26 February 2015


Our sketchwalk this saturday will start from the new Paya Lebar Square mall. At 9AM, please meet outside Ya Kun Kaya Toast on the outside of the mall. It's just beside Paya Lebar MRT Station). After a short briefing, you are free to explore the area in any direction.

Look at the map and you will be able to find two old malls and also the new OneKM mall. The old malls have this very old atmosphere inside. It's like stepping into the past. You can also relax at a cafe and draw if you are at one of the 2 new malls. The industrial buildings are on the other end. Please watch out for big vehicles when sketching there. Closer to Aljunied MRT station are two big temples which some of you might find interesting. One is very ornate. The Geylang East Library is a quiet pleasant library just beside the MRT tracks. And not far from there is the famous Geylang area where if you like drawing shop houses, it's all there. 

At 12PM, we will gather outside Aljunied MRT station below the tracks (facing the library). There, we shall do the show and tell.

For lunch, I recommend a Penang restaurant located at one of the shophouses just outside Aljunied MRT station. Try the Penang Char Kway Teow ($5) or Assam Laksa. Their other dishes are good too. The indian food next door is also decent.

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13 February 2015

Tips for choosing your location for USK-SG Vol.2

To all the contributors to the USK-SG Vol.2 book,

This note is just to make sure that when you are submitting a sketch, you are choosing the right location. I know that it takes some time to write a story. So I do not want you to spend a couple hours writing about locations that will not get chosen for the book.

We've gotten quite lot of submissions already, but some of them fall into the grey area. And although we really want to say "OK, can lah!", some will have to be re-submitted because the location doesn't fit the overall theme of the book. We found that the word "meaningful locations" can be interpreted in other ways than what we intended. So to be extra clear, here are some things to consider when choosing a location.

The location fits the book if it's a place:
1. you grew up at.
2. frequent very often in the past or present.
3. where something interesting/important/life-changing happened to you.
4. where a building that was meaningful to you used to stand. (your story will help us imagine the past.) eg. If the building has been renovated, you can draw the new one and talk about the old version in your story.

It won't fit the book if it's a just a place:
1. that reminded you of another place you have fond memories of.
2. you sketched because it was very interesting to sketch
3. that makes you feel nostalgic but you don't have any history in that place.

Some grey areas:

1. Drawing the interior of your house - This is a bit tricky because the interior of your house could look like any house in the world. But perhaps if you said or showed how your house relates to singapore homes, that might work; the general public who reads this book will be able to relate or find more interesting. I would try to avoid drawing the interior if possible. Instead, I would draw the outside as it is more recognisable to everyone. Even if it is a simple HDB block. People can then say, show their friends overseas and say"my HDB book looks like this!"

Same goes for drawing the interior of your workplace.

2. You drew it because this is where you had a fantastic sketch outing with your friends. Hmmm. Well, then the outing would be why it is memorable and not because the place was meaningful to you. Try to avoid this also because the public who will be reading the book may not care about sketching or sketch outings. They just want to know what's interesting about this place you drew and how it relates to your life. We are using sketches to talk about that and not using our sketches and stories to talk about sketching (at least not in this book.)

3. You drew it because it is a place you always see since young and it is going to be torn down. Well, unless you had a direct interaction with this place, and have some history or incident happened here, I think it won't do because it is just not meaningful enough to you.

4. Drawing the scene outside your window. That may be meaningful to you, provided that your story does mention what you do around those places you see outside the window. Basically, the scene must be of places that are meaningful to you too. So that when people read your story, they can imagine you doing those things in those locations. eg. you drew your carpark. Then tell what happens to you in that carpark. You always forget where you park your car?

If you've found that your sketch you submitted didn't fit the theme, you are welcome to resubmit using the same submission form.


