Calligraphy on folding fan by Wang Maolin

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ART 190 A: Introduction to Drawing

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Meeting Time: 
MW 11:30am - 2:20pm
ART 325
David Brody
David Brody

Syllabus Description:

Prof. David Brody

M/W 11:30-2:20

School of Art, Room 325 



The professor will not respond to email requests for entry codes.

All registration must be completed online.

For further information regarding registration please see this link:



The primary goals of this introductory class are: 

  • Building basic drawing skills
  • Understanding primary concepts which relate to drawing
  • Developing an understanding of the grammar or syntax of two-dimensional visual language 

Students should be prepared to move beyond their current knowledge and abilities in drawing and link new skills, concepts, and understandings to creative expression.

The class will concentrate on the use of LINE during weeks 1-5 and VALUE during weeks 6-10. Both will be considered in-depth in their relationship to the following three principal formal foci: 

  1. COMPOSITION or Pictorial Organization
  • Choosing what to draw and how to frame this
  • Composing with gestural line
  • Composing with shape and negative shape
  • Exploring the format ‘s implicit divisions, balances, depths of space, and dynamics
  • Hierarchies or systems of relative dominance
  • Figure-environment relationships; object-ground relationships 
  1. Controlling PROPORTION
  • Determining amounts, distances, angles, and shapes with accuracy using negative shapes, a standard unit of measure, plumb lines, and grids 
  1. Controlling SPACE on a two-dimensional surface
  • Flatness
  • The illusion of three-dimensional space, planes, and volume (including an introduction to linear perspective)

Drawings will be done both from observation and from the imagination. Some of the latter will make use of synthetic systems (e.g. linear perspective). We will also explore various drawing media (including graphite, vine charcoal, compressed charcoal, pen and ink, and brush and ink) for their intrinsic qualities (i.e. value, texture, mark, reflectivity, etc.) and various papers for their intrinsic qualities (rough, smooth, cool, warm, etc.). Some drawings will require students to draw the nude model.

Classroom sessions will be devoted to drawing, discussions, looking at artists’ work, and critiques. There will be assignments to be completed outside of class time. An amount of time at least equal to that spent in class should be budgeted for out of class assignments. 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. Students must have and maintain sufficient quantities of all materials (drawing tools, surfaces, etc.) needed for class work and assignments. 



Grades are assessed by reviewing drawings done in class, homework assignments, and overall performance (i.e. preparedness, participation in discussions, degree of improvement). The largest component of the grade (90% or more) is based on the quality of the drawings AS THEY RELATE TO GIVEN PROBLEMS or assignments. The success of the drawings is directly related to: 

  • the ability to understand a new idea or concept
  • the ability to implement this new idea or concept in a drawing
  • the ability to relate what is learned from one assignment to successive assignments
  • preparedness
  • participation
  • degree of improvement

Low grades are most often the result of some combination of the following factors: 

  • lateness or non-attendance, hence partial or no understanding of the ideas and concepts presented
  • non-attendance, hence missing drawings
  • insufficient time devoted to an assignment
  • insufficient or minimal thought and effort applied
  • assignment done the night before it is due, hence no time for self-criticism, reconsideration, and change
  • directions for the assignment were not read, not comprehended, or not followed
  • wrong materials or papers used
  • incomplete assignments
  • lost assignments 

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, voice mail, written note placed in faculty box or in person during class or posted 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.



Since most of your grade is based on your work it is essential that you take good care of your drawings. It is strongly recommended that you label your drawings by date and project (lightly with pencil on the back) . This will help you to locate the drawings you will need for final portfolio review with ease. All drawings should be kept flat in a protective portfolio. Rolled drawings will not be accepted for portfolio review. Your work will show to better advantage if it is not encumbered by extraneous fingerprints, footprints, rips, folds, etc. It is a good idea to separate drawings with sheets of clean newsprint. Drawings done with soft pencil or charcoal can be sprayed with fixative to prevent erasure or smudging. Drawings must never be sprayed in classrooms or hallways. There are several spray booths in the SOA for this purpose.

The standard of “finished” for in-class work is set by your peers. If work is less complete than average, all else being equal, the grade for that project would diverge from the average correspondingly. While some in-class work could easily be worked on again (i.e hallway drawing, value scale, etc) others which require observation of particular set-ups, models, etc. would require setting up appropriate observational material on your own and starting a new drawing. Students are discouraged from working into drawings which were drawn from observation once the observational material is no longer available.



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.


SAFETY - UW SafeCampus

Preventing violence is everyone's responsibility. If you're concerned, tell someone. Always call 911 if you or others may be in danger. Call 206-685-SAFE (7233) to report non-urgent threats of violenceand for referrals to UW counseling and/or safety resources. TTY or VP callers, please call through your preferred relay service. Don't walk alone. Campus safety guards can walk with you on campus after dark. Call Husky NightWalk 206-685-WALK (9255). Stay connected in an emergency with UW Alert. Register your mobile number to receive instant notification of campus emergencies via text and voice messaging. Sign up online at < (Links to an external site.)>. For more information visit the SafeCampus website at <http://www. washington .edu/safecampus (Links to an external site.)*> .


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.



The final for this course will be held on Wednesday, March 18 from 2:30 to 4:20. All students must attend.


Catalog Description: 
Builds basic drawing skills, develops understanding of primary concepts which relate to drawing and develops an understanding of the grammar or syntax of two-dimensional language. Students move beyond their current knowledge and abilities and link new skills, concepts, and understandings to creative expressing.
GE Requirements: 
Visual, Literary, and Performing Arts (VLPA)
Last updated: 
October 31, 2019 - 11:10pm