Whenever I travel, I love to buy a newspaper or two in the country I’m visiting. Although I’m not much of a linguist, I enjoy browsing through the articles, photos, ads and editorials to try to decipher what is being said. My other reason for picking up a local newspaper is for the paper itself. Foreign newsprint can make a great background to a travel sketch. It adds dimension and a hint of context to the location you are sketching.
The process for sketching on newsprint is pretty much the same as sketching on paper. You can easily just tear out a part of the paper and start to sketch. If you plan to watercolor on the newsprint, you may want to glue the newspaper to another piece of paper or in your sketch book to help with the water absorption. The third option, for those that sketch digitally, is to just take a clear close up photo from a page in the newspaper. Try to frame the photo such that you can only see text from the newspaper and not the surrounding environment. Be sure to avoid any shadows being cast from your camera on the newspaper. Once the photo is taken, then, in your favorite sketching app, import the newspaper image and begin to draw on top.
Above is a sketch I did of a sunset from the roof of our hotel in Istanbul, Turkey. It was a hot and humid day, so the sky burned a bright orange and yellow as the sun sunk in the horizon. The silhouetted skyline was dotted with church domes and mosque spires. The view spoke of the many centuries of history and culture in this amazing city.
Here is another sketch I did from a trip to Venice. It is of the classic Italian coffee press that we used in our apartment rental. I drew this digitally and after it was complete, I add the text. Those morning coffees sitting in the small penthouse apartment kitchen, hearing the neighborhood wake up were quite memorable.