ART103 Beginning Drawing, John Taylor, Fall 2019 | SACI College of Art & Design Florence

ART103 Beginning Drawing, John Taylor, Fall 2019

The object of this course is to “draw” stimulus and experience from Renaissance Florence, using the concept of volumes in space and to investigate the interactions of line, light and shadow, proportion and weight, and to discover the relationships between the nude, landscape and cityscape and so investigate our own artistic identity.

We shall be trying to draw what we can actually see and observe in front of our eyes, and not what we believe that we should be seeing; looking at objects and surfaces directly in front of our eyes without any preconceived notions of what a drawing should look like. Sketching or drawing is an easy and direct way to move ideas and dreams around in our mind, and then project them on to a flat surface using any kind of mark making.

Research and experiment, is as important, if not more so, than the finished product.

Students please note that the results of all the experimental Renaissance drawings can be seen in the finished paintings, sculptures and architecture in and around the city of Florence.

Training issues like proportion, composition, line and volume will be investigated through the help of master drawings that will be taken as examples to train the eye and hand, as well as help expand notions of form and content.

Classes will be held indoors for life drawing and still life. Other classes occasionally will be held outdoors.

Various media will be explored, including the wet and dry techniques. The use of any kind of graphic method will also be encouraged.

Course Assignments

Classes will allow us to cover many aspects of drawing, gesture, anatomy, and proportion. We will then move on to consolidate a personal approach in all media including: watercolors and ink. Classes will usually start with quick warm-up drawings.

Students are requested to attend Open Drawing sessions on Wednesdays 8 to 10 pm, for both homework assignments and personal research.

Requirements

A portfolio/folder is required, illustrating your progress and work at the time of the last review. This will include both drawings executed in class and homework. Homework will be normally done on letter-size paper. You should keep a personal sketchbook with individual projects.

Attendance

Refer to SACI handbook.
Attendance is required, absences will affect your grade: two unexcused absences result in a lowering of the grade by 1/3 of a letter; two late arrivals to class are considered the equivalent of one unexcused absence (arriving often late to class is one of the best ways to penalize your final grade).

Responsibilities

1) Your grade will be affected by two unexplained absences.
2) Be on time for class: the assignment will often be explained at the beginning.
3) If you know that you will be absent on a given date you should notify the instructor ahead of time.

Final Meetings

The last week of class students will meet individually with the instructor for a portfolio evaluation of all work done in class, sketchbooks, homework and any extra work.

Evaluation and Grading

Evaluation is determined by your commitment to quality, completion of course assignments, in-class activities, fieldwork assignments and your sketchbook.

Graduate Students
Students in MFA, MA, and Post-Bac programs are expected to complete additional assignments and to produce work at a level appropriate for students in a graduate program. They are graded accordingly and, if they successfully complete all course requirements for graduate students, receive graduate-level credit for the course.

Materials List

  • Large portfolio to store your drawings
  • Sketchbooks 11x16 inches large format (A3) and small pocket format 6x8 inches (A5)
  • Paper: newsprint and good quality paper
  • Tracing paper, 10 sheets of 50x70 cm
  • Graphite pencils: 8B to 2B (lapis)
  • Graphite stick (grafite)
  • Willow charcoal
  • Black and white chalk
  • Packet of good colored chalk pastels
  • Large fresco brush (at least 4 cm in length = 2 inches) only obtainable from Zecchi
  • Water colors only in tubes: yellow, burnt sienna, black and white
  • Black ink and cheap bamboo pen, white ink optional
  • Soft kneadable erasers only
  • Fixative spray, pencil sharpener, clips, masking tape

Note: All materials above can be bought at the Zecchi art shore with a student discount.

European Paper Dimensions

     
 

Centimeters

Inches

A0

84 x 120

33 x 47

A1

60 x 84

23 x 33

A2

42 x 60

16,5 x 23

A3

30 x 42

11,5 x 16,5

A4

21 x 30

8,3 x 11,7

A5

15 x 21

5,8 x 8,3

B0

100 x 140

39,37 x 55,67

B1

70 x 100

27,83 x 39,37

B2

50 x 70

19,69 x 27,83

B3

35 x 50

13,90 x 19,69

B4

25 x 35

9,84 x 13,90

B5

17.5 x 25

6,93 x 9,84

General Safety & Emergency Instructions

Click here for a pdf of SACI's General Safety & Emergency Instructions.

