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ART 492 A: Advanced Painting: The Figure

Meeting Time: 
MW 2:30pm - 5:20pm
ART 320
David Brody
David Brody

Syllabus Description:

Advanced Painting - The Figure 

Autumn 2017 • Art 492 • M/W 2:30 - 5:20

Prof. David Brody

Office - 328F




The goal of this course is to help advanced students explore figure painting, both from observation and from the imagination.

This course is project based. There will be both in-class and homework assignments. Attention will be paid to subject matter, materials, scale, methodology, and formal language (e.g. composition, value, color, space, etc.). Classroom sessions will be devoted to studio work, looking at artists’ work, discussions, and both individual and group critiques. At a minimum, students should allow 10 hours each week for homework.

Students must have and maintain sufficient quantities of all materials (drawing tools, oil paint, brushes, surfaces, etc.) needed for their work and assignments. There will be individual critiques at the end of the term when the quarter’s work will be reviewed. All work done for the course, both in and outside of class, must be saved and kept in good order for final portfolio reviews at the end of the quarter. Our final is scheduled for Tuesday, December 12 from 2:30-4:20. All students must attend the final.



A number of resources will help you in this course.

My drawing lecture course “How to Draw” can be streamed through your UW library account via Kanopy. Of particular relevance to this course are the lectures on linear perspective and the figure. For directions on how to access the lectures please email me.

The Figure by Walt Reed (North Light Books) is a very good general figure drawing book with sections proportions and anatomy. Reed also outlines several useful ways to construct the figure from you imagination. You can find used copies via Amazon for about $10 and new ones for about $35.

There are a couple good 3-D anatomy apps from—“Muscle Premium” and “Skeleton Premium”. The downloads are $25.

When working from your imagination, the ability to construct believable environments is all but essential. John Montague's Basic Perspective Drawing can be very useful in this regard (used - $6, latest edition new $51 @ Amazon).

Andrew Loomis’ book “Successful Drawing” is an excellent source that shows how to relate figure drawing to linear perspective. This is of great use when drawing/painting figures from your imagination. A word of warning here—some of his “comic” drawings devolve into racist caricatures and his female nudes list into the world of pin-up. Kindle versions are $5. Hard copies go for $25-30.

Robert Beverly Hale taught artistic anatomy for many years at The Art Students League in New York City, wrote several books on the subject (see below), and was the first curator of American Painting and Sculpture at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. In this series of lectures he covers the major skeletal and muscular structures which are of use and concern too the artist. The films are stored in the Media Center at the Odegaard Undergraduate Library and include:

Lecture 1 - Rib Cage - 78 minutes - Joan 001

Lecture 2 - Pelvis - 81 minutes - Joan 002

Lecture 3 - Leg - 74 minutes - Joan 003

Lecture 4 - Foot - 72 minutes - Joan 004

Lecture 5 - Shoulder Girdle 1 - 77 minutes - Joan 005

Lecture 6 - Shoulder Girdle 2 - 68 minutes - Joan 006

Lecture 7 - Arm - 76 minutes - Joan 007                       

Lecture 8 - Hand - 80 minutes - Joan 008

Lecture 9 - Head/Skull - 80 minutes - Joan 009

Lecture 10 - Head/Features - 97 minutes - Joan 010



This is a 400 level course with grades based primarily on the quality of work produced. Inventiveness, degree of improvement, ability to synthesize new ideas and concepts, preparedness, and class participation are also weighed.

Class participation is an integral part of Art and Art History classes. Since absences from class prevent participation, they may negatively affect grades. Students who miss class due to illness or emergency are responsible for immediately notifying their instructor and insuring that all missed assignments and exams are completed in a manner agreed on between faculty and student. Students may notify instructors of absences through email, written note placed in faculty box or in person during class or office hours. It is extremely difficult in studio classes to make-up work successfully. Students who miss class put themselves at a distinct disadvantage and so are strongly urged to attend every session. In the event of absence or lateness students are responsible for making up all work and for informing themselves about assignments given and materials needed for future classes.



3.9-4.0 A The highest possible performance in all aspects of the course with work exemplifying exceptional quality. Exhibits outstanding creative potential.

3.5-3.8 A- Exhibits creative potential with superior performance in most aspects of the course; high quality in the remainder. Well prepared for subsequent courses in the field.

3.2-3.4 B+ High performance in most aspects of the course. Very good chance of success in subsequent courses in the field. Exhibits some creative potential.

2.9-3.1 B Good performance in some of the course; satisfactory performance in the remainder. Exhibits some creative potential. Good chance of success in subsequent courses in the field.

2.5-2.8 B- Demonstrates the minimum amount of research need to complete the course with satisfactory performance.

2.2-2.4 C+ Met basic requirements in most of the course, with the remainder being somewhat substandard.

1.9-2.1 C Evidence of some learning, but generally substandard performance. Marginal chance of success for subsequent courses in the field.



Most of your grade is based on your work. It is essential that you take good care of your paintings and drawings.



All studios are meant to be quiet spaces. Use of radios, stereos, televisions and other similar equipment is only allowed with the use of headphones. Students who routinely disturb other students and interfere with their work may be prohibited from working in Painting and Drawing Program studios.



If you would like to request academic accommodations due to a disability, please contact Disabled Student Services, 448 Schmitz, (206) 543-8924 (V/TTY). If you have a letter from Disabled Student Services indicating you have a disability that requires academic accommodation, please present the letter to me so we can discuss the accommodations you might need.


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Equal Opportunity

The School of Art reaffirms its policy of equal opportunity regardless of race, color, creed, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, age, marital status, disability, or status as a disabled veteran or Vietnam-era veteran in accordance with UW policy and applicable federal and state statutes and regulations.



 Plagiarism is defined as using in your own work the creations, ideas, words, inventions, or work of someone else without formally acknowledging them through the use of quotation marks, footnotes, bibliography, or other reference. Please check with your instructor if you have questions about what constitutes plagiarism. Instances of plagiarism will be referred to the Vice Provost/Special Asst to the President for Student Relations and may lead to disciplinary action.


Catalog Description: 
Drawing and painting from the model. Prerequisite: ART 390; ART 393.
GE Requirements: 
Visual, Literary, and Performing Arts (VLPA)
Last updated: 
January 10, 2018 - 9:12pm