Thirty Day Challenge – Final Results


I am thrilled by how the thirty-day challenge worked out. When I started I thought it would just be a great way to force myself to sketch more from life, and it certainly did that. But over all, it made me slow down on my travels, to take more time to enjoy the beautiful moments in life, and to appreciate them more. From studying the intricate roofing systems of Khmer temples, the detailed friezes on ancient ruins, and river boat design on the Mekong. There were many entertaining moments like watching a water buffalo lick a tourist on the beach and a Tuk Tuk driver doing absolutely nothing all day. I had intriguing conversations with Novice Monks about Buddhism and chats with transsexual street walkers about their daily lives. All of these things would have never happened if I did not sit down and pick up my pencil.

A special thanks to Yvonne who was so patient while I spent hours hanging out and drawing every day. Also Patrick O’Brien joined in on the challenge, and has some amazing drawings which I added after mine.

Starting on April 15th, 2013 I will be repeating the Thirty Day Challenge, and I would love for anyone to join in the fun. Your art will be published in the blog and any links to your sites. Join the adventure!

All these sketches will be added to Sketches From The Road later on this month. I hope you enjoy sharing a month of my life through my sketch book.

March 31, 2013
3-31-13Next to the mighty Mekong River is a large statue of Chao Anouvong, last King of Laos to live in Vientiane. There’s a road here closed off to traffic filled with people running and biking. A really great city, so glad we chilled out here.
Vientiane, Laos

March 30, 2013
3-30-2013A drawing of the main temple Wat Mixay. I met a novice monk here who explained to me about the various teachings in Buddhism, and all about the rules for being a monk. For a layman, you follow five precepts, a novice follows ten, to be a monk though you follow 126, that’s a lot of rules.
Vientiane, Laos

March 29, 2013
3-29-2013Our shy bar tender who mixed a really deadly Rum and Coke.
Vientiane, Laos

March 28, 2013
3-28-2013We stayed across the street from Wat Mixay, a Buddhist temple. I hung out and sketched the monks.
Vientiane, Laos

March 27, 2013
3-27-2013 A3-27-2013 BOut side our lovely hotel were some working girls, and let me tell you they were not shy. We could hear them calling customers all night.
Vientiane, Laos

March 26, 2013
3-26-2013What would South East Asia be with out its Tuk Tuks, they are everywhere. Each country has their own style too. This is a typical Laotian Tuk Tuk, with lots of chrome and bright colors.
Vientiane, Laos

March 25, 2013
3-25-2013This is Makphet, a great restaurant where they train street kids to work in the industry. The food is top-notch, and the atmosphere is great too. I did this sketch while enjoying a wild boar stew, so yummy. Here’s their link for more information. Makphet
Vientiane, Laos

March 24, 2013
3-24-2013A local eatery, just a girl chatting to her friend about the birds and the bees.
Vientiane, Laos

March 23, 2013
3-23-2013This is half my home-away-from-home. It’s actually twice the size of most other backpackers packs.
Vientiane, Laos

March 22, 2013
3-22-2013We just arrived in Vientiane exhausted after an interesting eight-hour bus journey. Found a decent place to crash and hit the western section of the city, where we enjoyed overpriced gyros, but it was good. This man was running around seeing to everyone’s needs.
Vientiane, Laos

March 21, 2013
3-21-2013Men playing Petang, a Laos version of Bocce Ball. We watched from the sidelines while eating dinner. The waitress saw the drawing and started laughing at the guy, so then all the waitresses showed up. They loved the older guy, and got a real laugh out of it. Next thing they take the drawing out to the court, and all the guys are laughing at his posture, and duplicating it. Apparently, you throw the ball with your hand down, not up. He came over and shook my hand. It was hilarious.
Thakhek, Laos

