Mike Smith (Illustrator)

Monthly Archives: September 2011

Taiga Forest

In Tomsk we met someone called Gregory who got together some of his mates with carrier bags full of vodka bottles, and took us into the Taiga Forest to murder us for a barbecue.

Travel sketchbook diary, London-Singapore by train: Russia: Taiga forest

Gregory turned out to be the perfect host, guiding us back out of the forest in the small hours.

Travel sketchbook diary, London-Singapore by train: Russia: Tomsk

The trouble with staying in hostels is that you get on a kind of treadmill, meeting only other tourists. (We tried to correct this by using the couchsurfing website.) I wish I’d done more cartoons like the one below, but the trains and buses were too clattery to draw in.

Travel sketchbook diary, London-Singapore by train: cartoon of international hostellers


On cafes, comics and caviar

Omsk and Tomsk

When Caz was little there was a world map their kitchen wall, and she found it hilarious that there was a place called Omsk and a place called Tomsk. Her Dad said they must go there one day, so we took a diversion to Tomsk, which is a small branch line (ie several hours in Russian terms) off the trans-Siberian railway. Caz’s Dad flew in to Moscow and joined us especially for that bit.

Travel diary, London-Singapore by train: Moscow to Omsk

Travel diary, London-Singapore by train: Omsk

“The lady said she knows 3 expressions in English: ‘Thank you,’ ‘I love you,’ and ‘It’s a miracle!’”

Travel diary, London-Singapore by train: Taiga and Tomsk


Five AM and all's not well

London to Singapore

Posting the sketchbook images from Beijing the other day made me realise it’s exactly four years since Caz and I made the trip from London to Singapore by train. We left on 17th September, arrived on 13th November, then spent 6 weeks in New Zealand. I thought it would be nice to post each page here on the same day four years later.

The text was intended just to jog my memory for writing it all up later, but of course I never did. Some of the drawings are truly awful but because I’m a completeness freak I’m going to scan them all.

Er, including the first one where the pencil got smudged into oblivion. No-one will ever know what we got up to in Minsk.

Travel diary, London-Singapore by train: Minsk and Moscow

Travel diary, London-Singapore by train: Moscow


Socialization skills for children

More Telegraph Poles

Talking about messy telegraph poles at Dungeness made me think of these biro sketches I did in a Beijing back street about four years ago. Every time I see one I get an ache to draw it. I dread to think why.

Sketch: telegraph poles in Beijing street

What this reminds me of more than anything is the sound of people hacking and gobbing in the street.


Baby learns how to put things away


Dungeness lighthouse painting

Pencil sketch of a house at Dungeness

Dungeness lighthouse and nuclear power station painting

While we were on the south coast I did some sketching at Dungeness. It’s got to be one of the best places in the UK to go with a pad and pencil. It’s got everything, including loads of messy telegraph poles, which I particularly love drawing.

Caz’s dad is responsible for the design of part of the nuclear power station, but I can’t remember which bit.


Tale of a man lost on an island in a sea of mawkishness

Robinson Crusoe music on YouTube