Addition Studio & Safety Rules

On Studio Use
The life drawing class will have nude models posing for students, and, as such, there are certain rules of conduct to be obeyed.
1. When the model is posing all doors and curtains should be kept closed.
2. Students should only be drawing while the model is posing, when the model is dressed then we can chat and relax.
3. It is essential to always leave the life room clean and tidy for the next class.

It is essential that care and attention is taken in regards to studio practice. This will be addressed the first week of classes. But beyond rules and safety and health issues, it is necessary to point out the importance of maintaining a certain order in the studio for the sake of all the students in the classes that utilize the space. At the end of class put your materials away and drawings and boards off the easels and into the storage shelves.

Air-Exchange System
When working in the ground floor studios an air-exchange system can be utilized for maintaining proper ventilation and extraction of undesirable fumes and odors. The control panel is located on the wall opposite of the stairway between the printmaking and painting studios.

There are also skylight panels, which can be opened and closed using switches located in the small sky-lit studio off of the main painting studio, another on the wall next to the stairs going into the basement storage area, and also in the studio with skylights off of the main lecture hall. Do not spray fixative on your drawings in the studios. Go out into the garden, or under an air-extraction hood in the printmaking studio.

Disposal of Materials
There are not as many toxic materials in drawing as there are in painting, but with some experimental drawing approaches there may be the necessity of properly disposing of these types of materials. Do not ever throw used solvents, thick washes, acrylic mediums, etc. down the sink. There is a special barrel for this located just to the right of the sink in the painting studio. The same goes for saturated rags or paper towels. There is a special disposal barrel in the printmaking studio next to the plate cleaning tank.

Storage Area

Drawing paper and portfolios can be stored on the flat shelves in the storage area located near the sink in the painting studio and between the drawing and painting studios. Lockers can be claimed for use by putting your name, term, and class on a piece of tape onto the locker door. They are located downstairs and just off the Clayton Hubbs Lecture Hall.

Schedule

Depending on weather conditions, the drawing class will usually consist of one life drawing session per week followed by a still life session or an on-site drawing field trip (apart from the first three sessions when we will concentrate on basic figure drawing). In other words, we will study from the life model, then in the following session apply the lessons learned from the nude to the other areas of drawing, such as landscape, cityscape.

We will investigate movement; gesture, moving action, memory, then line; contour, proportions, anatomy, surface, weight, perspective, light and shadow and negative space, etc.

We shall also be keeping a personal book/travel guide/photographic diary of your semester in Florence, a record of all drawing exercises done in and outside of class, using photos, drawings, and any outside stimulus.

STUDENTS SHOULD PRINT OUT A COPY OF THIS SYLLABUS AND BRING IT WITH THEM TO CLASS ON THE FIRST DAY, ALONG WITH PORTFOLIOS OR CDs

*Denotes that a life model will be posing in class. The instructor reserves the right to change the program whenever necessary.

Week 1

Tuesday, September 10
Introduction to the life room - drawing from the life model.
Materials list, collecting email addresses.
The grading system. Attendance. Effort. Progress. Proficiency.
Buying sketchbooks; large for on-site sustained study drawings and small to fit in the pocket, for quick observational and spontaneous studies.

Slideshow. Introduction to Gesture (The gesture - the armature of the drawing)
Starting gesture and moving action drawing using small sheets of newsprint 30X50 cm, charcoal or fat graphite stick. Each student should bring at least 10 sheets of newsprint and charcoal to every class session.
*4:30 to 7:00pm (Life model posing)

Compulsory Open Drawing Wednesday 8 -10pm.

Thursday, September 12
Slideshow. Introduction to contour (the line that contains the gesture).
Cross contour (the line that describes the surface of the gesture).
Materials: Newsprint, graphite sticks or 2B/4B pencil.
*4:30 to 7:00pm (Life model posing)

Homework in small sketchbooks: 5 gesture and 5 contour drawing to be repeated every week until Midterm Break, and only daily composition each day on the way to or from class.

