Ultramarine blue and Payne’s grey for the rainy skies of China. Ocher for the Gobi desert in Mongolia. Turquoise and emerald green for Iranian mosques.

The world is made up of colors and I enjoying discovering the color scheme of each new place.

I see the world through the colors of my watercolor palette and translate it with brushstrokes in a travel sketchbook, which has become my best souvenir.

For many people, traveling means rushing from one city to another, fighting for the best panoramic shot of a skyline, and filling their phones with pictures they will rarely look at afterward. But I sit. I connect with the local people, look for every detail, enjoy the experience, and immortalize it in my sketchbook.

It is a different way to get to know the world. I have been traveling for over a year, through more than a dozen countries, sharing my vision of the world on Instagram. I started in Iran, then took the Trans Mongolian route to Beijing until I arrived in Asia. And that was just the beginning of my adventure.

I aim to fill my sketchbook with Thai landscapes, Burmese temples, New Zealand roads, the streets of India, and Indonesian islands. Drawing each country is a completely different experience. The architecture and gastronomy changes, but so do the people. Some look at me shyly from a distance, others approach so close I can’t see my own drawing. But everyone smiles with pride because a part of their city has been immortalized in a foreigner’s sketchbook.

After I leave a place, I look back through my drawings and can remember each moment. I remember the workers who left their work and sat down to join me one morning in Bam, the policeman who got in the middle of the Chinese crowd in Xian just to see my sketches, the children of the main square in Isfahan who asked me questions with the few English words they had learned in school.

I hope my sketchbooks conveys how amazing each place is and inspires others to pick up a brush and create their own personal souvenir on their next adventure.

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Alicia Aradilla
Alicia Aradilla is a Spanish illustrator who took a break in her job as graphic designer for Samsung to make her dream come true: one year traveling and drawing each country in her sketchbook. She writes her adventure with ink and watercolors, sketching architectures, foods and landscapes, showing a different way to know the world.

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