All the sketches from my Bali Sketching Trip 2014

Here's a look at all the sketches I drew in Bali while on vacation from 29 July to 13 August 2014. It may be late writing this but I think I should present the sketches in similar style like I've did for my other overseas trips to Bangkok, Spain, Cambodia and Malacca.

It was my first trip traveling alone. I was a bit apprehensive initially because I thought I would be bored within a few days into my two-week vacation. It turned out to be more fun than I expected. The main reason is because it was a sketching trip, and I really got to slow down, to appreciate the things I'm seeing. Spending the time to sketch makes the memories more vivid. If I had brought only my camera, I would be bored to death.

Bali is a great place to visit and I would definitely go back there again.

So here are the sketches. If you want to make comments to individual sketch, just click on that sketch.


This was actually the last sketch I drew in Bali, and I drew it on the first page of the A4 Moleskine watercolour sketchbook I brought.

I had planned to fill up all 60 pages of that Moleskine during my days there. That works out to be four A4 pages a day. It certainly was very challenging as my concentration waned as the day goes by. Observation sketching requires a lot of concentration and it's easy to get mental fatigue.

I drew this sketch at the Ngurah Rai International Airport, aka Denpasar International Airport, which is the main airport in Bali. It's a good way to spend time while waiting for the plane to get back to Singapore.

The motif on the left is a Boma, a lion-like creature and character. It was on the huge pillars outside the airport. It's a common motif in Bali.


I stayed in Kuta for the first few days. This was drawn at Sanur which is kinda far from Kuta but I drove so it's okay. It was a calm and cooling morning and there were just a handful of tourists there on the beach. It's not really a tourist spot here because there's nothing much to do except sit by the beach and do nothing.


Left: A temple near Sanur.
Right: Taman Puputan at Denpasar, city centre of Bali.


At the top is Pasar Burung, a bird market at Denpasar. Bottom is the wall of houses that line the street.


This is Museum Bali at Denpasar. I really love Bali architecture, especially at how they "slice" the gates so cleanly in the middle.


Miscellaneous sights. At the top right is the Jimny jeep I rented and drove for two weeks. I wrote about Jimny and my driving experience on a separate post. Below Jimny is a corn cart which is supposed to be manned but the guy walked away for a break. On the right is an altar commonly seen in Bali houses.


Pasar Budung is one of the largest market in Bali at Denpasar.


This is another market in another building. Most of the activity happens early in the morning.


I don't really have any specific food places where I have to eat at. Usually, I would just eat at places where I see people eating. This sketch above shows a road-side food place. Except for the rice, I wasn't able to recognise what I ate. The place was crowded with people so I guess the food should be safe.


Museum Bali again. This time I paid the entrance fee to go in. Entrance fees to their temples and museums are quite affordable.


Left: A door inside the museum.
Right: Door to the room that I booked on Airbnb. I paid about US$30 for that room in Ubud and it's fantastic because the house was so authentic in Bali design. You can find many such lodgings in Airbnb.


Top: This is the open field in front of Museum Bali. It was crowded during the evening with people flying kites, playing balls, and others are just sitting around watching children play. It's crowded even on a weekday.

Bottom: I accidentally drove into a agro-tourism place while making a U-turn. I U-turned into their place and the employees were all looking at me thinking I was a customer and I thought the place look interesting enough for me to check out. There are lots of agro-tourism shops by the roads in Ubud. These are actually small farms that sell tea and coffee. The staff let me try 12 cups of different tea and sold me a cup of Luwak coffee which now that I've tasted it I can say it's totally overrated. The tea were way better.


Since I've so many days in Bali, I decided to visit the Bali Bird Park. It was expensive, and to locals there I would say it's an extreme luxury to visit this place. It's a nice bird park but I felt it's a bit too small.

I had also wanted to visit the zoo but paying for the bird park had blown my budget for the day. I could have had several meals with what I paid for the bird park tickets.


Left. That's a traditional Toraja house in the bird park. The sketch didn't quite capture how tall it looks. Owls were kept inside.

Right: Sculpture in some temple. Note to self: Always label the place.


I kept seeing these sculptures on display by the roadside and told myself I had to stop and draw them. Now that I've drawn them, I can only remember how hot it was while I was drawing in the car. It wasn't the best angle, but I wasn't about the stand under the sun to draw the front.


Seminyak and Legian are the more touristy places in Bali.


I arrived late in the day at Ubud and there was time to visit the Monkey Forest. Some monkey tried to steal my art supplies while I was drawing. I've seen monkeys harass tourists also so be careful not to bring any food into the area.


This was drawn on the sloping street in Ubud. Time was running out and I was rushing to get this out. I wasn't particularly happy with this piece. While drawing two kids were playing behind me in what seem like a gallery owned by their parents. This is the shopping street of Bali.


Not satisfied with the sketch from the day before, I drove to that street again in the early morning to sketch again. There were actually a lot of motorbikes and cars parked on the left but I left them out. The roads will be packed from late afternoon to night time with cars.


At the end of the street at the junction is the large Ubud market that sells all sorts of stuff, vegetables, clothes, souvenirs, etc. I was sitting in a cafe opposite the road to draw this. It's a very touristy place. I remember seeing two Singaporeans that I could recognise from their obsession with looking at their phones.


This was drawn at Cafe Lotus which is just in front of the lotus temple. The restaurant is besides Starbucks so it's easy to find this place. I highly recommend this place because it's cooling, the scenery is nice and the food is not too expensive for a restaurant. Will go back again.


