you can hop off and sketch but also allow move slowly enough for you to sketch scenery from the boat.

What Can You Do When You Travel Sketch From a Boat?

Sketch the Experiences and People Around You

You might think that sketching from a boat means all you get to draw is a body of water or mountains from far away. However, travel sketching doesn’t mean you can only draw inspiration from nature. You can sketch experiences and scenes onboard. If you are on a large boat full of people you can also do character sketches. These types of trips attract a wide range of people making them ideal for travelling sketchers.

If you want to practice sketching people in motion ahead of a trip like this, head over to – a video library of all kinds of people doing all kinds of things, specifically for you to practice sketching.

Visit Art Galleries

Most luxury boats offer an art experience as part of the package. Explora Cruises has a fine art gallery that can serve as inspiration to create new art or you can even sketch the work on display. The BBC shared that finding inspiration from the work of others is not necessarily bad. If you’re running out of ideas, you can study the work of different artists on board and combine them with your ideas. You can choose artists or artworks based on their similarities to your practical work, such as a similar subject matter, theme, or style. With this, you can have new sketch ideas and broaden your perspectives.

Experiment with Different Angles and Lighting

My previous article on the ‘Best 5 Things I Learned From Ian Fennelly’s Urban Sketching for Beginners Course’ discussed how learning to steer away from traditional art rules is necessary. For example, while on a long boat trip you will see the same boat deck for consecutive days. But if you start viewing the same space differently, by repositioning your angle or drawing at a different time of the day, you will get a different view that will inspire you to get creative again. Sometimes, veering away from conventional art rules means you get to discover your unique artistic style.

Check out my post on organising a travel sketching trip if you want more ideas for your next travel sketching adventure.

Check out my ebooks with hundreds of ink & watercolour travel sketches from all over the world. Get some inspiration for your next trip…

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