#016 – Through the eyes of an international student

Hi! My name is Sibo Pan (潘思博) and I was born in China 26 years ago. Although I study product design, I love drawing and sharing my daily stories via illustrations with other people. I also plan to complete a ‘365 day challenge’ through an illustration diary.

About two years ago, I moved from China to Germany and started studying my Masters degree and life in Weimar; a small but lovely cultural city in Germany. As a foreign student, everything in Germany is fresh, interesting and vivid. There are many various cultural customs and living habits that differ to those in China. I really cherished this new living experience and eagerly wanted to record everything I saw in order to share it with my parents, friends and more people. Therefore, I started thinking about one issue: how could I record those cultural and customary differences combined with my feelings and experience in a special and meaningful way?

Answer? Instead of taking photos, I chose drawing as the approach.

Life is passion, drawing is my way to speak it out.

At first, my life through hand-drawn records was just a hobby in my spare time. I drew the apartment I lived in and the classrooms where I had classes.

A part of my desk in my little and sweet apartment in Weimar
Printing workshop and colorful bottles

But gradually, I fell in love with this feeling: observing the moments or things that make me feel excited and give me inspiration, and integrating my emotions into them through creation. My drawings record the Weimar that I get to know during my study life. They are not just illustrations, but show a grittier, vibrant place, full of people going about their daily lives and the scenes and activities that I observe and experience every day.

On my way to Rewe, I met a fashionable old man
A cute old gentleman with his toys and lovely music on Goethe-Schiller Square

Drawing is a microcosm of my life.

Illustration allows me to observe life better and to re-live it in the days to come. By drawing, I started to pay close attention to the details that I wouldn’t notice before, such as messy kitchen countertop in student apartments, a corner filled with lots of empty bottles in our classroom, dry pigment traces on the paint bottle in the printing workshop, the packages of snacks I have eaten with my friends, different expressions on peoples’ faces when they line up to buy french fries, and so on.

Visiting my friend in her dormitory and waiting to enjoy tasty meal is the best moment of the day
My Chinese friends came to visit me and brought lots of Chinese yummy snacks for me

Those details give my life a temperature, and I hope people from Weimar or other places in Germany will be able to awake their memories and feelings when they see my drawings, and resonate with them as well.

I am inspired by daily life and my memories. I do not want my drawings to be perfect, but real, vivid and full of passion. In other words, drawing has changed the way I look at the world, and allows me to slow down and pay more attention to the small details and happenings around me.

I do not want my drawings to be perfect, but real, vivid and full of passion.

I will keep drawing until I finish the ‘365 day challenge’, trying to find and illustrate more valuable and touching scenes and moments around me. I hope you appreciate, or even love, my story and my drawings shared here and over on my instagram. Thank you so much for reading my words.

Sibo Pan (潘思博) is a Chinese international student currently studying in Weimar, Germany for a master’s degree in product design. Depicting her hectic studious lifestyle through personal illustrations, Sibo impresses many with her dedication, talent and keen eye for detail.
Explore her illustrations and work here: