Sketching Rome with Kelly Medford

by Steven Brenner

I don’t draw.  Or paint.  The only people who have ever seen my attempts at art are my kids when we draw together and although they think I’m pretty awesome, it’s still not something I’d want to pass around or have on display.  But I wanted to try Kelly Medford’s Sketch Rome Tour because she said it was open to all, and I thought it sounded a like a good, unique idea.

We met at the Pincio at the Villa Borghese overlooking Piazza del Popolo.  We were two people on the tour so she had a lot of time for us.  First, she gives you a sketch kit that you get to keep.  It includes a sketch book that she hand-makes with a variety of papers – not too big as to be intimidating, and with paper that’s designed for different mediums.  There is a pencil with sharpener, a pen, and a watercolor kit with a brush that contains its own water tube.

Kelly goes over a few techniques, which we then experiment with – line drawing, shading, drawing just the mass without lines.  We moved through the park, choosing statues and trees and benches as our subjects, progressing from pencil to ink to watercolors (with a stop for coffee along the way).

When you’re clearly stuck, Kelly can show you what you’re doing wrong.  For example, I tried to do some clouds and they looked horrible.  Kelly showed me how clouds actually fit into the perspective and how to reproduce them – easy to do once she points out why things look the way they do.  These little hints help bring you closer to putting what you see on paper, but they aren’t so technically oriented that you lose your intuition and your freedom to draw however you want.

My tour-mate’s awesome watercolor.

And that’s part of Kelly’s point – not to make you a good artist or a better artist (although that’s part of it) but more to share this activity that she really loves with people who might have never considered it.  Since I had my camera with me I shot a little interview where Kelly gives you the scoop herself:

Tours are 3 hours and well worth it for the sketch kit alone.  Kelly can be found on the web at:

Kelly Medford’s Website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Instagram


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