Book Review: La Kopi sketchbook by Alvin Mark Tan

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La Kopi is the sketchbook by Alvin Mark Tan that features coffee, cafes and people chatting and hanging out at coffee shops. This sketchbook was originally published in 2017 and was reprinted by Math Paper Press from BooksActually in 2020.

The word la kopi means to stir coffee literally, or figuratively as the act of gathering for coffee.

Alvin Mark Tan is a painter and urban sketcher based in Singapore. He also happens to be a friend of mine. Disclaimer there.

The idea for this sketchbook was conceived in 2013 while Alvin was studying art in Florence where he saw the cafes on the streets. This book was actually meant to be a coffee tablet sketchbook but it evolved into talking about different types of coffee, roasting and the coffee scene in Singapore.

The book has beautiful sketches and even oil paintings of the coffee beans, mugs, people connecting across tables. These sketches remind me of my friends sketching at cafes. I enjoy reading about the history of coffee and how the coffee drinking culture evolved in Singapore.

Throughout the sketchbook are QR codes you can scan to watch a timelapse of the sketch that's on the page.

This is a wonderful 88-page hardcover sketchbook. You can get it from BooksActually's online shop. Retail price is S$29.

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