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Alvin Mark Tan—Practice makes potential

“During animation school, we were reminded to keep drawing all the time. So, I began sketching everywhere, especially in buses, trains and planes,” Alvin Mark Tan reflects in an email interview with Actually.


Photo provided by Alvin


Alvin Mark Tan is a member of the of the group of ever-vigilant artists, “Commute Sketchers” best known for their collective efforts of sketching out what a person would expect to see if they were to look around during their travels—assuming they can bear to look away from the alluring charms of their mobile screens.


Sketching on the move is nothing new to Alvin. Just see his multitudes of sketching videos on his YouTube channel. And here’s a little sneak preview of what to expect in his channel:




Alvin has been doing art throughout the course of his life from studying design and advertising in Los Angeles to undergoing an animation programme here in Singapore and even fine arts in Florence, Italy. Even going down to his roots: “Like everyone, I started doodling when I was a toddler,” Alvin confessed. However, not everyone has the resolve or determination to continue on down that path of pursuing a future in art from our days of sucking on our thumbs. He was not always on his sketchbook, however, as he mentions that he stopped doodling during his time in design and advertising and only continuing again during the animation programme—eager to show that he still had his hand at art. And a good one, at that.


Photo provided by Alvin


As for the Commute Sketchers, Alvin became associated with them when his friend Erwin Lian invited him along with a band of other sketchers to join the group back in June 2016. Not that it was anything new to Alvin at that point.


Nowadays, Alvin continues his commute sketching to forge on in his quest to get better in his craft as an oil painter as well as to appease his ever-hungry-for-more-art followers on his social media. Alvin has been invited to run an urban sketching and a vlogging workshop in Ireland this coming summer and is also holding a group oil painting show in August.


Photo provided by Alvin


He is also currently looking for an investor or philanthropist to collaborate with to set up studio space to make art and allow people to come and paint in the likes of the old masters of Europe such as Leonardo da Vinci or Michelangelo.


However, if you’ve yet to make your mark in the art world or have a desire to draw your path into it, Alvin has this advice to give: “Find that one thing that is truly you (your voice) and sing every day. Everyone is unique and that special voice will be heard someday. This may take a few years to happen. Very often, budding artists give up too early in the game.” Hear that, people? Never give up on your dreams. Like every good movie with good morals will tell you.


Alvin also mentioned that he’ll be doing a bit of travelling around the world in the days to come so followers, rejoice! That means more commute sketching and artworks waiting to happen. Who knows where he’ll be coating his canvas next?


Alvin’s Social Media where he posts his ventures: www.facebook.com/alvinmark.art/

Alvin’s website: www.alvinmark.com

Commute Sketchers: www.facebook.com/groups/commutesketchers/about/

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