Arts & CultureLIFESTYLE

Urban Sketchers Ipoh

To quote one of the most famous artists of all time, Vincent Van Gogh, “If you hear a voice within you say ‘you cannot paint,’ then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.” Ipoh Echo had an exclusive one-on-one with Urban Sketchers Ipoh, whose members prefer the pencil over the camera anytime, to kick-start your own artistic journey or rekindle that inner fire of creativity!

Urban Sketchers Ipoh is a self-funded and non-profit NGO attached to the international Urban Sketchers. Inspired by Urban Sketchers Penang, Chin Kok Yan led the establishment of the sketching group in Ipoh in 2013. Running on the slogan, “Sketching Ipoh for Future Generations”, the drawing enthusiasts draw on location, indoor or outdoor, capturing what they see from direct observation to share with the next generation.

The family-oriented group brings their own drawing materials (basics such as pen/pencil and paper/book will do too) and meets every Sunday from 9.30am to noon. If the weather permits, the session continues till 4pm. The sketching venues are decided weekly and posted at their Facebook page: Urban Sketchers Ipoh.

Here is what Chin and the team enjoy the most: “We are a lively group when we draw sitting down. Young and old alike, we will laugh and chatter! Plus, passers-by will motivate us with their positive feedback.”

Besides going around Ipoh, they have been to Kuala Kangsar, Kuala Sepetang, Taiping, Pulau Pasir Hitam, Penang and Kuala Lumpur. They lean towards buildings of heritage value, especially those that are disappearing.

“I think childlike drawings are beautiful as it reflects their pure mind and perspective that is lost as we grow up. Do not be engrossed in creating pretty drawings because there will always be other prettier drawings overriding it. What’s important is for drawings to be unique so that it will leave a lasting impression,” 49-year-old Chin explained to Ipoh Echo.

“Practice makes perfect. Your strokes will get more natural over time. There are no borders to art anyway. I always advise members not to worry about what others think as long as you enjoy the drawing process,” the humble leader added.

Masters and amateurs of all age groups and ethnicities are welcomed to join the group. “Before this, the elderly artists prefer to draw at home. After spotting us outside and browsing our Facebook page, they started to join us,” he highlighted. Learning from one another, there is no fee.

Their completed artwork is either for them to keep or showcased in exhibitions. According to Chin, what is lacking in Ipoh right now is a space or gallery for them to showcase their works.

Urban Sketchers chapters started in USA in 2007. In Malaysia, there are four chapters located in Kuala Lumpur, Ipoh, Penang and Kuching respectively. This global community of urban sketchers support one another. For instance, Chin and the team went sketching around Bangkok with host, Urban Sketchers Bangkok, in November. In 2015, the sketching session was held in Singapore.

Those interested in joining Urban Sketchers Ipoh just need to join their Facebook page and sketch away!

Mei Kuan

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