Thursday, August 15, 2013
Urban Sketching : South Korea
Some of the sketches about are now available as prints on society6, as well as other sketches I've made over the course of our travels.
Aissa and I went to South Korea last May, but it's only now that I'm playing foreman for our condo renovations that I've finally had the chance to sit down and blog about some of the sketches. The sketch above is of the entrance to our guesthouse in Gyeongju. Gyeongju was Korea's ancient capital, not unlike Kyoto to Japan. It's a small city by Korean standards but it has that lovely juxtaposition of old and new that I love. This sketch was done right outside our door, and took me maybe 5 hours over the course of 2 days to finish. I kept hoping that the proprietors of the guesthouse would offer us free accommodation in exchange for the sketch, but they never even commented on my sketching. I generally prefer being anonymous when I sketch, but this time I think I felt a little bad that they didn't notice.
There was a street market just a few minutes away from our accomodations in Hostel the New Day (stay here when you are in Busan btw, immaculately clean and lovely staff). After walking back and forth for a little bit Aissa and I settled on a stall that was selling hot noodles and steamed dumplings. There's something intensely enticing about food being steamed i front of you, especially during the cold Busan nights. I sketched a group in front of us while waiting for our noodles. Turns out the man sitting at the table next to us noticed me sketching, because he complimented me in halting English. I thanked him, but then didn't offer to show him the rest of my sketches (which always seems the right thing to do) which I felt bad about afterwards. We had coffee afterwards at an "Angels in us" cafe, which is where I sketched the metrosexual man.
This sketch was drawn at the Haedong Yonggung Temple in Busan. It's unique in that few Buddhist Temples are built by the seaside, offering fantastic views. This is a sketch of one of many small buddhas scattered around the "Divine God of the East Sea". They seem to be buddhas where one prays for children or for good grades. There are little tokens like children's toys (see the tiny monk statue at the foot of the buddha?) nestled next to them, which I presume are offerings. I tried using my colored brush pens here, with mixed results.
This last little sketch is one of my favorites. I did it while warming up for my sketch of the entrance. The family who's guesthouse we were staying in have a cute dog that reminds of Otousan in the Japanese Softbank commercials. He was moving around a lot, but I think I was able to capture his esssence just right in the one full sketch I have of him.
South Korea was a wonderful place to visit, and because I'd managed to teach myself some very basic phrases like "how much?", "thank you!" and "where is the bathroom?" it made our trip much more pleasant. We're definitely looking to go back sometime next year and maybe stay longer in the Seoul area.