Drawing I


Department of Art, Division of Fine Arts, College of Arts and Science, Howard University

Instructor’s full name - Ronald Van Anderson, (aka) Akili Ron Anderson

Course website – www.akilironanderson.com (see Howard University Department of Art Syllabi)



Fall Semester, 3 credits

Class meeting days and hours: Section 1 - MW 9:00am-12:00pm

                                                 Section 2 - MW 12:10pm-3:00pm

Classroom location - Childers Hall, Room 2012


Faculty Office Location: Childers Hall (Fine Arts Building), room 2032

Office Hours: by appointment                         

Preferred Email Address: akiliron@hotmail.com

Howard Email Address: r_v_anderson@howard.edu


Cell Phone: 202.246.6021      

Faculty Office Phone: 202.806.7113

Graduate Studio and Sculpture Studio Phone: 202.806.9165

Art Department Office Phone: 202.806.7047  


This document is to be printed by the student and used in and out of class

 as a reference for discussing, writing about and creating their art.


Drawing I Course Description


This course is designed to present, review and apply the fundamental techniques of fine art drawing, utilizing professional grade drawing media on paper. The drawing media will include lead, graphite, conte, charcoal, pastel and ink based materials. The drawing techniques taught will include the following: Gesture, Contour Line, Continuous Line, Value Shading, Drapery, Hatching, Cross Hatching, Value Line, Perspective, Texture and Stippling. Subject matter Assigned by the instructor will be rendered in the varying fields of art under the broad titles of Representational, Abstraction and Non Objectivism. Aesthetic preference, personal introspection and social commentary will be used by the students to find and develop their personal inclinations in expressing themselves through art.


This course is intended for a Visual Arts major or for non Visual Arts majors who have practiced some form of visual art and have a high interest in the field of drawing.


This course is taught in compliance with the mission statement of Howard University.



Prerequisites: Student must be an art major, or a non-art major with a dedicated interest in drawing.










Course outline  (topics to be covered)


Methods and Materials for Drawing:

a.The Human and Animal Forms

b.The Natural World (Landscapes)

c.The Imagined World




f.Still Life


Course goals  (What do you want to achieve?)


1.This course will develop the student’s foundational cognitive and creative skills in viewing,

analyzing and rendering the human figure, still life, the natural world and the imagined world.

2.The student will develop visual organization skills (sequential steps for creating artwork).

3.The student will learn the basic mechanics and systems of creating spatial illusion.

4.The student will develop the ability to literally and abstractly interpret forms.

5.The student will be encouraged to produce a visual sense of style in their work.

6.The student will structure the processes for articulating aesthetic ideas.

7.The student will cultivate a critical vocabulary to promote the ability to defend their opinions.


Course objectives (What will students be able to do, be, possess, or perceive when each goal is attained?)


The student will be able to utilize the basic elements of drawing for their associated studies.
The student will be qualified to enroll in advanced drawing classes.
The student will have the skills and confidence to continue their creative career.


Course Requirements  (What performance criteria must students meet to fulfill the objectives?)


The student must complete all assignments.
The student must use aesthetic language to discuss their work.
The student must demonstrate an enthusiasm in performing their work.
The student must be able to articulate their progress and the value of their work.
The student must have a vision for their career in the arts.
The student must attend classes on time and for the full time.


Weekly Schedule of Activities and Assignments


            Week One – Student Artwork Evaluation
            Week Two – Teacher Demonstrations in Methods and Materials
            Week Three –Perspective and Mechanical Drawing
            Week Four – Landscapes and Architectural Drawing
            Week Five - Non Objectivism and Abstraction
            Week Six – Naturalism, The Human and Animal form
            Week Seven – Field Trip
            Week Eight – Mid Term Critique
Week  Nine – Individual Student Assignments Given by the Instructor

            Week Ten – Portraiture

            Week Eleven – Color

            Week Twelve –Mixed Media 

            Week Thirteen – Student Chosen Project

            Week Fourteen – Field Trip

            Week Fifteen – Final Critique

            Week Sixteen – Prepare Selected Work for Exhibition


Instructional methods (What will you and your students do to achieve the objectives?)

The student will initially be evaluated on their drawing skills, in order to successfully integrate them into the established course of study. Remedial or advanced instruction will be assigned where appropriate.
The student will be introduced to the fundamental tools and techniques of drawing, guided by the “Principles and Elements of Design” as listed and defined in the accompanying Art Reference document of this syllabus.
The student will be instructed in the foundational practices of fine art drawing, utilizing pencil and ink based media on paper.
The student will gain the above skills through group and individual teacher lead instruction and demonstration.
The student will write a short journal entry for each work they create.
The student will be taught the fundamentals of critiquing artwork.