11 February 2015

Fountain pens and colour pencils sketches

HBD flats at Queen Street
Sketched with fountain pens and colour pencils

Singapore Art Museum
Sketched with fountain pens and colour pencils

Church of Peter & Paul, Queen Street
Sketched with fountain pens and colour pencils

Singapore Art Museum and 8Q , Queen Street
Sketched with fountain pens and colour pencils

Raffles Place
Sketched with fountain pens and colour pencils

Ocean Financial Centre , Raffles Place
Sketched with Fountain pens and colour pencils

07 February 2015


Hi all,

The sketches and stories for Vol.2 have been coming in. There are some very good ones and some that still need that extra spark to make it an interesting read. For those that need some work to make it shine more, we will give you a call. Or you can work on it some more and re-submit your story to us.
If you have yet to submit your stories, please go through this list to see if you have hit the key things that will make your story a better read and avoid the things that should not be in there.  Let's make this book a quality book with good art and stories that we can all enjoy reading:)

Key things to include:
  1. What is the name of this place? (This is the title)
  2. Describe the sights, sounds, smells here (if interesting). This makes your sketch more alive.
  3. Why does this place have special meaning to you?
  4. What is ONE INTERESTING THING YOU EXPERIENCED AT THIS LOCATION? This is the most important part of your story. So you MUST answer this. This part will be what makes your story JUICY.
    Eg. “I was in a gang fight here….” Or “I proposed to my wife here by asking her…” Or “a grumpy auntie runs this prawn meet stall here and she would...”  In short, give us the juicy details! Don't be stingy with the juicy details! This will be what makes your story much more interesting to read. It can be something non-dramatic and routine but give us a slice of life, like playing a video recording of what you did there. Bring us into the scene. Walk us through it.
  5. Are there any interesting facts about this place that not many know? eg. which food stall is best in this hawker centre. Give your food review! Small nuggets of information will make your story better.
  6. How has this place changed?
  7. How did you feel about it then? And now?
Of all of the above key things, the 2 most most important things are to 1) describe the place and 2) recount one interesting thing you did or experienced here (in some detail).

Key things to avoid:

1. DO NOT write like a historian or architect or an urbansketcher. DO write like a person living and experiencing the location in Singapore.
2. DO NOT just write about your memory of you sketching the location or going on a sketchwalk. We want to know how the location touched you during your everyday life while you are not sketching. The general public who does not sketch will be able to relate to that better.
3.  DO NOT just say you "used to come here everyday" and have fond memories of the place. DO tell us one of those fond memories in detail. We want to read that!
4. DO NOT submit sketches and stories of places that are just interesting to you. Visiting a place once and sketching it doesn't count as a meaningful location. DO submit stories of sketches with locations that have special meaning to your own life because you've experienced the location first-hand and spent a lot of time there in your day-to-day life. Think nostalgic places from your past (or recent past) that you have fond memories of. And tell us those specific fond memories.

Here are some examples of what we are looking for:

This is by Don Low:
Title: Geylang Lorong 27

Geylang, according to some, is a rich and colourful neighbourhood. The area bounded between Geylang Road and Sims Avenue, is interspersed with clans, places of worship, shophouses, offices, malls, and residences. Most would remember the place as a red-light district. I remember the location more fondly as one with lots of eateries. We used to frequent the “Beef Hor Fun” store, the “Tofu You Tiao” store, and one or two “Zi Char” places. My parents loved to go there for food too, despite the congestion and the crowd. When foreigner friends visited Singapore, Geylang is the place we would bring them for food. Besides eating, I would visit Geylang to sketch, more so recently for the last 2-3 years. Every time I was there, different things happened. This round, an uncle on bicycle pulled up right in front of where I was sitting and began to hurl loud but friendly exchange with apparently his pals at the table, who in turn nonchalantly returned the conversation as though this happened everyday. I don’t see this everyday though. This carried on for like 5 mins and immediately after the man on the bike rode off. I could see this as the opening scene to a movie or a drama series on TV. I spent the next 20 mins finishing the sketch.

