Rider’s Lens: UyokSuryo’s Bicycle Illustrations
In this edition of Rider’s Lens, we take a look at the illustrations of Indonesian artist UyokSuryo, who started drawing bicycles and their riders while locked down with his kids during the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more about UyokSuryo and his art here…
Words and illustrations by UyokSuryo (@UyokSuryo)
If you’ve seen pictures of bicycles on Instagram, it could be one of my digital scribbles. You can call me by the name UyokSuryo. I was born and raised in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, a city that abounds with culture, and where many Indonesian artists were born.
The current COVID-19 pandemic situation greatly limits the range of activities outside the home here. I’m a father of boys and girls who have started school, and they do all their school activities at home, which means I always need to be around to help them. Constantly accompanying children at home during the pandemic led me to opening photoshop on my laptop and looking for a little fun by experimenting with drawing.
Initially I drew my own bicycle, a Federal MTB that was made in the 90s and accompanied me every weekend before this pandemic. I made a few changes to my bike to make it more like a cruiser as I really like that style of bike. My drawings were initially inspired by the handmade (not digitaL) drawings of artists such as Luis Simoes (@worldsketchingtour) and Oni (@_akune). Their work is extraordinary.
MY FAVORITE Illustration
The bicycle illustration below is probably my favorite. I like it partly because blue is clearly my favorite color, but mostly because it depicts a bike that’s packed and ready to explore anywhere. The combination of gum wall wheelset, drop bars with yellow bar tape, dazzling fenders, and small lights preparing for night trips really pop. The illustration has a very realistic feel to it and I like it very much. For me, this represents a dream bike.
Drawing this bike, I tried to make strokes that are more detailed than those in my previous drawings, and the combination of colors and gradations of change to the complicated paint scheme made me work more.
As I told you in my biography, I started drawing bicycles with the help of Adobe Photoshop CC 2018, which was installed on my 2010 Macbook Pro. I use Photoshop for all of my bicycle illustrations, but I draw them in a way as if I were painting on real paper or canvas. I don’t do it with an application or plugin that’s already available in Adobe Photoshop. So, my pictures looks less neat in certain details because I work as if I were painting with a real paintbrush, drawing one by one the details of each picture using the help of only the Magic Mouse 2. Each illustration can take two to three days, sometimes even longer, especially if I also draw a bicycle’s owner. Maybe someday I will be able to upgrade to a Wacom tablet so I can complete these illustrations faster and with more detail!
I am someone who loves bikes and I have a couple of them in my garage. In addition to my Federal, I also have a Commencal Meta AM from 2015. I try to use them as often as I can, especially at the end of the week. Between the two, the Federal is particularly special to me because it’s the one I travel a lot with, and it’s also the bike that first got me interested in bikepacking.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic arrived, I had planned to travel on my Federal to the eastern Java, but everything was delayed for some time. Arguably to treat disappointment because of not being able to travel, I often open Instagram to check out bikes and their riders while I’m accompanying my children at home. I admire the way bikepacking riders make long trips and from city to city or even country to country, pedaling hundreds to thousands of kilometers. It really requires an extraordinary spirit, which is what makes me interested in drawing them or their bikes. You can think of it as an award for bikepacking riders.
Some people have asked me why I don’t draw detailed faces in my portraits. Indeed, it’s become something of a signature style for me. Or maybe I just don’t know how to draw faces, haha. In truth, illustrating portraits of people by hand with the limited tools is very challenging, and I’m more comfortable drawing bikes, and often happier with the final product if the focus is there and not on the rider.
Lately I’ve been drawing all kinds of bikes, just not bikepacking rigs. Several people have also asked me to illustrate their bikes for them, which has been an extremely positive thing for me, especially during the pandemic. Through drawing a few bikes here and there, I’ve been able to earn some extra income to buy my kids their favorite snacks.
My hope is that in the future I can have a web or personal site to accommodate all my works, and to keep working on my craft and in digital art, and to get more involved in the world of bicycles. Even today, I’ve already made lots of new friends and connections and had so many great experiences through cycling.
UyokSuryo is a father, illustrator, and cyclist residing in in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. You can follow UyokSuryo’s work on Instagram @UyokSuryo.