Ischia Ink Workshop with Ch’ng Kiah Kiean in Italy – Sept. 29 / October 3

guest artist Ch’ng Kiah Kiean

instructors Simo Capecchi, Ch’ng Kiah Kiean, Caroline Peyron

in partnership with Associazione Amici di Gabriele Mattera, Castello Aragonese

in collaboration with  Negombo thermal park, Ischia 

art director Franco Lancio


UP DATE march 6: sorry, this workshop is SOLD OUT. Email to be in our waiting list.

The new edition of our neapolitan Urban Sketchers workshop will be in Ischia island again, inside the fascinating Castello Aragonese, a real retreat for painters that want to be inspired, observe and create in a peaceful environment and where, even after our successful past edition, many spots are still to be depicted. Located in the gulf of Naples, Ischia island is reachable by a 40′ boat ride from Naples port.

Workshop will start with the opening of a personal exhibit of Ch’ng Kiah Kiean inside Chiesa dell’Immacolata, a main exhibit space inside Castello Aragonese. We are very pleased to have Kiah Kiean as a special guest coming from Malaysia to share with us his remarkable art. On the occasion the workshop is dedicated to black and white with Chinese ink as our main media.

An open sketchcrawl and another exhibit of Kiah Kiean will take place in Naples on Sunday September 25, details to be announced.

*italian translation here

With Ch’ng Kiah Kiean, malaysian artist and urban sketcher, we’ll focus on composition and work on the infinite possibilities of black ink lines with a reinterpretation of traditional Chinese ink painting, among old buildings and panoramas around the Castello Aragonese. A different approach to Chinese ink painting is proposed by Caroline Peyron, an artist and inspiring teacher with a contagious energy. She will lead participants to experiment all textures and shades of black as they can be observed in a lush vegetable garden inside the castle, using both lines and washes. Simo Capecchi suggests to focus on the storytelling quality of urban sketching, using a simple ink pen to report with images and texts some of the castle old and new stories. Local guests will be interviewed in the castle surroundings, to practice speed sketching and reportage drawing.

instructors / workshops / locations

Ch’ng Kiah Kiean / Sketching with Dry Twigs & Chinese Ink / Castello Aragonese terraces.

Participants will be guided to see the environment in black & white with its infinite shades in between and sketching it using handmade dry twigs with Chinese ink as main medium.

Rio Pereque Acu, Paraty, Brazil 2014

In traditional Chinese ink painting white is not just a blank space but a fundamental part of the drawing composition. Kiah Kiean will teach participants how to focus on page composition and to leave empty spaces in their sketches creatively.

Sketching with dry twigs encourages to handmade your own simple sketching tools, with twigs collected on location. It is also a good essay for those who indulge too much in details, all for a more evocative and essential representation of our subject. Participants will experience the delicate and diverse line works that can be created with the twigs. They will also learn to use Chinese ink and black & white dealing with three main elements as dots, lines and surfaces.

Cihou Fort, Taiwan 2013

Workshop will start with lines-only sketches, followed by lines and dry shades sketches, ending with lines and ink washes sketches. Kiah Kiean quick demos will introduce participants hands-on exercises.

Guanyin Mountain, Taiwan 2013

Ch’ng Kiah Kiean was born 1974 in George Town, Penang. He was trained in architecture at University Sains Malaysia and loves art, design and photography. He is a blog correspondent of Urban Sketchers and co-founded Urban Sketchers Penang in 2010. He published Sketches of Pulo Pinang in 2009, Line-line Journey in 2011 and Sketching Penang in 2014. Solo exhibitions of his works have been held in Malaysia and abroad. Find out more about him at



Caroline Peyron / Rhythm and Lines, Breath and Washes / Castello Aragonese gardens.