Week 2

Tuesday, September 17
Sketchbook and homework review.
Proportions, learning to measure using the pencil.
Materials: Newsprint, graphite sticks or 2B/4B pencil
*4:30 to 7:00pm (Life model posing)

Compulsory Open Drawing Wednesday 8 -10pm.

Thursday, September 19
Onsite in Piazza Signoria drawing gesture and contour from the Mannerist sculptures of Giambologna, using proportions established with the pencil.
Materials: Large sketchbook, charcoal or graphite stick, 2B pencil.

Homework in small sketchbooks: 3 gestures and 3 contours using the pencil to find correct proportions.

Week 3

Tuesday, September 24
Sketchbook and homework review.
Sustained study, with layering.
Materials: Tracing paper, 10 pieces 50x70 cm: newsprint in same size and quantity as tracing paper. Pencil 2B - 3B.
*4:30 to 7:00pm (Life model posing)

Compulsory Open Drawing Wednesday 8 -10pm.

Thursday, September 26
Slideshow.
Onsite in the Academia to draw the statue of David.
Gesture, contour, shading with tracing paper.
Materials: Large sketchbook, 2 sheets of tracing paper (same size as sketchbook), charcoal or graphite stick, 2B pencil.

Homework in small sketchbooks: 1 sustained study using the tracing paper and pencil to find correct proportion.

Week 4

Tuesday, October 1
Sketchbook and homework review.
Anatomy drawings - layering.
Materials: 10 sheets of tracing paper 50x70 cm: 10 sheets of newsprint in same size and quantity as tracing paper. Pencil 2B - 3B.
*4:30 to 7:00pm (Life model posing)

Compulsory Open Drawing Wednesday 8 -10pm.

Thursday, October 3
On site in the Opera del Duomo to draw the penultimate statue of Michelangelo.
Materials: Anatomy booklet, large sketchbook, tracing paper, charcoal pencils.

Homework in small sketchbooks: Hand and feet anatomy from yourselves or from friends.

Week 5

Tuesday, October 8
Sketchbook and homework review.

Pen and ink; drawing; gestures, contours, cross contours in ink, and ink on tracing paper.
Materials: Split nib pen or bamboo stick, black ink, good paper-Fabriano ruvido 2 or 3 sheets 50x70 (available from Zecchi).
*4:30 to 7:00pm (Life model posing)

Compulsory Open Drawing Wednesday 8 -10pm.

Thursday, October 10
Still life in pen and ink. 
Materials: Split nib pen or bamboo stick, black ink, good paper-Fabriano ruvido 2 or 3 sheets 50x70 (available from Zecchi).

Homework in small sketchbooks: 2 figure studies and 2 still life studies using ink contour and cross contour.

Week 6

Tuesday, October 15
Sketchbook and homework review.

Drawing with spatula and fingertips, using black paint and water, direct finger contact on the paper to make gestures, after break using a spatula and larger paper.
Materials: Strong white paper (Fabriano ruvido) 2 sheets 50x70.
(plastic cups, plates, black pigment and spatula provided in class).
*4:30 to 7.00pm (Life model posing)

Compulsory Open Drawing Wednesday 8 -10pm.

Thursday, October 17
On site drawing at the River Arno.
Materials: Large sketchbooks.
(plastic cups, plates, black pigment and spatula provided in class).

Homework in small sketchbooks: Two landscape studies in black and white using fingers and or brush.
 

Week 7

Tuesday,  October 22 
Sketchbook and homework review.
Perspective, the basic rules; one and two point perspective foreshortening, background, middle ground, foreground.
Handing out perspective booklet to all students.
Slideshow, looking at perspective in the figure, architecture and landscape.
*4:30 to 7.00pm (Life model posing)

Compulsory Open Drawing Wednesday 8 -10pm.

Thursday, October 24
Midterm group critiques. 
Portfolio and sketchbook reviews.

   

Week 8

MIDTERM BREAK (October 26 – Nov 3)
Homework for Midterm Break
In small pocket sized sketchbooks; please bring back a lively and interesting record of all places, people, landscapes, architecture encountered during the Midterm Break, to be sketched in all materials and techniques that have been covered up till now.

