Sketch Retreat Vietnam-July 2019

Alena Kudriashova ”My Squiggles”


Alena Kudriashova of “My” fame is your Sketch tutor for an 11 day Retreat in Hoi An, Vietnam July 7- July 17, 2019. Your host Anna Barnes of ArtFoodCulture (long term traveller to Hoi An, chef 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 locally run riverside hotel with pool, easy walking distance to the UNESCO Heritage town of Hoi An. Each morning Alena will give a Sketch Class, 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 and embrace slow responsible travel. 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 early morning fish markets and experiencing the energy and movement of this vibrant culture.

Alena will guide you with your sketching and is looking forward to teaching in such a fascinating environment. Meals are included, and Anna (chef of 30 years) will be taking you to her favourite places from the busiest of street food 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.

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 runs workshops and classes in her home city of Singapore. Anna looks forward to her sharing her talents with her Retreat Guests.

See Alena’s Vietnam Sketchbook Here

Your Sketching Tutor Alena Kudriashova,  on location.

email Anna at for booking details.


July 7th - July 17th 2019.


Small group maximum 10 sketchers. This will ensure you will receive plenty of personal tuition during the sessions.

10 nights accomodation in a riverside hotel with pool

10 breakfasts

9 lunches

10 dinners (from the best Street Food to Fine Dining)

8 x 3 hr sketch tuition sessions with Alena Kudriashova of My Squiggles.

Entry ticket to The Ancient Town

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

River Side Hotel

Not included:

International airfares


Travel insurance

Beverages- alcohol and imported soft drinks. 

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 $3400 is due 120 days prior to departure date. ($400 extra if paying single supplement)

Bookings close April 7th 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


$3900 per person. (Single supplement extra $400)

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.