Observation Drawing in Italy

April 13, 2013

A couple of weeks ago, we travelled to Italy to visit the Bologna Book Fair, and took a short detour to visit Venice and Rome.

Though the weather wasn't the best, the picturesque views made sure all three of us (Ting, Rosemary and I) were scratching away in our sketchbooks.

Italian buildings are a pleasure to draw, especially Venice - it is disorder in order, uniformity and disarray both at once. While Venice allows crooked lines, Rome is stricter, with perfect angles and circles, even when the buildings are in ruins... making it impossible to make a perfect drawing of them (but who wants photographic precision anyway, eh?). The beauty of drawing here is the compositions, the little decorative forms, patterns, and scale.

It isn't as much an exercise in representing the place, but a way of really 'looking' at it, almost like getting to know it and making friends with it. You sketch for yourself more than for the drawing to be good. I grow stronger in my belief that when you draw something from life, you 'know' it in a way you had never done before.

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