August 07, 2013



  1. Mark-Making. Students will produce drawings demonstrating the vocabulary of mark-making while simultaneously texting how boring art class is. 
  2. Sighting Techniques. Students will produce drawings of still lifes demonstrating basic and advanced sighting techniques that they will pretend to understand but won't. They will insist they understand, and yet, continue to draw the still life as if they are standing directly in front of it.
  3. Composition. Students will produce drawings investigating open and closed compositions and not really care one iota about old school compositional strategies. And who can blame them.
  4. Contour and Line Sensitivity. Most students will produce drawings of environments and still lifes exploring line quality with emphasis on line variation and modulation to describe volume and mass. A few will insist they need to draw shadows and start smudging their paper with their fingers making it look like total crap. 
  5. Value and Volume. Students will draw a still life containing the basic forms (Sphere, Cone, Tube, Cube) beginning with line and finishing with rendering and modeling skills. We will continue to work on this project until everyone runs out of graphite. Students should bring sleeping bags and rations.
  6. Perspective. Students will create a one and two point perspective drawing based on the laws of linear perspective. Some will create intricate labyrinths leading to a 4th dimension. Others will feign boredom, a few won't understand. After 15 years of doing this, I will become disoriented when drawing on the blackboard. 
  7. Wet Media and Serial Imagery. Students will explore process based wet media techniques and create a series of drawings investigating a single theme. One student will dis abstract art as bullshit. Other than that, we're nearing the end of the semester. I'm giddy.
  8. Collaboration and the Grid. Students will work collaboratively to create a drawing enlarged by the accurate use of the grid method. Each student will be responsible for a portion of the drawing. Someone will inevitably have a death in the family. Another will blow it off or leave it at home. There will be a lovely grid hanging on the wall with gaping holes. We contemplate this as metaphor and proceed to question if the universe has meaning.  
  9. Final Project demonstrating successful use of skills learned thus far. Students will be responsible for their own still life and spend both class and homework time on this project. One student will insist their project be a direct copy from a photograph and throw a fit when reminded the focus is observational drawing from life. Another will show up to class with nothing. In the end, most everyone pulls off amazing work. I call my bookie to cash in on the bet I placed earlier: Which "A" student will abruptly stop coming to class the last two weeks before school ends? 
  10. Sketchbooks. Most students will keep a sketchbook throughout the semester as means of investigating sketching as a serious activity designed to improve their day-to-day drawing skills. Some will advance to demonstrating tattoo designs, their name in various fonts, and a 10-second still life. Others will take a more minimalist approach and turn in a blank sketchbook. All approaches are valid. As a way of expressing solidarity, I will match minimal work with a minimal grade. 


Carla said...

Oh that's good, and I'm copying it in case it disappears.

lucy mink said...

very good!

Nomi Lubin said...

Um, fabulous.

About Connie Goldman said...

I've gotta say that you NAILED it. I don't know whether to laugh or cry. I'm grateful to know that I'm not alone in this.

Nomi Lubin said...

This syllabus should go national.

Christina said...

I'm new to your blog and I just loved this. Spot on.

M.A.H. said...

Thanks Christina. A little break from *actual* syllabus writing keeps it interesting. Nice to meet you here.