Drawing materials 



Black hardbound  sketchbook (65 lb paper) 8 1/2” x 11”
Newsprint Drawing Pad,  Rough Texture, 100 sheets, 18” x 24”
Strathmore Medium Drawing Pad (400 series) 18”x24”
Strathmore 400 Series Bristol Sheets 22 in. x 30 in., Three Sheets
Charcoal Paper, Two White Sheets and Two Gray Sheets
Drawing Lead Pencil Set of 12, ranging in hardness from 8B to 2H
Drawing Graphite Pencil Set of 12, ranging in hardness from 8B to 2H
Fine and Medium Point Black “Sharpy” Markers
One Fountain Pen and One Small Jar of India Ink
One Small and One Medium Camel Hair Brush
Small Set of Pastels
Small Set of  Black and White Charcoal Pencils
“Prismacolor” Pencils, 12 color pack
Charcoal Sticks, an assortment
Small Jar of Graphite Powder
One Black and One White Grease Pencil
One Black and One White Conte Stick
 One Small and One Medium Blending Stump
Erasers- Kneaded, Soap, Mars Plastic eraser
Masking Tape (one inch)
One Can of Workable Fixative
Tool or Tackle Box, to carry art supplies
Envelope Portfolio (or better), (24”x30” or larger)









Course policies

Art Rubric - Artwork Assessment Form


Grading Criteria

The Grading Criteria is based on the student addressing and completing the course requirements to the best of their ability, combined with a measurable improvement in overall skills as determined by the instructor. The instructor will use the standard A through F grading system. See the accompanying Art Rubric below.


A grade           Excellent


B grade            Very Good


C grade            Average


D grade           Unsatisfactory


F grade            Repeat Class



Category                                      Description



How does the present student artwork compare to previous work by same student?

Does the artwork show increasing feeling and expressiveness?

            Does the artwork show studied considerations?

            Does the artwork exhibit the acquired skills of the student?



            How original, innovative, and daring is the work?


Fulfills Assignment

            How well does the artwork solve the problems outlined in the assignment?

Are the variations from the assignment made for a valid reason?


Attention to Detail

Is the making of the artwork appropriate for the assigned style of art being made?   

Did the student pay attention to the consistency of quality in the artwork and avoided rushing the project?



            Was the student cooperative & generous in discussions and in helping others?

Did the student ask thoughtful questions that advanced their process?


Work Habits

            Did the student work consistently to learn the technology of creating artwork?

Did the student use common sense and initiate research to solve their problems?



And Design

How well did the student use the principles and elements of design to make their art successful?


Critiques and Due Dates

The critique will involve a verbal statement from each student describing his/her project to the class.  After each presentation there will be an open forum for general discussion.  All work is due on the date of the critique specified in the syllabus.  Missing critiques or bringing projects in late will negatively affect the students’ grade.  As long as the assigned artwork is submitted on time, a project may be improved and resubmitted within two weeks for reconsideration of a higher grade. The mid-term and final critiques will be the point at which the instructor will calculate and present the students with their respective grades. The student may choose to discuss the grade with the instructor prior to the grade being formally entered on their permanent record.


Computation of Final Course Grade

Class Assignments……………………………………………..………….75%

Class Participation (Verbal)……,…………………………………………15%

Research and Out of Class Assignments…………………………………..10%


Class Participation

Class Participation and attendance is vital in succeeding in this course. Each class session includes instructor lead individual and group evaluations and demonstrations.


Extra Credit

Extra Credit as a concept will not be used in the course.


Incomplete Grades and Withdrawals

Incomplete grades will be given only in extreme circumstances such as an unavoidable health emergency. The emergency must be substantiated with a written notice that is accepted by the instructor and/or the chair of the department of art.



Lateness to class and early exit from class, on a frequent basis, can affect the students understanding of class material and consequently negatively affect their grade.


Missed Exams or Class Work

Missed class work, critiques and exams will negatively affect the student’s grade. Under some extreme circumstances, missed work can be made up with the consultation and approval of the instructor.


Other Course-Specific Information


Academic Integrity

Refer to the “Academic Code of Conduct” in the H-Book or Directory of Classes.


American Disabilities Act (ADA)

Howard University is committed to providing an educational environment that is accessible to all students.  In accordance with this policy, students who need accommodations because of a disability should contact Dr. Barbara Williams, Dean for Special Student Services (202-238-2420), as soon as possible after admission to the University or at the beginning of each semester.  If you need a special accommodation required by the American Disabilities Act, please document and discuss your disability with me during the first day of class. 


