Course Descriptions & Syllabi

Course Descriptions & Syllabi

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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 | | ARTS122 syllabus

DIVISION:Liberal Arts

Life drawing is a rigorous drawing course dedicated to the human figure. It emphasizes the anatomical structure of the body, as well as narrative and conceptual aspects of figurative art. The students will display a steady progression in technical skill, expression and a development of an individual style.

ARTS117 with a grade of "C" or better.

NOTES: This course is not available for web registration.

Upon completion of this course, students will be able to:

The purpose of Figure Drawing is to provide each student with specific drawing media experiences and to build basic perceptual skills. The student will review basic knowledge of the elements of art: line, value, shape/mass, texture and color to lead to their deliberate manipulation for different types of spatial illusion, compositions, and expressive meaning. This course is directed towards giving the student a structured approach to drawing the human figure, which will serve as a foundation for his or her personal interpretive approach.

  • Students will demonstrate knowledge of the bone structure of the human skeleton and the muscular structure by drawing and by quizzes on anatomy.
  • Students will be able to draw the human figure accurately displaying normal proportional relationships of the body’s parts to the whole. This will be demonstrated through quizzes, class exercises and projects.
  • Students will depict the figure in a variety of poses using figurative foreshortening and linear perspective. This will be demonstrated through quizzes, class exercises and projects.
  • Students will draw the figure so that the illusion of volume is achieved through a variety of shading techniques. This will be demonstrated through quizzes, class exercises and projects.
  • Students will convey gesture when drawing the figure spontaneously in very brief periods of time. This will be demonstrated through quizzes, class exercises and projects.
  • Students will simplify, exaggerate, or distort visual elements and normative proportions to interpret expressive qualities of the figure. This will be demonstrated through quizzes, class exercises and projects.
  • Students will evoke mood through the expressive use of drawing materials. This will be demonstrated through quizzes, class exercises and projects.
  • Students will present their completed work in a professional manner. This will be demonstrated through quizzes, class exercises and projects. The student will be acquainted with historical and cultural interpretations of the human figure.
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 life 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.
  • To alternate a gestalt, gestural approach to life drawing with a methodical approach, this is to insure that the student will draw with energy and accuracy
  • Critiques- The instructor as well as the class will discuss the student’s work.


Week 1:
Discussion of syllabus.
Lecture: Drawing from model.
Read chapter 1.

Week 2:
Draw – front, back, side views of model. (30 points)
Draw corresponding views of the skeleton. (20 points)
Read chapter 2

Week 3:
Draw three views of the head and corresponding views from the skull. (60 points)

Week 4:
Test on muscles of the torso. (20 points)
Gesture drawing with pencil, conte crayon, Charcoal, and bamboo brush and ink (50 points)
A larger project (100 points)

Week 5:
Begin shading exercises using conte crayon and charcoal. (50 points)
Read chapter 3.

Week 6:
Continue volumetric drawing using mass lines to give the illusion form through linear shading, cross hatching and cross contour lines. Pencil, pen, charcoal, and conte crayon. (150 points)
Drawings due for grading and critique.

Week 7:
Gesture drawing. Exploring pen and wash techniques on watercolor paper. (40 points)
Read chapter 4 and 5.

Week 8:
Explore chairoscuro with charcoal or conte on grey charcoal paper highlighted with white conte. Long pose. (50 points)
Read chapter 6.

Week 9:
Test on muscles of the arm. (15 points)
Gesture drawing. Studies of the hand. Studies of the foot. (70 points)
Read chapter 7.

Week 10:
Gesture drawing using continuous tone and drawing using a rendering stump and powdered charcoal or graphite. Drawings due for grading and critique. (40 points)

Week 11:
Gesture drawings. Long pose using powdered graphite and pencil on good quality drawing paper. (50 points)
Read chapter 8.

Week 12:
Detailed drawing of the head in charcoal on grey paper heightened with white conte crayon. (60 points)

Week 13:
Test on muscles of the leg. (15 points)
Contour drawings. Value drawings. Combined contour and value drawings. (70 points)
Read chapter 9.

Week 14:
Long pose using choice of materials. (100 points)
Read chapter 10.

Week 15: Long pose using choice of materials. Drawings due for grading and critique (100 Points)
Students choice of poses and materials. (100 points)
Compute and discuss grades final critique and final exam.


Required Text:
The Human Figure by David K. Rubens

See bookstore website for current book(s) at

Suggested Reading:
Constructive Anatomy by George Bridgman
Bridgman's Life Drawing, by George Bridgman
Figure Drawing by Nathan Goldstein
The Human Figure, by David K. Rubens is available in the DACC bookstore

The DACC Library located in the Clock Tower, has a fairly good collection of art and anatomy books.

Materials List:

  1. Tackle box - an art tote for your supplies.
  2. Charcoal - (hard, soft, medium)
  3. Charcoal paper - white and gray
  4. Graphite pencils - 3B, 4B, 5B, 6B, powdered graphite
  5. Kneaded eraser (large)
  6. Single edged razor blade (optional)
  7. Hand pencil sharpener
  8. Conte crayons - black and white, brown optional
  9. One pad 18" x 24" Strathmore drawing paper, white
  10. 8.5x11 copy paper for quick sketches and notation
  11. An assortment of markers, fine to medium point, permanent
  12. Spray fixative
  13. Watercolor brush, Chinese bamboo
  14. Water container (no glass please)
  15. Water soluble drawing ink
  16. Drawing pen or rapidograph
  17. Masking tape (optional)

In class exercises and sketches  500 points
Tests and quizzes  50 points
Gesture drawings 250 points
Projects   400 points
Final 100 points
Total  1300 points

Grading scale:
100%-90% =A
89%-80% =B
79%-70% =C
69%-60% =D
59% and below =F

Student Evaluation/Grading Policies:
  1. Class time will be spent in a productive manner. Do not waste time.
  2. All assignments must be received by the due date.
  3. You may be asked to redo an assignment.
  4. All assignments have guidelines to follow. Follow them.
  5. You will receive 5 points per in class assignment.
  6. In regards to Critiques:
    • There are two types of critiques, which happen during the semester.  Weekly peer critiques and a final critique administered by the instructor.
    • When discussing work in a critique these guidelines are to be followed:
      1. composition
      2. craftsmanship
      3. order
      4. attention to detail and/or the lack of
      5. color application
      6. contrast
      7. overall success or failure
      8. be polite and constructive
    • All work is to be scanned and/or made available on a flash drive to be presented for group discussion (critique)


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

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