This is by me, Andrew. There is nothing exciting or dramatic here. But I try to put in a few interesting details into the story to bring the sketch to life:


This is the start point of the jogging path that begins across the road from Buona Vista MRT station and runs toward Clementi. It’s part of the park connector network (PCN) and it follows a canal. If I start at this end, run to the other end and back, I would cover 4km and it would take me 45mins. I usually do that when I’m not too lazy. Whenever I manage to get there in the mornings between 7-9am, there would be all kinds of people already on the path. I would see elderly folk standing along the track flapping their arms and doing other curious movements in order to improve blood circulation (I assume). I would also see aunties with hats chatting with one another as they went for their morning stroll. And I would almost always see this caucasian lady with a bouncy ponytail, brisk-walking a dog and she would be talking enthusiastically on her handphone with her free hand for the whole walk. I would always imagine she was talking to her sister or good friend over on the other side of the world.

I’ve used this path for over 20 years. It has helped me get ready for national service, pass my army fitness exams, and help me keep fit in general. On many evenings in the past, I remember cycling to this particular start point, chaining my bike to a railing, and waiting for my good friend from the army to meet me. We would run at a relaxed pace and chat about what was going on in our lives. We did that for a few years before we started having kids.

This is by Chit Seng

Title: KTM railway bridge
Every time I pass by this railway bridge that cross over head in upper Bukit Timah Road, it brings me to my childhood days of riding the night train to Malaysia (Penang ) to visit my great grandma during Chinese New Year.

During those days, the train seats are not numbered. When it is time to board the train, everyone will rushed into the carriage and “chop” their seats. Those who fail to get a seat will have to stand all the way their destination.

One year, we could not manage to “chop” a seat. It means that we have to stand all the way to Penang! Luckily a kind young man let us children to have his seat. I remember seeing him standing near the carriage doorway on my way to the loo.

After the rail bridge, the train would pass Ghim Moh area. We live in one of the block just beside it. We would sometime go spider hunting along that track.
We missed the sound of the train when the Keppel railway station stop its operation.

01 February 2015

Open air movie screening at National Museum of Singapore

I sketched this while waiting for the movie to start. Even at 1 hour before the screening time, seats on the open ground were already being snapped up quickly.

This open air movie screening is part of the Under the Banyan Tree programme by the National Museum of Singapore. At the last weekend on each month, there will be a free movie screening at night. This was the first time I've been to one and the atmosphere was great. The movie they showed was The Discreet Charm Of The Bourgeoisie, a French oldie directed by Luis Buñuel. Unfortunately, I don't really get the humour of the film.

Materials used: Noodler's Bulletproof black, Artgraf watersoluble graphite, ink wash.

- Parka

25 January 2015


For the first official sketchwalk of the year, we are going to do something special! We're going to do an Island-wide sketchwalk! The reason is because we want all of you to capture sketches for the upcoming Urbansketchers Singapore Vol.2 book. And all sketches need to be compiled by February! Very soon!

Let me tell you a bit more about the vol.2 book. It is a team-up with the National Library's Singapore Memory Project. So the focus of the book this round are sketches of places that have special meaning to you and your personal stories behind the places. In the book, your sketch and story will be displayed something like this: 

Got it?

Sketch can be landscape or portrait. We will adjust the layout.


We all have places in Singapore that are meaningful to us. It may be your old school, the neighbourhood playground where you used to play with your friends,  the place you got married, the shopping centre your parents used to take you to, where you used to hang out in your teenage years, or where something very happy or sad or important happened to you. We all have different locations in mind. So we can't all go to the same place. Therefore, this month, we splitting into mini groups.

