While most people these days travel with their hands glued to a smart phone or camera device, Ahmad Hakym gets by with a bagful of sketching tools.
Instead of snapping as many photos in as many angles as possible, he simply finds a scenic spot, where he can linger long enough to soak up the sights, sounds and smells, which he then transfers onto his sketchpad.
As long as he has his little “Doraemon” bag, with compact size watercolours, spray bottle, brushes, sketchbooks, watercolour postcards and tissues, he’s all set.
Hakym has since amassed a treasure pile of sketchbooks, all with little drawings of the people he’s met and places he’s been to in the cities and countries across Europe including, Manchaster, London, Turkey, Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia.
He started sketching since 2011, his first year studying architecture in the UK. Back then, his favourite thing to do was go to different places with a sketchbook and pen, for a quick 15 minute live sketch.
He then shared his drawings on social media and discovered it was a good way to train himself into a better observer while adding special significance to his travels.
It became a practice he would keep up with long after leaving grad school.
“My favourite part about or ‘urban sketching’ is the social aspect of it. Whether it’s some place new or your hometown, it has the power to attract people. From little children to the elderly, they get excited seeing someone draw in public,” Hakym tells Eksentrika.
“I get to connect with people from all around the world, as they usually like to take photos, which they then tag me in through social media.”
Some of the connections he’s made this way continue up to this day. Many of them are now part of his social media network.
Hakym was so inspired by his hobby that he felt he should share it with more people. That’s how he started KLsketchnation.
The movement is now a three year running, active group of live-sketch enthusiasts.
Basically, they go on dates around town, sketching people and places.
We strongly believe that art is contagious and you will never improve you art skills if you don’t share your work with others.
Our platform gives everyone a chance to meet others with the same interest to connect and together we create a stronger community to learn and grow.
For such a fondness for sketching and being the son of a local cartoonist, Ahmad Hilmy, better known as “Mie”, it might seem that Hakym’s talent for drawing is a product of genetics or divine bestowment, but Hakym is quick to dismiss such notions.
“Any human being can draw. If you can write, you can draw, because essentially, when you make the shapes of the alphabets, you are technically drawing them out,” he says.
Hakym also strongly feels that sketching can sharpen a person’s thinking skills.
“It unlocks how you perceive the surroundings around you.
“In KLSketchnation, we celebrate sketching as a medium to nurture your appreciation towards arts. Our modus operandi revolves around our motto, ‘togetherness in sketching’ in which we socialize the act of sketching.
Another misconception Hakym helps to debunk is the idea that sketching requires a lot of time, money and effort.
“It is the simplest and easiest form of art, where you couldn’t even be judged for by anyone, as these are merely sketches, which is the most basic form to start any arts.
“Whatever you do is considered your own style.
KLsketchnation, he says, appeals to everyone,from the newbies who harboured dreams of entering the art field but didn’t know how or didn’t have confidence, to the more experienced artists, keen to relax among kindred hobbyists.
Recently, the group have also launched an app application called #sketchnationheroes, which lets people of any skill level to join the movement.
“It combines voluntarism for good works with sketching. We plan to organize a range of events such as mural painting, engagements sessions at orphanages, teaching art to the underprivileged and designing for rural communities.
“There will be collaborations with different bodies and societies, including universities and schools, giving everyone a chance to widen their network and gain various experiences.
Those interested to participate should prepare a simple CV and fill up a form on the website www.klsketchnation.com.
Besides sketching, Hakym also dabbles in film-making, music recordings, photography, cinematography, poetry and scriptwriting. You can check them out at his youtube channel kymioflario and instagram @kymioflario.