Week 1 of Rome Architectural Sketchbook Program

The Rome Architectural sketchbook is finally here, the excitement of going to Europe for the first time is overwhelming. The orientation day was just a hint to how much fun this program is going to be. I went to meet everyone in the program. It's nice getting to know people from different universities and their background. We met Barbara and the elective teachers, they were so friendly and accommodating. Barbara greeted us with “ciao baby, let’s go drawing baby!”, it always makes the class laugh how carefree and humourous she is. She briefly showed us different styles of sketching, she demonstrated techniques and ways of drawing. The very first drawing we did was in the garden of IED (Instituto Europeo di Design). It has been a long time since I have drawn and it’s lovely to come back to something I’m passionate about.

Colosseum and IED garden sketch

During this week, we went to many places such as the Colosseum, Palatine Hill, Piazza del Popolo, Villa Borghese, Pantheon, art galleries and many many more. Although it was tiring from a lot of walking and the summer heat, I enjoyed every moment of it. I appreciate sketching as an alternative to taking photos.

Palatine Hill  and Colosseum

One place in particular that highlighted this week was the Colosseum on the second day of sketching. I stood in awe staring at the amazing monument with the repetition of arches, I could not believe I was standing in front of a piece of architecture from a long time ago! It was early in the morning and there were twenty-six of us drawing the Colosseum. We were told to try drawing with pencils, focusing on perspective and shading. Many tourists actually came over to observe our drawings, some even asked us questions about where we were from. I appreciate the curiosity coming from strangers and approaching us to know more about sketching and art in general.

Pen sketch of Piazza Del Popolo

Another highlight was the Villa Borghese. The park is situated near the zoo and Borghese gallery, it’s shaded with trees which is a perfect relief from the scorching heat. There was a lake that offered boat rentals for 20 minutes. My colleagues and I felt adventurous so we went on for a boat ride, it was a lovely experience seeing the turtles swim around and geese waddling nearby. There was a talented musician playing harp which enhanced the whole atmosphere, it felt romantic and serene. This is a moment I will never forget.

Villa Borghese lake

Last but not least, we went to the Hendrick Christian Anderson gallery on the fourth day. It was the first time we had the opportunity to study muscles and poses of human bodies. The gallery was filled with beautiful white statues. We sat and practiced drawing figures using markers and fine liners, it’s fun using different tools and mediums to see different effects on the drawings. As I was strolling around the gallery, seeing other people’s work in progress makes me so intrigued because it shows their unique style.





Compilation of sketches from various students

I’m beginning to loosen my sketching technique and allow the flow of artistic energy to express itself in my drawings. Sketching definitely requires a lot of patience and attention to detail, however the final outcome to the sketches makes me feel very rewarding. I am looking forward to week two already. Signing off, ciao!

My name is Lily and I am currently a third year Architecture student studying at the University of Queensland. I love drawing and gaming as a hobby. I enjoy traveling because I gain new perspectives when I learn about other countries' history and culture. Not only do I grow in knowledge but also as a person. It is a privilege to go on the Rome Architectural Sketchbook Program to fulfill this bucket list.