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Drawing 190 is a perceptual drawing course.


Students ranging in experience levels will be taught an introductory tool box with which to approach and problem solve the issue of drawing. The premise for this course is that a perceptual drawing is found through the process of seeing and a reciprocal engagement with the subject. This tradition of a 'discovered perceptual drawing' is a particular idiom within the vast possibilities of the drawing discipline. Through lectures and attention to language we will begin to unravel this tradition and point to its limits and cultural ramifications. There is not a "right" way to draw.

This website acts as an accumulative syllabus.

- Every week before the Monday Class, the detailed weekly schedule, terms and goals will be posted on this class website. 

- Students can look in the left column for the link for each respective week in the Winter Quarter (Ex: Week 1).



Throughout the class we will experiment with a variety of materials such as ink, charcoal, ballpoint pen, collage and stamps to explore subjects such as the figure, still-life, landscape and the interior space.

The goals of this course are:

Through the process of looking:

- To develop a language and visual intelligence with which to approach drawing.  

- To discover the content of a drawing through the process of making/seeing rather than portraying a preconceived image.
- To engage with a breadth of materials and scales.


- To explore methods of working independently and collaboratively.
Visual intelligence includes concepts like the picture plane, negative shape, gesture, and  space which are difficult to grasp and 'see' at the beginning, but they will become apparent through class assignments and discussion.


Office Hours and Contact Info

Office Hours:    Monday  

by appointment only - email to schedule

During Holidays I will offer alternate dates for office hours.

Location: 3rd floor art Building -  Room - 319A


Office Hours ad Contact Info

Class Room

The use of cell phones and/or headphones is prohibited in the classroom except for when utilized in assigned projects.

-When there is a nude model in the class room - proper common sense etiquette is required.

-Because the drawing class rooms are shared, it is important that all the students
pitch in when they first arrive to help arrange the easels and drawing horses accordingly.

-Every class the homework will be presented by being hung up, or in the case of a
sketch book, propped against the wall.

-At least the first 10 minutes of every class will be gesture drawing.

-There will be a 15 minute break half way through class every day.
(When having lunch and/or sitting in the hallway during this break it
is important to remain mindful that other classes are still in  session).

-Depending on the materials used there will be time made at the end of each class to pack and clean up.

Class Room

Reference Files

Various files pertinent to course curriculum will be posted here including reference images and essays. 

Reference Files

Every week before the Monday Class the detailed weekly schedule, terms and goals will be posted on this class website.

General Schedule:

Every Class: Gesture Drawing and Class discussion

2 Weeks: Negative Shape
2 Weeks: Measurement/Proportion
2 Weeks: Space
2 Weeks: Value

There are two weeks unaccounted for in the above schedule in order to tailor the class based on the specific range of student ability and progress.

(Unfortunately, two holidays fall on our class schedule this Winter Quarter. Because of this,
I will be offering a non-required museum class at a date to be determined.
If you are interested in drawing in the Local museum contact me by email.)




The following supplies will be needed in class.

Coming to class unprepared will affect the studio grade.

  1. Portfolio

  2. Drawing Board and Clips(if no clips)

  3. Push Pins

  4. View Finder

  5.  Sketch Book (no smaller than 9" by 12") 

  6. Pencils (4b - h)

  7. pencil sharpener or exacto knife - whichever you prefer

  8. Red chalk/charcoal pencil

  9. Charcoal Pencils

  10. Ball Point Pen

  11. Scissors

  12. Glue Sticks(2)

  13. Large Drawing Pad 19"x24"

  14. News Print 18"x 24"

  15. Eraser(White Plastic)

  16. Vine Charcoal Sticks(bob's charcoal)  

  17. compressed Charcoal stick

  18. India Ink

  19. Ink Brush

  20. Mixing tray and cup

08 negative shape interior.jpg


Every class an assignment will be given which will be due the following class.


Each class the homework due will be hung in the class room in order to briefly problem solve drawing issues through class discussion.


