When commuting on trains or buses, Mr Erwin Lian whips out his trusty fountain pen and sketchbook and starts doodling away.
While other commuters take naps or busy themselves with their phones, the 37-year-old sketches to kill time. His creations, which can sometimes take up to 20 minutes to complete, typically include the people he sees on public transport.
"I find the notion of going somewhere together interesting. The fact that there are so many different faces to draw within a small space excites me," said Mr Lian, who has been sketching on public transport for the past few years .
"The public commute presents a unique and safe setting to practise what I love."
The adjunct lecturer at Ngee Ann Polytechnic is part of a small group, known as the Commute Sketchers, who document their surroundings while travelling on trains, buses and other forms of transport.
They share their drawings - which capture intricate details of the mode of transport they are on, as well as the expressions and actions of other commuters - on Facebook.
Some of their sketches have gone on display at several train stations and bus interchanges. And their art may soon get even more exposure.
Drawings by the group are now on display at Bedok, Bishan, Boon Lay and Clementi bus interchanges, as well as at train stations such as Beauty World and Bukit Panjang on the Downtown Line and HarbourFront and Hougang on the North-East Line.
ART COMES HOME
It is wonderful when sketches that are made on a train or a bus find themselves back where they were conceived, especially when commuters stop for a brief moment to study them.
MR ERWIN LIAN, adjunct lecturer at Ngee Ann Polytechnic, who is part of the Commute Sketchers. Members of the group document their surroundings while travelling on trains, buses and other forms of transport. Mr Lian approached SBS Transit late last year to display some of the artwork at train stations and bus depots.
Seeing everyday life in a different light
SBS Transit's senior vice-president for corporate communications, Ms Tammy Tan, said: "We have had very positive feedback from our commuters who say they enjoy looking at the drawings as they walk through our interchanges and stations."
SBS Transit now intends to extend the art installations to more locations. "We hope it adds more colour to the walls of our interchanges and stations," Ms Tan said.
Mr Lian, who approached SBS Transit late last year to display some of the artwork, said: "It is wonderful when sketches that are made on a train or a bus find themselves back where they were conceived, especially when commuters stop for a brief moment to study them."
He started the Commute Sketchers Facebook group about a year ago to offer a platform to showcase works, discuss techniques and share experiences. The group has about 180 members, including art teachers and professional artists.
"Through the years, I realised that there are many like me who sketch during their commute," he said.
Other avid sketchers are pleased that there are now more options to showcase their artwork.
Retiree Francis Theo, 67, who started doodling on buses and trains about four years ago, hopes this will encourage more people to take up sketching. He joined Commute Sketchers last year.
"I am not a device guy, so, in order to kill travelling time, I sketch," said Mr Theo, adding that drawing also helps him to de-stress. "I usually sketch passengers busy with their devices or taking a nap. It takes me about 30 to 45 minutes, depending on the complexity."
Full-time artist Alvin Mark Tan, 41, who also joined the group last year, said its art allows people to see their mundane, daily commutes in a different light.
"It's wonderful that we get to see art... especially art done locally and of familiar everyday scenes."