After the Midterm Break please bear in mind that all Beginning students must produce a minimum of 6 large-sized finished drawings from midterm until the end of the semester (one finished drawing for each class) in order to complete the course.

   

Week 9

Tuesday, November 5 
Sketchbook and homework review.
Watercolor
Materials: good watercolor paper, 2 sheets 50x70 smooth, medium sized fresco brush only from Zecchi, 
Watercolors in tubes: yellow, burnt siena, black and white.
*4:30 to 7.00pm (Life model posing)

Compulsory Open Drawing Wednesday 8 -10pm.

Thursday, November 7
Riverside in watercolor.
On site, a return to the river Arno using color. 
Materials: medium sized fresco brush, plus watercolors in tubes; yellow, burnt sienna, black and white.

Homework in small sketchbooks; Gestures for 15 minutes, then 2 figure studies 50x70 cm in watercolor
Sketchbooks; 1 study of architecture, 1 study of landscape in watercolor.

   

Week 10

Tuesday, November 12
Sketchbook and homework review.
Distance, in black and white tonal values.
Gesture in black and white chalk.
Materials: Charcoal, white chalk, 2 sheets of black paper 50x70 colored chalks or pastels.
Sustained study, using colored paper, colored chalks or pastels.
*4:30 to 7.00pm (Life model posing)

Compulsory Open Drawing Wednesday 8 -10pm.

Thursday, November 14
Still life in black and white or colored chalks or pastels.
Relating objects to the backdrop (nothing can be floating in space or in a vacuum).

Homework in small sketchbooks: 2 studies of cityscape in perspective, one vanishing point and two vanishing points.

Week 11

Tuesday, November 19 
Distance, in colored tonal values.
Gesture in colored chalk or pastel.
Sustained study, using colored paper, colored chalks or pastels.
Materials: Charcoal, white chalk, 2 sheets of colored paper (Ingres) 50x70 colored chalks or pastels.
*4:30 to 7.00pm (Life model posing)

Compulsory Open Drawing Wednesday 8 -10pm.

Thursday, November 21
On site at the piazza Santa Maria Novella.

Homework in small sketchbooks: 2 studies of landscape using perspective and color.

Week 12

Tuesday, November 26 
Large scale figure drawings.
The use of bamboo canes to draw at a distance.
*4:30 to 7.00pm (Life model posing)

Compulsory Open Drawing Wednesday 8 -10pm.

Thursday, November 28 
Students pair off to draw each other’s portrait, the construction, gesture, contour, cross contour, and any medium used in class, to investigate information beyond the normal features that convey likeness. 

Homework in small sketchbook: Several studies of friend’s heads.

Week 13

Tuesday, December 3  
Sketchbook and homework review.

Head proportions using the model.
Large scale portrait heads from the model.
*4:30 to 7.00pm (Life model posing)

Compulsory Open Drawing Wednesday 8-10pm.

Thursday, December 5
Open drawing sessions.
Students are strongly recommended to bring to class all those materials for which they have a particular interest. Alternatively the study of hair, hairstyles; Botticelli, Leonardo, movement through line.
*4:30 to 7.00pm (Life model posing) 

Homework in small sketchbooks: several studies of friends hairstyles.

Week 14

Tuesday, December 10
Starting to prepare personal book.
Open drawing sessions.
Students are strongly recommended to bring to class all those materials for which they have a particular interest.
*4:30 to 7.00pm (Life model posing)

Thursday, December 12
Starting to prepare personal book.
Open drawing sessions.
Students are strongly recommended to bring to class all those materials for which they have a particular interest.
*4:30 to 7.00pm (Life model posing)

Week 15

Tuesday, December 17
Exam week.

Final group critiques

Thursday, December 19
Exam week.
Individual portfolio reviews, with visual diary and sketchbooks.

Required Reading

In compliance with the Higher Education Opportunity Act Textbook Provision, SACI provides, when possible, the International Standard Book Number (ISBN) and retail price of required and recommended reading. Note: The book below is available for loan or can be consulted in the SACI Worthington Library.

Kimon Nicolaides, The Natural Way to Draw, Mariner Books, 1990.
ISBN: 9780395530078 (Retail price: $16.95)

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