Activity 5: The Singapore Diaries: Your Story of the Symposium

Instructor: Richard Alomar (USA)

Location: National Design Centre

20150331 Singapore Diaries Image_ALOMAR

The Urban Sketcher International Symposium has become a significant event in the urban sketcher community. The opportunity to visit a special place, learn from and draw with talented sketchers form around the world is both exhilarating and daunting.

The Singapore Diaries will help newcomers and seasoned urban sketchers document their symposium experience for immediate use and future reference.

Activity Goals

The goal of this activity is to introduce participants to sketching techniques and mapping practices that will help them document their 3 day symposium experience. The information, drawn and otherwise, will be collected in a physical sketchbook that could be used after the event to report and reflect on the symposium in analogue or digital formats.

Learning Objectives

  1. Participants will be introduced to the fundamentals of mapping, diagraming and urban sketching.
  2. Participants will develop skills in rapid sketching, observational journaling, storytelling, and sketchbook composition.
  3. Participants will discuss a variety of formats and electronic platforms to observe, document and share their observations thoughts and work during the symposium and after they return home.
  4. Participants will present their diaries and talk about their symposium experience.


Participants will be given a diary sketchbook at the beginning of the symposium with a list of exercises to be done daily. The sketchers and instructor will meet in the morning before the symposium starts and in the afternoon, after the end of the last workshop, to discuss techniques, review work, document daily progress and plan for the next day’s work. At the end of the symposium a group of “Singapore Diarists” will show and talk about their sketchbooks and symposium experience.

Details and Schedule

Each participant will receive a “Singapore Diary”, small sketchbook (Muji 3”x 5” notebook, Moleskine 3”x 5”, for example) and a “Meet Singapore” card. The card has a list of three (3) tasks to be completed daily during the symposium and three (3) topics to be discussed when the group meets. The tasks and topics are recorded in the sketchbook.

The three (3) daily tasks are:

  1. A Sketcher’s Lunch: Let us know about your lunch. What did you eat? Who did you eat with? Where did you eat? Make a quick sketch of the food, place or the people. Collect a business card, receipt or map.
  2. Meet a Stranger: Meet and talk to at least one (1) urban sketcher. What’s their name? Where are they from? Can you take a look at their sketchbook? Write about the experience. Make a quick sketch of the person.
  3. The Cute and Strange: Record one (1) thing that you found fascinating during the day. What was it? Where was it? Who was with you? Make a quick sketch.

The three (3) topics are:

  1. Fast and Furious: We will discuss methods of quick recording, how to sketch and record a fleeting moment.
  2. Nothing Scared: It’s just ink, it’s just paper. We will discuss ways to make sketching less intimidating and accessible.
  3. Raw and Cooked: From Sketchbook to Blog. We will discuss scanning, reportage, blogging and ways of engaging in and with the sketching community.


  1. Singapore Diaries, Day 1.
  1. Singapore Diaries, Day 2.
  1. Singapore Diaries, Day 3.