November 13, 2013

Sketchnotes: Allen Shaw

By Preksha Sharma

‘“Gypsiness”, is what one would notice most easily in my sketchbooks. When you don’t have a fixed address, the sketchbook becomes your identity…your passport to the world and also a record of your life,’ says Allen Shaw, a communication designer; and an avid traveler and record keeper who has been preserving his travel experiences in his sketchbooks – ‘The travelogues are essentially pen and watercolour sketches with a few words sprinkled in.’ Shaw now lives in Berlin, was born in Bihar, partly owns a communication design firm in Rajkot, studied history in Delhi ultimately dropping out to join NID in Ahemedabad. No wonder then that you often can easily notice references of itinerancy in his conversations, and his sketchbooks. ‘I was always a storyteller but what I have discovered over the years through these books is that I have been a nomad, a drifter or to be simply put “a gypsy” with many stories in my books.’

To Shaw, traveling and sketching were inseparable, one being inevitable for the other. ‘The only thing that concerns me when I have to move/travel is whether I have my sketchbook, pen and watercolours.’ And he confesses that it is his experiences with people, architecture and spaces in general that he travels to that compels him to put them down in his sketchbooks as stories to be shared. Here are a few splendid stories that Shaw has been generous to share:


‘I returned to Calcutta after 10 years and it was very special. I was fascinated by the yellow ambassadors as always and I like the way it came out in this one.’


‘This is one gets a little carried away with details, it was a beautiful piece of architecture and I’m glad I spent some time with it.’



‘This was my second visit to Prague. there are a lot of artists hanging around this bridge painting and selling their works, I liked the fact that one of them asked me how do I manage this skewed perspective.’



‘I did this last week for a friend after Lou Reed passed away, I like these moments when I do something as an impulse.’



‘This one was fun, its a local beer festival in Erlangen, the town I lived in before moving to Berlin. I made postcards out of this illustration and sold it on the streets.’



‘My studio space in Berlin, I sketched this to just express how I see myself in my work space.’



‘My minute of fame: there was not much to do or sketch at the campsite in Italy so I started going down to this village called Corone. Someone spotted me sketching there and the next thing I knew was that half the town wanted their houses to be sketched, luckily I was carrying some blank postcard size papers. I got free food, wine, coffee and despite my protest some money was stuffed in my shirt pocket.It feels nice to know that some houses in this tiny obscure village will have my sketches hanging on their walls.’

See more of Shaw’s amazing work on his blog. Visit his website.

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  1. dhrupad



    nice sketches.allen sir…

  2. Ramya



    Beautiful work! Thanks for sharing!

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