Mike Smith (Illustrator)


Here are some pictures from our trip through China, from 14th-24th October. We stopped at Beijing, Yangshuo and Nanning. I’d learned some Mandarin from CDs before we came, which meant that on the Chinese trains, instead of being completely misunderstood, I could be a comedy feature and be completely misunderstood.

Travel sketchbook diary, London-Singapore by train: Chinese pagoda

Travel sketchbook diary, London-Singapore by train: view from hostel

Travel sketchbook diary, London-Singapore by train: Yangshuo mountains

Travel sketchbook diary, London-Singapore by train: Chinese stall watercolour

Travel sketchbook diary, London-Singapore by train: Chinese street, Yangshuo

Special memories: seeing someone flying a kite in Beijing with such a long line that you couldn’t see the kite; hiring bikes in Yangshuo then getting stuck on the wrong side of a river and getting rafted across by a bunch of old ladies; the train trip where we sat at the back in the special gobbing/smoking compartment.


  1. Posted October 30, 2011 at 10:45 am | Permalink

    i really love these, they’re great.

  2. Jenni Bradbury
    Posted December 20, 2011 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

    Mike, I’ve spent the last two evenings catching up on all of the years passim and have laughed and cried through them. You are so bloody talented it makes me want to hawk up a biggie and spit! And believe me, I’ve watched how they do it, so could probably managed a pretty decent result!
    It’s your comment here about speaking Chinese that has really struck a chord with me…I’ve now got an amazing arsenal of words under my belt but, no matter how hard/nonchalantly I try, I’m met with blank stares and then, laughter!! It’s the bloody tones!!!! God only knows what I’ve actually said to people in markets, on the streets, in the park, but it isn’t what was heard! Luckily, I’ve not managed to insult anyone yet, and I do have 3 years to get it right!!!
    Congratulations on Ellery Paul’s safe arrival…..I look forward to seeing the birth (well, bits of it!) here soon!
    Love to you all – Jenni xxx

  3. Mike
    Posted December 20, 2011 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

    Thank you so much Jenni! I pity you reading through that lot of old posts!

    The only time I was understood in Chinese was waiting at a bus stop, and a lady spoke to me in English, telling me to wait. And I replied in Chinese ‘We must wait?’ which was completely redundant, but I wanted to try it out. And she replied ‘Oh! You speak Chinese!’ which made me very proud. I think the moral is that if you make enough random tonal squawks then something must work one day!

    I look forward to hearing you when you are expert.

    Thank you for buying Edward Hopper by the way. I would’ve happily sent you a PDF of it.