ARTS313 Intermediate Drawing, José De Jesús Zamora, Summer II 2019 | SACI College of Art & Design Florence

ARTS313 Intermediate Drawing, José De Jesús Zamora, Summer II 2019

(Syllabus by visiting instructor José De Jesús Zamora, Parsons The New School for Design)

The object of this course is to apply the knowledge from the Florentine Renaissance to your own individual artistic experience. We will investigate the interactions of line, proportion, tonal value and weight. Referential examples of art resulting from Renaissance study drawings can be found in the form of paintings, sculptures and architecture in and around the city of Florence.

The student is taught the means of observation and representation of volume and space pictorially. Drawing is taught not just as a sketch or an approximation but as a medium of enormous potential. Mediums range from charcoal, graphite, and conté to brush and ink. The model is used extensively, as is the city of Florence. Lectures utilizing relevant drawing examples from history are given as well as group and individual critiques. 

The first sessions will be a review of basic drawing techniques. Sketching or drawing outside should be a simple and direct way to visualize projects and ideas. The second part of the term will encourage ways for the student to express more deeply concept and technique through the vision of drawing. 

Classes will be held indoors for life drawing and personal projects, and outdoors for on-site drawings. Daily classes will alternate figure drawing, demonstrations, and sketchbook drawing excursions within Florence to a variety of selected locations. 

Course Structure & Assignments

We will meet twice a week, from 9 am to 6 pm with an hour lunch break. We will divide our class days between the studio at SACI and working onsite throughout Florence. There will be drawing excursions during every session of this class. During the first few sessions, we will concentrate on reviewing methods and techniques such as: contour, gesture drawings, anatomy, and proportions. Various mediums will be explored such as graphite and water color. We will then move on to consolidate a personal approach in drawing with the help of any media and long life poses. Classes in life drawing will usually start with quick warm-up drawings.

Students are required to have an end of term portfolio review.

Recommended 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: It is not necessary to purchase the books below. Several are available for loan or consultation in the SACI Worthington Library.

BETTI, C. and SALE, T., Drawing: A Contemporary Approach, Cengage Advantage Books, 2011.
ISBN: 9781111343606 (Retail price: $122.95)

BEVERLY HALE, R: and COYLE, T., Anatomy Lessons from the Great Masters, Watson-Guptill Publications, 2000.
ISBN: 9780823002818 (Retail price: $22.99)

EDWARDS, B., Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain, Jeremy P. Tarcher, Inc., 1989.
ISBN: 9780874775136 (Retail price: $15.95)

Drawing Now: Between the Lines of Contemporary Art. [Catalog]. London: I.B.Tauris, 2007.
ISBN: 9781845115333 (Retail price: $33)

HAVERKAMP-BEGEMANN, Egbert, Creative Copies, The Drawing Center, 1988.
ISBN: To Be Determined (Retail price: To Be Determined)

PETHERBRIDGE, Deanna, The Primacy of Drawing: Histories and Theories of Practice, Yale University Press, 2010.
ISBN: 9780300126464 (Retail price: $95)

RUSKIN, John, The Elements of Drawing. (1856/7), General Books LLC, 2010.
ISBN: 9781453842645 (Retail price: To Be Determined)

FRITJOF CAPRA: The Science of Leonardo: Inside The Mind of The Great Genius of The Renaissance, New York, Doubleday, 2007,
ISBN: 9780385513906 (Retail price: $14.32)

PAOLO GALLUZI, FIRENZE MUSEI, GALLERIA DEGLI UFFIZI: The Mind of Leonardo: The Universal Genius at Work
ISBN: 9788809051256 (Retail price: $47.58)


A digital portfolio/folder is required, including about 20 digital images of drawings, which will illustrate your progress during the course, to be sent to the instructor during the last week of class. This will include process drawings executed in the studio and during excursions, as well as finished drawing projects.


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). Tardiness is not accepted and you may be left behind if you are not present at the designated time when we leave to draw onsite within Florence. Always be prepared with a sketchbook and drawing implements handy, on regular classes and each excursion. If you know that you will be absent on a given date you should notify the instructor ahead of time.

Evaluation & Grading

Evaluation is determined by your commitment to quality, completion of course assignments, in-class activities, fieldwork assignments and your sketchbook.
The last day of class, students will meet individually and as a group with the instructor for a portfolio evaluation of all work done in class, sketchbooks and homework.
The personal drawing project will be an important part of the evaluation.

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.

Suggested Materials

• Newsprint pad approximately 18” x 24”.

• Compressed charcoal or conte’ in black, sanguine and white.

• Kneaded eraser.

• Sketchbook (no smaller than 8” x 10”). Good quality paper for pencil, ink and watercolor.

• Pencils- 2H, 2B & 4B.

• Small sharpener.

• Good quality drawing paper. 18” x 24” (we will discuss pad vs. individual sheets).

• Small traveling watercolor set and brushes.

• Your favorite ink pens.

• Clips for large drawing paper.

• Spray fixative.

• Drawing board with clops to support drawing especially when drawing out in the city.

• A roll of tracing paper 18” wide suggested.

You will need a pack/bag to carry your sketchbook, camera and stuff when we are out and about.


European Paper Dimensions





84 x 120

33 x 47


60 x 84

23 x 33


42 x 60

16,5 x 23


30 x 42

11,5 x 16,5


21 x 30

8,3 x 11,7


15 x 21

5,8 x 8,3


100 x 140

39,37 x 55,67


70 x 100

27,83 x 39,37


50 x 70

19,69 x 27,83


35 x 50

13,90 x 19,69


25 x 35

9,84 x 13,90


17.5 x 25

6,93 x 9,84



Week 1

Tuesday July 2

9 am – Presentation by the instructor on Renaissance and Mannerist drawings.

Definition of personal drawing projects.

11 am – Still life drawing in class.

2 pm – Live model. Contour. Representation. Line.

6 pm – Visit to the sculpture loggia at Piazza della Signoria.

Thursday, July 4

9 am – Live model. Quick and expressive exercises.

2 pm – Visit to the Museum of Santa Maria Novella.

6 pm – Developing and correcting drawings in class. Using drawing to produce other drawings.

Week 2

Tuesday, July 9

9 am – Live model. Black and white. Negative space. Composition. Introduction to Linear Perspective.

2 pm – Visit to Piazza del Duomo; Drawing of the Baptistry of St. John.

Thursday, July 11

9 am – Drawing at the Marino Marini Museum.

2 – 5:30 pm – Live model.

6 – 8 pm – Live model.

Week 3

Tuesday, July 16

9 am – Drawing at the Giardino dei Semplici. Botanical Garden.

Plants and architecture.

2 pm – Live model.

Thursday, July 18

9 am – Live model.

2 pm – Visit to the Bargello Museum in Florence.

6 pm – Drawing in the Arno.

Week 4

Tuesday, July 23

9 am – City drawing: Piazzale Michelangelo.

2 pm – Live model.

Thursday, July 25

9 am – Live model.

2 pm – Drawing architecture at Le Murate.

6 pm - Final evaluation / review, including work done in class and personal drawing projects. Presentation of digital portfolios.


General Safety & Emergency Instructions

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


Additional Safety & Studio 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 just off the Clayton Hubbs Lecture Hall.

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