Erasmus of Rotterdam praised Dürer to know how to express everything with a line, without any use of color: shadows, lights, glitter, relief:  “Dürer could represent what cannot be depicted, even the sound itself”.

gardens in Naples, 2015

Caroline has worked with Chinese ink for years now and never ceases to discover its infinite possibilities. She has the feeling that black ink can represents not only light but also colors. We will work with the ink, using brushes and bamboo pen but also with rolling ball pens (Pilot V5 and V7) to investigate and represent different subjects and their materials, their texture, transparency, darkness, the light and the wind too. We’ll look for the rhythm of things with diverse lines and for nature “breath” with ink washes.

In ancient languages what mattered most about color was its texture, intensity and shininess, more than the color hue. Relationship with light is a fundamental aspect of colors. For example in Latin ater is matte black and niger a glossy black; Albus is opaque white and candidus a glistening one. Nowadays to say black and white we only have one word and it is necessary to specify with an adjective.

vineyards in Provence, France.

We’ll work in the Castle gardens where a wide variety of plants, trees and pergolas are: endless models of textures with ever changing lights and shadows. During the workshop Caroline will also read fragments of texts on these issues.

Caroline Peyron is a french artist and a teacher living in Naples. Personal exhibitions of her works has been held in many cultural institutions in Naples, Rome and Paris. Last one has been “Cielo” at Museo e Certosa di San Martino in Naples, October 2015. She has been an art teacher for over twenty years now holding workshops and courses with children, adolescents and adults for private schools and public institutions like Museo Capodimonte and Museo Archeologico Nazionale in Naples.

Meet the instructor on Urban Sketchers workshop blog.


Simo Capecchi / Stories of the Castle, a collective reportage / around Castello Aragonese

Holding a sketchbook is a great chance to deal with a place and to get a closer connection with people around you, a good start for explore reality and telling a story. Adding a text to your drawing is a powerful way to report an interesting encounter, an environment, an event. In this workshop we’ll focus on how to enhance the storytelling aspect of our sketches taking the advantage of a really special place, so deeply rooted to local inhabitants lives and memories.

Live reportage at Ipomea rare plant fair in Ischia island.

The Castello Aragonese is a fortified island that in past centuries hosted an entire village with buildings, churches and a monastery. It has been included in many novels, traveller diaries and depicted in hundreds of paintings and engravings as one of the most famous place in Ischia island. Since the Fifties it has been slowly renovated to become a main touristic attraction and it hosts exhibits, festivals, concerts and the European Institute of Restoration. Ischia Ponte, near the castle bridge, in spite of all tourists is still a popular neighborhood and a fisherman village. The castle rock island creates a protected port where fishermen sells their fishes every morning.

Live reportage during a Naples Architecture University workshop in Riccia village.

We will meet and interview a number of local people with stories to tell about the castle and their life on the island and portrait them in their environment. We’ll use simple tools as ink pen and fountains pens to focus more on the composition of images and texts. Examples and tips will be given to help participants to create his/her illustrated reportage.

The group will collaborate as a team to create a collective reportage made of our multiple points of view and approaches with images and texts to be uploaded on Urban Sketchers website and eventually published in paper form.

How they make cous-cous at Ennor restaurant in Naples.

Simo Capecchi trained as an architect at the Universities of Venice and Naples (Italy) and currently works as an illustrator. Her drawings appears on magazines and edited collections and have been displayed in many international collective exhibits. Since 2006, she curated exhibitions and events on travel sketchbooks and holds sketching workshops both in Italy than abroad. She contributes to Urban Sketchers from Naples, where she lives.  


More reportages on Flickr / Vimeo / Issuu. One page reportage for Dove travel magazine.

Check workshop locations and travel infos on GOOGLE MAP.