This is Puri Lukisan Museum where mostly paintings of Balinese artists are housed. I was drawing from inside their courtyard.


I drove down into the volcano to see Lake Batur. Not sure why I drew this piece. Perhaps it was that crane digging away at the small hill that caught my attention.


Top: That's Lake Batur inside Mount Batur, an active volcano in Bali. It's active but you don't really see any sort of volcanic activity inside, except for dried lava. Beside the lake are houses of villages and on the roads are many trucks carrying the fertile volcanic soil up the crater and out to the city.

Bottom: I had breakfast at some restaurant with a clear view of Lake Batur. It's best to visit the volcano area after 9am or so after the morning mist has cleared.


Pura Tirtha Empul is a water temple where people come here to be blessed by the holy water. The spring water is very clear and you can see huge fishes swimming inside. I wanted to go in but I didn't want to get wet. I used the water for this sketch.


This is the famous rice terrace known as Tegalalang. My sketch is not very clear but those houses, and actually almost all houses overlooking the rice terrace are shops or food places. It's very commercialised. You can also go down to the rice terrace for a walk if you don't mind getting dirty.


If you look behind the main streets in Ubud, you'll find many houses built on the sloping valleys. On the left is actually a restaurant. The food was alright but the atmosphere was great. It's beautiful during sunset.


Goa Gajah, one of the famous temples in Bali. The entrance is designed like a face with the mouth being the entrance to a small cave inside.


I love the huge sculptures at road junctions. This is in Ubud. You won't miss this as it's at one of their main road junction.


These were from the temple Goa Gajah also.


This is the temple Pura Gunung Kawi Sebatu



This is another temple Gunung Kawi which should not be mistaken for Pura Gunung Kawi Sebatu. Gunung Kawi is situated in a valley. Sculptures were carved into both the sides of the valley.

I've adopted a looser style here and used pencils instead of pen. The story is, I lost my way and drove into a village that's close to Gunung Kawi. A villager there asked if I wanted to trek to Gunung Kawi instead. I thought it's going to be fun and took up his offer. It was fun but extremely tiring because we had to walk down the slope through the meandering rice terrace, while avoiding dropping into the rice terrace pools, on bare foot to enter Gunung Kawi by the back. I had no more energy by then and just drew a very quick sketch. Going back up the slope to the village is even more tiring. I remember my legs were trembling at the end. It was a good workout. Thank goodness I exercise regularly before my Bali trip, if not I would have to crawl instead of walk up the slope.


This is the ferry terminal at Padang Bay. Lots of tourists were going to Lombok and Gili, the neighbouring islands of Bali. If you want to book a ferry ride, there are lots of shops around to do that for you.

I was running out French Ultramarine by the this time and had to ask my friend who's coming to Bali in the next few days to buy one tube for me, plus a tube of yellow. Meanwhile, I switched to using Phthalo Blue (Green Shade) instead and discovered that I really love the colour when mixed with Daniel Smith Transparent Pyrrole Orange. So for the next few days, my colours were mostly Hansa Yellow Medium, Phthalo Blue and Transparent Pyrrole Orange. Sometimes when you get out of your comfort zone, you may discover things that you like.


There was a huge ceremony that day at temple Pura Goa Lawah with probably more than hundreds of people, more than what I've included in my sketch. They were all looking towards the entrance of the cave that's filled with bats on the roof.


Legian Beach in the evening.


This is a Canang, an offering for the gods or ancestors. They are everywhere, even inside Bali's airport.


Jimbaran Beach is where all the beach-side restaurants are. The sun sets on the right so the best place to have meals here is during dinner. Be sure to ask about the price before ordering your food.


Legian Street.


A friend brought me to this amazing pottery and ceramic shop called Jenggala. The designs for their ceramics are absolutely beautiful.


Pura Luhur Uluwatu is one of the main temples you must visit while in Bali.


The temple is built build on the cliff by the side of the sea, the Indian Ocean. This is also the temple where Kecik dance performance happens every night. Grab your tickets early for the show that start at 6pm. Watching it against the backdrop of the sun going behind the Indian Ocean is amazing and almost unreal.


Tanah Lot is also another famous temple. If you're a photographer, you should visit this place during the evening for the best sunset shot. This place is crowded with tourists from dawn to dusk.


This was drawn at the largest temple in Bali, Pura Besakih. Unlike other temples that provide you with sarong to cover your legs before entering the premises, there's no such thing here so you actually have to buy your own sarong. I'm not sure about the price but I would recommend you check the prices at the street side shops in Ubud, Legain, Seminyak and Denpasar first to get a reference price before you visit Pura Besakih. It's quite far away from the usual touristy place and I would suggest you visit it after visiting the volcano because it's quite near Mount Batur.


I was too tired to enjoy Gunung Kawi the first time so I went back the second time, this time I made it to the official entrance. I had to ask a kid riding a motorbike to guide me there.


Tegalalang again, from the street level. I was drawing from inside a cafe.


Warung Made Bacik. I had my breakfast and dinner here often because it's just one house away from where I was staying. The food was fantastic also. There's always this Balinese music playing which was very calming and will certainly give you the Bali mood.


A huge Barong inside the Ubud Palace.


I was drawing from the second floor at Ubud Market. This was my second last sketch before I left Bali.

In the end, I finished 58 out of the 60 pages. On some days in the afternoon, it was really difficult to muster the concentration to draw.


This was my packing list that I've wrote about before. I brought a tripod which I didn't use much. Shot some video that I still haven't edited even months later now. I wasn't happy with most of the video footage that's why. Maybe that's an excuse to go back to Bali again.

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