Published on 10 January 2018

Find out how Anita Ryanto turned her interest in sketching into two illustrated books on Singaporean food.  

By: Melanie Lee

Lecturer Anita Ryanto has always enjoyed sketching. In fact, she teaches drawing and painting in both traditional and digital mediums at Ngee Ann Polytechnic’s School of InfoComm Technology. She decided to publish a book of her sketches and chose to focus on every Singaporen’s favourite subject – food! Her first book, “Shiok, Sia! – Sketching Singapore’s Favourite Street Food”, featuring local dishes such as satay and chilli crab, was well-received when it first came out in 2016. Last December, Ryanto released a second book, “Shiok, Sia! – Sketching Singapore’s Favourite Desserts where you can admire her mouthwatering illustrations of kueh, snacks, drinks and desserts.

Ryanto tells The A List more about her food-sketching process.

How did you get started on food sketching? 
It started just for fun since food is challenging to sketch in terms of colours and textures.

What art materials do you use to sketch your food?
Waterproof pen and water colour.

How does sketching your food affect the way you consume/appreciate your food? 
I appreciate the art of cooking and the love people put into preparing the food. Sketching allows me to observe these nuances. However, it is not a healthy habit because I often eat rather cold food!

What’s your favourite food to sketch and why? 
Nasi Lemak, Kueh Pie Tee, and other dishes with more varieties of colours and shapes. Kueh, cakes and drinks are enjoyable to sketch too. An attractive presentation plays an important part as well for food sketching.

What was the most challenging dish to sketch and why? 
Anything that is mostly dark or light with almost monochromatic colours. Ayam Buah Keluak would be a good example of a dish that is hard to sketch. Roti Prata is also challenging for its rather abstract shape and texture. Other than these dishes, Black Sesame Paste, Grass Jelly Drink, Barley drink, Bandung, Pulut Hitam and Kueh Lapis are also challenging.

Sketching food is better that Instagramming food because…
It challenges your drawing /painting skills, speed and observation skills!

SHIOK, SIA! books are sold at Books Kinokuniya, Times Bookstores and Naiise outlets. Both are published by Kucinta Books. Alternatively, if you are not based in Singapore, you can contact the publisher at [email protected] for more information about ordering any of the books online. 

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