travel, urban sketching

Travel Sketches - Yogyarkarta

I've always wanted to visit Yogyakarta after studying about the Borobudur and the Prambanan in my Asian art history university days. So finally I got around to making the trip happen in November 2016! (This post is a little overdue)

I'd have to say this is the first time I took the time to urban sketch whenever I can. Sometimes I see a sight so pretty I wished I sketched it. But at the same time I don't want to take too long because i'm not travelling alone and there are more places to visit so each sketch that I've drawn here took within 30-45mins at most. 

This was sketched on a treehouse on Bukit Barede when we caught the sunrise overlooking the Borobudur. 

This was sketched on a treehouse on Bukit Barede when we caught the sunrise overlooking the Borobudur. 

As I thought, Borobudur was magnificent! It was a little smaller than I imagined but we did spend a good 1-2 hours on the structure ravelling at the Buddha statues and trying to figure out what story is it trying to tell. 

The view up on top Borobudur

The view up on top Borobudur

There I did a sketch of Borobudur! The perspective was quite hard to get to paint it look right so I'm glad I managed to capture it's grandness. 

This is the Prambanan. Another UNESCO heritage site some distance from Borobudur. 

This is the Prambanan. Another UNESCO heritage site some distance from Borobudur. 

Some more sketches I did during the trip - of the Prambanan and this Indonesian snack called the lupis made by a local. We arranged a local meal cooking session with the locals through a website called Backstreet Academy - many activities you can do while travelling in Asia! 

Pine Forest Hutan Pinus.

Pine Forest Hutan Pinus.

My favourite place during the trip had to be this pine forest that I didn't expect to be venturing to. We were asking the driver for suggestions where to go where it's not so hot and he took us here. It's really cooling here because it's up on top of a hill. People sit and camp to admire the tall pine trees and enjoy the breeze here. Being born in a tropical country, seeing pine trees in a tropical country really surprised me. I thought they only grew in cold countries! So of course I sat somewhere nice and painted a picture.

draw, inktober


Inktober is a drawing challenge started by Mr Jake Parker The challenge was to draw one drawing per day in the month of October hence "Ink-tober". It can be based off a theme or anything you want. I've never thought about doing it until I met some friends over dinner who decided we should all challenge each other to do it. For me I decided to work on the themes set by Mr Jake Parker.

Below are the themes:

I would work on drawings in advance if I had plans for days I'd have no time to draw. Then sometimes on the way to work I'd think about what to draw. But most of the time I only think about what to draw on the spot. Looking back now I wonder how did I manage to commit 30 daily drawings! It seems so hard now that I'm out of it. Below are the 31 drawings that I've managed to complete in the month of October. 

I had some desperate attempts to draw something out of a difficult themes like "little", "burn" and especially "flight" (4th row, 4th pic) for my most desperate attempt award. My personal favourite pieces are "hidden" and "jump" (2nd row, 1st and last pic) which I think I've gave the rabbit a whatever goes I'm cool personality and continued the series whenever I can. I also liked the "big" theme (5th row first pic) which was an idea I came up after watching this movie called "Train to Busan". The big guy's a character who sacrificed himself to block zombies from coming through. Special mention goes to "sad" (1st row last pic) because it had a lot more thought when I was drawing it.

There goes my first Inktober!


Riso Workshop

About 2 Saturdays ago, I attended a Risograph workshop organised by Push—Press and the ADM Alumni Assoc. Risograph is an old school digital printing system that prints like the copier. The results and techniques are similar to silkscreen printing but done like photocopying in a printer.  

To get started, we were told to bring a black and white artwork of any kind for the session and then cut them up, mixing them with different images to form a collage like what I did below. 

I printed black and white images of the food images I did in watercolour and collaged them with random prints, patterns and marble prints shared with the class, then glue them on a sheet of transparency. The colours offered were red, gold, black, green, blue and orange. We decided with orange and blue because they go so well together. My print is in A4 size while the paper was in A3 so I shared half the paper with a friend if you're referring to the imagery below. Below is a printed layer of images in orange, and then in blue.  

The two layers of colours are then printed together to form this pretty collage below! It's been some time since I experience such fun art experiments and catching up with people from the same creative line. 

portraits, urban sketching

Sketches (July & Aug)

This National Day we had an unofficial sketchwalk at the Esplanade. The drawing on the left is what I drew yesterday while the drawing on the right was done last year March. Do you see the difference? I'm glad to see a significant improvement from my old drawing. I remembered I had a hard time trying to get all the buildings right last year whereas this time I just drew based on what I casually see and did a slight reinterpret of my own colours, giving it a few blends of blues, purple and greens. What was I thinking to paint the river yellowish previously..

