Course Descriptions & Syllabi

Course Descriptions & Syllabi

Search Course IDs and descriptions for:

Find complete words only

Note: some or all of the courses in the subjects marked as "Transfer" can be used towards a transfer degree: Associate of Science and Arts or Associate of Engineering Science at DACC. Transferability for specific institutions and majors varies. Consult a counselor for this information.

Areas of Study | | ARTS119 syllabus

COURSE TITLE:Basic Design 2-D
DIVISION:Liberal Arts

Fundamentals of two dimensional design. An introduction to theory and application of point, line, shape, tone, texture principles of visual design involved in traditional and digital two dimensional surface. Class meets 5 hours per week.

Expanded description: This course will provide a foundation in the fundamentals of pictorial design. In a sequence of hands-on exercises and projects, students are introduced to the concept of the picture plane, figure/ground relationships, scale and proportional transformation, patterning, composition, value, color, methods for conveying time, and spatial illusion. Using a wide variety of traditional and non- traditional as well as digital media and methods, students are encouraged to develop their own design vocabulary and repertoire of practical techniques. In addition to introducing formal design strategies, the course emphasizes content issues and the historical and cultural context in which works of art are produced. Regular slide lectures and critiques are structured informally to encourage dialog and to provide the student with an opportunity to translate visual evidence into words. Beyond the concepts and skills essential to good design practice, it is hoped that the course will open a window towards self-expression and awareness.

College-level reading skills required (place out of or complete DEVR098).


Upon completion of this course, students will be able to:
  • Understand and demonstrate through exercises the elements of design.
  • Develop vocabulary in discussing and assessing a work of art, and to understand historical perspectives in art. This is a hands-on, actively sharing of ideas in the classroom, wherein the student gains insight from the instructor as well as fellow students.
  • Show knowledge of the fundamentals of two-dimensional design, including the theory and application of basic principles of form
  • Gain experience in a wide breadth of graphic media and techniques designed to improve skills specifically related to the creation of 2-D imagery.
  • Gain experience in the techniques of linear perspective, realism, abstraction and color theory.
  • Maintain a visual dialogue of the world by keeping a sketchbook as a way of improving drawing and compositional skills.

Methodology: Teaching will be done by the following methods:

  • Demonstration - The instructor will demonstrate concepts and technique by drawing in front of the class.
  • Hands on teaching - The instructor will make the rounds, working with each student, giving constructive criticism, and doing individual demonstrations.
  • Discussion - The instructor will illustrate the technical and expressive aspects of drawing by showing examples of his own work, and the work of other artists. Students will be encouraged to participate in group discussions and critiques as time allows.
  • Individual Discussion - The instructor will guide students individually by giving technical advice and suggested reading and research which would benefit individual students.
  • Critiques - The instructor as well as the class will discuss the student’s work.


Week 1: What is a Two Dimensional art form?

Class period 1:

  1. “The Riot Act”
  2. Sketchbook requirements
  3. Material list
  4. Short introductory quiz
  5. Lecture topic: “What is a 2-D art form?”
  6. An Introduction to your first project and essay. (essay topic: What is a two dimensional artform?)

Class period 2:

  1. Lecture on Framing
  2. Short review of the first assignment’s requirements:
    1. Take a piece of construction paper (provided by your instructor) cut or rip a 4”x4” square. Cut or tear the paper in such a way that it becomes an unbroken, empty frame
    2. Take the “frame” to a place anywhere within the classroom. Consider what could be "framed" by your paper within your chosen site, taking care to consider what information you end up framing in the process. This should take fifteen minutes at most.
    3. When you are done, return to your work area and be prepared to recreate your picture using any 2-D medium, pencil, pen, marker, paint etc.
  3. As a group, discuss what views in the room could be beautiful, interesting, well composed, or explore a radical “point of view.”  You may use a digital camera/phone to capture these images and project in the classroom using the digital projector.  
  4. Introduction to assignment 2
  5. Studio day, assignment 1 due at the start of class period 3.
  6. Essay 1 due at the end of class (“What is a two dimensional artform?”) 200-300 words. Cite your sources.