Safety Rules

Art supplies tools can be toxic. Always ventilate sprays and dust when creating art. Do not place pencils and brush handles in your mouth. Do not allow any art material to remain on your skin. Protect your eyes with safety glasses when necessary. Instructions are on the art material containers. Consult the instructor before using all materials.


Reference Document






1. Composition
2. Elements of Design
3. Principles of Design
4. Definitions and Terminologies Used in Art


Awareness of the Elements and Principles of Design is a distinct advantage in creating successful visual Compositions. These principles and elements are used in all visual design fields (painting, drawing and graphics; digital fine arts, computer aided arts and architectural design; photography, filmmaking and videography; fiber arts, fashion design and jewelry making; ceramics, sculpture and mixed media). In the visual arts, Composition is the arrangement of the Elements of Design with reference to the Principles of Design.

The term Composition can apply to any work of art, including writing and music, that is arranged or put together using conscious and/or subconscious thought and/or feelings and emotions of a metaphysical nature. In the visual arts, Composition is often used interchangeably with various terms such as design, form, visual ordering, or formal structure, depending on the context. In graphic design and desktop publishing, Composition is commonly referred to as page layout.

The Elements of Design are the basic components used as part of a visual image. They are the conceptual parts that are arranged by the artist to create the work of art. In many situations, the use of the particular Elements of Design builds upon one another, sequentially and/or in cycles, to advance the artwork to its completion.

The Principles of Design govern the relationships that the Elements of Design use to build the Composition as a whole. The designer's inspiration and intent drives the decisions made with the Principles of Design to achieve resolution between the Elements on Design.

The listed items of The Principles and Elements of Design are varied between the schools of thought that influence design, and between individual practicing designers. The following is a generic foundation for design principles and practices.







Elements of Design

The Elements of Design consist of the following:

 Space, Line, Color, Shape, Texture, Form and Value (Tone)




Space is the area provided for a particular purpose. It may have two dimensions (length and width), such as a floor, or it may have three dimensions, length, width, and depth (or height). Space includes the background, foreground and middle ground. Space refers to the distances or areas around, between or within components of a piece. There are two type of space: positive and negative space. Positive space refers to the space of a shape representing the subject matter. Negative space refers to the space around and between the subject matter



Line is the basic element that refers to the continuous movement of a point along a surface, such as by a pencil or brush. The edges of shapes and forms also create lines. It is the basic component of a shape drawn on paper. Lines and curves are the basic building blocks of two-dimensional shapes like a house's plan. Every line has length, thickness, and direction. There are curve, horizontal, vertical, diagonal, zigzag, wavy, parallel, dash, and dotted lines.





Color is seen either by the way light reflects off a surface, or in colored light sources. Red colors seem to come forward while blue seems to recede into the distance. Color and particularly contrasting color is also used to draw the attention to a particular part of the image. There are primary colors, secondary colors, and tertiary colors. Complementary colors are colors that are opposite to each other on the color wheel. Complementary colors are used to create contrast. Analogous colors are colors that are found side by side on the color wheel. These can be used to create color harmony. Monochromatic colors are tints and shades of one color. Warm colors are a group of colors that consist of reds, yellows, and oranges. Cool colors are group of colors that consist of purples, greens, and blues. Take the color tutorial at http://www.worqx.com/color/index.htm



A shape is defined as an area that stands out from the space next to or around it due to a defined or implied boundary, or because of differences of value, color, or texture. Shapes can also show perspective by overlapping. They can be geometric or organic. Shapes in house decor and interior design can be used to add interest, style, theme to a design like a door. Shape in interior design depends on the function of the object like a kitchen cabinet door. Natural shapes forming patterns on wood or stone may help increase visual appeal in interior design. In a landscape, natural shapes, such as trees contrast with geometric such as houses.



Texture is perceived surface quality. In art, there are two types of texture: tactile and implied. Tactile texture (real texture) is the way the surface of an object actual feels. Examples of this include sandpaper, cotton balls, tree bark, puppy fur, etc. Implied texture is the way the surface on an object looks like it feels. The texture may look rough, fizzy, gritty, but cannot actually be felt.






Form is any three dimensional object. Form can be measured, from top to bottom (height), side to side (width), and from back to front (depth). Form is also defined by light and dark. There are two types of form, geometric (man-made) and natural (organic form). Form may be created by the combining of two or more shapes. It may be enhanced by tone, texture and color. It can be illustrated or constructed.


Value (Tone)

Value is an element of art that refers to the relationship between light and dark on a surface or object. It gives objects depth and perception. Value is also referred to as tone.


