Travel sketching in Vietnam

In April this year I was lucky to travel in and around north Vietnam on an exciting textile tour with Creative Arts Safaris – an inspiring company based in rural Pushkar, India.

I had the pleasure of drawing every day! There was so much to take in – sights, sounds, and all the people we met on our travels from Hanoi to the mountain towns and villages way north, near the border with China, and east to the coast and Ha Long Bay.

I decided to capture each day’s numerous experiences on one double-page spread in my sketchbook. I worked there and then, sometimes very quickly, and also from the hundreds of photos I took en route. Here are a few of those pages and if you fancy some Travel Sketching with me in India in 2020, find out more here! 

Food, tea, fish and snails from the market, my new much needed fan, and a few of the really delightful wooden puppets that are the stars of the traditional water puppet shows. 

Leaving a morning downpour in Hanoi and heading north. Stopping off for refreshments along the way, the landscape starts to become more hilly. We spend the afternoon in a stitching workshop and get the chance to make some exciting purchases!


The women and girls in the mountain regions work really hard making and selling their traditional textiles. Here this group of young girls take some time out to draw with me and they adorn my sketchbook with their colourful and lively drawings.


Mapping our travels north and enjoying a very strong Vietnamese coffee.

Exceptionally quick sketches from a rowing boat!

Yum! An abundance of pineapples and this is how to prepare them!

Relaxing on the boat in Ha Long Bay – it was overcast, which lent an even more mysterious atmosphere to the stunning limestone casts surrounding us.

Sewing with Mrs Yen, bananas all around us at our lunch stop, and then heading back to Hanoi.

4 thoughts on “Travel sketching in Vietnam

  1. You are an extraordinarily talented woman Jo! How can we mere mortals even hope to compete?! Am glad you had such a wonderful and inspiring trip – such a lovely thing to do. It’s the sort of thing I need to get out and do – push myself outside my comfort zone and all that…somehow so much more daunting as an older, single woman…. looks like there could be a whole new career out there waiting for you……..and I would like to be on board for that adventure too! All the very best to you, in your spanking new attic studio. I do hope we meet again. Liz. Xxx

    Sent from my iPad



    • Hi Liz, thanks so much for your kind words! Vietnam certainly was brilliant and I could do hundreds more drawings inspired by my visit there. Did you see the new section on my blog – workshops and tours… maybe some food for thought?? Hope all is well with you. I love your instagram images, they’re always so striking xx


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