A Saigon sketch in pen and ink
This is the first Saigon sketch that I did on my recent trip to Vietnam that I am fairly happy with. It took me about three days to settle in, get used the the hustle and bustle of the place.
After a hard morning dodging traffic, breathing in fumes, seeing just a fraction of the unbelievable sights that this mixed up city has to offer, it was always magic to sit down, feet up and have a cool "Bia Saigon".
Many times however, knowing that I would sooner or later reach for my sketchbook, I had to delay my choice of venue. As a sketcher I had to choose carefully, with an eye to the view.
So, the view was good, the food was bland and the service was slack! One outta three ain't bad, eh!
When I was doing this Saigon sketch of a busy street junction I had to turn and look at my neighbour in the cafe, "did you see what I've just seen"?. She nodded smiling "yes there were five of them". I am glad I confirmed it, otherwise I might have thought I had made a mistake, but it was a family of five on a 125cc motorbike!
The trick of course here was again position. I was sat opposite a set of traffic lights and just waited for them to turn red and I managed to get maybe half a motorbike drawn for each change.
The chap on the left in the chair in front of me was mostly upright when I sketched him in, but by the time I'd finished in spite of the horrendous traffic ten feet from his nose he was at an alarming angle and fast asleep. The joys of cheap beer in the middle of a hot day.
In the town of Sa Dec on the Delta I once saw a middle aged lady sat on a motorbike in front of me, get loaded up with eight cartons of beer behind her back on the pillion seat.
The whole traffic scene in Vietnam is chaotic, and yet it works. It is quicker to get around in HCMC than in Bangkok for instance.
"The art of drawing which is of more real importance to the human race than that of writing... should be taught to every child just as writing is... " John Ruskin 1819-1900
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