March 20, 2013
24Picking lettuce in the fields at dawn.
Konglor, Laos

March 19, 2013
3-19-2013 C
Tobacco and lettuce fields.
Konglor, Laos

A karst near Konglor Cave above a river.
Konglor, Laos

March 18, 2013
3-18-13A cave filled with Buddhas discovered in 2004. This drawing was my quickest because we were there at 5:07, and it closed at 5. They let me draw for about seven minutes. Great place, cool story.
Thakhek, Laos

March 17, 2013
3-17-2013In honor of St. Paddy’s Day.
Thakhek, Laos

March 16, 2013
3-16-2013A typical night market on the square, serving up everything from entire chicken on a stick to whole frog on a stick.
Thakhek, Laos

March 15, 2013
The worst bus ride ever, twelve hours when it was only supposed to be seven. The ride was bouncy and just a bit crazy, no air-con, overcrowded. The guy next to me offered a frog on a stick and some moonshine. Then they loaded the bus with illegal lumber, in the isle of the bus.
Thakhek, Laos

March 14, 2013
A lovely morning on the mighty Mekong River. They often beach their boats during dry season to make repairs.
Don Det Island, Laos

March 13, 2013
A water buffalo chilling out on the beach on the Mekong River.
Don Det Island, Laos

3-13-2013 B
Tourists chilling out on the beach on the Mekong River.
Don Det Island, Laos

March 12, 2013
3-12-13A series of waterfalls on the Mekong River.
Don Det Island, Laos

March 11, 2013
3-11-2013A beach on the Mekong River.
Don Det Island, Laos

March 10, 2013
3-10-2013A bus stop on the Cambodian border with Laos.

March 9, 2013
3-9-2013The mighty Mekong river, in the dry season, and might I add, the hot season. Miserably hot today, but with a little luck we might see the Irrawaddy Dolphins.
Kratie, Cambodia

March 8, 2013
3-8-2013A girl doing her best to ignore me on an eight-hour bus ride from Phnom Penh to Kratie.

March 7, 2013
3-7-2013A technician working on my iPad at Rogue iPad specialists.
Phnom Penh, Cambodia

March 6, 2013
3-6-2013The courtyard in the National Museum in Phnom Penh. This building was the most gorgeous I had seen in all Cambodia. The roof line is just insane.
Phnom Penh, Cambodia

March 5, 2013
3-5-2013A street corner near the Gecko Café. The city is full of French Architecture.
Battambang, Cambodia

March 4, 2013
3-4-2013Teenage girls doing what teenagers do, chatting on their cell phones and checking Facebook as they work. This is a typical city market that has a little of everything you could ever need. It’s the Phsar Naht Market, which was built by the French in the thirties.
Battambang, Cambodia

March 3, 2013
3-3-2013 BThese sketches were done at Wat Ek Phnom, a Khmer temple built-in 11th Century. There is young man with Polio who was crawling all over the monument asking for money. The second drawing was of him.
Wat Ek Phnom, Cambodia

March 2, 2013
A scene from the Gecko Café in Battambang. The wiring is a very neat job for what you normally see out here.
Battambang, Cambodia
March 2, 2013

Special thanks go to Patrick O’Brien for joining me on the Thirty Day Challenge. The following are his sketches over the last month. You can see his work in Earth Cup Cafe in West Philadelphia. Job!

Patrick O’Brien’s Art

Dog sketches

African wood carving

The Buddha

Self-portrait 8


palm plant

My left foot



guitar at rest


3 responses to “Thirty Day Challenge – Final Results

  1. Hi Mike! I’m enjoying your terrific blog & photos & drawings so much. What a trip! Since I’ve seen you last I’ve been to India twice which provides a hint of some of these very exciting adventures and sights.
    Bonnie (Asher)

    • Hi Bonnie, I’m so glad you are enjoying it. It’s funny I was thinking of sending you an email the other day to see if you knew about it. India is on our list, we thought about going there but feel it deserves its own trip. I can’t wait to hear about if from you. If you get a chance click follow and you will get an email when I post a new blog.

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