Principles of design

The Principles of Design consist of the following:




Repetition (rhythm, pattern)

Variety (alternation)

Emphasis (dominance or focal point)

Proportion (scale)

Color theory





Unity refers to a sense that everything in a piece of work belongs there, and makes a whole piece. It is achieved by the use of balance, repetition and/or design harmony.



Harmony is achieved through the sensitive balance of variety and unity. Color harmony may be achieved using complementary or analogous colors. Harmony in design is similarity of components or objects looking like these belong together. Harmony is considered being visually pleasing. Common traits between objects could be the following: color(s), shape(s), texture, pattern(s), material, theme, style, size, or functionality.



Contrast is the occurrence of differing elements, such as color, value, size, etc. It creates interest and pulls the attention toward the focal point.


Repetition (rhythm, pattern)

The recurrence of elements within a piece: colors, lines, shapes, values, etc. Any element that occurs is generally echoed, often with some variation to maintain interest. Rhythm in design also may be used to reduce randomness.


Variety (alternation)

The use of dissimilar elements, which creates interest and uniqueness. Variety may be used to reduce monotony.


Emphasis (dominance or focal point)

Emphasis refers to areas of interest that guides the eye into and out of the image using the sequence of various levels of focal points, primary focal point, secondary, tertiary, etc. Emphasis hierarchy may give direction and organization to a design, and avoid subconscious confusion to sometimes improve the design's visual appeal and style. Emphasis hierarchy or focus is not giving each object in a project equal dominance within a piece of work. Emphasis or dominance of an object can be increased by making the object larger, more sophisticated, more ornate, by placing it in the foreground, or standout visually more than other objects in a project.


Proportion (scale)

Proportion involves the relationship of size between objects. Proportion is also relative sizes of surface areas of different colors. Proportion also depends on functionality of object.


Color theory

Color is the perceptual characteristic of light described by a color name. Specifically, color is light, and light is composed of many colors—those we see are the colors of the visual spectrum: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and violet. Objects absorb certain wavelengths and reflect others back to the viewer. We perceive these wavelengths as color. Color theory in art includes the color wheel. Color theory involves the idea of how color affects human thoughts and emotions. Color harmony is a pleasing combination of colors and the amount of these colors in a design like a room decor. Color harmony could also be a visually pleasing color combination that enhances the style and character of a design.

Take the color tutorial at http://www.worqx.com/color/index.htm



Balance can be either symmetrical or asymmetrical. Balance also refers to a sense that dominant focal points do not give a feeling of being pulled too much to any specific part of the artwork. Balance can be achieved by the location of objects, volume or sizes of objects, and by color. It can also be achieved by balancing lighter colors with darker colors, or bold colors with light neutral colors.






















Glossary of Art Terminology



Abstract/Abstraction - Abstract means the modification of a (usually) natural form by simplification or distortion. Abstraction is the category of such modified images. (See also non-objective.)


Aesthetics - Aesthetics (also spelled æsthetics or esthetics) is a branch of philosophy dealing with the nature of beauty, art, and taste, and with the creation and appreciation of beauty. It is more scientifically defined as the study of sensory or sensory-emotional values, sometimes called judgments of sentiment and taste. More broadly, scholars in the field define aesthetics as "critical reflection on art, culture and nature." Aesthetics is a sub discipline of axiology, a branch of philosophy, and is closely associated with the philosophy of art. Aesthetics studies ways of seeing and of perceiving the world.


All-Over Space - A type of space in modern painting characterized by the distribution of forms equally "all over" the picture surface, as opposed to the traditional composing method of having a focal point, or center of interest


Atmospheric Perspective - Atmospheric, or aerial, perspective, is a less technical type of perspective, which consists of a gradual decrease in intensity of local color, and less contrast of light and dark, as space recedes into the far distance in a landscape painting or drawing. Often, this far distance will also be represented by a light, cool, bluish-gray. (See also perspective.)


Biomorphic - An attribute related to organic, since it describes images derived from biological or natural forms.


Broken Color - Broken color was first used by the artist Manet and the Impressionists in 19th century French painting, where color was applied in small "dabs," as opposed to the traditional method of smoothly blending colors and values (lights and darks) together. This method results in more of a "patchwork" effect, where the dabs render the facets of light on forms, and/or the planes of the forms' volume, by means of color and value


Calligraphy/Calligraphic - Calligraphy is beautiful personal handwriting, which has also been practiced in the Orient and Near East for many centuries. The term calligraphic is also applied to drawing or painting, which contains brushstrokes reminiscent of calligraphy.


