Siem Reap from a tuk tuk

I’ve probably already mentioned that arriving in Cambodia from Singapore was quite a culture shock. The first ride I had from the airport to the hotel was in a tuk tuk, and from there I was hooked, both for the slight breeze provided by the ride (the air was quite heavy when I visited) and the slow panoramic view of the town on either side. We travelled around quite a bit in these open-air vehicles — back and forth to the temples of Angkor, into the town to visit the market — and on a rainy day I even contemplated painting under the shelter of the awning but never got around to doing it. My favourite view of the tuk tuks was from a cafe in town. From there I could see the drivers in the shade of some Banyan trees by the river during their “off” time, which seemed to be mostly sleeping (and included being suspended in net hammocks).

I sketched this in a Pentalic sketchbook given to me by Stephanie Bower (I plan to write about her impressive lecture at the Urban Sketchers Symposium in a future post). If you haven’t tried this book yet, I would highly recommend it. The paper is 140 lb, 100% cotton rag paper and truly gorgeous for painting on — thick and creamy with a wonderful tooth to it. There’s only one format (5″ x 8″) as far as I can tell, but it’s perfect for travel sketching. I haven’t yet found a book that takes the paint as well as this.


10 Comments on “Siem Reap from a tuk tuk”

  1. Nathalie says:

    Thanks so much Shari for sharing all these wonderful sketches of your Asian journey. Love also the stories that you tell. As for the Pentalic sketchbooks,nthere is also a smaller format (3.5 x 5). À bientôt,


    • HI Nathalie,
      Thanks for writing. In fact, I did see that there is a smaller size, but I was looking for a bigger one so I completely forget there was the 3.5″ x 5″ one. Thanks for reminding me.


  2. Nessa says:

    Your written blogs from your trip and, of course, your sketches have been so wonderful Thanks for sharing with us. The Pentalic sketchbooks ( 2 Watercolor ones and others) are available from Amazon, Blick, and other major suppliers. The link you posted has good information.


  3. Monique says:

    These are just GREAT too..


  4. Leigh Youdale says:

    Pentalic also make “Field Books”, spiral bound and using the same paper. I think there are three different sizes up to 10×14. Only available in the U.S. Or Canada as far as I can see.


    • Those look nice too Leigh. I wonder if it is exactly the same paper. On their website I can see that they are both 140 lb but only one says “100% cotton”. Is that on oversight or a different paper?


  5. Ross says:

    I love the “graphic” feel of this sketch… and the way you have separated the foreground from the background.
    From my experience, that first step out of the air-conditioning in SE Asia is a bit like someone hitting you with a large club.


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