Monday Assignment: 


Students are required to work for approximately 2 hours in their sketchbooks (occasionally I will assign homework that is not in the sketch book). The subject of these drawings will be determined by tools and terms learned in class.


Wednesday Assignment:


Wednesday's assignment is more involoved than Monday's. 

Students are required to work for approximately 3 hours and most often this work will be completed in the class room in the art building. 

Terms and Cocepts

Grading and Expectations

The student will not be graded on their ability to produce a polished drawing, but rather on their effort  to contend with the tools and terms presented in the course.


The student will be graded on their participation. Students are required to be able to discuss  their work  and the work of their peers in the class setting using the terms that are introduced.


Lastly, the students grade will reflect their performance on assignments given in and outside of class.


"Participation: 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, voicemail, written note placed in faculty box or in person during class or posted office hours."

Feel free to discuss with me any questions you have on your work or grade.

Grading and Expectations

Terms and Concepts

The following terms and concepts will be taught throughout Drawing 190.

The student will be presented with these concepts through class discussion, homework assignments, and in class projects.

The Weekly Schedule (posted on class website before class every Monday) will include the specific terms and concepts that pertain to each respective  week.

  1. Composition

  2. Line

  3. Negative Shape

  4. Contour

  5. Cross-Contour

  6. Pressure

  7. Plastic Space

  8. Form

  9. Space

  10. Geometry

  11. Perspective

  12. Mark

  13. Scale

  14. Measurement

  15. Proportion/Ratio

  16. Value 

  17. Thumbnail

  18. View Finder

  19. Collaboration

14 ball point pen interior.jpg

Week 1

Monday Class:

Introduction to class with a brief slide lecture and a drawing workshop.

Homework is to get the materials on the "Supplies List"
There will also be a Homework Drawing assigned in class.

Monday HW:


Draw in sketch book with any of the materials you want for 1 hour. The drawing has to be made from perception. In other words I want you to engage in some way with what you are seeing rather than  your idea of what that thing is. If you draw your room, or objects on a table, or a landscape think about the placement of the objects in your composition. And don't be afraid to erase - the point is to make mistakes - I am not looking for a finished drawing but an exploration. Learn something about what you are looking at through drawing it.

The terms and concepts that we will deal with this week are Gesture, Negative Shape and Line.

If you are in the middle of drawing and feel like you are stuck you can try to utilize some of these terms as  I have briefly defined below.

What is Gesture?? A gesture drawing is a drawing that captures movement and in this way is a form of notation. When using gesture it is important not to outline and draw simply the objects. A gesture captures the internal movement of space and form: the speed of a scene.

What is Negative Shape? Negative shape is the shape that surrounds the positive shape. And in drawing this shape is paramount. A positive shape cannot exist without its negative. In order to really draw something in front of you , you have to seriously consider the negative shape or the puzzle that it is apart of. This way of seeing is different than how we normally look at the world. Usually we look at a coffee cup and pick it up, ignoring the  space that it is intertwined with: the air. Not so in drawing. In order to draw an object you must fit it within the puzzle that it exists in. Later on in the course we will look at some examples of this in slides. 

Line? You might think - 'I understand what a  line is.'
But, it is crucial that when making drawings throughout this course you begin to understand that a line is a metaphor. There are no lines in three dimensional space. What we transfer into a line on the two dimensional surface is actually  the meeting of two shapes in three dimensional space. A line is a formal tool in drawing that is used to translate the visual experience.

This concept of drawing as language and metaphor is one that I will continually bring up and I do not expect you to fully understand it now.


Wednesday Class:

  1. Students should help arrange room and place homework drawings on front wall with name somewhere on page - either back or front.

  2. The class will start with 10 minutes of Gesture Drawing from a still life set up.

  3. Then we will focus on Negative Shape and Line by drawing in the class room.

  4. We will have a discussion about the homework.

  5. I will assign the homework in class.


Materials used: Vine Charcoal/ News Print/ Sketch Book/ Charcoal Pencil / Large Drawing Pad
Terms - Negative Shape/Gesture/ Composition/ Line/

Wednesday HW:

Negative Shape!!!!!
Draw in the drawing room. (4) pages.