Camera Obscura - A system of lenses and mirrors developed from the 16th to the 17th centuries, which functioned as a primitive camera for artists. With the camera obscura, painters could project the scene in front of them onto their painting surface, as a preliminary drawing.


Chiaroscuro - (pronounced kyar-oh-scoor-oh) - Italian term for light and dark, referring to the modeling of form by the use of light and shade.


Collage - (pronounced col-laj) - French word for cut and pasted scraps of materials, such as paper, cardboard, chair caning, playing cards, etc., to a painting or drawing surface; sometimes also combined with painting or drawing.


Color Field Painting - A style of painting begun in the 1950's to '70's, characterized by small or large abstracted areas of color.


Color Temperature - When choosing lighting for your studio, you may come across the term correlated color temperature, or CCT. You don’t want to confuse this with color temperature. Note the difference:

Color Temperature: Artists often refer to cool and warm colors. Most people perceive that the color blue appears cool while reds and oranges look warm. These correlations, known as color temperatures, come primarily from things we associate with those colors. Blue reminds us of ice, water and other refreshing elements; red and orange make us think of the sun, fire and heat.

Correlated Color Temperature (CCT): This has to do with whether the light (as opposed to the color) looks cool or warm to our eyes. CCT is measured in Kelvin. Light with a warm yellow glow, such as a candle flame or an incandescent light bulb, has a low Kelvin rating. Light with a cool, bluish or white cast, such as noon daylight or northern light, has a high Kelvin rating.

Here are the approximate Correlated Color Temperatures of common light sources:

Candle Flame - 1,800 K
Traditional incandescent bulb - 2,700 K
Sunrise/sunset -  2,800 K
Halogen incandescent bulb - 3,000 K
Moonlight - 4,100 K
Daylight, noon - 5,500 K
North light - 7,500 to 10,000 K

Note that the CCT of north light is actually a higher Kelvin number than that of candlelight. The fact that light that looks cool has a higher Kelvin temperature than light that looks warm can be confusing. For an artist considering studio lighting, it’s important only to note that the higher the Kelvin rating, the more cool and blue your light source will appear.


Complementary Colors - Colors which are located opposite one another on the color wheel (e.g., red and green, yellow and purple, blue and orange); colors which when mixed together will (in color theory) produce a neutral color (a color which is neither warm nor cool). In the case of the three primary colors (red, yellow and blue), the complementary of one primary will be the mixture of the other two primaries (complementary of red will be a mixture of yellow and blue, or green). When placed next to one another, complementary colors will make one another appear much more intense.  Take the color tutorial at http://www.worqx.com/color/index.htm


Composition - The process of arranging materials into a conceptual and physical whole, by the means of the elements and principles of design, for purposes of formal clarity and artistic expression.


Conception/Execution - Conception is the birth process of an artistic idea, from the initial creative impulse through aesthetic refinement, problem solving, and visualization/realization. Execution is the second half of the creative process: the actual carrying out of the idea, in terms of method and materials, which often involves compromises and alterations of the initial conception




Conceptual - Pertaining to the process involved in the initial stages of art making (i.e., the initial conception, or idea). Also, the name of a contemporary art movement which is mainly concerned with this process of conceiving of and developing the initial idea, as opposed to the carrying-out of the idea into concrete form. Conceptual artists also often think of the idea as the real work of art, rather than its concrete manifestation.


Contemporary Art - The term contemporary describes the most recent art, in this case as distinguished from modern art, which is generally considered to have lost its dominance in the mid-1950's.


Content - As opposed to subject matter, content is the "meaning" of the artwork.


Contour - The outer edge of forms, which implies three dimensions, in contrast to an outline, which is a boundary of two-dimensional, flat form. Also, a type of line drawing, which captures this three-dimensional outer edge, with its fullness and recession of form.


Cool Colors - In color theory, colors are described as either warm, cool, or neutral. A cool color generally is one which contains a large amount of blue, as opposed to a warm color, which will contain more yellow. In theory, cool colors seem to recede in space, as the distant mountains or hills tend to appear light bluish-gray, and the closer ones will be more green or brown (warmer). Take the color tutorial at  http://www.worqx.com/color/index.htm


Cross-Hatching - The practice of overlapping parallel sets of lines in drawing to indicate lights and darks, or shading. (Hatching is one set of parallel lines, cross-hatching is one set going in one direction, with another overlapped set going in a different, often perpendicular, direction.)


Diptych - Two separate paintings which are attached by hinges or other means, displayed as one artwork.