Week 2: Elements of art: Line and shape

Class period 3:

  1. Critique of Assignment 1
  2. Lecture topic: The Elements of Art: Line
    Artists references: 
    Georges Seurat, Paul Klee, Wassily Kandinsky, Sumi-e painting, and Australian aboriginal Painting.
  3. Review of assignment 2:
    Make a "dot" sampler, using the widest variety of tools and materials available; on a sheet of the same size create a "line sampler," and a "shape sampler" on a third sheet. Refer to this personal collection when studying the illustrations in books, observing the work of fellow students, or going to museums and galleries.  Create a set of parallel sample sheets using the computer.  
  4. Studio day
  5. Vocabulary 1 due
  1. mark
  2. gesture
  3. point
  4. line
  5. plane
  6. volume
  7. space,
  8. dynamic
  9. calligraphy
  10. representational
  11. non-objective
  12. actual lines
  13. implied lines
  14. expressive lines
  15. shape
  16. form.  

Class period 4:

  1. Lecture topic: Elements of art: shape
  2. Introduction to assignment 3:
    Explore the expressive range of a specific tool--such as a finely pointed bamboo brush (If you do not own one or possess the ink, see Mr. J).  See how many differing kinds of simple marks and brush strokes you can make, exerting almost no pressure at first, and then slowly adding weight to your mark, causing larger areas of the brush to come in contact with the paper. Simply let the brush leave its mark. Do not pull it or push it. Dilute the ink to add gray tones. Refer to sources of Asian painting, seeking only marks clearly determined by varying pressure on the brush.
  3. Assignment 2 due at the beginning of class period 5.

Week 3:  Elements of art: shape, Figure/ground

Class period 5:

  1. Critique of assignment 2
  2. Lecture topic: Elements of Art: Shape, Figure/Ground
  3. Introduction to Assignment 4:
    Assignment 4: Using a fine pen or technical pen, experiment with different methods of creating areas of value and texture. Stippling, hatching, cross-hatching, contour hatching, parallel lines, controlled squiggles could be used separately or in combination to render a wide range of effects. Translate two or more black and white photographs or framed areas of photograph into a single pen and ink composition. Consider the transition between the images and the overall composition.
  4. Vocabulary  2 Due:

    1. figure/ground relationship
    2. interacting or integrated
    3. alternation/ambiguity interpenetration
    4. positive/negative space
  5. Studio day Assignment 4 due class period 6

Week 4: Elements of art: Value and color

Class period 6:

  1. Critique of assignment 3
  2. Lecture topic: Value
  3. Studio day, Assignment 4 due class period 7

Class period 7:

  1. Critique of assignment 4
  2. Lecture topic: color
  3. Introduction to assignment 5:
    Intensity scale and color wheel
  4. Studio time
  5. Vocabulary 3 due
    1. Value
    2. middle gray
    3. tint
    4. shade
    5. value scale
    6. value contrast
    7. achromatic grays
    8. chromatic grays
    9. chiaroscuro
    10. hue
    11. color wheel
    12. primary colors (list them)
    13. secondary colors (explain and list them)
    14. teritary colors (explain and list them)
    15. intensity
    16. chroma
    17. saturation
    18. simultaneous contrast
    19. afterimage
    20. optical mixing
    21. cool vs. warm
    22. monochromatic
    23. analogous (give examples)
    24. complementary (give examples)
    25. triadic
    26. split complementary 

Week 5: Texture

Class period 8:

  1. Lecture on Elements of art: texture
  2. Assignment 5 due
  3. Intro to assignment 6

The students will do a non-objective drawing to music. What changes in the quality of the marks or lines as the music changes? Do short compositions to various kinds of music. The students will compare their own sketches, and then compare different students' work. A discussion about the ease or difficulty of moving across different media or modes of expression will conclude.

Class period 9:

  1. Lecture topic: Movement
  2. Assignment 6 due
  3. Intro to assignment 7

Produce an "Identity Sheet" that combines a vocabulary of personal marks with some "evidence" of who you are. This evidence could take the form of a identifiable shape, photocopies, photographs text, collage materials, maps, etc. Try using some of the marks and textures you created in the initial exercises with tools and media in combination with the above materials. 

