Book Review: The World is so Big: Art Artist's Sketchbook by James Tan

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Here's the sketchbook of my friend James Tan, a freelance artist in Singapore.

A few years ago, he and his wife went on a six months trip after quitting their jobs. They traveled to 14 countries in total. When I first heard of it, I thought it was a rather ambitious trip. It still is. It takes courage to just leave everything behind and just travel. And this book took many more months to make and publish.

This 282-hardcover sketchbook collects the sketches and experience from his journey across different countries. The sketches capture the scenes he saw, people he spoke to and feelings he felt. The layout of the book is nice and all the sketches are accompanied by captions. There are also handwritten notes in the sketches but unfortunately the handwriting isn't easy to read.

James' style of art is quite loose and almost cartoony. He uses a variety of media to draw, such as graphic, coloured pencils, brush pens, ink and watercolour. It gives this book a very textural feel. And I like the nice touch of printing several sketches on toned paper.

It's a nice travelogue with hundreds of sketches. The book is now available at Basheer Graphic Books and other bookstores in Singapore.

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