VSAR 131 Drawing

Spring 2013
Instructor: Tony Allard
Wednesday, 3 - 6:50 pm
Office Hours: 2 - 3 pm Room 346
Email: tallard@csusm.edu
Phone: 1-760-750-4137


The purpose of this course is to master a range of drawing skills and concepts which will strengthen your visual perception, develop your sense of composition and to eventually work with content/subject matter in your drawings. The first two-thirds of the course will be dedicated to learning methods and techniques of perceptual drawing (drawing what you see) and on methods and techniques used in composing a drawing. During these approximately twelve weeks, several approaches to drawing will be explored through the use of various drawing materials. Some of the techniques we will be working with are: tonal and contour drawing, measuring and proportion, eye-hand coordination exercises, gesture drawing, perspective and 2 and 3-dimensional elements of composition. The final third of the course will be dedicated to continuing to master your drawing skills and also working with content/subject matter in your drawings. During these approximately four weeks of class we will explore a wide range of contemporary and historical approaches to drawing. This exploration will take the form of drawing assignments, presentations on this history of drawing, screenings of video tapes, DVDs, visiting web sites and, if possible, trips to gallery exhibitions  off campus.

Your grade will be determined as follows:

Approximately six weeks and twelve weeks into the semester we will have a class critique and you will present five new drawings to be critiqued and graded. There will be a total of three class critiques, with the third critique taking place during finals week. For the final critique you will present fifteen drawings which will include: the first five drawings from the first critique, the second five drawings from the second critique, and an additional five new drawings. During each of the critiques I will be looking at the quality of work in terms of skill, your work with concepts and subject matter, and most importantly, your demonstrated progress. You must date all  your drawings and maintain an orderly and neat arrangement of your portfolio contents. Occasionally, I will conduct unannounced but brief critiques in order to address current issues and problems. You may also set a time with me for individual consultation during my office hours.


Portfolio #1: 7 weeks
Portfolio #2: 12 weeks
Portfolio #3: Finals week

A sketchbook/journal is required. Throughout the course, you will maintain a sketchbook that will also function as a journal. This book will contain various assignments (most of which will be completed outside of class) class notes, assigned writings, personal observations and incidental information. As with the portfolio, you must date each page. Sketchbooks will be checked on a weekly basis; assignments will be given on Tuesday and I will review and grade them the following week during the break.

Participation in class discussions and critiques is essential. I can determine a great deal of your progress by your participation in class. Specifically, I will be looking for your ability to use, in context, the terminology, concepts and historical references that are the foundation of this course. Your sketch books should be especially helpful in this regard. In addition, I will be looking for your individual contributions to daily discussions and class critiques.

Simple: come to class. If you miss just one class you miss one step in a series that are designed to build upon previous steps. The majority of assignments are done in class and cannot be made up outside of class, therefore, attendance is critical to your performance and grade in class. More than two consecutive absences or more than 3 in the semester may be sufficient grounds to drop you from the class. I should be notified as soon as possible of extenuating situations.

Student Learning Outcomes
Each of the following areas of concentration are supported by demonstrations by the Instructor. In addition to class work, each student is required to keep a sketch book in which they do weekly assignments and take notes on demonstrations.

Your final grade will be determined by the level of skill and understanding you have acquired in the first eight areas of concencentration.

Lecture/Demo: Socialized Vision, Visual Habits
Exercises to break visual habits such as: drawing the subject in isolation, putting subject in middle of the page, working from top to bottom and left to right, drawing not what the eyes see but what the mind sees.

Fundamentals of Pictorial Space
What is the picture plain, foreground, background, middle ground, point-to-line-to-shape-to-plane, six primary space-making devices: overlapping shapes, size change, diagonal lines, atmospheric perspective, cross contour, and light and shadow.

Fundamentals of composition
Symmetry, a-symmetry, 2 D and 3 D composition, alternative compositional strategies, center of interest, subject dictating composition (dynamic vs. static), working with visual weight, working with the oculus, working with paper oriented to landscape or portrait.


Methods of measuring; Establish eye-hand co-ordination
Eye ball it, blind contour, oculus, pencil / thumb, and linear perspective.
Establishing eye-hand co-ordination with both hands through blind contour drawing, copying a line drawing upside down, straight contour drawing.

Introduce the elements of Renaissance perspective: vanishing points—one, two and three, above eye level, below eye level, atmospheric perspective, six primary space-making devices reviewed.

Gesture drawing:
what the objects are doing VS what they look like

Capturing the action of the subject, the verb, through very quick gestural marks, drawing with search lines, working from the general to the specific, drawing on the entire picture plain, composition through gesture, and others.

Light and Shadow:
what the objects look like VS what they are doing

Composing patterns of light and shadow, concept of tints (white) shade (black), advancing a gesture drawing into an expression of light and shadow, mood of light, working with charcoal, pencil and graphite stick to build up layers of shadow, using the erasure as a mark making device, using the white of the page as the light in the drawing.

Advanced Composition and Introduction to Subject Matter
Choosing a subject for drawing, subject choosing you!, developing a composition that is appropriate for the subject, i.e. static composition for static subject, dynamic for dynamic subject matter, working with personal objects of positive and negative power as subject, setting up still lifes.

Time permitting
We will work with Experimental drawing techniques
Site-specific drawings, perceptual drawing on the computer, ephemeral drawings done with materials in a landscape, ephemeral drawing materials, drawing and installation art, drawing as a performance.


Mark-making Materials

pencils: 2B, 4B, 6B
Vine Charcoal (2 or 3 packages)
Charcoal pencils: soft, ex. soft (4B & 6B)
Kneaded eraser (the gray ones that look like putty)
Pink Pearl eraser (these look exactly like the eraser on the end of a pencil)

Paper & Drawing Board:
pad of 18" X 24" NEWSPRINT paper
pad of 18" X 24" Strathmore 400 Series drawing paper
sketch pad/journal: hard or soft bound, either 9" X 12" or 11" X 14"
drawing Board with bull dog clips attached at the top 26” X 23”

Additional Supplies
x-acto knife (for sharpening pencils and cutting paper)
ruler (18” or 24”)
supply box to carry drawing tools
portfolio case aprx. 20" X 26"
can of spray fixative (this is a must item, particularly for charcoal drawings)

Optional Supplies:
pencil sharpener, scissors, tape, glue stick, push pins, etc.
Thanks for your interest in learning.