Monday, September 4, 2017


• Graphite Pencils (Full Range) • Full Sheet Drawing Paper
• Eraser • Ruler

• Still Life Objects (i.e.boxes, cylinders, spheres, etc.)

  • To expose students to the elements of art: line, shape, form, value, texture, space, and color.
  • To expose students to the art element line, the most fundamental element of art.   
  • To teach students the variations, quality, and uses of line as an element when communicating form.

GENERAL GOAL: Create a drawing in correct proportions and defining plastic form by using contour and cross-contour lines.

• Identify the objects you are drawing and decide which will fall within your picture plane.
• Observe the objects thinking of the negative shapes first and ask –how will you compose this subject?
• Start your drawing thinking in terms of general to specific, first using 2H graphite (light marks) and work towards 3B graphite (darker marks).
• Once the composition is set on your paper, start making marks to find and define the correct proportions of each object.
• Using a range of lines on your paper representing plastic form by using “contour” and “cross-contour” lines.
• By the end of your drawing process you should have represented the objects in correct proportions and with confident (defined) contour and cross contour lines.

• Were the basic instructions understood and followed?
• Does the work fail to meet, meet or exceed the basic requirements of the assignment?
• Were the proper materials used?

• Create the illusion of form (in accurate proportions) using contour and cross-contour lines (i.e.boxes, cylinders, fabric, etc.).
• Use a range of lines (as definer of edges and complexity).
• Accuracy (scale, position, continuity of edge).
• Composition (balance in scale of shapes)(originality).
• Craftsmanship

Review:  What is line?  What is line quality?  What is the difference between cross contour lines and contour lines?  What are cross contour lines used for?


Example #1

Example #2

Example #3

Example #4

Example #5

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Sketchbook Assignment 2: Drawing from Observation (Proportions) 15 Proportion focused Drawings Due: Tuesday, September, 5th at the beginning of class

Locking in an object’s proportions is essential to your drawings ultimate success, though artists often rush the process and make mistakes.  The goal of this assignment is not to make beautiful contours, but instead to capture accurate dimensions. Visual measuring for proportions isn't just for angles.  When blocking in an observational sketch, the proportions can make or break your image.  For better results, start by using hand measurements Check out the video entitled 
Visual Measuring: Proportion in the link list on the right====>

Subject:15 household objects

2B Pencil, drawing paper (from your drawing pad), eraser, simple objects for reference (i.e. coffee mug, remote control, ketchup bottle, fork, spoon, vase, etc.).
Basic Instructions:
Spend 10-15 mins. on each drawing.  Start by accurately measuring and diagraming each simple household object from direct observation and translate it on your paper.  

Once your satisfied with the overall proportions, lightly sketch in the general contours.

Example below:

Monday, August 28, 2017

Sketchbook Assignment 1: 15 Contour Line Drawings Due: Thursday August, 31st at the beginning of class

This exercise should be used in drawing subjects of all sorts. Any objects may be used, although those which have been formed by nature or affected by long use will offer the greatest amount of variation, as a flower, a stone, a piece of fruit, or an old shoe. Draw yourself by looking in the mirror, your own hand or foot, a piece of material. It is the experience, not the subject that is important.

Contour Versus Outline. ‘Contour’ is commonly defined as ‘the outline of a figure or body,’ but for the purposes of this study we are making a definite, if perhaps arbitrary, distinction between ‘contour’ and ‘outline.’ We think of an outline as a diagram or silhouette, flat and two-dimensional. It is the sort of thing you make when you place your hand flat on a piece of paper and trace around the fingers with a pencil –you cannot even tell from the drawing whether the palm or the back of the hand faced downward. Contour has a three-dimensional quality; that is, it indicates the thickness as well as the length and width of the form it surrounds. We do not think of a line as a contour unless it follows the sense of touch, whereas an outline may follow the eye alone.

Materials: Use a 2B (medium soft) drawing pencil with a very fine point and a piece of paper in your sketchbook.

Exercise 1:
Spend 15-20 minutes (five) blind contour line drawing(s) of your hand in one fixed point of view.

Exercise 2:
Spend 30-45 minutes making (five) contour line drawings of one subject (your choice) in one fixed point of view.

Exercise 3:
Spend an hour making (five) cross-contour line drawings of a different subject (your choice) in one fixed point of view.

Contour- The line that defines the edges of an object or shape.

Contour Line Examples:

Cross-contour- A line that defines surface undulations between, or up to, the outermost edges of shapes or objects.