You may form your own mini-group, do a solo, or join one of the mini groups that have been set up already (if your meaningful location is very close to theirs). To join a mini group listed below, simply show up at 4pm at the location stated. Call the mini group leader only if you are lost. No sign up or fees necessary. They are all friendly so make friends with them:) 

Name: Ignatius
Place/s you want to go: Tiong Bahru
Meeting point: Tiong Bahru Food Centre. Ground level next to the escalator. 4pm.
Time: 4-7pm 

Name: Tony Chua
Place/s you want to go: In vinicity area of Telok Kurau till Still Road.
Meeting Point: Penny University, Artisanal Coffeeshop, 402, East Coast. Just outside the main entrance. 4pm.
Time: 4- 7pm 

Name:  David Liew
Place/s you want to go: Holland Village / Chip Bee Estate 
Meeting point:  Holland V MRT (in front of Old Chang Kee) 4pm.
Time: 4-7pm

Name:  Don Low
Place/s you want to go: Race Course Road
Meeting point:  Farrer MRT Station Control at 4pm
Time: 4-7pm

Place/s you want to go: About Street 11, Pasir Ris
Meeting point:  Pasir Ris MRT station counter at 4pm
Time: 4-7pm

Name: Francis Theo
Place/s you want to go: Tras St and Peck Seah St area
Meeting point: Tanjong Pager MRT station counter at 4pm
Time: 4-7pm

Name: Ban Pang
Place/s you want to go: Kampong on mainland Singapore, Kampong Buangkok
Meeting point: Meet at Shell Station next to Gerald Dr. at 4pm
Time: 4-7pm

Name: Lim Ham Seng and Dawn Lo
Place/s you want to go: Sunset Way Park Connector
Meeting point: Blk 308 Coffee Shop Clementi Ave 4 at 4pm
Time: 4-7pm

Place/s you want to go: Prinsep St and Waterloo St Vacinity
Meeting point: Outside Prinsep Street Presbyterian Church at 4pm
Time: 4-7pm

Name: Andrew Tan Tsun Wen
Place/s you want to go: Serene Centre along bukit timah road. And then take a bus to Bukit Timah Plaza.
Meeting point: MacDonalds at Serene Centre at 4pm
Time: 4-7pm

Name: Kevin Tan
Place/s you want to go: Chinatown
Meeting Point: Smith St cross junction
Time: 4-7pm

Name : Andrew yeo kh 
Place/s you want to go: Tanglin Halt Road area 
Meeting point : Commonwealth MRT station control at 4pm 
Time: 4-7 pm

Name: Alice Lim
Place/s you want to go: Dakota crescent 
Meeting point: Tian Kee and Co.

Name: Geraldine
Location: SUTD campus, 8 Somapah Drive (Expo Station) 
Meeting Point: Campus centre (near drop off point)
Time: 10am-1pm (NOTE SPECIAL TIMING)

If none of the above locations appeal to you, you can form your own mini-group! And you can do it informally with your own friends. If you'd like to list your mini-group here, please Facebook PM me, Andrew Tan Tsun Wen. The group can start at any time during the day. Please send me the details in this format before thursday midnight :
Phone number: 
Place/s you want to go: 
Meeting Point: 

By the way, even if you not intending to contribute to the book, you are can still tag along and draw for fun.


It will be an online Facebook "show and tell" this time. Between 7-8pm, you are encouraged to post your drawings you have done that day! You could also informally meet with other mini-groups for dinner!


No hurry on this. Go sketch your meaningful sketch location. Let the location jog your memory. Then go home and type it up. Keep the story short. 1 or 2 paragraphs will do. Do not write pages and pages as we will not have enough room in the book. Of course, if it is a great story, write a bit more.

Don't worry if you feel you aren't a good story writer. We just want you to write from the heart as if you are writing in your own diary. Simple and heartfelt. And we will help you edit any spelling mistakes or grammer errors. To help you write a simple short story, follow this rough guideline (you don't have to use every question. This is just to help you think) :

1. What is this place you drew?
2. What do/did you see, hear, smell here? 
3. What happened to you here that makes this place special to you?
4. How has it changed?
5. How did it make you feel then? And now?


