Sarawak on a Sketch Pad

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Whilst in San Francisco in 2006, after having spent an entire day drawing and walking around the city, Enrico Casarosa initiated the idea of a drawing marathon, which he subsequently named ‘SketchCrawl™’. Although drawing, sketching or other passions concerning creativity are often regarded as something done in solitude, Enrico felt that the concept would be more interesting if the marathon involves other artists and not just one individual.

Today, SketchCrawl™ has become a global event where people all over the world get together in groups and spend a day sketching and sharing their sketches online. The concept is simple. Get together in a group. Find a perfect spot. Then start sketching! It doesn’t matter whether you are a brilliant artist or a newbie; or you prefer sketching using a short, stubby pencil or a whole set of watercolours; or being able to just finish 1 sketch as opposed to your friend who can complete 10 in a single day! You are not bound by any rules whatsoever.

What happens when the day is over, you might ask? Well some sketchers share their sketches online, while others prefer to keep their sketches safely tucked away in their art journal (there are no rules, remember)? Before parting ways and heading home, they might enjoy a nice meal or drinks together, sharing the day’s experiences.

Sketchers draw anything and everything they observe. The sketching groups gather indoors or outdoors, but the sketchcrawl concept remains the same i.e. sharing an in-location sketching time with other group members. Perhaps one of the aspects that makes it such an awesome and memorable experience is the diversity of the group members.

Urban Sketchers is a global community of sketchers with over 156 regional chapters, including Urban Sketchers Kuching. Contact them if you are interested to join a sketchcrawl in Kuching. Urban Sketchers Kuching was founded in 2012 by Ms Peggy Wong, an architect. It is a group for urban sketchers however, international members can join the group as long as their posts and discussions are related to Kuching (or Sarawak).

A magnificent watercolour sketch of the Kuching Waterfront by Ms Peggy Wong (Urban Sketchers Kuching). 

Photo credit: https://www.travel360.com/sketchwalking-malaysia-asia/

Check out some of Urban Sketchers Kuching’s sketchcrawl activities in the photos below:

Through the eyes of different sketchers – rear façade of Padungan. 

Photo credit: Urban Sketchers Kuching Facebook page

A graphic novel workshop with Mr Christophe Alliel, a comic book artist from France, organised by Urban Sketchers Kuching in 2015.  

Photo credit: https://jeephotography.com/portfolio/usk-kuching-graphic-novel-workshop-with-christophe-alliel/ 

Members of Urban Sketchers Kuching at the Earthlings Coffee Workshop in 2017. Read more about the Earthlings Coffee Workshop here https://sarawaktourism.com/story/unique-themed-cafes-in-sarawak/ 

Photo credit: Urban Sketchers Kuching Facebook page 

One of the activities organised by Urban Sketchers Kuching was the ASIA-Link Sketchwalk: Kuching 2017. It was a 3-day event consisting of sketching, workshops and sharing sessions with ASEAN urban sketchers. 7 sketchwalks were organised for participants during the event. Check out some of the participants’ activities in the photos below:

Sketchers sketch Fort Margherita, one of Kuching, Sarawak’s important landmarks.

Photo credit: https://www.facebook.com/ALSWKCH/

Having a light moment with a fellow sketcher.

Photo credit: https://www.facebook.com/ALSWKCH/ 

Participants of the ASIA-Link Sketchwalk: Kuching 2017.

Photo credit: https://www.facebook.com/ALSWKCH/ 

Remember you don’t need to be an expert to be a sketcher. But sketching requires a little bit of preparation and the right tools. So before your trip and depending on your style of sketching, you’ll need some or all of the following!

  • Sketchbook
  • Pencils (graphite or mechanical)
  • Soft vinyl/kneaded eraser
  • Art pencil sharpener
  • Drawing pens
  • Watercolour or acrylic paint sets
  • Paintbrushes
  • Watercolour paper/canvas pad
  • Drawing board or an easel
  • A container for your art supplies
  • (and why not throw in a cool artist bag to add to the collection too)?

If you don’t have time to stock up before you travel, don’t worry as there are places in Kuching where you can stock up on your art supplies:

  • Techno-Graphic Satok
    Address: Lot 319, Jalan Rubber, 93400 Kuching, Sarawak
    Phone: 082-241559
    Opening hours: 8.00am – 5.00pm (closed on Sunday)
  • Meiji Trading Company
    Address: 7F, Ground Floor, Lorong 1 Off Jalan Rubber, 93400 Kuching, Sarawak
    Phone: 082-419202
    Opening hours: 8.30am – 5.30pm (closed on Sunday)

Now all that’s left to do is to go to some of Kuching’s favourite spots for your first sketchcrawling experience. Artists and sketching enthusiasts in the know, recommend the following places: 

If you prefer to join a group of sketching buffs and spend a day out making new friends in this beautiful city, then reach out to one of the groups above to find out if there are any sketchcrawling events during your trip. That way, you get to experience not only the magnificent sights and sounds of Kuching, but also make some new friends, and create memories forever with your sketches. And if you have ever thought that drawing is just not your thing or will never be something you’ll be good at; well, think again, because sketchcrawling is an easy way of introducing you to the magical world of art while creating a unique record of your travels through drawings and sketches. And who knows, you might just fall in love with sketching. 

Have you ever participated in a sketchcrawl? Would you like to recommend any spots in Sarawak that we should visit for a fabulous day out sketching? If you have, do share your stories, and of course your sketches too, on STB’s social media!  

Just a reminder, the ‘Sia Sitok Sarawak’ campaign provides the opportunity to visit awesome spots in over 30 travel attractions in Kuching, Sibu, Mukah, Bintulu, Miri and Mulu, and getting discounts of up to 50%! Of particular interest to sketchers are the Kuching Heritage Walk that includes visits to Kuching’s Old State Mosque, the Square Tower and the Chinese History Museum amongst others or the Batu Lintang World War II Historic Tour which provides not only an opportunity to explore the wonders of Sarawak’s WWII history, but also to capture the memories in sketches.

SiaSitok banner 16Nov2020

The ‘Sia Sitok Sarawak’ campaign is applicable to Sarawak residents only and the booking period has been extended to 31 December 2020, for travels from 1 August 2020 up to 31 March 2021. Click here for more information on other tour packages. 

Effective 4 October 2020, Malaysians and foreign citizens need to apply for permission to enter Sarawak and submit an e-health declaration form at least 12 hours before entry (https://sarawakdisastermc.com/). 14-days at a quarantine centre is mandatory and Covid-19 tests will be done on the 2nd and 10th day (all costs are self-borne). Different rules apply for Sarawakians returning home. Click here for further updates. 

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