drawing syllabus


Instructor: Adam Ottavi


This course is an introduction to traditional principles and contemporary techniques in drawing.  Students will gain a greater working knowledge of line, shape, perspective, proportion, volume, and composition.  This course will also introduce narrative ideas, collaborative projects and conceptual art techniques.

20% Journal
30% 10 Drawings – completed outside of class
35% 25 Drawings -  from class assignments
15% Participation – attendance, discussion, critiques

Newsprint pads: 18 × 24
Drawing Paper. Strathmore or better, 18 × 24 min
Journal: notebook or sketchbook
Masking tape or clips
Pen and ink supplies: #8 round brush, non-waterproof ink, quill pen, pen nibs, cold press watercolor paper: 18 × 24 min
Pastels:  non-oil soft pastels
Charcoal:  assortment of compressed, black pastel sticks or Conte Crayons.
Portfolio Cover:  cardboard or plastic case for drawings

The journal includes your individual written responses to Focus Questions, Artists and Journal Assignments presented in class.  The journal can be a notebook or sketchbook. Bring it to class each session.  At the end of the semester, I expect written responses to all focus questions, artists, as well as all journal assignments. This journal will only be read by the instructor.

The portfolio is a collection of your drawings.  All drawings must be signed, dated and cleanly presented.  Your portfolio is due at Midterm and Finals.  Exact dates in class schedule below.

Drawings Completed Outside of Class
Ten drawings, completed outside of class, are required.  Out of class drawings must be representational, on Strathmore or better quality paper, and measure at least 18 × 24 inches.  

Weekly Artists to Research on Internet
There are links on the class website. Write a response to each artist's work in your Journal.  Please do NOT write biographical information or describe their work.  Write your personal response to the artwork you experience.  If you like their work, WHY?  If you don’t like it, WHY NOT?  What do you think about when viewing each artist's work?


Class 1 & 2 – Introduction to course, tour of Art Department & UAF Gallery, gestural drawings
Focus Questions: What is a drawing? Why is it useful to learn to draw realistically? If everyone draws the same object with realistic qualities, why are the drawings different?
Artists: Banksy, Art Crimes, Dave Muller

Class 3 & 4 – Positive and Negative Space
Focus questions: Why are some things considered difficult to draw and other things easy? What do you think is hard to draw? Do you think it is easier to draw from life, memory or imagination? Why?
Artists: Kara Walker, Ed Ruscha
Out of Class Drawing:  Negative Space 


Class 5 & 6: Value and Proportion
Focus questions: How is a drawing different from a photograph? How have imaging devices, like cameras and computers, impacted drawing? Can you tell when a drawing is made from a photograph? How?
Artists: Walton Ford, Andrew Wyeth
Out of Class Drawing: Still Life
Due:  Journals, due on Thursday.

Class 7 & 8: Linear Perspective
Focus Questions: What is the difference between realistic drawing and representational drawing? What is an abstract drawing?
Artists: Allora & Calzadilla, Young-Hae Chang
Out of Class Drawing: 1, 2 or 3 point perspective
Due: First 3 out of class drawings, due on Tuesday.


Class 9 & 10: Multiple Point Perspective and Foreshortening
Focus Questions: Is realistic drawing important in 2012? Representational drawing? Why or why not?
Artists: John Baldessari, Barbara Kruger
Out of Class Drawing:  Multiple point perspective and foreshortening

Class 11 & 12: Master Copies
Focus questions: What constitutes plagiarism in art today? Does it matter who created a particular work of art? What is the difference, in your opinion, between plagiarism and sampling/appropriation? Does the presence of the artist’s hand in a work of art change its value or meaning? Is knowing who created a work of art, and why, important information to know as the viewer?
Artists:  Julie Heffernan, Meredith McNeal, Richard Prince
Out of Class Drawing: Copy in pen and ink
Midterm Portfolio Due: Journal, 5 out of class drawings and 10 in class drawings due at end of class on Thursday in your portfolio.


Class 13 & 14: Midterm Critiques
and individual meetings
Focus questions: What is a critique? How can a critique be useful? What is the function of art critics?

Class 15 & 16: Introduction to Color
Focus Questions: Colors have symbolic meanings. Green can mean growth, as in spring or newness, but also green is associated with envy. In your journal, write your symbolic impressions of 12 colors, include each of the colors in your pastel box.
Artists: Critical Art Ensemble, Lari Pittman
Out of Class Drawing: Still Life in color


Class 17 & 18: Figurative Drawing
Focus Questions: How have machines (medical machines, robotics, computers) altered our perception of our bodies? How have contemporary artists chosen to express these new representations of the human form? What is the difference between nudity and pornography?
Artists: Irene Hardwick Olivieri, Oliver Herring, Kiki Smith
Out of Class Drawing: Yourself – Portrait

Class 19 & 20: Figurative Drawing
Focus Questions: Do you think it is important to be able to draw the human figure? Why?
Artists: Faith Wilding, Do-Ho Suh
Out of Class Drawing: Yourself – Full Figure
Due:  Journals, due Thursday.


Class 21 & 22: Introduction to Surrealism
Focus Questions: Is surrealism useful for artists in 2014? Why or why not?
Artists: Hans Bellmer, Matthew Barney, Eva Hesse
Out of Class Drawing: subject of choice using a Surrealist technique
Due: Out of class drawings since midterm, due Thursday.

Class 23 & 24: Introduction to Post Modernism, Deconstructionism and Final Critique
Focus Questions: Choose a post-modern celebrity and describe why he/she is considered post-modern. What aspects of their lives/careers seem post-modern? How do they deconstruct the notion of celebrity?
Artists: REPO History, Ellen Gallagher

Your final portfolios isdue at the beginning of class on Tuesday.  This includes your Journal, 10 out-of-class and 25 in-class drawings.  We will have individual meetings on Thursday; during which you will receive your final grades and graded portfolios. 

Independent Study:  Intermediate (205) students will be required to complete 10 out of class and 25 in class drawings as part of the final portfolio.  Advanced (305) students must complete a portfolio of 10 out of class and 30 in class drawings as well as lead group critiques.  Graduate (605) students must complete a portfolio of 10 out of class and 30 in class drawings, lead group critiques, and contribute to class lectures.  Work quality, class contribution, and overall effort requirements will be higher of Intermediate, Advanced, and Graduate students respectfully. 

This syllabus is subject to change prior to January 2014.

Drawing examples are © Eric Henderson, Jody Cooley, Mark Polizzi, Hannah Witherington, Melanie Sindorf, Earl Boyce, Mindona Grunin, Collin Cunningham, and Vincent Castro.

Art supplies: Dick Blick  Daniel Smith or locally in Miami at Artist & Craftsman Supply.

Technical links:
Art Studio Chalkboard
Linear Perspective

*This syllabus is inspired by the drawing/art instruction of the formidable Laura C. Hewitt. All class information & syllabus design was used by permission of the artist.