Mike Smith (Illustrator)

Tag Archives: watercolour

200415

Wood anniversary

Laos

From 28th October to 5th November we crossed from Vietnam to Thailand via Laos, by bus. Places we stopped at: Buddhist monk-populated Savannakhet, and Pakse, from where we took a boat to a tiny village called Champasak on the Mekong river. This was a lovely place (probably my favourite of the whole trip) which was just a cycle ride away from Wat Pho — a less grand but very beautiful version of Cambodia’s Angkor Wat.

We also went kayaking, but the less said about that the better.

Travel sketchbook diary, London-Singapore by train: Pakse building

This is a bit of a naff picture of the Mekong, but it’s the only one I had.

Travel sketchbook diary, London-Singapore by train: Mekong boat

Travel sketchbook diary, London-Singapore by train: Mekong boat

Travel sketchbook diary, London-Singapore by train: Buddha statue at Wat Pho

Travel sketchbook diary, London-Singapore by train: road in Champasak

Vietnam

We spent a few days in Hanoi in the north. The original plan was to travel to Ho Chi Minh City in the south — it being the furthest point by rail that we could reach from London — but we realised we would then run out of time to get to Singapore. So we decided to go half way down the country to Dong Ha, where we stopped for a day to visit the amazing Vinh Moc tunnels, then cut across to Laos.

Travel sketchbook diary, London-Singapore by train: Hanoi street view

Travel sketchbook diary, London-Singapore by train: Hanoi shop front

Travel sketchbook diary, London-Singapore by train: Hanoi temple of literature

Looking back at my little journal, I thought it was hilarious that I wrote this when we arrived in Hanoi:

Travel sketchbook diary, London-Singapore by train: I like Hanoi

Then just three days later, this:

Travel sketchbook diary, London-Singapore by train: I hate Hanoi

China

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.

Mongolia

On the train to Mongolia we met a Russian man who said he was a lama. He took an unhealthy interest in whether we had children, and told us we ought to. To help us along he drew me a picture of the sun and told me I must keep it close to my heart. I didn’t take his advice, which is perhaps why it took so long.

Travel sketchbook diary, London-Singapore by train: Mongolian national park

Like many tourists we stayed in a traditional ger in the national park and ate some unidentifiable meat. We also went for a horse ride. That was the third time in my life that I have sat on a horse, and also the last. (I said that the other two times, but this time I meant it.)

Travel sketchbook diary, London-Singapore by train: Buddhist temple, Ulan Bataar

In this temple I was in the dog-house (as opposed to the god-house I suppose) by walking around it anticlockwise instead of clockwise.

Olkhon Island

We spent 4th-7th October on this island, which was a detour off the train line. It’s in the middle of Lake Baikal, which is the deepest lake in the world and supposedly contains 20% of the world’s freshwater.

(I decided to crop out the text on grounds of pointlessness, and just put some of the pictures up.)

Travel sketchbook diary, London-Singapore by train: Russia: Olkhon Island, Khuzhir

Travel sketchbook diary, London-Singapore by train: Russia: Olkhon Island, banya on the beach

Travel sketchbook diary, London-Singapore by train: Russia: Olkhon Island, fishing boat

Dungeness

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.

Happy ex-mouse

Poor mouse - a casualty of the Futility Room.

Mawgan Porth, Cornwall

The beach at Morgan Porth, Cornwall.

031207

mount-taranaki playing go new zealand