10 things I learned from a Travel Sketching Workshop with Robert Alejandro

11:57 AM

To while away the hours, sketching in Piazza Navona, would be the dream.
Unfortunately, I could hardly draw a straight line. But perhaps, there’s still hope for me yet.

So when I found out that the talented Robert Alejandro was holding a Travel Sketching Workshop, I was one of the first – sixth actually. I saw it on the sign sheet – to reserve a slot.

The first time I met Robert Alejandro, it was for work. I was writing a paper story for Real Living Magazine and we wanted to learn more about how one recycles paper. We tried to talk to the Papemelroti people and so tapped Robert. He’s the RO in the name of the charming store which Filipinos have been obsessed with these past fifty years.  We met one afternoon at Dulcinea in Glorietta IV and spent an hour talking about paper and other things.  

The Travel Sketching Workshop was held at the Ateneo Art Gallery last March 3. Armed with a sketchpad and a couple of pens, I climbed the lib steps and walked through the front door. I was pleasantly surprised that I wasn’t the only tita in the room but in fact was a group of students of all ages!

“Travel Sketching is a way of documenting a particular space in time,” says Robert.  And quite an intimidating one to a person who could hardly draw. He shared more pieces of advice and here are the ten that really spoke to me.  It seems like half of it could be applied to things other than drawing.

1. The more you play, the more your work will be better.
2. Don’t be pressured in thinking that it should look the way it should.
3. You have a unique way of looking at things. “That’s the way I see it.” You have a unique way to draw. 
4. Travel illustrations, you have to do it fast.
5. Just draw what you are comfortable to do.
6. When drawing structures or elaborate buildings, draw what makes you captivated. 
7. The better medium is the one you’re comfortable with.
8. Practice. Pressure is the key to any medium.
9. Your work doesn’t have to be perfect. It could be, should be, perfectly imperfect.
10. Just have fun. It should always be a joy to do. 

Spent the afternoon with this guy, talking about traveling, sketching, and finding your own unique artist.
Robert talking about watercolor as a medium
He snapped off a leaf from a plant outside and then proceeded to paint it in watercolor. 
Robert shows us some of his works

He then asked us to go outside and just draw from nature.
Robert, and a couple of participants, sketching on the lib steps.
Here's Robert sketching. 

Here's my pathetic attempt at sketching. 

You Might Also Like


  1. I don't think it's pathetic!!! But you really have to keep at it until you find your own unique style! Robert is my brother and it can be intimidating to paint if I compare myself with him or any other artist. God gave me gifts and I intend to use it!!! That's how I see it! We are sons and daughters of a wonderfully creative God, and He gave us a bit of His creativity.

    1. Hi, Patsy!

      Awww. Thank you for thinking my sketch isn't pathetic. You're too kind. :)
      But yes, I do need to keep on practicing if I want to get better at it.

      I am trying to use my god-given gifts but I am not so sure, drawing/ sketching is one of them! hahaha. But since I do want to be at least good at it so I must keep on practicing.

      Thank you, by the way, for taking the time to read this post! :)
      And may I just say that like lots of Filipinos out there, I love your family's store! :)


Popular Posts