Week 6: Space

Class period 10:

  1. Lecture topic: Space
  2. Assignment 7 due
  3. Intro to assignment 8

Make a collection (minimum of 20) of small objects (1" -12") that possess an interesting range of silhouettes and textures. (Flat or nearly flat objects will work the best for this project.) 

Class period 11:

  1. Lecture topic: Optical Illusions
  2. Assignment 8 due
  3. Intro to assignment 9: create a pen and ink optical illusion

Week 7: Principles of Design

Class period 12:

  1. Lecture topic: Principles of Design
  2. Review for Exam 1
Class period 13:
  1. Exam 1

Week 8: Scale

Class period 14:

  1. Review Exam 1
  2. Lecture topic: Principles of design: Scale
  3. Assignment 9 continued: Pen and ink optical illusion

Class period 15:

  1. Studio day

Week 9: Proportion

Class period 16:

  1.  Lecture topic: Principles of design: Proportion
  2.  Assignment 9 due
  3.  Intro to assignment 10

Objective: to introduce the grid as both a regulating system and as an aid to scale change; to introduce the concepts of size, scale, and proportion.

  1. Create a composition that includes the following: a simple silhouette of a "found object" at "full scale;" a transformation of the object into "quarter-scale;" a "blow-up", and “anamorphic distortion" of the object. While the mechanical aspect of changing relative scales and proportions is very useful, I will try to have the students go beyond this to make a composition that is conceptually and aesthetically pleasing.
  2. Create a composition that illustrates transformation of scale and proportion through the use of a grid.

Vocabulary 4 Due

  1. System
  2. Grid
  3. Size
  4. Relative
  5. Scale
  6. anamorphic distortion
  7. ratio
  8. proportion 

Week 10: Unity and Variety, Balance

Class period 17:

  1. Lecture topic: Principles of design: Unity and Variety
  2. Assignment 10 due
  3. Intro to assignment 11 (2 parts)
  4. Using a photo copy machine, copy groupings of objects placed upon the glass of the machine to illustrate particular aspects of UNITY in composition as discussed in class and in the readings. Produce at least five compositions illustrating the concepts of
    1. "Chance"
    2. "Proximity"
    3. "Unified Direction"
    4. "Continuation"
    5. "Unity with Variety" 
  5. After making several compositions for each problem, cut four strips of , white paper and arrange them around each copy, moving them in and out until you feel that the area left showing is a good composition. Cut the copies out in this configuration and mount the best solution to each problem separately on biology paper. (You might consider using black or gray construction paper as a backing to produce a darker border.)

    Challenge: You might also try to produce an "implied shape" or experiment with filling in the objects with ink or gouache to produce all black and white compositions. Try reversing the black and white relationship to create a "figure-ground reversal." 

Class period 18:

  1. Lecture topic: Principles of design: Balance
  2. Assignment 11 due
  3. Introduction to assignment 12 (2 parts)
  4. A. Plan and execute a mandala, based on a radial composition, derived from your own vocabulary of symbols.
  5. Vocabulary 5 due:

    1. pattern
    2. alignment (unified direction)
    3. rotation
    4. axis
    5. symmetry
    6. gestalt
    7. asymmetry

Week 11: Emphasis and Subordination, Rhythms

Class period 19:

  1. Lecture topic: Principles of design: Emphasis and Subordination
  2. Assignment 12 due

Class period 20:

  1. Lecture topic: Principles of design: Rhythms
  2. Review for Exam 2

Week 12: Laws of Perspective:

Class period 21:

  1. Exam 2

Class period 22:

  1. Go over Exam 2
  2. Intro to assignment 13

In class assignment: Converging Parallels work sheet

Week 13: Laws of Perspective

Class period 23:

  1. Lecture topic: Laws of perspective
  2. Assignment 13 due
  3. Intro to assignment 14

Large detailed cityscape using the technique of converging parallels

Week 14: Laws of Perspective

Class period 24:

