Creativity in the Classroom: Digital Drawing From Your Smartphone

Digital Drawing of female sculpture head by Julia R.
Digital Drawing of female sculpture head by Julia R.

Left: Digital Drawing by Julia R. Right: Reference photo

Professor Roberto Caracciolo‘s Spring 2021 virtual intersession course, Digital Drawing From Your Smartphone, invited students to explore their creative side and expand their technical skills using a tool that they already have at their disposal– their cellphone!

Prof. Caracciolo, who also teaches TUR’s Rome Sketchbook course, took advantage of the virtual setting by instructing students to download the free app, Sketchbook. He remarks, “Digital drawing is most likely the best solution to trying to teach drawing online. There is an immediacy to the exchange of information and of images that is unique. The possibility of drawing on a device on one side of the Atlantic, while in the meantime explaining, and having the students, on the other side of the ocean, see the work in its development is as good as being present.” Jordan Wenning, CST ’23 remarks, “My favorite thing about the Digital Drawing course was the ease at which I was able to draw very complicated scenes and structures. I loved the ability to work in layers and quickly erase or change parts of a drawing with every kind of material simply at my fingertips.”

Digital drawing of a fountain by Alan Freeman

Roman Fountains by Alan Freeman

Students were presented with images from Rome, allowing them to get inspired by the beauty of the Eternal City, even while experiencing it from their couches. These images were used as references for students’ digital drawings. Alan Freeman, CST ’22 appreciated getting a sneak peek of the city of Rome. He says, “The wide variety of sculptures and architecture that we drew were a fantastic glimpse of what it’s like to be in Rome. The work was extremely hard, but I ended up with some drawings that I’m very proud of!”

Despite this difficult year, digital learning has come with some benefits. Students from across the globe are able to engage with the city of Rome, seeing it from the perspective of our professors who are deeply familiar with what it has to offer. Those who do not have the opportunity to travel here now have the chance to have a better appreciation of the many layers of art, history, and culture. Jordan says, “This course virtually brought me to Italy as the values of Roman culture were highlighted in the reference images. Whether we were drawing ancient statues, wonderful park scenes, or segments of vibrant markets, I understood the importance of Rome’s past and its sense of community to its citizens.”

Roman Antiquities - Caracalla_Shaded - JW.

Roman Antiquities by Jordan Wenning

Prof. Caracciolo adds, “The wonderful aspect of drawing on a device is just how free one is to develop an image, while experimenting and changing one’s mind about it, as one is actually drawing. The tools and instruments at one’s disposal are exceptionally sophisticated, yet, ultimately, it is the person that has to come up with a solution. It is the individual that has to find his/her own way to express oneself.”