vietnam_01Welcome to another new feature here on Twenty Years Hence! Every Sunday I plan on putting up something I’ve drawn, in one form or another, on the blog. The content will be whatever has moved me during the previous week, and this may not always be travel-related.

Ever since Steph and I left on our trip, I’ve been slowly getting back to my roots in the fine arts. For years I was stuck behind a computer, working very little with my hands and even less outside of my office. As we’ve been moving around, the world has inspired me to concentrate on doing what I love, and what I love is to express my creativity. I love photography, and the blog has been a great outlet for that, but I also love to draw, and slowly getting back into the habit of sketching has been really enjoyable, so I thought I would share it with all of you!

About the Sketch

Everyone knows that people in Vietnam are geniuses when it comes to motorcycles, generally in a way that is hard for us western folk to comprehend. This drawing is a (tongue-in-cheek) tribute to all the people we’ve seen every day getting it done on two wheels, whether that means getting from A to B, or hauling more stuff than you could fit in a small truck. Some of the things we’ve seen on the back of a “moto” range from the ridiculous to the absurd, and it’s always done with a look that says “ain’t no thang” no matter how many pigs and bicycles are strapped behind the driver.

Written by: Tony


As a designer by trade and a former professional photographer, there isn't much in the world of visual communication that I haven't worked on. From web projects, to museum interiors, to weddings and portraits, my career to this point has run the gamut of visual media. Born and raised in a sleepy town in southeast Minnesota, I moved to Nashville to pursue my education. I ended up meeting the love of my life and adopting the two best dogs this side of the Mason-Dixon line. I love two-wheeled transport, trying new food and am a bit of a gadget freak. I love a good book, and have music playing almost constantly. After over a decade in the same city, I'm quickly getting used to the idea of having no fixed address, and hope all of you enjoy my ramblings about our ramblings.

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Read comments (38)

  1. May 19, 2013 at 7:06 am
    May. 19, '13

    hahahaha this is super brilliant…

    and this is so true in Vietnam!!
    Apol of Wanderful Together recently posted..Stilts & Stairs: Traditional Houses in Cambodia

    • May 22, 2013 at 1:25 am
      May. 22, '13

      Thanks so much! Can’t even tell you about all the wild things we saw on motorbikes there.

  2. May 19, 2013 at 7:08 am
    May. 19, '13

    Love it!!! Oh how I wish I could draw, or had even one stitch of creativity in me. I’m going to LOVE this new series. And this one is certainly true to life!!
    Gillian @GlobalBookshelf recently posted..Monthly Feature: Land Of The Rising Sun

    • May 22, 2013 at 1:26 am
      May. 22, '13

      Thanks a lot! Just remember before you’re too hard n yourself, there are many types of creativity beyond visual… I’ll be glad to have you follow along!

  3. May 19, 2013 at 9:20 am
    May. 19, '13

    I really like this sketch and look forward to this as a regular feature. Before I knew it was your sketch, my first thought was “Where did they find such a cool drawing?”

    • May 22, 2013 at 1:27 am
      May. 22, '13

      Haha, thanks! It’s good to get back into the habit of drawing again.

  4. Paul Kuehn
    May 19, 2013 at 10:20 am
    May. 19, '13

    Very glad to see you getting back to sketching or whatever else, it makes me happy . . . Pop

    • May 22, 2013 at 1:31 am
      May. 22, '13

      Me too! Just sorry I let it go for so long.

  5. May 19, 2013 at 11:46 am
    May. 19, '13

    Tony, Great new addition to your blog!! It will add a new outlet for your talents and adds a new dimension that not many travel blogs have.

    I’ve got a collection of pencil sketches, done on several trips. They are more renderings of cityscapes (buildings) and landscapes. I’m not too good at people, maybe someday. On our last trip to S/E Asia, my family and I all took a rest in the shade to sketch the icon view of Angkor Wat. We allowed an hour or so and each of our sketches was very different. From a small detailed portion of one structure, to an overall view with the moat in the foreground, each of us had an individually interesting way to depict what we were seeing. Of all the souvenirs we collected along that trip, those sketches are the most treasured.

    Another enjoyable part of sitting and doing a drawing is that you always have people come up and look over your shoulder to see what you’re doing. It’s a great conversation starter with both locals and other travelers. Where photography is a walk up, compose the shot, click and on your way; sketching is more of a novel compared to a short story. With a drawing taking much more time to complete, one sitting can become an adventure in itself. You not only find yourself “seeing” much more of what you’re looking at, but also learning more from all the stories that strangers come up with.

    If you’re a traveler and don’t think you can draw, try taking a class before you take off on your next trip. It will add so much more to your experiences. Thanks, Tony, for adding this new part to your blog. I hope it will inspire more to do the same.

    • May 22, 2013 at 1:33 am
      May. 22, '13

      I hope it inspires people too, not only to draw but to be unafraid to pursue whatever creative outlet they desire. Lots of people say they can’t draw, but I’ve found most anyone can get better with guidance and practice, and it’s very rewarding! Thanks for your kind words!

  6. May 19, 2013 at 1:38 pm
    May. 19, '13

    I had no idea that Tony was such a talented artist. I love it!
    Jackie (Farm Lane Books) recently posted..A Busy Few Weeks

    • May 22, 2013 at 1:34 am
      May. 22, '13

      Thanks so much! I guess I should have something to show for 4 years of art at university!

  7. May 19, 2013 at 7:48 pm
    May. 19, '13

    Love this sketch and look forward to see the next one, Tony! 🙂

    • May 22, 2013 at 1:34 am
      May. 22, '13

      Thanks! Not long to wait now!