Step 1 : 1st page will be news print with vine charcoal. On this page you will draw four "thumbnails" of some objects in the room including a piece of paper on the floor. The focus is negative shape.

Step 2: 2nd page will be the large white sketchbook - using one of the thumbnails for reference draw the same composition. Use charcoal pencil and white plastic eraser. When using the thumbnail as a reference I don't want you to simply  copy it. The drawing has to be from "perception" and therefor the thumbnail is simply a starting point.

The focus of all the drawings for this homework is using "Line" and "Negative Shape." The shapes and the room and the objects and the paper all need to be created out of the negative shapes around them - no shading etc... 

Then repeat steps 1 - 2
  Only this time I want you to draw a group of objects that is at a different distance from you than in the first drawing. (Ex: if you made a drawing of  objects that were quite close to you in the first drawing than in the second drawing you should draw objects that are further away. )

These drawings should be labored over.  Mistakes are good - they are part of the process of learning from what you are looking at. 

Do not settle for the shapes being "kind of right." If you get bored check your shapes again. Use the view finder!! It is a tool that is very helpful.

01 paper on floor.jpg
Week 1

This week we will continue to focus on NEGATIVE SHAPE.
(Though, as is the case with every week there will be a short amount of time spent on gesture every class)

Some concepts and terms that are inextricable from an involvement with the concept of Negative Shape are:

  1. Composition

  2. Line

  3. Scale

  4. Process

  5. Thumbnails 

  6. Space

  7. Perception

You need to be able to define the  above ideas in relation to  your own drawings, the drawings that your peers make , and in relation to artists in history.

On the Wednesday class of this week students are required to have glue, scissors, masking tape and the red charcoal pencil.

In addition to and imbedded within learning about negative shape, Wednesday's  class will begin to emphasize the property of drawing known as "process."  This concept  is crucial to understanding the importance of drawing in the last 150 years.



03 negative shape inside square art 2.jpg
04 big negative shape.jpg

Wednesday HW: 

Draw in the class room:

1. These 2 drawings will be with charcoal pencil and no larger than the size of the larger sketchbook.

2.The shape of the rectangle must be altered in at at least one dimension. For example it could be a square or a horizontal or a vertical rectangle but its dimensions must be different from that of the original large sketchbook. Make 3 of these.

3. The assignment is to draw the room(a piece of paper somewhere on the floor) emphasizing the negative shapes that it offers

4. I want you to draw with negative shape again, but I want you to pay attention to the different sizes of shapes that you find and also the relationship of the smaller shapes within the larger shapes. 

5. Use your red pencil to draw a perimeter 3 inches inside of the outer edge of your rectangle. It should look like a red rectangle within the borders of your drawing.

6. Now, cut out the inside rectangle and paste it onto 1 of the original 3 pages

7. Then paste the leftover perimeter onto the 3rd of the original three pages.

8. Finally finish both drawings by ONLY working in the new white areas. The point is not to fill in , but rather to find new negative shapes in this new defined area. This is quite similar to the in class assignment we had today.

The purpose of this assignment has four clear objectives.
1. To create a relationship to size and scale.
2. To emphasize the importance of the entire rectangle's composition - not just the center.
3. To begin to understand the concept of "process."
4. To push the relationship between negative shape and the picture plane and space.



Monday HW:

BRING VIEW-FINDER, GLUE(and a cheap brush of some kind to spread glue- a small piece of cardboard will do if you can't get a brush), SCISSORS, RED CHARCOAL, ...ETC.....!!!!

NEGATIVE SHAPE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Step 1:

In sketch books draw two interior spaces which include a fair amount of negative shapes.
One of these must be closer to you and the other must be further from you.

