Where do the places in our memories come from? Life experience of course but where else? I have a strong memory that was born while watching a black and white movie, and yes that was many years ago. Young minds are open sponges. The image of an Italian villa along a lake was seared into my memory at 10 years old. I remember the overwhelming feeling of “I’ve been there. That’s me!” That place was given a name 17 years later. Lago Maggiore sounded familiar and spectacular the first time I heard it. I knew I must go find this place one day.

Does that sound familiar? I haven’t met anyone yet who doesn’t have a memory of somewhere they want to go. It might be a childhood home or town, a special vacation place, a place they read about in a book. We all have places that hold memory. Have you ever thought about writing a story about it?

I call them visual life stories. A map is a good place to start. First to geographically locate the place but also if it’s a cool map, you can use it for the background of your visual. Add text and voila you have the beginnings of a visual life story. Add a couple of photos or sketches and you are rocking it!

Draw book travel memoryA map and my prosecco fuelled training program feature in this story, also on Lago Maggiore. For me the map and visuals bring me back to that journey in a visceral way.

I’ve got an art tip for you journalling types. I am trying to get more comfortable with watercolour paints. They are deceptively difficult to control. For this sketch I bought a postcard of Santa Caterina that was done in watercolours. It looks a lot like the one you see here.

Santa Caterina travel memoryCopying the masters is a tradition of learning that works. Having an image to copy takes away some of the stress. Also I did not need to worry about having time to sketch while at the monastery. This book called Draw by Jeffrey Camp has copying the masters at the core of its teaching method.

Back to you creating your memory story, I recommend you find some photographs to help get the story flowing. When I write, I’m thinking about creating ‘text nuggets’. A funny term but if you focus on writing nuggets of story, it’s not an overwhelming task. It’s easy to fit the ‘text nuggets’ onto a visual page, and it’s a quick read. Truly a great combination.

Deb at Isola Bella travel memoryIf you’ve got all the pieces of your memory story and aren’t sure how to put them all together, let me know. I can help. If you know someone who has a memory of a place that is precious, we can help create a couple of pages, a poster, or a booklet. Of course we always create a digital file version for them as well.

If you want to start collecting memories today, get our free download of 17 magic questions.

I hope you enjoyed this story. Thanks for sharing this with anyone you think might be interested and please do subscribe if you want to receive my visual newsletter every three weeks.