Drawing & Composition I
Instructor: Tony Allard
Spring 2 0 0 6 T-Th 12 -2:50 pm
Office Hours: TBA


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 in your drawings. The main concentration will be on methods and techniques to represent the illusion of the 3-dimensional world on a 2-dimensional surface and on methods and techniques of composing a drawing. Several approaches to the subject will be explored through the use of various drawing materials while examining a wide range of subject matter and art historical references. 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 course will be occasionally augmented with lectures, screenings of video tapes, and, if possible, trips to gallery exhibitions both on and off campus.

I will hold office hours 6 time during the semester. The place and times “to be announced”.
Your grade will be determined as follows:

Approximately every six weeks you will turn in a portfolio to be graded. The portfolio must contain all in-class work as well as occasional out-of-class assignments. There will be three major class critiques on the due dates when portfolios are to be turned in. The final portfolio is, of course, most important. Portfolio grades are based on the quality of work in terms of skill, concepts and presentation as well as your demonstrated progress. I encourage you to date all your drawings and maintain an orderly and neat arrangement of the portfolio contents.


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, I encourage you to date each page. Sketchbooks will be checked on a weekly basis. Assignments will be given on Tuesday and I will review your sketch books on the following Tuesday

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. In addition to the three major critiques, I will periodically conduct un-announced critiques. You may also set a time with me for individual consultation during my office hours.

It is 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. There are many assignments which cannot be made up outside of class, therefore, attendance is critical to your performance and grade in class. More than 2 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.

pencils: 2B, 4B, 6B
graphite sticks
compressed charcoal (2 or 3 packages)
Vine Charcoal (2 or 3 packages)
blending stumps & rags
Charcoal pencils: soft, ex. soft (4B & 6B)
white conte: 1-2 sticks
kneaded eraser
white plastic eraser ("Magic Rub")
Wide Black magic marker
Bottle of black ink, water soluble, "Design by Higgins" is good.
Bamboo brush or pointed watercolor brush, large (aprx. #10 or bigger)
More materials will be added as needed (minor amounts)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”

ruler (24")
supply box to carry drawing tools
portfolio case aprx. 20" X 26"
pencil sharpener, scissors, tape, glue stick, x-acto knife
can of spray fixative or Aquanet Hairspray (this is a must item)
Good luck. I look foreword to working with you.
General outline of main topic to be covered.
Note: each of the following areas of concentration are supported by daily demonstrations, lectures and historical anecdotes relating to the particular subject being covered. In addition to class work, each student is required to keep a sketch book in which they do weekly assignments and take notes in class.
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.
Establish eye-hand co-ordination
Blind contour drawing, copying a line drawing upside down, blind contour drawing with both hands, using a small window to look through, straight contour drawing.
Fundamentals of Pictorial Space
What is the picture plain, foreground, background, middle ground, point-to-line-to-shape-to-plane (Kandinski’s concept of picture space), four primary space-making devices: overlapping shapes, size change, diagonal lines, atmospheric perspective.

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 small window, working with paper oriented to landscape or portrait.
Perspective, proportion, measuring
Introduce the elements of classical Renaissance perspective: vanishing points—one, two and three, above eye level, below eye level, atmospheric perspective, four primary space-making devices reviewed.
Gesture drawing
Capturing the action of the subject through very quick gestural marks, drawing with search lines, working from the general to the specific, working with total picture plain, composition through gesture, using small window.
Light and Shadow
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.
More advanced: Experimental drawing techniques
Site-specific drawings, ephemeral drawings done with materials in a landscape, ephemeral drawing materials, drawing and installation art, drawing as a performance.
I look foreword to working with you.