I'm going to be traveling through South East Asia, (Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam) and as an artist, I will be painting and drawing and keeping an art journal of my journey.
I am wondering if the fact that I will be drawing/painting the people as well as the scenery will be frowned upon in certain areas? In particular in and around the temples and during processions?
The Lao people are very hospitable and won't mind you drawing/painting them. To be polite just ask first and show them what you are doing and you will probably get a monk to sit for you. All areas are used to being photographed continuously - so drawing and painting won't be a problem. Just always be polite and friendly and you won't have any problems. almost 5 years ago
In summary, it won't be frowned upon anywhere! And there are not many place you can say that about.
I've had experience of watching the 'most-watched' procession, which is the morning procession in Luang Prabang, and it was very uncomfortable (read 'fking irritating and embarrassing') to see a western tourist getting really up close to the monks and snapping away, trying to get that 'awesome shot' despite the fact that it's been done a million times already.
Even though I was hanging back and resisting getting my camera out, in the end I got my telephoto lens out and took just a couple of frames of what is a genuinely authentic daily scene:
The monks ignored the photographer. That's part of the 'buddhist way' - they would be doing themselves a disservice if they reacted to such behaviour. However, that doesn't make it 'ok', in my book.
The way I see it, so long as you're not an idiot like the guy I described, you'll be absolutely fine, and like someone else said, you might end up getting some really close, NATURAL, contact with some monks.
I also stumbled upon a ceremony in another, smaller, town in Laos, and my presence with a camera was well received. I still acted sensitively, but I was getting into conversations with monks and no-one expressed any objection to my camera.
I really do think that an artist painting will have absolutely ZERO problems wherever they decide to paint. The Laos culture seems to be very open to people recording them, compared to the West, and a painter would likely be well received.
Enjoy. Go and do it. It will the experience of a lifetime! almost 5 years ago
Of course yes, you CAN. people here are very friendly. If you want to hunt cheap ticket to explore Indochina area, Let's take an overiew in my experience : http://journals.worldnomads.com/becki/story/125178/Vietnam/My-experience-in-getting-cheap-flight-tickets almost 5 years ago