Step 2: 

1. Pick the drawing  with the most  negative shapes. 
2. To the best of your ability(I know that some shapes might not be complete due to the nature of seeing) cut out one negative shape*.

3. Then on a new sketchbook page, while looking at the interior space that you made the original drawing out of, paste the cutout shape down on the page.

4. Do this with every shape. Cut out the shapes carefully, respecting the original decisions that you made during your original process of "looking". Do not clean the collage up i.e there will be places in the negative shapes where you had made mistakes that will show through. It should look a little strange, i.e. not polished.

I want you to think about how it feels to pay so much attention to the negative shape - to actually construct the drawing  and hence the rectangle with negative shapes. Don't settle when drawing the shapes or cutting them out or glueing them down. Don't settle for "kind of."   Make the shape RIGHT - Drawing and art making isn't always about some kind of amorphous express yourself googely yuck.

You can work on it and get better through diligence and unfortunately it is very clear in a drawing when you are being dis-honest with what you are seeing - It is very clear when you are  letting yourself off the hook.  


Even though there is a Holiday on Monday you still have Thursday, Friday, the Weekend, and Tuesday to do this homework, so it should be more involved than any we've had so far.


This week's topic is measurement.. 

Measurement in drawing does not pertain to the specific "real" dimension of an object, but rather to a nexus of relationships. 

The phrase you should be saying in your head is, "This to that..."

A thing cannot be measured in of itself, it must be related to both the rectangle and the negative shapes around it.
Besides, the famous meter stick in England keeps changing dimensions due to temperature and other "related" conditions.

Wednesday's Homework.

Two drawings. Not three and definitely not one.


Each drawing has the same dimensions (The length of each side should be  equal to the width of the larger sketchbook).

Use Charcoal pencil and eraser and draw YOUR BEDROOM. And pick a rather complicated composition - one that makes you work for your money.  

The goal is to utilize measurement tools while continuing to focus on negative shapes. Remember, that as we saw when drawing from the slide,  a negative shape can encompass surprising routes through your composition; routes which not only delineate separate objects, but also  make evident that the shapes that those objects construct  are integral. 

Lastly, make sure to draw to the edges of your rectangle.

07 measurement ladder.jpg

Week 4

Monday Class: 

A continuation of Measurement. i.e. THE BREAKING OF NEGATIVE SHAPE
You now have various tools that you can use to measure: view finder/ a device such as a pencil/  the inherent geometry of your particular rectangle/ and  don't forget that  negative shape can also be used as a measuring tool.

Phrases you can use while drawing:

"This to that" - this is a phrase you can say when finding and correcting proportions with your picture frame.

"Mark in relation to other marks in relation to the rectangle in relation to what I see"

It is important to note the difference between these measurement drawings and the negative space drawings.
The line has been broken... we have introduced a new tool inadvertently --- BROKEN LINE as opposed to complete shape.

I want it to be clear that even though we are using relatively abstract small marks - Those marks must relate to your perceptual experience. They must be notations of a piece of information in relation to another piece of information in relation to your rectangle.

Monday HW: 

Draw a still life. Remember that a still life doesn't have to be boring. I showed you references in class by an artist named Paul Cezanne.

This drawing should be made with compressed charcoal on the large sketch book. You can alter the factory sketchbook size to any rectangular dimension that you want as long as it is still relatively large.

The still life must include a "cave" and a "lump" In other words a "hollow" and a "form."


Wednesday Class:



In order to draw the figure you must understand that the figure relates to the space and objects  in which he or she is situated.

We continue to structure our drawings out of small perceptual marks of measurement and utilize all the measurement tools that we have thus learned.

