What Inspires Susan Roghair - Travel Artist

Posted by Marcea

(Images courtesy of Susan Roghair)

Drawing has been a part of Susan Roghair’s life since she was a child. When not at home on the west coast of Florida, Susan and her partner Dan are traveling the world. To capture these adventures, Susan documents every day with her own original drawings. Learn more about Susan, her favorite countries to travel to and why she takes an OttLite on all of her travel adventures. 

How long have you been drawing? Since I was a child. The earliest drawings I have in my possession I made probably when I was 14 years old but I drew before that. 

You journal your life through your drawings.  When did you start and why? I started my diary drawings on January 1, 2012. Those drawings are the cartoony illustration colorful drawings. My travel diaries, which are for every day that I’ve traveled, started October 2, 2003.  When I met Dan, he said ‘let’s travel the world’.  So as we traveled I realized that I needed to document this life experience.  What better way for me to do that?  

So I keep two types of (drawing) diaries. When we’re traveling, it’s the travel diaries and when I’m at home it’s the cartoony illustration ones. I also have my photographs, which are categorized on the computer. We’ve been to 60 countries and all the photos are broken down by country and, for the US, by state. 

Does knowing you’re going to do a travel journal change how you view each city? No, but when I’m photographing it does. As a photographer I’m always on the search for a certain angle or a certain look. A lot of people think that people carrying cameras aren’t really looking, they’re just shooting. But I would say that’s not true. I tend to look more when I have a camera than when I don’t have one.   

How long have you been doing photography? Since we started traveling so about 13 years ago. Our first trip was to Venice, Italy and I had to capture it.  Back then you used rolls of film and I remember coming back with about 25 rolls of film and taking them to Walgreens! But of course cameras have advanced since then (laughs).

What inspires you when you draw? When I draw it has to be related to the day so I always draw the day after. Usually it’s the most fun thing or important thing, but it doesn’t have to be. I can flip through my travel diaries and see an image and I don’t have to look at the top of the page to see what it’s about. I can look at the picture I drew and often know where I was. 

What mediums do you use when you draw? I like graphite. My favorite is probably ink. I really like ink. Mircon pens are my favorite – they don’t bleed if you want to add watercolors to it. I do watercolor, Prisma color pencils. I also use Pitt pens – they’re kind of a thick marker watercolor pen. A lot of artists steer away from ink because it’s not forgiving once it’s on the paper. But it doesn’t intimidate me at all.  I like it because it pops! I kind of like that my art style is it in your face. 

What’s your favorite place to visit? That’s a tough one. I’d say maybe Indonesia. I do love Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand so maybe I would say Asia is my favorite continent. But it’s hard to pick because you go to one place and you fall in love with that area. I’ve visited almost every national park in America so when I go to another national park, I think ‘oh my gosh – this is the best national park!’. And then I leave it and go to another one later in the year and then suddenly it’s all about the new national park. I don’t tend to forget about them because I’ve photographed and drawn them and I always go through the albums. It’s really hard to pick just one. 

You have 4 OttLite lamps and even travel with one.  Tell me why you love OttLite lamps so much. When we travel internationally, we like accommodations to have kitchens so we’ll rent apartments or villas. I’ve learned that staying in these rentals you have to adapt to all kinds of lighting and often it’s not the best. There may not be windows or you have an overhead light above you. In order to have some detail and see what you’re doing you must have good lighting at all times. I have the LED Task Lamp and I picked that one because you have minimal access to plugs in some foreign countries (so the battery operated lamp comes in handy). The OttLite is a good, clear natural light and you don’t have the yellow haze that most lights seem to have. I can’t remember who first told me about OttLite but now I go around telling people they need to get one too (laughs). 

For more information on Susan and her art, visit her on Facebook, Ebay, and Etsy.  


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