Cross Contour Line Examples:

Blind Contour Examples:

Wednesday, August 23, 2017



Graphite Pencil: A box of 12 Derwent (or Unigraph) Graphic Designer Medium Pencils (6B, 5B, 3B, 2B, B, H, F, 2H, 3H, 4H, 5H, 6H)

Charcoal Pencils (no paper wrapped): soft, medium, hard (6B, 2B & HB) 
Compressed Charcoal (black) (name brand “General’s”) 
Vine Charcoal (soft & medium) 

• Light-duty Snap-off blades utility knife
• Transparent plastic ruler 12” or longer 

• Staedtler plastic eraser (optional)

• Old Shirt, Towel, Cheese Cloth (used with charcoal assignments)

DRAWING PAPER: (Strathmore, Canson, Fabriano or similar quality)
• A pad of drawing paper, 70 lb –400 Series (or better), 18”x24” acid free

• Strathmore 400 Series, 9”X12” sketchbook OR any blank page sketchbook will work.

• Masonite Board at least 19” x 30”

We will discuss when to buy this item
• Workable fixative spray (used with charcoal assignments)

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Syllabus - Drawing I Art 111-A

Christian Brothers University


(ART 111 – A    TR 2:00pm - 3:15 pm    Rosa Deal Rm# 125)

Office: Rosa Deal Rm# 124

Office Phone: (901) 321-3350

Office Hours: M W F 1:00pm – 3:00pm ✹ T R 10:00am – 12:00am  

Professor: Nicholas Peña


COURSE DESCRIPTION: This course introduces students to classical and contemporary drawing techniques and concepts.  Emphasis is on understanding the formal language and the fundamentals of artistic expression.  Although previous drawing experience is not required, the vigorous training provided will prepare students for intermediate and advance level drawing classes.  Drawings of still-life and landscape from observation are geared towards realism; at the same time, various other drawing styles may be explored. Linear perspective, pictorial composition, figure/ground relationships, shading techniques, tonal value, visual perception, spatial concepts, and critical thinking skills are all emphasized extensively. We will study and research major drawing styles and movements in a historical context. The hope is that students will use this global approach to develop a “critical eye” in evaluation of contemporary drawing. Demonstrations, slide lectures, group and individual critiques will be given throughout the course. Various dry drawing media, such as graphite and charcoal, are the primary tools for this class. This may seem like a lot to absorb – but always remember that our main emphasis will be to encourage and nourish creative thinking.

What’s Expected of You, Generally:  Energy and enthusiasm in the class are vitally important, as is attendance.  Please be prepared to share your experiences and ideas with the class. This should be an enjoyable learning experience and environment –that encourages students to work and participate actively and steadily. 

Course Objectives: 
-Confidently handle various dry drawing mediums, such as graphite and charcoal.
-Know the formal language of drawing and the fundamentals of design.
-Understand the basic principles of linear perspective.
-Understand and demonstrate the principles of design, proportion, and measurements.
-Understand and demonstrate the effect light plays on 3-D forms as it applies to drawing.
-Participate in the formal evaluation of one’s own work and that of others in the class.
-Participate! Participate! Participate! Participate! Participate! Participate! Participate!

Course Requirements, Evaluations, and Grading / Attendance Policies: 
Students are responsible for:
-Saving, in good condition, all work completed during the semester.
-Keeping an active sketchbook to record the visual thought process.
-Read all assigned readings prior to class.
-Assist class members learning by providing a supportive environment.

The final evaluation will be based on the quality of completed class and homework assignments, participation, and attendance.  A grade will be given at mid-term following a group critique of the mid-term project and individual portfolio review.  A comprehensive grade will be given at the end of the semester following a group critique of the final project and individual portfolio review.  (The approximate number of works due for the portfolio will be announced at a later date.)

Artistic creation is a comprehensive, developmental activity.  Grading is based on the relative performance of many factors.
Major factors to be considered in the grading process are:
-Students understanding the techniques and concepts taught in class.
-Using the ideas taught in class and regenerating what was learned into assigned homework.
-The degree of participation in class and group critiques.
-The students’ individual quality of work relative to the issues of the assignments during and outside of class.
-Overall preparedness.

