Sketch Retreat Vietnam Feb ‘20

Alena Kudriashova ”My Squiggles”

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Alena Kudriashova of “My” fame is your Sketch tutor for an 11 day/10 night Retreat in Central Vietnam February 17-27th 2020. Your host Anna Barnes of ArtFoodCulture (long term traveller to Hoi An, chef, social anthropologist and artist) has built a network of contacts over the years who delight in giving our groups special attention. They take us off the tourist trail to experience locations that only a local can.

You will be staying in a brand new locally run 4 star riverside hotel with pool, easy walking distance to the UNESCO Heritage town of Hoi An. Each day Alena will give you a sketch lesson including a demonstration that is especially tailored to capture the stunning historical town of Hoi An, its people and culture. Alena will build lessons around the architecture, street scenes, the market, the river, and the crowds of people there. She has developed a workshop program especially for this Retreat that will have you capturing Hoi An in a personally meaningful way.

Alena believes that a sketchbook provides a wonderful place to keep records of places, events, people, the weather and smells. She will teach you how to capture your meaningful moments by weaving them into the lines of every sketch. You will delight in the process as we complete our sketches on location.

We have chosen sketching locations that will encompass Hoi An. Emerald rice paddies and farmers at work, blooming lotus fields, bustling markets, historic Chinese Assembly Halls, Buddhist Pagodas, Vietnamese coffee houses, the famous Japanese Bridge, Marble Mountain and the ancient Cham ruins, Mi Son are all on offer. One of the many highlights will be visiting Linh’s family home. She is a long time friend of Anna’s, a mother and wonderful cook. She and her husband run an Eco herb and fish farm on the property. You will have a hands on cooking class with her and spend the afternoon sketching and relaxing amongst the water coconut palms. 

Another highlight will be visiting one of the 54 Ethic minority groups of Vietnam, the Co Tu people. Two days and one night in a traditional homestay with these people will give you plenty of time to explore this precious culture. Alena will guide you with your sketching and is looking forward to teaching you in such a fascinating environment.

And more! Please email me for the full itinerary.

Meals are included, and Anna will be taking you to her favourite places from the busiest of streetfood vendors where only the locals go, to the loveliest of Vietnamese restaurants in the Ancient town. You will experience many different styles of Vietnamese cuisine. Plenty of time will also be spent enjoying the lantern lit streets and the balmy evenings by the river.

About Alena Kudriashova:

Alena Kudriashova, is an architect and an urban sketcher from Russia, currently based in Singapore. She brings her sketchbook wherever she travels, documenting places and things happening to her. In the modern world where we are overwhelmed by vast amounts of information, where snapping a picture has become so easy, she felt the necessity to create something that will help her remember things that happened to her.

A sketchbook provides exactly that, keeping a record of places, events, people, and even weather and smells. All of it is woven into the lines of every sketch, making it the most secure place for keeping memories.

Her sketches are bursting with stories. Each page has a variety of vignettes, motifs & designs, and found objects from the places she visits. Alena will show us how to practice “extreme sketching”. We will go out on location everyday and capture the moments and experiences that have personal meaning to us whilst immersing ourselves in the delightful culture of Hoi An. This is a sketch stool free event. We will be sketching on the move, or sitting on the little red plastic stools of Vietnam in a market somewhere, interacting with the locals…

More about Alena Here

Alena’s Instagram Here

Anna has asked Alena to be the principle sketch tutor for this trip because of her strong style and capable approach. She has confidence and energy that transposes well on her sketchbook pages. She has previously captured the essence of Vietnam beautifully on a solo trip, and is highly experienced with sketching SE Asian locations. She joined Anna’s Art Food Culture Retreat in March 2019 as a guest, and a bond between Anna and Alena was instantly formed. She understands well, the energy and vibrancy of this culture, and Anna was beyond impressed with her abilities as not only an artist but as a teacher in this sensory challenging environment. Anna looks forward to working with Alena as they make a great team! Alena also runs workshops and classes in her home city of Singapore.