 Wednesday's HW:

-Two drawings. 
-Factory size larger sketch book. One drawing in a horizontal orientation and the other in a vertical one.
-Charcoal Pencil with eraser. 
Only small measurement marks, or pieces of negative shapes.
Subject: Draw an interior of  the class room including the floor ceiling and walls. If you are  bored with simply drawing the class room you can take it upon yourself to set up a group of objects to draw from, but make sure that you are not drawing a close up "still life"-  the drawing still needs to include the room, i.e. the floor, ceiling and walls)

The first drawing should start from the center and the second drawing should start from the edges. Patience is the key to success with these drawings. The surface should slowly build up and the way that the drawing finally starts to coalesce will be surprising.

If ever in doubt, simply continue to check your measurements and adjust and make more measurements.

08 measurement interior w-chair.jpg
09 figure in room 2.jpg
Week 4

Week 5

Monday Class:

Goodbye to measurement.

Today we draw the classroom using alternative information from the kind that we have used previously.
I want you to use tools like negative shape and measurement and looking and extension lines and the internal geometry of the picture plane to find information other than  and in addition to where edges meet. In other words draw with the forms.

Monday HW: Here are some suggestions:
(but if there is an artist that you have always been curious about feel free to make a drawing from a reproduction of one of their works.)

 I want you to use broken marks of measurement and negative shape to recreate these paintings in your small sketchbooks. Show your thinking - i.e. the geometry of the rectangle/extension marks ..etc

Find something surprising or interesting about how the particular painting that you choose  is made.

Anything from anywhere.....just look around and explore... look up a particular geography or culture that you've always been interested in and then look up those paintings.

Learning how to draw opens up  the history of the world in an exciting way!!

One way of doing this would be to look up a a book about a certain period and then when skimming through the pages of artists and you happen upon one that you like you can then try to find an entire book of paintings by that artist.

The point is to use the library as a resource. You'll discover that the reproductions far exceed most anything you'll find on the internet.


Get all the way to the edges, and don't settle for kind of right.. be careful if you try to pick a simple composition  - it might be harder then you think

Wednesday Class:

The idea of saying goodbye to measurement in a perceptual drawing in this course is not going to fly.

Today we introduce the concept  of space via the tool of line quality.

Line quality refers to the kind of mark that one makes. 

Marks, can be broken, continuous, dark, haphazard..etc. And all of these variations and permutations have cultural and ideological ramifications.

We will focus on the value of our marks, and our lines. Value is a term used to define a scale of dark to light or black to white.

Today we will focus on how dark and how light the marks we make are.

Part of the meaning of this course is that the value information that informs the quality of our marks is dictated by perceptual information.


Wednesday HW:

Construct a box out of cardboard or other material and paint the inside white. Glue to the inside of it both round and angular objects.
A sort of diaramma. Make something you are proud of, becasue we will spend a lot of time drawing from these shallow diarammas.

Everything should be white; like a snow covered world.

02 negative shpe room.jpg
21 still life.jpg
13 line quality.jpg
22 line quality box.jpg
12 box line quality space.jpg
Week 5

Week 6


Our last foray with line has to do with space. What is space in terms of a picture? Are there different kinds of space available to the artist.

A picture is always an illusion.
The space within a picture is always invented.
The particular metaphors that are used in this re-making or re-presenting process of drawing can vary from perspective to line quality, to overlap, and finally to  the inherent geometric laws of the picture plane.

There is no "right" way to draw or make space. Western civilization has used its oppressive colonial and imperial powers to suggest that epochs such as the Renaissance are examples of its superiority and "progressive" divine right.
If we were to accept  a "right" way to draw, such as the perspective and chiaroscuro of the 16th and 15th centuries, the art making of other cultures and their respective constructions of space would be positioned as inferior and peripheral.

Monday Class: 

We will focus on line quality and overlap. As discussed on last Wed. Space can be made in a drawing with line by paying attention to its value. We did not push this enough last class, as I demonstrated by showing how much more you can get out of a pencil. So we will approach it again this class from a slightly different angle. 

How does overlap make space? And what kind of space does overlap make?
Overlap works in both a perceptual and a cognitive way. In three- dimensions, if something overlaps, or cuts in front of another object it is generally in front of that object. The second that there is an object in front of something there is space. It is very simple. The question in a perceptual drawing is hoe to define and specify that space that was just created by the simple tool of overlap. Specifying space requires using other tools such as geometry, line quality etc....