Directional Movement - A principle of visual movement in artworks, which can be carried by line, dots, marks, shapes, patterns, color, and other compositional elements. Directional movement in paintings or sculptures directs the viewer's eye around or through the artwork, in a way which the artist consciously or unconsciously determines. One important function is to keep the viewer's eye from "leaving" the work, and instead cause the viewer to follow an inventive (interesting) path within the work, or exit in one area, only to be brought back in another area.


Expressionistic - A characteristic of some art, generally since the mid-19th century, leaning toward the expression of emotion over objective description. Though there is variation, certain characteristics predominate: bright, even garish, color; harsh contrasts of black and white (as in woodcuts); exaggeration of form; and distortion or elongation of figures.


Figurative - A term used to describe art which is based on the figure, usually in realistic or semi-realistic terms; also loosely used to describe an artist who paints or sculpts representationally, as opposed to painting or sculpting in an abstract or non-objective manner.


Focal Point - In two-dimensional images, the center of interest visually and/or subject-wise; tends to be used more in traditional, representational art than in modern and contemporary art, where the picture surface tends to have more of an overall importance, rather than one important area.


Foreshortening - Perspective applied to a single object in an image, for a three-dimensional effect, which often results in distortion with possible emotional overtones. It is used particularly with the human figure.


Formal Elements - A term used by artists to describe the visual elements of a work of art, such as composition, space, color, etc.


Found Object - A found object is any object that an artist comes upon, and uses in an artwork, or as the artwork itself.


Fresco - Wall painting in water-based paint on moist plaster, mostly from the 14th to the 16th centuries; used mostly before the Renaissance produced oil paint as a more easily handled medium.


Frottage - (pronounced fro-taj) - French term, meaning to rub a crayon or other tool onto paper or other material, which is placed onto a textured surface, in order to create the texture of that surface on the paper.


Genre - (pronounced jahn-re) - A class or category of artistic endeavor having a particular form, content, technique.


Gesso - An undercoating medium used on the canvas or other painting surface before painting, to prime the canvas; usually a white, chalky, thick liquid



Gesture/Gestural - The concept of gesture in drawing is twofold: it describes the action of a figure; and it embodies the intangible "essence" of a figure or object. The action line of a figure is often a graphic undulating line, which follows the movement of the entire body of the figure being drawn or painted. The term gestural is an extension of this idea to describe a type of painting which is characterized by brushstrokes with a gestural quality, that is, flowing, curved, undulating lines or forms.


Glaze/Glazing - A glaze is a thin layer of translucent oil paint applied to all or part of a painting, to modify the tone or color underneath. Glazing is the process of using this technique.


Graphic/Graphic Arts - The graphic arts (drawing and engraving) are said to depend for their effect on drawing, as opposed to color. The term graphic describes drawings or prints which lean more toward drawing (line) than color (mass.


Grid - The grid is a geometric construct of squares or rectangles that form the underlying or actual structure of some two-dimensional modern art.


Grisaille - (pronounced gri-zale) (also see Monochromatic) - Painting entirely in monochrome (tones of one color), in a series of grays. Strictly speaking, monochrome is in any one color, such as red, blue or black; grisaille means in neutral grays only (French term). Grisaille may be used for its own sake as decoration, or may be the first stage in building up an oil painting (to establish the tonal range of the image).


Hatching - A technique used in drawing to indicate light and shade, or form, consisting of parallel lines of varying width, darkness and spacing. Cross-hatching is simply two or more overlapping sets of these parallel sets of lines, at a perpendicular or other angle to the first set of lines.


Hue - Referring to the actual color of a form or object, e.g., a red car.


Iconography - Knowledge of the meanings to be attached to pictorial representations; an artist can be said to have a personal iconography.


Impasto - An Italian term for oil paint applied very thickly onto the canvas or other support, resulting in evident brushstrokes (visible).


Linear - Describing a quality related to the use of line in painting or sculpture; can refer to directional movement in composition, or the actual use of the element of line in the image or sculpture, as contrasted with the use of mass or shape forms.


Lyrical - A quality applied to various art forms (poetry, prose, visual art, dance and music), referring to a certain ethereal, musical, expressive, or poetic quality of artistic expression. Although difficult to define, when a visual work of art is described as having a lyrical quality, it means that it possesses a certain spiritual or emotional quality.


Mass/Masses - Shapes or forms used in visual art, as contrasted with lines; also masses often form the large part(s) of the compositional structure, without the additional complexity of detail.


Medium - Material or technique an artist works in; also, the (usually liquid or semi-liquid) vehicle in which pigments are carried or mixed (e.g., oil, egg yolk, water, refined linseed oil).


