A few Thai food sketches

Unlike many urban sketchers I know, I’m not much good at sketching during meal times. Just can’t seem to coordinate the eating and drawing at the same time thing. But the food in Thailand was so wonderful, the ingredients so varied, the markets so mysterious that I had to record some of it on my last few days. I filled part of a perfect little Laloran sketchbook with drawings done with a bent nib pen (many Asian sketchers use these) generously given to me by a Thai sketcher named Kim (who also introduced me to mangosteen). Some of the drawings were done in restaurants and some standing at market stalls. Some of the food I tried (frogs legs) and some I left for the next visit (durian).

ThaiFood001 ThaiFood002 ThaiFood003 ThaiFood004 ThaiFood005 ThaiFood006 ThaiFood007 ThaiFood008The best memory I have of food sketching in Thailand is at the Pak Khlong Talat vegetable market in Bangkok. I was sketching the big baskets of hot red and green peppers when the woman at the next stall saw me drawing. Curious, she looked over my shoulder at the drawing, went back to her stall and returned with a stalk of lemongrass. And then a leaf of bergamot. And then a hunk of galangal. This continued for some time until she made a stirring motion with her hand and indicated to me that she had brought me all the bits I needed to make tom yum soup.

The oddest vegetables at the market were the giant green pods — tied up in bundles — that lined the street. I had to take a photo so I could identify them when I got home. Turns out they are called “stink bean” which could explain why they were always located outside the stalls instead of indoors.


22 Comments on “A few Thai food sketches”

  1. Shari, this is fascinating. That is my favorite thai soup. I can never sketch food bc i am too hungry to wait to eat it!


  2. Great sketches! What was the color you used for the mangosteen? It is almost a periwinkle blue purplish color. that was the color of the waterlilies at Jim Thompson house but I couldn’t replicate it.


  3. Monique says:

    I love your food!


  4. Linda says:

    Enjoying the sketches of all the different types of food! Very nice!!


  5. wuauu Shari, first time a see you draw food ! Very nice

    Personaly I don’t draw “paysages” … but wathching YOUR paysages I love, they are the best I have seen!


  6. Loved to hear about the bent nib pen, as I love to write with fountain pens, and now I’m also beginning to sketch with it. I went to take a look, and I’m thinking of buying one to try: they are not expensive.
    And I also went to take a look at mangosteen, as I did not know – I’m a very curious person – and found it – in the net – and here a chronicle from NY Times http://www.nytimes.com/2003/09/24/dining/forbidden-fruit-something-about-a-mangosteen.html . I’ll look for it, here in Portugal !
    Nice to follow your blog 🙂


    • Yes, the bent nib pens are very nice. I brought two home with me — this one and the famous Hero pen that many people use. Looking forward to trying that one too. Thanks for the link. I’ll have a look at the article. I have seen mangosteens here in Montreal, in the expensive tropical fruit section of the supermarket.


  7. I love your food sketches, especially those fish!


  8. Rooi says:

    Stink beans or petal with sambal is one of the best dish Shari. You have to try it. And it stinks not when you eat it…. It carries on afterwards. Ahem… When you burp and ahem… Anyway


  9. Ross says:

    Cool sketches… well done with the perspective on the glasses, containers, bowls, etc!

    I couldn’t help laughing at the image of you trying to “coordinate the eating and drawing at the same time”. Had visions of your accidentally stuffing pens in your mouth and trying to make lines with a spoon. : )


    • I probably wouldn’t stuff a pen in my mouth but I once reached across the table at a Dim Sum outing and ate food from someone else’s plate. A very embarassing moment for me. That was when I gave up food sketching.


      • Ross says:

        Having trouble doing two things at once? I have that problem too.

        PS – Ross’s fee fashion tip… don’t borrow your big brother’s trousers to wear in public. 🙂


  10. Andrew says:

    Hi Shari,
    We love your sketches of Thai food. We would like to use them, is this something you are willing to consider? If so, let us know how can arrange this.

    Thanks in advance


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