Wednesday  Class:

We will focus on the geometry of the picture plane using examples from art history which we have already looked at.
Wednesday HW: Will be a landscape, specifics to be determined.

14 figure space.jpg
05 perspecive landscape.jpg
Week 6
right way

Week 7

Wednesday Class:


We will finally look at perspective and attempt to understand its dogma. But we will also acknowledge its constructed and systematic nature. 

Today we also  draw the landscape. We will look out over Red Square and continue to work on formal tools like measurement and negative shape and line quality. 


Wednesday HW: 

You have two options:

#1. Meet me at the local Art Museum at 1pm to draw from the current exhbition.

#2. Make 3 drawings from memory of your box. 2 should be in pencil and one in charcole pencil. They should be bigger than your small sketch book and a little smaller than your large sketchbook.

Purpose of the Museum visit:
This is our second museum visit, only this time we arrive with sketchbook in hand!!
I'd like you to experience the breadth that a museum has to offer and experience what it is like to draw in front of a real painting.
You'll make three thumbnail sketches of one Edward Hopper painting of your choosing and then a final drawing from the same painting the size of your entire sketchbook.

11 museum copy.jpg
Week 7

Week 8


Monday Class:
We will start to experiment with ink by making value studies utilizing the GRID. 

Monday's Homework is to make the same grids as we did in class, but this time with compressed charcole and eraser. 


Wednesday Class:
TODAY WE WILL CONTINUE TO USE INK AND focus on value by drawing from our boxes.

Wednesday HW:





16 charcoal two value.jpg
17 ink box 2.jpg
16 conte value still life.jpg
Week 8

Week 9

Monday Class:
Still working with value.
We draw from boxes with ink and brush using only three values - creating small thumbnails.
Then we try experimenting with layering one value over another .

Monday HW: Begin collage from the image I handed out. All pieces must be exactly the same size. You can use the ink value charts, which I had you make for homework on Wed., as a palette. 

Wednesday Class: 


We still use ink and charcoal today and continue to use value in relation to perception. We will draw from both the boxes and a still - life set - up.

One of the goals today is to begin to combine value with mark and measurement.
First we erase into our charcoal covered pages, then we create constellations with  small marks of measurement of ink from an interior set-up.

Wednesday HW: To finish the collaborative collages. These need at least three more hours of labor into them in order to gain the knowledge which this assignment can potentially provide.

15 ink thumbnails.jpg
01 IMG_0376.JPG
20 poussin collage.jpg
Week 9

Week 10 


For the last week of the course we study the concept of accumulation through the use of value and repetitive marks.

Monday Class:
We will create value drawings first using charcoal pencil and then using ballpoint pen. They will be smaller drawings.
We continue to pay attention to shape and space and the concept of marks moving in the direction of the form as in the Van Gogh example.
Remember light is the focus though - it trumps all other concerns.

Wednesday Class:


We use the stamps to create drawings and have a brief discussion about the class.

Week 10
01 IMG_0389.JPG
16 IMG_0422.JPG
02 IMG_0377.JPG



There is a sign up sheet outside our class room door. I will meet with you in groups of 5 and 4 at a time.

You MUST have all your work.

Bring all drawings organized chronologically in three separate piles of
1. homework 2. in class assignments. 3. newsprint and gesture drawings.
This must be done before you arrive for assigned time slot the day  of the final.

You also need to have answers ready for a couple questions I may ask you.

1. How has your concept of drawing and what a drawing is changed since the first day of class?
This answer can be gleaned from class exercises or museum visits or talks that we have had.

2. In what ways do you feel you have improved? Name specific tools that have been helpful to this process. Pick out some drawings which you think show your learning.

3. What was the most challenging aspect of drawing this quarter and how did you try to overcome it?

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