We are still sorting out the best way you can submit your sketch & story. For the time being, find a scanner and scan your work at 600dpi, RGB, and saved as in the .jpg format. Make sure the sketch is clear.

For stories, save it as a .doc file or .txt file.

Ideally, we will want to include everyone who submits. But the editorial team will have the right to select and reject submissions based on quality and suitability.

Just to be clear, all sketches need to be drawn on location in Singapore. Not from photographs.

27 December 2014

Orchard Rd on a Gloomy Day

Here are two sketches I drew today at the last sketchwalk.

They are drawn on the Stillman & Birn Delta sketchbook that I bought 2 years ago. Yeah, I'm only using it now. Damn, I discovered just behind the cover, there are spots of mould. -_-. The pages inside are alright though, for the time being. Singapore's wet weather is brutal to paper.

Orchard Road is not on my list of favourite places in Singapore. While it's touted as a shopping street, personally, I find it to be quite soul-less. Maybe it's just me. I'm not a shopping person.

Shopping centres line the streets and that pretty much sums up the shopping district of Singapore.

It was a gloomy overcast day at Orchard Road today. There weren't many people on the streets, and they are mostly tourists. It could be that many locals have taken the day off on Friday to extend their Christmas holiday (Thursday) into a long weekend.

The sketch above's drawn with Noodler's Bulletproof Ink and a Sennelier 12-pan watercolour set. I'm still trying to get the hang of it. So far, I've to say that it's comparable to Winsor Newton, Blockx or Schmincke sets.

The colours I used were Lemon Yellow, Alizarin Crimson, Phthalo Blue, Forest Green and Warm Sepia.

For this piece, I used almost the same colours here except I swapped out the Alizarin Crimson for French Vermilion.

Orchard Rd Sketchwalk Dec 2014

22 December 2014


Sketch by Daman Angir

Merry Christmas! For this month's sketchwalk, meet us at 9AM outside McDonald's at SCAPE. The closest MRT station is Somerset. We will have a quick briefing and then start on the sketchwalk toward Plaza Singapura.

The route in the map is only the general direction and you are encouraged to take your own detours to discover other views of Orchard Rd than the obvious. For example, take Somerset Road instead. There is a skateboard park there. And if you go up to the 3rd floor of Orchard Gateway, you will get to sketch the new Library@Orchard. Climb up to the top of Orchard Central and you get a bird's eye view of the area. Yes, explore both inside and outside of the malls. Or around and behind. Turn up to Emerald hill to sketch shophouses. Or stop by a cafe, relax and sketch.

Pace yourself so that you can gather with the group again at 12PM sharp OUTSIDE of the entrance to Plaza Singapura. If it rains, look for the nearest shelter there.

See you on saturday. Anyone and everyone is welcome to join. No drawing skill level required. No fees either. Just bring your own drawing materials and show up on time. If you are late, just look for anyone with a sketchbook drawing along the way. Only in case of emergencies, call 91070735.

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20 December 2014

My Separate Malacca Trip

My husband and I went to Malacca for a short weekend company getaway trip a week earlier than my sketcher friends. Malacca was super crowded and the traffic jam was so bad. There was no way for me to sketch the famous landmark - The Red House with the group tour but I still managed to sketch when the tour members went shopping and I stayed in the hotel room or a cafe to relax and sketch.

This view was from our hotel room at Hatten Hotel just opposite the Dataran Pahlawan Melaka Megamall looking at Malacca skyline. The famous Jonkor Street is in the middle with the yellow end wall. Overall, the impression of this trip was not up to my expectation but our spirit was always high.

We were lucky to have a room with a view at Hatten Hotel on the 16th storey. The room was very big with 2 TVs. It was love at first sight but later on, we had to call for bath towers and the curtains did not work that I had to use the paper clips I brought for sketches to hold the curtains together. I noticed some rooms like those opposite our corridor faced the 5-metre narrow internal courtyard overlooking each other's room.

You can see my other Malacca sketches on my blog.