Mobile - (pronounced mo-beel) - A type of kinetic sculpture (that which moves), invented and first used by the artist Alexander Calder.


Modeling (Blending) - Three-dimensional effect created by the use of changes in color, the use of lights and darks, cross-hatching, etc.


Modern Art - Generally considered to be the period from about 1905-6 to the mid-1950's, when Pop art ushered in what is referred to as the postmodern period in art. Modern art is generally characterized by formal experimentation and exploration, and mostly seriousness of purpose. (Dada and Surrealism may be the exceptions to this rule.)


Motif - (pronounced mo-teef) - A French term which refers to the subject matter or content of a work of art (e.g., a landscape motif); also refers to a visual element used in a work of art, as in a recurring motif.


Naturalism - A style of painting which uses an analysis of tone (value) and color of its subject, resulting in a representation of the appearance of forms or landscapes. Impressionism has naturalistic tendencies, because it analyzes tone and color in the play of light on surfaces. Naturalism can also have a sensual character (as against composition and drawing).


Negative Space - In a painting or sculpture, the areas where there are no forms (the "empty" areas). In a painting, this means the areas which have no forms or objects (sometimes also called the 'background' ). In sculpture, this means the "holes" between forms or within a form. Negative space is the other side of the coin of positive space, which is space actually occupied by forms in a painting or sculpture (the figure in a portrait).


Neutral Color - A color which in color theory is neither warm nor cool. Neutral colors are said to result from the combination of two complementary colors (e.g., red and green, blue and orange, and yellow and purple). Neutral colors can also be mixed by other means. (See also complementary colors, and warm and cool colors.)


Non-Objective - A term used to describe visual art that is not based on existing, observable forms, but rather on abstract or idealized forms, such as geometric, mathematical, imaginary, etc.


Non-Representational - Non-representational art is art, which is not based on external appearances; this covers several types of art - abstract, non-objective, and decorative.


One-Point Linear Perspective - Developed in 15th century Italy, a mathematical system for indicating spatial distance in two-dimensional images, where lines converge in a single vanishing point located on the horizon line, as seen by a stationary viewer. (See also two-point linear perspective.)


Organic - A description of images which are partly or wholly derived from natural forms, such as curvilinear, irregular, indicative of growth, biologically-based, etc.


Painterly - An adjective used to describe a style of painting which is based not on linear or outline drawing, but rather patches or areas of color. In painterly two-dimensional images, the edges of forms tend to merge into one another, or into the background, rather than be separated by outlines or contours.


Palette - A thin piece of glass, wood or other material, or pad of paper, which is used to hold the paint to be used in painting; also, the range of colors used by a particular painter.


Pastel - A drawing stick made of pigments ground with chalk and mixed with gum water; also, a drawing executed with these pastel sticks; also, a soft, subdued tint (light shade) of a color.


Pentimenti - Italian term, from the word meaning 'repent'; refers to the lines or marks which remain after an artist corrects his/her drawing (or painting). Traditionally, this meant that these lines or marks remained unintentionally, in the quest for the perfectly drawn figure, for instance. However, at the end of the 19th century (with Cezanne), these marks became part of the visual expression; his figure drawings, for example, often show several contours in the search for the "correct" one contour. Some artists have taken advantage of this expressive function of pentimenti, particularly in painting, and have left the marks/lines deliberately, or even created them on purpose.


Perspective - A semi-mathematical technique for representing spatial relationships and three-dimensional objects on a flat surface. (See also atmospheric perspective, one-point linear perspective, and two-point linear perspective.)


Photomontage - (pronounced photo-montaj) - A two-dimensional combining of photographs or parts of photographs into an image on paper or other material.


Picture Plane - The flat surface on which an image is painted, and that part of the image that is closest to the viewer. (In modern and contemporary art, the picture plane is synonymous with pictorial surface, meaning that the entire image is located on the picture plane, as contrasted with art from the Renaissance until the mid-19th century, where the picture surface was considered as a window into which the viewer looked into the illusion of distance.)


Positive Space - The areas of a painting or sculpture that are occupied by forms or images, as contrasted with negative space, which are the "empty" areas where no forms/images are located. For example, in a portrait, the figure would be the positive space, the "background" would be the negative space.


Postmodern - A term used to describe the period of art which followed the modern period, i.e., from the 1950's until recently. The term implies a shift away from the formal rigors of the modernists, toward the less formally and emotionally stringent Pop artists, and other art movements which followed.