See Alena’s Vietnam Sketchbook Here

Your Sketching Tutor Alena Kudriashova,  on location.


February 17th - 27th 2020


Small group maximum 8 sketchers. This will ensure you will receive plenty of personal tuition during the sessions.

10 nights accomodation (7 nights 4 star riverside hotel with pool, 1 night Village Homestay, 1 night Danang)

10 breakfasts

9 lunches

10 dinners (from the best Street Food & Market Vendors to Local Riverside Restaurants)

8 x 3 hr sketch tuition sessions with Alena Kudriashova of My Squiggles (sometimes broken into a couple of shorter sessions a day)

An Alena Kudriashova Designed Sketchbook to use during the Retreat (and keep)

Entry ticket to The Ancient Town

Co Tu Ethnic Village 2 day, 1 night stay, with local foods, traditional dances and cultural immersion with locals

Private bus trip to the historic Cham ruins, Mi Son with local guide

Private bus trip to Marble Mountain with local guide

Private Boat ride to the early morning fish markets

Cooking Class and Basket Boat afternoon out at a private Eco Fish and Herb Farm

Rice Paper making, Farm excursion and Seafood lunch at the Organic Herb Gardens

Drinking Water will be made available. Please bring your own stainless steel refillable bottle.

River Side Hotel

Not included:

International airfares


Travel insurance

Beverages- alcohol and imported soft drinks. (water available, bring your own refillable bottle)

Tips and gratuities

Anything not mentioned in the Included list

Please note:

A non-refundable deposit of $500.00 per person is required in order to secure your reservation. The final payment balance of ($3,400) is due 120 days prior to departure date (plus an extra $400 if paying single supplement). International transfer fees and costs will be responsibility of the Guest. All prices in AUD.

Bookings close November 17th 2019. Full Balance due.

If you have paid your deposit, then your reservation will be assured. The retreat is guaranteed to go ahead if minimum numbers are reached by the booking deadline. For guests who have a reservation assured, DO NOT proceed with booking your air travel and organising your visa and insurance until we have contacted you. (In the rare case that minimum numbers are not reached, and a retreat is cancelled, then your deposit will be returned in full).

We can recommend a Sydney based Vietnam specialist Travel Agent to take care of your airfares, visa and travel insurance if you are departing from Australia. Let us know if you would like details.

Travel insurance is mandatory and a copy must be supplied to us before commencement.

For Extra nights, add ons to your itinerary within Vietnam, VIP Airport service, private transfers to your hotel, and tours to other parts of Vietnam or neighbouring countries please contact our trusted South East Asian Specialists Khiri Travel at

For the full itinerary or questions please email Anna Barnes at ArtFoodCulture.

phone: (+61) 490345782


$3,900 per person (plus $400 single supplement if travelling solo). All prices AUD.

More Information and Bookings Here

Anna Barnes founder of Art Food Culture is a long time traveller to Vietnam. She has a Masters in Design Science, specialising in 3D Animation from The University of Sydney (being awarded the Dean's Honour Award) and a Bachelor of Arts in Fine Arts and Social Anthropology, specialising in South East Asian Studies. Anna was the Executive Chef of Sydneys "Best Specialty Restaurant" winner and has worked over 25 years in Sydney restaurants, working with specialty cuisines, and creating authentic cultural menus. She was the owner of "Fiasco and Debacle", Sydneys largest artisan cafe cake manufacturer for 8 years. She has implemented and delivered cooking classes, held workshops, been a cooking demonstrator, facilitated "Artist Way" groups, and has worked for Team Building companies. She currently leads Creative Retreats in Vietnam and teaches Travel Sketching and Nature Journalling in The Blue Mountains. Her passion is to help people connect, transform, recover and thrive through art, food and culture. She is an artist, a mother, traveller and a naturalist and lives in The Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia with her family. 

Your Host Anna Barnes and Alena Kudriashova.