Drawing on Experience in Italy

Every summer in July, long-time Illustration faculty member Fred Lynch 86 IL – winner of RISD’s 2013 Frazier Award for Excellence in Teaching – travels to Viterbo, Italy to draw and teach. 


A new drawing of a Viterbo street scene by Fred Lynch 86 IL

As part of the Study Abroad Program at Montserrat College of Art, where he’s also a professor, Lynch teaches a course called Journalistic Drawing. The class is popular with both RISD and Montserrat students eager to focus on the art of visual recording and reporting on site – 60 miles north of Rome.


from the sketchbook Janny Wangyingzhi 15 IL kept in Italy this summer

This summer nine RISD students participated, creating work in their own unique styles. "Drawing on site is an experience as well as an art,” Lynch says. “It’s extra-sensory. As we sit and draw for hours on the streets of Italy, we absorb far more than the passing tourist might.”

“We soak up every inch of the scene,” Lynch explains, “along with its sounds, smells and local characters. Translating that rich experience through our drawings is our goal. We hope to share impressions as well as appearances.”


one of the sketches Karen Sung 13 IL created in Italy

Before traveling back to the US, Lynch spoke about his pedagogy and showed examples of his students’ work in a lecture entitled Had to be There: Drawing on Experience at the Urban Sketchers Symposium in Barcelona. You can see some of his own work on his drawing blog.


a spread from a Viterbo sketchbook kept by Bonnie Cohen 15 IL

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