Proportion - The relation of one part to the whole, or to other parts (for example, of the human body). For example, the human body is approximately 7 to 7-1/2 times the height of the head; the vertical halfway point of the body is the groin; the legs are halved at the knees, etc. Proportion also refers to the relative sizes of the visual elements in a composition, and their optimum relationships for good design.


Realism - Representational painting which, unlike ideal art, desires to depict forms and images as they really are, without idealizing them.


Representational Art - Art that is based on images that can be found in the objective world, or at least in the artist's imagination; i.e., images which can perhaps be named or recognized. For instance, an objectively faithful depiction of a person is representational art; also, a depiction of an alien from outer space can also be considered a representational image. (See also non-representational.)


Rubbing - A product of rubbing a crayon or other tool onto paper or other material over a textured surface, in order to reproduce that texture into a two-dimensional image. For example, a rubbing of a gravestone, a penny, etc. (See also frottage.)


Scumbling - A painting technique (the opposite of glazing), consisting of putting a layer of opaque oil paint over another layer of a different color or tone, so that the lower layer is not completely obliterated, giving an uneven, broken effect.


Shade - A dark value of a color, i.e., a dark blue; as opposed to a tint, which is a lighter shade of a color, i.e., light blue. Also, to shade a drawing means to add the lights and darks, usually to add a three-dimensional effect.


Sfumato - (pronounced sfu-ma-to) - Italian term meaning smoke, describing a very delicate gradation of light and shade in the modeling of figures (also called blending).


Sgraffito - (pronounced sgraf-ee-to) - Italian term meaning scratched; in painting, one color is laid over another, and scratched in (with the other end of the brush, for example) so that the color underneath shows through.


Spatial Cues - Methods of indicating three-dimensional space in two-dimensional images. Examples are: the modeling of forms with light and shade to indicate volume; overlapping of forms to indicate relative spatial position; decrease in the size of images as they recede in space; vertical position in the image (the further away an object is, the higher it is normally located in the image); the use of increased contrast of light and dark (value) in the foreground; the decreasing intensity of colors as they recede in space; the use of a perspective system, of lines converging toward the horizon line. Spatial cues are used also in abstract or non-objective art to indicate relative position in relation to the picture plane, by means of overlapping forms, color and size relationships, and other spatial cues, but generally without perspective and other indications of Renaissance (illusional) space.


Stained Canvas - A method of painting first begun in the 1960's, consisting of the application of (liquid) paint directly to canvas by pouring or rolling, rather than with the traditional brush, and without the prerequisite layer of priming normally done to stretched canvas.


Stippling - A drawing technique consisting of many small dots or flecks to construct the image; obviously, this technique can be very laborious, so generally small images are stippled. The spacing and darkness of the dots are varied, to indicate three dimensions of an object, and light and shadow; can be a very effective and interesting technique, which can also be used in painting.


Study - A preliminary drawing for a painting; also, a work done just to "study" nature in general.


Subject Matter - As opposed to content, the subject matter is the subject of the artwork, e.g., still life. The still life objects used in the image are the subject matter. (See also content.)


Tint - A light value of a color, i.e., a light red; as opposed to a shade, which is a dark value, i.e., dark red.


Tone - The lightness or darkness of an area in terms of black to white; also called value, i.e., a light or dark red, or light or dark gray.


Two-Point Linear Perspective - A more recent version of perspective than one-point perspective; using two (or more) points instead of one on the horizon line gave artists a more naturalistic representation of space in two-dimensional images.


Triptych - A painting which consists of one center panel, with two paintings attached on either side by means of hinges or other means, as "wings”.


Underpainting - A layer of color or tone applied to the painting surface before the painting itself is begun, to establish the general compositional masses, the lights and darks (values) in the composition, or as a color to affect/mix with subsequent layers of color. Underpainting is generally a thin, semi-opaque layer of paint.


Value - The lightness or darkness of a line, shape or area in terms of black to white; also called tone; e.g., a light red will have a light value; a dark red will have a dark value.


Volumetric - A quality of two-dimensional images characterized by a sense of three dimensions, solidity, volume, as contrasted with atmospheric, which is characterized more by a sense of space, or airiness, than with volume.


Warm Colors - In color theory, colors which contain a large amount of yellow, as opposed to cool colors, which contain more blue. For example, a yellow-orange color would be warm; a greenish-blue would be cool. Warm colors are thought to appear to be closer to the viewer, while cool colors are thought to recede into the distance. (See also cool colors). Take the color tutorial at http://www.worqx.com/color/index.htm


Wash - A thin layer of translucent (or transparent) paint or ink, particularly in watercolor; also used occasionally in oil painting.







Ronald Van Anderson

aka Akili Ron Anderson

Drawing I