PROGRAM  (may change according to the weather)

**Workshop will be preceded by an open SKETCHCRAWL and an exhibit of  Ch’ng Kiah Kiean: meeting on Sunday, September 25 from 10.00 in panoramic terrace at the entrance of Museo e Certosa di San Martino in Naples.**

Thursday, September 29

16.00 welcome and check-in at Castello Aragonese, Ischia

17.00 Ch’ng Kiah Kiean public demo in the Castle terrace

18.30 Ch’ng Kiah Kiean opening exhibit in Chiesa dell’Immacolata

Friday, September 30

   9.30 – 13.00  (divided in three groups)

Simo Capecchi, Stories of the Castle, a collective reportage

Ch’ng Kiah Kiean, Sketching with Dry Twigs & Chinese Ink

Caroline Peyron, Rhythm and lines, breath and washes

   14.00 – 17.30 (all together)

The Castle seen from the beach – sketching with all instructors

(after hours: optional boat tour around the Castle – not included in workshop fee).

Saturday, October 1 

   9.30 – 13.00  (divided in three groups)

Simo Capecchi, Stories of the Castle, a collective reportage

Ch’ng Kiah Kiean, Sketching with Dry Twigs & Chinese Ink

Caroline Peyron, Rhythm and lines, breath and washes

   14.00 – 17.30 (all together)

The Castello Aragonese from Torre Michelangelo, sketching with all instructors

(Reachable by small boat from the Castle pier. Nice panoramic walk back to the Castle).

Sunday, October 2

   9.30 – 13.00  (divided in three groups)

Simo Capecchi, Stories of the Castle, a collective reportage

Ch’ng Kiah Kiean, Sketching with Dry Twigs & Chinese Ink

Caroline Peyron, Rhythm and lines, breath and washes

   14.00 – 17.30 (all together)

Nature and architecture itinerary inside the Castle – sketching with all instructors

Monday, October 3 

10.00 – 16.00  Botanical itinerary and beach landscapes in Negombo gardens and thermal Park, San Montano bay, Ischia. All group and instructors will have a swim-and-draw party! 

Lunch and entrance are offered by Negombo.


Registration fee –  € 240 including tuition as in the program.

10% of income will support Urban Sketchers non profit association.

To apply email to: simo.capecchi(at)

Participants max 30, min 15. Any level is welcome. Join us to share your skills or to be inspired and to get a stronger motivation to paint and draw.

Languages English. Italian or French translation may be provided if needed.

Sponsors  Viarco, ArtGraf products 

Lodging: The Albergo il Monastero, located inside the Castello Aragonese of Ischia, will offer workshop participants a special – 20% discount on their rates for a double rooms option but, to get this offer please book before May 31. Only a few rooms are available. Email the hotel for details: ilmonastero(at) 

Other lodging can be found in nearby Ischia Ponte village, both in hotels than in Airbnb website.

view from Il Monastero hotel, Castello Aragonese.

The Castello Aragonese is an ancient fortress located on a rocky little island, connected to the main island of Ischia through a bridge built in the fifteenth century. The fortified citadel was made as a defense against pirates and it was the main settlement of Ischia, hosting more than one thousand families, a dozen churches, a convent plus the fortress. Bombed several times, then abandoned and later used as a prison until 1860, the island with its buildings largely reduced in ruins was auctioned and bought by a private in 1912. In past centuries the Aragonese castle has been a favorite subject for countless artists traveling in Italy for their Grand Tour and landed in Ischia.

Inside the Castle was born and lived Gabriele Mattera (1929-2005), established italian artist and son of the castle owner. We’ll be introduced to his works by his son Nicola Mattera and we’ll visit his studio inside the convent, where hundreds of his large oil paintings are preserved.

Currently, the fortress itself is inaccessible but most of the other buildings, four churches and the convent has been restored and are used as a venue for exhibitions and hospitality, there is a restaurant, a café, vineyards, olive groves, cultivated fields, in addition to the headquarters of the European Institute of Restoration. The island is open to visitors all year round. Our group will have access to private areas too. From the top you can enjoy a 360 ° view on Ischia and over the Gulf of Naples.

Naples USK Workshop, past editions photos:

2015 Painting around Castello Aragonese

2014 Collect the city

2013 Hidden Naples

2012 Panoramas, fragments and stories


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