Students giving more or less of the basic requirements of the class will receive a grade correspondingly above or below the “C” level.
A student meeting the basic requirements of each assignment, who attends every class, and who contributes reasonably to the general educational environment of the group will receive a grade of “C+”.
“B” work exceeds the basic requirements.
“A” work is exceptional in context of the long history of the course.
Note:  Late work will be accepted.  However, there will be a penalty of one letter grade, before the grading process begins.

Attendance is one of the more important components of a successful class and studio practice.  In this class “excessive absences” is defined as missing more than three classes.  After the third missed class each absence that follows will start to decrease your overall grade.  For example, after the first three absences, every additional absence will drop your letter grade one full scale; After 8 absences you will receive a final grade of FA (Failed by absence).  Missing class because of a job is not an excused absence, schedule your times for work around your obligations for class.   If you are tardy 3 times, it will equal 1 absence.  Missing more than 30 minutes of a class at the beginning or at the end will be considered an absence.  If you have trouble attending class, please discuss your problems privately with me after class.

Medical or personal problems will be excused but only with acceptable documentation. All missed activities and work will need to be made-up outside of class. You are responsible for the information missed by an absence.  It is the student’s responsibility to obtain class notes from fellow students (if they are so kind) and find out what was missed.  

Important Dates
SEMESTER 1 (Fall 2017)
August 17, ThursdayCommunity Convocation
August 18-20 Fri-SunWelcome Weekend
August 19, SaturdayFirst Day of Classes
August 25, FridayLast Day to Add/Drop Courses
September 4, MondayLabor Day Holiday
October 13, FridayLast Day to Remove "I" Grades
October 16, MondayMid-Term Grades Due 10:00 a.m.
October 16-20, Mon-FriFall Break
November 2, ThursdayLast Day to Withdraw from Courses
November 23-26, Thurs-SunThanksgiving Holidays
December 8, FridayLast Day of Classes
December 11-16, Mon-SatFinal Exams
December 18, MondayFinal Grades Due 10:00 a.m.

Text No text is required for this course. All reading material will be available on our class blog or handouts. You can choose to either print it out or read it off of the computer screen.

Other Class Policies:
  • Turn cell phones off or on silent mode and keep them off your drawing horse.  If your cell phones or other devices become a distraction to the other students you will be asked to leave class and be counted absent.
  • There is no eating in class.  NO GUESTS ARE ALLOWED IN CLASS WITHOUT PRIOR APPROVAL.  This is CBU policy. 
  • Do not leave class early.  This will result in an unexcused absence for the day.
  • Treat fellow students with respect.
  • Do not disrupt class.
  • If you have already planned to have absences (i.e. vacations, weddings) prior to taking this class, please inform me of these dates ASAP.
Final Examination Policy:
Institutional and Art Program requirements mandate that all students must attend the scheduled final examination time for meaningful educational experience appropriate to this discipline.

Academic Honesty:
The instructor adheres to the academic honesty policy as set forth in the Christian Brothers University Handbook.

Notice of Non-Discriminatory Policy:
Christian Brothers University admits students of any race, age, color, religion, sex, national and ethnic origin to all the programs and activities of the University with the rights and privileges generally accorded to students.  It does not discriminate on the basis of race, age, color, religion, sex, national and ethnic origin or handicap in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, athletics and other University-administered programs.

Students with documented disabilities who may need classroom academic adjustments or auxiliary aids and services are required to register with Karen Conway Dean of Students, Disability Services, Thomas Student Center, 901-321-3536,

***Students are required to keep a sketchbook. This sketchbook should be maintained both in and outside of the class. Throughout the semester, students will be given small assignments that will be completed in their sketchbooks. Each assignment must be clearly labeled (i.e. with the name of the assignment) and the date at the top of the page. Students are also required to show evidence of continuous work and progress throughout the semester, such as sketches, planning for projects, copies of images of interest, written thoughts, photos of your own, and quotes in their sketchbooks.

*****Remember, a sketchbook is an artist’s personal planner—this is where the brainstorming is done and thoughts and ideas are developed. Think of it as writing a textbook about yourself and the visual language you are drawn to. There is no right or wrong way to make your sketchbook!

Grading will evaluate the volume and thought that the student exhibits in their book.

Note: Sketchbooks will be checked periodically during the semester. There will be no prior notice of my collection of sketchbooks. Therefore:
            -You must bring your sketchbook to each class period.
-If you are absent on the day that I collect sketchbooks, you may turn it in to me at the next class period BUT I will deduct 5 points from that particular sketchbook grade.

The instructor reserves the right to modify this syllabus and will notify the students in a timely manner.