Hi, I’m Derrick, and welcome to StickyMangoRice! This is a site where I combine my love for sketching and art with my experiences travelling and observing the world around me. With a unique visual style, I aim to tell travel stories, give tips and advice, and research and explore all the little interesting cultural tidbits from places around the world.
Whether I’m sitting at a canalside cafe in Amsterdam, lounging in a hammock in Langkawi, or scribbling in my sketchbook at home in Melbourne, I’ve always got travel on my mind. And I’m thrilled to share my art and writing with my readers!
I am a casual artist based in Melbourne, Australia. While I don’t work in an artistic field, I have been creating artworks all my life. My main medium is coloured pencils, but I also enjoy painting with acrylic paints, sculpting using Sculpey clay, and more recently, experimenting with Posca pens and Copic alcohol markers.
My artworks for StickyMangoRice are all based off my own experiences and photographs, and I aim to tell my travel stories, explore interesting cultural tidbits, and view the world around me with an artist’s eye.
This site originally began as a travel blog with photographs, but I didn’t feel they stood out too much in the blogging landscape, and they didn’t reflect my artist side as much as I’d like. So, now StickyMangoRice shows the artistic side of travel.
Tell me about the name…why StickyMangoRice?
One morning, sitting for breakfast in Laos, my wife Cindy and I ordered dishes of sticky mango rice. Rice, cooked with coconut and sweetened with sugar came in a small bowl with sliced mango.
It represented everything that I love about travel – it was colourful, it was exotic, it invoked a sense of lightness, fun and vitality (and let’s not forget that food is one of the best things about travelling)!
Why do your old posts have photographs?
Sketching takes a very, very long time (especially now that there’s a new member of the family requiring my time and attention!), and I often dedicate several hours to one illustration. For that reason, new posts take quite a while to produce.
You’ll see my old photography in my early posts, from before I switched my blog into an illustrated style, but as I expand the site, I hope to one day convert them all to sketches.
The olden days
StickyMangoRice began back in 2012 as DerricksAdventure, which I used to keep friends and family updated about my year-long trip around the world. Like all first blogs, my writing was littered with grammatical errors, unedited photos and diary-style entries.
My big gap year around the world finished in mid-2013, so it seemed that my blog was done. But I enjoyed the creative writing, so I kept writing retrospective posts, as well new destinations that were coming up, such as Iceland, and Bali.
I briefly ran an art blog too, and posted images infrequently of paintings i’d done.
Converting to an illustrated blog
In 2017, I felt that my travel blog was getting lost in the ever-growing sea of other travel blogs. My art blog had long fallen into neglect. So I combined the two into one concept.
Florent Chavouet’s brilliant 2009 illustrated book, Tokyo On Foot. Florent stayed for 6 months in Tokyo, cycling around the city with a sketchbook and a folding chair, drawing everything from apple stickers to skyscrapers.
Just like Florent, I found sketching Japan to be one of the most interesting topics to cover. However, having had the privilege to explore 6 continents so far, I am working on documenting some of my favourite travel experiences, and researching cultural facets from the places i’ve been.
Highlights from travelling
My biggest, and most ambitious journey was in 2012, which was also the genesis for this site. I took 14 months off work to travel all around the world; starting in Australia, covering South-East Asia, Europe, a long stay in Montreal, Costa Rica and the USA.
I’ve also done an incredible road trip through 7 African countries in a 4×4, sketched crowds of Japanese businessmen in Tokyo, toured Iceland in a beat-up little Toyota, hiked through the Sri Lankan jungle to find a beautiful train bridge, and much more!
Do you travel full time?
I work in research laboratory, based in Melbourne, Australia. The digital nomad life is not something that appeals to me – I enjoy the routine, work, and saving up for a trip. Not to mention, we have a small baby at home now!