Portrait Drawing of a Boy in Laos

I’ve been struggling to write – or do anything – lately, so I thought I’d pick up a pencil instead. I’m no artist, I know, but I’ve always found drawing relaxing, ever since I was a little girl, so why not?

This is a boy I captured with my Canon camera in Laos, close by to the beautiful Kuang Si Falls. I’m not sure how old he is exactly, but he wasn’t one for smiling. After I’d taken the photograph I managed to get a flicker of interest from him by allowing him to see the shot on my camera, before he gave me a swift nod and looked away – a gesture which I took as a hint for me to move along.


The deceptively simple act of putting pencil to paper and creating a line, or writing words onto a page and producing a different kind of line, forces us to slow down and observe – to consider the light, the dark, and recognise the subtlest hint of emotion. If I can gain even a slightly better understanding of what – or who – it is that I’m seeing before me, then I think drawing, like writing, is incredibly worthwhile. Of course I can’t claim to know anything more about the boy in the photograph just because I studied his face, but then again, perhaps I can. The photographer who stops and looks twice surely knows something the tourist who carelessly breezes by with his head down doesn’t – and what then of the artist and the poet, who both meticulously rack their brains for the details that happen in fleeting moments? Should those details go overlooked? Would I have noticed that graze on the boy’s chin without my pencil?

What happened?

Is he okay?


Usually I’d do the eyes first and work outwards, since they’re the part I love doing the most and what I think breathes life into a portrait drawing; today though, I thought I’d leave them till last, leaving me with this somewhat unsettling, hollow-eyed sketch, which I’m strangely rather drawn to.



I’d be interested in your thoughts on how old the boy is. His seriousness gave me the impression that he was no younger than eleven or twelve, but I really have no idea. What do you think?

IMG_2225 2 (2)

It’s not a masterpiece, I know, it’s just a rough attempt to try and capture a likeness. I’m aware that the ears aren’t right and that I rushed the hair and the shading isn’t spot on, but, so what?

Actually, I do care; I’m just not very good. Nevermind, I might try again some other time. Here are a few travel photos from Luang Prabang, Laos, which I captured in the same area as the boy.

Travel Photos from Luang Prabang, Laos




The Beautiful Kuang Si Falls, Luang Prabang




If you enjoyed this post, have a read of my latest post about my solo travel trip to Laos, A Conversation with a Liverpudlian in Laos, or follow me on Twitter @ksfahey. I’d love to connect with people interested in art, travel, writing (including poetry) and photography. Whatever you’re passionate about, let me know!



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