  8. May 20, 2013 at 10:00 am
    May. 20, '13

    That’s awesome. I am excited to see more of your work!
    Carmel recently posted..LEAVING THE JOB

    • May 22, 2013 at 8:56 am
      May. 22, '13

      Thanks! All this positive feedback is sure to keep me motivated!

  9. May 20, 2013 at 6:29 pm
    May. 20, '13

    love this!

    • May 22, 2013 at 9:06 am
      May. 22, '13

      Thank you!

  10. May 20, 2013 at 10:35 pm
    May. 20, '13

    Geez, you two are so talented! Is there anything you can’t do? 😉
    Rika | Cubicle Throwdown recently posted..Could you live off a dive instructor’s wage on Roatan?

    • May 22, 2013 at 9:07 am
      May. 22, '13

      I’ll let you know when we find out 😉 Seriously though, thanks!

  11. May 21, 2013 at 5:29 pm
    May. 21, '13

    Love the sketch! You’re very talented and I really look forward to more installments of this new feature. Thanks for sharing your creativity and continue to enjoy the adventures of SE Asia!

    • May 22, 2013 at 9:09 am
      May. 22, '13

      Thanks, we’ll keep up on our end, just glad to see people are enjoying my drawing!

  12. May 21, 2013 at 10:48 pm
    May. 21, '13

    *Love* this! I’m in Vietnam at the moment and it’s crazy the amount of things people carry on their bikes. I once saw someone with a refrigerator balanced precariously on the back!
    Lauren recently posted..A Porto Summer; Off The Beaten Track

    • May 23, 2013 at 9:36 pm
      May. 23, '13

      Haha, yeah, we passed someone on the Ho Chi Minh Trail who had a chest freezer on the back of his bike, and not one of the little ones. He was making pretty good time too!

  13. May 22, 2013 at 4:27 am
    May. 22, '13

    Wow Tony, I love your drawing style. That’s a very accurate depiction of motorcycles in Vietnam (and SEA in general).

    We love to see how people manage to stack practically a complete household inventory including family of four on a two seated moped, so inventive.
    Nick recently posted..For the weekend // 01

    • May 22, 2013 at 9:12 am
      May. 22, '13

      Thanks so much! We’ve seen some nutty stuff, five people and their shopping bags, people sitting on top of boxes, all very talented and riding the ragged edge of disaster most of the time.

  14. May 23, 2013 at 3:06 pm
    May. 23, '13

    I LOVE your sketches!!! I’m going back through your archive to find more!
    jill recently posted..Canada Adventure: Ontario and Quebec

    • May 23, 2013 at 9:37 pm
      May. 23, '13

      Thanks so much, and I’m sorry to disappoint, but this is the first! Check back every Sunday from here on out for new ones!

  15. May 23, 2013 at 4:33 pm
    May. 23, '13

    Hi Tony, Ha! Ha! Love it! Great depiction of Vietnam’s moto culture.
    Your sketch is excellent. I wish I sketch like that.
    Marisol recently posted..Visiting Cambodia’s Painful Past

    • May 23, 2013 at 9:39 pm
      May. 23, '13

      Thanks! Motorcycle culture in Vietnam is so integral to everyday life, it just seemed like I had to tackle it somehow. We felt a little kinship with them, overloaded as we were on our own moto (nothing like this though!).

  16. May 25, 2013 at 10:48 am
    May. 25, '13

    This is so great! Did you do it on paper and scan it? Or did you draw it digitally somehow? Amazing!
    Cassie recently posted..A Marin County Cheese, Oyster & Beer Tour

    • May 28, 2013 at 5:54 am
      May. 28, '13

      Thanks! I started in my moleskine with a fine-tip sharpie and then used that as a guide for the final drawing, which I did freehand on the iPad using an Adobe program. I have a little stylus for the iPad that makes drawing pretty nice, it’s not really as good as a pressure-sensitive Wacom tablet for drawing, but it’s not bad, all things considered!

  17. May 25, 2013 at 7:29 pm
    May. 25, '13

    !! Tony! This is great! Thank you for sharing your drawings. I can’t wait to see more!

    • May 28, 2013 at 5:56 am
      May. 28, '13

      Thanks so much! I hope you continues to enjoy them! Thanks for looking!

  18. May 29, 2013 at 7:53 am
    May. 29, '13

    It’s so fun to come across another travel sketch artist! Tony, this sketch is absolutely brilliant – and I think what might be my favorite thing about it is the expression on the pig’s face. So perfectly non-chalant 🙂 I’m really looking forward to seeing more of your sketches!
    Candace recently posted..sketching southeast asia and japan: thai canals, a trip in review, and thank you!

    • May 29, 2013 at 7:57 am
      May. 29, '13

      I wouldn’t qualify myself as a travel sketch artist just yet, I don’t think I have the chops for it… But I’m doing my best to get there. Thanks so much for the comment and compliment!

  19. Paul Kuehn
    May 29, 2013 at 9:28 pm
    May. 29, '13

    Tony, when you were little your drawings were so beautiful and creative,and I think the computer art took you away from that ,now its like you are blossoming again,I can see such perfection and humor in the motorcycle drawing,and the temple and buddah definatly could be a book cover, anyway I made copies of them and will start a collection ,meanwhile ill try not to brag about you !!! Mom

    • June 8, 2013 at 8:20 pm
      Jun. 8, '13

      awww, thanks mom!

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