Here are also some portraits from this and last month's Portraits after Dark. The one on the left's  my favourite for this month's portraits. Think I've got the hair done right there. I wonder how can I give it more details. Photos labeled OIC taken by Jason for the Organisation of Illustrators Council


Watercolour Class with Mood Art Studio (Bangkok)

Hello. It's been a while! I recently took up a watercolour class while I was in Bangkok. The studio is called "Mood Art Studio", conveniently located near Hua Lanphong Metro Station, headed by artist Mr Artorn Budseetada. Each session is quite free and easy lasting 3 hours at 500 baht. Each class there is a range of photos you can choose to draw and ask him to teach or just follow what he has in mind for the day.

Here's a quick look in the studio. An abundance of drawing tools!

Here's a quick look in the studio. An abundance of drawing tools!

Session 1-2

We did mountains and houses! An outline was quickly sketched and then we started painting with dark and organic strokes to give depth to the mountains then we came down to the houses. The challenge for me was doing the trees and bushes. 

As you can see here on the top left of the paper is what the teacher demostrated and hte little bush on the right is my drawing. Though I watched how he drew that a few times which didn't seem too hard they way he marked each stroke of the brush, from light to dark, I had a hard time trying to get the same precision yet random strokes that make the drawing look natural. 

Session 3-4

Session 3 we drew a boat and learn how to draw waves and far buildings. I noticed how Mr Artorn tends to leave white space with such precision, the colour strokes almost never goes over the lines when it's not supposed to. But when I tried to do it, it was hard haha. I think I learnt the most this session. Below is my drawing and a demo how the wave is done. 

The last session we did a house again with more trees because I thought it's what I want to practise more on. Here's the result: (Think I need more practise with my strokes.)

Overall I think this is quite a nice break from the usual shopping, eating and massaging you can do in Bangkok. Especially on a rainy day, I was quite happy to be stuck in the studio doing my paintings. 

This watercolour painting style is very unlike the usual way that I paint and do my urban sketching. Currently I do most of my sketches in ink and then watercolour but in this case, it's just a quick pencil outline and paint away! I'll see how it goes. 



portraits, draw

Portrait Day (May)

Below is what I thought was my best drawing of the day. I liked how the hair turned out. I really took my time with this one because there was only one person to draw. But too bad the sitter didn't choose this one. 


Above are the two drawings I managed to sell during the session. (Photo credits to OIC) Glad the sitters liked them! Now if only I can apply what I did with Victoria's hair to other portraits that consist of 2 people or more. It'd be nice if I can add in more details.

urban sketching, singapore culture

Sketchwalk at Bukit Pasoh / Sg Heritage Fest

This month's sketchwalk was at Bukit Pasoh in conjunction with the Singapore Heritage Festival that was happening this weekend. Roads at Bukit Pasoh and Keong Saik were closed for the event! You can check out more details at their website:

 Below's my sketch from the sketchwalk:

After the sketchwalk I had lunch with my sketchmates at Grassroots Bookroom. They serve a small variety of nice bread and pumpkin soup. It was all warm and lovely. Later on I attended a talk on the history of the area. I learnt a huge deal of the place! How there was actually another name for Ann Siang Hill before it was called Ann Siang Hill. How Chinese intellectuals used to thrive in Bukit Pasoh Road. How some of the buildings along Bukit Pasoh Road were used as brothels to house comfort women during World War II. So much history I didn't know about! As to why Bukit Pasoh was called Bukit Pasoh; "Pasoh" refers to a kind of tree while "Bukit" means hill. The road used to have a lot of Pasoh trees hence it was called Bukit Pasoh. 

He also talked about how the illiterate got to learn about what's happening in the world, the latest news. There were storytellers back then and they would also tell the latest news. People could come to listen for free or pay a small sum of 10cents to get a seat up close.  

Kpop-dancing right in the middle of the street!

Kpop-dancing right in the middle of the street!

One of the urban ventures booth where you can draw to answer some general questions on what you see. You'd be given markers, a board and a chair. 

One of the urban ventures booth where you can draw to answer some general questions on what you see. You'd be given markers, a board and a chair. 

The Heritage Festival also has a lot of entertaining and interesting programs lined up. You can stack stones, try yoga or kpop dance on the street, draw the street. There are also performers like dance and local bands performing. I think it's one of the most enjoyable street festival I've attended in Singapore. Kudos to the organiser. I particularly enjoyed strolling alternatively from Keong Saik to Bukit Pasoh Road and vice versa. Once one event is over you can walk over to the next street and catch another. I really enjoyed myself trying out the stations, listening to the history talks and the performances. 

This is one of the stations in the festival whereby you sit face to face with a clown artist. It's similar to Marina Abramovic's "The Artist is Present" but there's an extra cloth covered for privacy, making the shared moment even more intimate and mysterious. 

