Cool Journals to Look Through on a Weekend: Kolby Kirk—The Hike Guy, and A. W. Wainwright

February 19, 2012

See the post for complete details.

PCT Journal Mosaic

Above: A mosaic of Kolby Kirk's Pacific Crest Trail hiking journals. ©Kolby Kirk. See details below to view this and other images from his journals. If you click on this image you'll go to Kirk's Flickr site.

My friend Heather sent me a link to an inspiring site for hikers and visual journal keepers: The Hike Guy. You can read about Kolby Kirk in his own words at the site and you can look into his Pacific Crest Trail journals here.

Kirk has a lot of interesting posts on his site but one that caught my eye was his DIY Ultra-Light Watercolor Pencil Palette. For me this looks like a complicated way to carry a pan palette and it looks bigger than any of the palettes I carry around at any time. But he also gets more colors—and that matters to him and how he works. I love his post on this because it shows how if you love an art supply and have a creative turn of mind you'll find a way to take it into the field with you.

Poking around his site I saw a post on A.W. Wainright who is famous for writing books about "walks" around England. My favorite is "A Coast to Coast Walk" which I was first shown when I was a teenager and then found again about 10 years ago. When Dottie died I decided I would like to go on the walk and sketch, but while I normally like to be alone I didn't want to "wander lonely as a cloud" (I don't much like Wordsworth anyway) and couldn't find another person interested in going on the walk with me. (I also didn't want to lead a sketching class and have to "entertain" people the whole trip.)

I still content myself with reading passages from the book in the evenings, and then during the day, walking about my own city. It will have to do. But if you like hiking, like illustrations of architecture and landscapes, and like reading about parts of England I suggest you check out Wainright's book(s) after you enjoy Kolby's journals.

Thanks to Kolby and Wainwright we can enjoy the view while staying at home!

    • February 19, 2012

    What a great find! I also enjoyed his travel set. Alter anything to work for your art, right?

    • karen
    • February 19, 2012

    Wow. What a guy.

  1. Reply

    Liz, that’s right. It reminds me of the 36 color pan set I took out into the field long ago, before I had shoulder problems. But he gets more colors in than that! I wish he would use “real” paint since he isn’t using the pencils as pencils, but I wish that about everyone don’t I?

  2. Reply

    Karen, makes you want to leap up and go for a hike doesn’t it!

  3. Reply

    yay! great new journalers to follow.

    • Leslie Schramm
    • February 19, 2012

    Wainrights’ books are amazing. all those lovely line drawings. They look so artistic, but each and everyone is accurate. You can go stand in just the right place and match the drawing to the location. He not only wanted to write a guide book, he wanted the beauty he saw to be on every page for everyone to discover. BBC have filmed twelve of the walks, and the Coast To Coast walk, and every single one is a joy to see. I’m lucky, fields with wild deer and mad March hares, patches of Caledonian like forest, and your actual flowing stream with wild brown trout are 50 foot and one barbed wire fence away from the front door. And if I take a few bananas I can bring a field of Tamworth pigs, hiding in gorse bushes down to the river to squeal for fruit.

  4. Reply

    Leslie I love knowing that at least some stuff is still how he drew it. Your area sounds delightful as well! Especially the pigs coming to eat bananas!

  5. Reply

    Marta, glad you enjoy Kirk and Wainwright! Looking at both makes me think I should plan a hike!

    • E-J
    • February 23, 2012

    I’ve been twice to the Lake District with my husband, who is keen on hillwalking, and we bought one or two Wainwright books which became great companions on those trips. Wordsworth’s village, Grasmere, is quite a delightful location, not least for the Heaton Cooper studio and art materials shop! but I’m relieved to find it’s not just me who can’t be bothered with his poetry. (Never much cared for those “golden” daffodils.) You have made me long to revisit the Lakes now, though. I live in one of the flattest places in England, effectively a million miles from the mountains of Cumbria, and although I love it here, sometimes I can’t help thinking of the inspiration such a dramatic change of landscape would provide …

  6. Reply

    E-J I’m so glad that you use your Wainwright books! These sound like wonderful trips. I went to the Derwent Pencil Factory in the Lake District for my honeymoon!

    There are areas up on in the hills as we were driving back from the coast to try to make it to Beatrix Potter’s farm/museum that reminded me of what I had in mind with “Swallows and Amazons.”

    If you go back please, please let me know how it all is! And sketch.

    • Diane
    • February 29, 2012

    Since I like both hiking and sketching I bought the book “Coast to Coast” and have fallen in love. What a find! I am trying now to copy a few of his drawings so I can learn how to expand my use of marks to indicate different textures. This is a book I enjoy dipping into a little at a time.
    And if you are ever in need of a hiking/sketching companion in the future let me know!!

  7. Reply

    Diane, I’m glad you got a copy of “Coast to Coast” which really is an education in using a pen! And thank you for offering to go along. I will keep it in mind if the idea ever comes back up to the top of the project list!

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