HARBIN, Feb. 8 (Xinhua) -- At his studio, Sun Jiaju takes his time to draw a sausage -- part of a Russian-style dish.
In several minutes, the 63-year-old sketches some simple lines on paper and fills the contour with colors.
Be it Russian cuisine, western-style architecture or snowy landscapes, his works all depict characteristics of Harbin, capital of China's northernmost province of Heilongjiang and a city rich for tourism.
After retiring from the tourism department in Harbin, Sun has picked up his drawing pen to show the beauty of the city.
Known as either the "Oriental Moscow" or "Oriental Paris," Harbin won fame in late 1800s and early 1900s after construction of the Chinese Eastern Railway financed by then Russia Empire. Apart from its unique combination of oriental and European architectural styles, the city is also known for its ice and snow festivals in winter, the busiest season for Sun.
"I got up before 4 a.m. because I kept thinking about the work I didn't finish yesterday," he says.
Influenced by his family, Sun developed wide interests in arts when he was young, although he was not professionally trained. His father, who was educated at private school, was good at calligraphy. His brother played violin, and his sister liked to sing Russian songs.
"Growing up in Harbin with its peculiar cultural atmosphere, I found people like us easily developed a hobby in arts," he says. He spent most of his time drawing after class.
He also sketched on bulletin boards when he served the army. But when the veteran started working for the local tourism bureau, he became too busy to draw.
Sun did not pick up his pen again until his 50s, when a sketch brochure introducing tourist resorts of the Republic of Korea amazed him. The brochure was a gift he received on a business trip to ROK.
"The sketches evoked some unspeakable feelings in me. There's a charm in visual arts that cannot be replaced by words," Sun says. He decided to promote Harbin tourism with his drawing.
He started a studio after retirement in 2015. To date, he has created more than 300 works in connection with Harbin. His works are made into bookmarks, postcards and brochures available in bookstores and tourist resorts.
Sun plans to appeal to young people with his work. He has learned how to use Douyin, a video-sharing app also known as Tik Tok, which is popular among young people. He also intends to teach drawing online.
"I hope both locals and tourists can find out more about Harbin, and make the city known to the world," he says.