What I did on my Holidays – Part 1

(Warning this is a long post with lots of photos)

Flying in to Kuching (Malaysia) the sinuous Sarawak River looked the perfect picture of a tropical waterway. I was here with my partner and six other sketchers from Canberra to meet up with another 290 odd sketchers from all across Asia for the second Asia-link Sketchwalk.

Rockin’ the Asia-link Sketchwalk Kuching 2017 mascots with some friends

Organised by Peggy and the crew from Urban Sketchers Kuching, (USk Kuching) we were treated to three days of sketching, sweating, workshops, eating, making new friends and renewing old friendships. By way of explanation, a sketchwalk is where everyone goes out and sketches together in a specific location.

Our home base was The Granary, a large restaurant and bar complex abutting the older Chinese section of the city and a stone’s throw from the Sarawak River.

The Granary

The Granary, where all meals are accompanied by a sketchbook!

As most of the Aussies made it to the city a day before the official start we had some time to settle in and get our bearings. We started off with a boat trip on the Sarawak River.

Sketching our way down the Sarawak River

Luckily one of our friends speaks Malay so we able to get the boatman to let us drift downriver, so we could sketch as we went.

Trawlers on the Sarawak River, watercolour

He also took us to one of the shops specialising in those amazing Malay sponge cakes, Kek Lapis = layer cake.


Kek lapis, the brighter the better!

It was also the final day of the Autumn Moon Festival so we enjoyed the moon cakes and the evening parade with obligatory dragon and lion dancers.

'Leonie and Steve sketching at the Tua Peh Kong Temple.#alswkch2017'

Sketching at the Tua Peh Kong Temple. (photograph courtesy of Edric Hsu)


How to maintain your dragon

The organisers of the Sketchwalk arranged for a stamp, (beloved of all USk get-togethers), for every place where we sketched.

When you stopped to sketch you would soon be joined by other sketchers. Along the streets we would spread out keeping the locals amused and the official photographer very busy as he tried to capture all the sketching action.

Of course there were workshops. I did a workshop with Paul Wang (from USk Singapore), exploring the use of a credit card (or similar) as a painting tool.

Paul Wang giving us a demonstration at the start of his workshop

My sketch from the Paul Wang workshop

My second workshop was with Sanjeev Joshi (from USk Pune, India), exploring the use of collage in sketching. What I really liked about the schedule was that we had a chance to apply what we learned in the workshops in the daily sketchwalks.

My collage from the Sanjeev Joshi workshop, watercolour and brochure

The weather was kind for most of our stay, well apart from being hot and humid every day. Sadly we got rained out on the last day of the event. The planned group photograph outside the Sarawak Museum , was cancelled when the grass literally went underwater with the torrential rain.

Of course what I enjoyed most was meeting all those people


Sketchers on the final night in Kuching (photo courtesy of Jee Foong)


With a young sketching buddy

The entry gate to Carpenter Street with its many old Chinese shop houses

Our accomodation, The Marion Boutique Lodging House, a former boarding school

The colourful shopfronts in India Street



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