  1. Lecture topic: The Laws of Perspective
  2. Assignment 14 due
  3. Introduction to assignment 15

Using the techniques of converging parallels create an abstract. 18x24 paper

Class period 25:

  1. Studio Day

Week 15: Isometric Perspective

Class period 26:

  1. The Laws of perspective
  2. Assignment 15 due

Class period 27:

  1. Critique of assignment 15
  2.  Intro to assignment 16

Create a composition applying isometric perspective

Week 16: Isometric Perspective

Class period 28:

  1. Studio Day

Class period 29:

Final Critique- All assignments due.

    a. Assignment 17 due

Week 17: Tying up Loose ends

Class period 30

  1. Last day of Instruction: Review for the Final
  2. Tie up loose ends
  3. Portfolio review

Finals Week (Good Luck)

Our final TBA

There is no textbook.
  • Metal straight edge (12-18")
  • #11 Ex-acto knife and blades
  • Graphite pencils (2B and 4H minimum)
  • Prismacolor pencils
    • Ultramarine blue #902
    • Lemon yellow #915
    • Crimson red #924
    • White #938
    • Black #935
  • Pencil sharpener (you will find the manual pencil sharpener in the classroom does not fare well with coloring pencils)
  • Erasers (white plastic, hard pink)
  • 1 technical ink pen--sizes .25 - .5 will do. Disposable pens are fine.
  • Masking tape ("drafting" tape so that it won't pull off paper from your masterpiece)
  • Protractor with degrees
  • Watercolor brushes (synthetic white sable brush)
    • Rounds: #5
    • Flats: 1/2"
  • White palette or mixing tray (an old plate or reasonable facsimile)
  • Cold pressed illustration board Tracing paper (roll, 16 - 18" wide)
  • Water container. No glass please.
  • Portfolio for carrying 2-D work (17 x 22 min.) and a box for materials.
  • Glue stick
  • Gouache (opaque watercolor)
  • Ivory Black
  • Zinc White
  • Brush cleaner or mild soap.
  • Three ring notebook with 8 1/2 x 11” for notes, thumbnail sketches, and collages.
  • Tackle box (to carry your supplies)

During the whole of the semester, each student will be expected to participate fully in the life of the Design Studio. In addition to the completion of assigned projects on time, this means regular attendance, a sense of studio etiquette, and participation in class discussion and critiques. A three-ring notebook is to be kept of all handouts, sketches, ideas, notes etc. It should be filled with copy paper for sketches and ideas as well as notebook paper for, well, notes. (Imagine that) Your notebook will be a running record of your Involvement in the class. There is no required text, although you will be required to research various topics throughout the semester via internet or library.

Completing all of the assigned projects on time with a reasonable degree of craftsmanship and care, and regular attendance is the minimum expectation. I allow you to "re-do" any project without penalty for a higher grade--as long as you turn the work in by the next class period and show your best effort. Your final grade for the course will be heavily influenced by the quality of documentation you provide in your notebook. This

Documentation is to be organized around the sequence of assignments and labeled as such. This documentation may take the form of drawings, photographs, computer print-outs, and/or other media. Top grades will be awarded for a combination of design excellence, conceptual depth, intelligent participation in discussion, and, most importantly, individual improvement. Any unexcused absence will seriously affect your grade.


Membership in the DACC community brings both rights and responsibility. As a student at DACC, you are expected to exhibit conduct compatible with the educational mission of the College. Academic dishonesty, including but not limited to, cheating and plagiarism, is not tolerated. A DACC student is also required to abide by the acceptable use policies of copyright and peer-to-peer file sharing. It is the student’s responsibility to become familiar with and adhere to the Student Code of Conduct as contained in the DACC Student Handbook. The Student Handbook is available in the Information Office in Vermilion Hall and online at:

Any student who feels s/he may need an accommodation based on the impact of a disability should contact the Testing & Academic Services Center at 217-443-8708 (TTY 217-443-8701) or stop by Cannon Hall Room 103. Please speak with your instructor privately to discuss your specific accommodation needs in this course.

Spring 2019

Upcoming Events