This is one of the stations in the festival whereby you sit face to face with a clown artist. It's similar to Marina Abramovic's "The Artist is Present" but there's an extra cloth covered for privacy, making the shared moment even more intimate and mysterious. 

draw, urban sketching

My first sell!

Last week I was walking around Keong Saik area and decided to draw the shop houses from the back allies instead. It was a hot day and I did this sketch within an hour and a half.

So as I was done, held on to my artwork as it was still wet in paint and set to walk to the nearest train station. A man stopped me at the traffic light and asked if I drew it. I said yes and then he asked whether he could buy it from me. He really liked it because it looked so natural. This really took me by surprise! No one has ever stopped me to tell me they like my work and want to buy it like this. He gave me a good price and there, just standing in front of the construction boards beside maxwell food centre, I sold my very first painting that wasn't commissioned. I took a photo with the uncle and told him where I drew it though he didn't really understood where. In any case, it really made my day! Couldn't have felt more blessed and lucky!


urban sketching, draw

Sketchwalk at Potong Pasir / Chinatown (March)

Here's my sketch from Last week's sketchwalk at Potong Pasir! Potong Pasir's known for their houses with slant roofs as you can from the picture on the right. I almost wanted to draw this iconic Potong Pasir building but I couldn't find a suitable spot without obstruction and the view was too wide. 

So I walked further in and managed to find a bench to sit down and sketch this view of slant roofed HDBs. A fellow sketcher commented that I shouldn't draw a triangle because there's nothing I'm directing my viewers on the far right yet my triangle ended there. It'd help if it were to be a V shape. My initial thought was to congregate most elements on the left and keep the right spaced. I guess my composition could be better if there's some elements countering that sharp triangular angle and give it some more layers.

Show and tell – works from other sketchers

Show and tell – works from other sketchers

Another sketch after lunch at Chinatown!

Another sketch after lunch at Chinatown!


Portrait Day (March)

The Organisation of Illustrators Council (OIC) has this monthly portrait drawing session called "Portraits after dark" that's held every first Friday of the month at the Red Dot Museum. You pay $10 to get a seat to draw and you also earn $10 for every portrait you sell, if the sitter likes it. I've tried out these portrait day sessions for a while and have always find it intimidating to draw in a tight timing of 20mins and surrounded with so many other good artists. Usually my first two portraits would be my most nervous and then subsequently when I don't care so much about whether I sell them or not or making it perfect, I relax and draw better. This month I decided to try again after taking some sketching lessons on Craftsy to practise what I've learnt. I'm glad to say I managed to sell 2 paintings! 

Below's the last drawing and my favourite drawing of the night. I loosened up a lot more by the last sitter. It's always easier to draw one person than two people!

(Bottom 3 photos taken from OIC )

Flowers for the new year

Hello! It's Chinese New Year. This year it's the first time I spent visiting time sketching with my cousin at her lovely home. I decided to draw the pink chrysanthemums while she drew the hyacinth. I drew the hyacinth too with my small moleskin watercolour sketchbook but wasn't that satisfied with it. (You can see a glimpse of it at the last picture) I'm happy with how the chrysanthemums turned out. Usually I'd go over my pencil lines with a pen to get more definite lines but my cousin gave me a bigger piece of paper and said why not use just watercolour. I let myself loose and just drop blots of colour here and there to get a general impression and it looked better! So here's the flower I drawn:

Drawing on a bigger piece of paper didn't feel that intimidating after all. I think it's easier to let loose to focus on the general view of things than trying to get all the details right on a small canvas. Now I'll have to see if I can apply that to landscape drawings...


Windglide Revamp!

A shot of sunset taken from my train home

A shot of sunset taken from my train home

Hello it's been a while!  Well I've been sketching quite regularly for the past few months and it's good to be see how much I've improved since my last post. I still have lots to learn! Anyway I've decided to do a little revamp of my website and added in a sketches section. It sure feels good to see them all in laid out in bigger thumbnails. 

urban sketching, draw

April drawing adventures

Here are some of the highlights from my April doodles. I think I fare better in standalone objects and with a reference. I tried to commit to draw a picture each day for a week or two after I started my drawing instagram account. Looking back, though it was taxing, it's quite nice to see what I've accomplished over the month and hope I'll spend my free time getting better at it. 

I drew the last picture (the lotus flowers) over at the botanic gardens. It was raining heavily while I was at it. Drawing can be a good way to kill time while waiting for the rain to stop! Moreover we managed to find a good sheltered spot and a good view of those lotuses. It was a nice moment that made me feel really close to nature that day - shoes off and dangling my feet above the pond! 


Hello World!

Thanks to my friend, Kathleen who introduced squarespace to me, I was able to create this website that serves as a portfolio site and blog in a short two days. Creating a website has never been this fast and easy for me. I'm excited to use this blog for my creative endeavours, work in progress or drawings. Stay tuned for more updates!