Sunday Sketchup: Cambodian Collage

Welcome 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.

It’s Sunday Sketchup time! 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

It’s hard not to be impressed with Cambodian temples (or “wats” as the parlance goes) and all the wonderful Buddhist art that surrounds them. I started this week’s work with a sketch of an odd little statue with oversized hands we saw at a wat near Kampot. I thought it was a nice rendition and interestingly done, and I think it lends itself well to being drawn by hand.

I followed with a drawing of a wat we visited nearer to Kep, and it is tentatively titled “Scribble Wat.” Also, every time we go to a wat I can’t help but make a wat joke (WAT is the deal with this place? WAT’s that there?), to Steph’s endless (I am sure) amusement. This drawing of the wat ignores about 90% of the actual detail, and of the 10% I included, about 50% of that is either made up or just scribbles. In art school I learned a term – horror vacui – which essentially means fear of empty space, or a burning need to cover every inch of a work with detail. There is no finer example of this than a wat, and if I wanted to draw it faithfully, it would have taken me a year. See if you can figure out where I got tired of the detail work and just went for broke (hint: the bottom).

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19 comments Leave a comment

  1. Another great sketch! There’s so much detail in those temples which, as I can imagine, is hard to capture in a drawing, and I think you did a great job there, even though you got tired of it. WAT’s up with that?

    May. 26 2013 @ 7:17 am
    1. Nick author

      Hahaha, thanks! There is more detail than I can possibly imagine, and it did wear me out. I can’t imagine how it must have gone for the people who designed the actual temple. Sheesh!

      May. 28 2013 @ 5:57 am
  2. another impressive sketch hehehehe! ove buddhas and temples so much!

    when the Creator gave away art skills to humans, i wonder where I was hiding. haha!

    May. 26 2013 @ 8:00 am
    1. Apol of Wanderful Together author

      Thanks so much! I guess we all got touched with our own gifts, and people often don’t give themselves enough credit!

      May. 28 2013 @ 5:58 am
  3. This is another great sketch! I love this new series on your blog and I’m so glad traveling has given you the time and the inspiration of drawing more. Keep them coming 🙂

    May. 26 2013 @ 10:00 am
    1. Franca author

      Thanks! I’ll definitely keep trucking on this, it’s been a great project so far, and I look forward to my sketching time every week.

      May. 28 2013 @ 6:03 am
  4. I can see that I’m going to be looking forward to every Sunday, just to see ‘Wat’ you’ve sketched up next. There are so many styles of capturing what we see onto paper. I like your quick, get-er-done approach. I’m working on that style, but the details always seem to get in my way. I also like it that you throw in some commentary on the how, why and what of the drawing. Between you and Steph, you’re capturing it all! Keep it up.

    PS When will we be able to smell the photos of food that you taunt us with?

    May. 26 2013 @ 3:07 pm
    1. Steve C author

      Ha! Thanks! Everyone loves a wat pun, no? I can easily get bogged down in details, this week’s drawing was specifically done to try and hone a more loose, less rigid style. I find that if I’m not careful i can spend an hour drawing and re-drawing an eye, or a small part of a facade. Sometimes you have to force yourself to do something you’re uncomfortable with so that you can understand how to sharpen the style you enjoy.

      May. 28 2013 @ 6:06 am
  5. Brilliant sketch – I wish I could draw half as well as you! It’s great how travel allows you the time to rediscover creative outlets you don’t normally have the time to indulge in while back in the daily grind.

    May. 27 2013 @ 11:12 pm
    1. Amy author

      Finding time to do the things we love has been a huge component of this trip and it’s been probably one of the most rewarding aspects of our time abroad. Anyone can do the things they love, they just need the time to figure out what those things are!

      May. 28 2013 @ 6:07 am
  6. Love it! I’ve only recently started sketching again, although mine don’t look quite as good as yours. Must feel great to be investing in the things you’re really interested in! I loved last weeks sketch as well-so much like all the motorcycles we’ve seen in Asia!

    May. 28 2013 @ 12:42 am
    1. Casey @ A Cruising Couple author

      Thanks! Keep up with the sketching, creativity is a muscle and the more you exercise it the stronger it gets! The only way to get better at drawing is to draw more! I’d love to see some of your work one day!

      May. 28 2013 @ 6:09 am
  7. Oh dear, I love a good pun.

    May. 28 2013 @ 10:13 am
    1. Carmel and Shawn

      Don’t we all?

      May. 29 2013 @ 8:53 am
  8. Another great sketch, Tony! Like you, I also tend to get caught up in how much detail to include… I was actually reading an interesting post about this and composition on Urban Sketchers the other day ( and was really glad to see them talk about simplifying your sketch, and leaving out detail to create focus. All that being said, I love the amount of detail you did (and didn’t) include here! It’s just enough to bring it to life for us 🙂

    May. 29 2013 @ 8:11 am
    1. Candace author

      Thanks so much! I try to keep design concepts like those in the article (great read BTW!) in mind when I draw. I had a really great figure drawing teacher in college who helped me understand visually how to create contrast and interest, and my years of design training and work also steer me towards drawing what I want the viewer to see and not necessarily exactly what I see. Sometimes you have to fake or exaggerate (or simplify!) parts of a drawing to make it more believable or interesting. Seems counterintuitive, but it is very true!

      May. 29 2013 @ 8:59 am
  9. Loving the sketches Tony! You are a talented artist! Love the area of Cambodia you are currently in, it was our first destination on our RTW, so lots of fond memories! Enjoy! Oh, I would LOVE to see a sketch of the abandoned Palace at the top of Bokor mountain :).

    Jun. 1 2013 @ 5:49 pm
  10. This is beautiful! We’ve just left Cambodia, so these are really timely for us 🙂

    Jun. 5 2013 @ 8:05 am
  11. My hubby made his fair share of wat jokes while we were there, endearingly giving wat a big inflection. WaaAAAT is this? He sounded like the Count from Sesame Street LOL!

    Jun. 6 2013 @ 9:13 am

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