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Craig Stephens


self portrait of Stephens "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit." ~Aristotle

Classes:
1. Sign Making
2. Yearbook
3. Commercial Illustration
4. Intro to Commercial Art 9th Opp. 
5. Commercial Color and Composition
6. Silk Screening
Civilizing the youth of Placer County since 1996.
Every artist struggles with gap between intention and finished product. It is my goal to help my students narrow that gap.

Phone - 530-885-8401 ext. 5131

    8 Commercial Studio Habits of Mind 
    (Essential Learning Outcomes for Commercial Art)
1. Develop Craft: 
    Learning to use and care for tools & materials like a professional. Learning artistic conventions. 

2. Engage & Persist: 
    Learning to embrace problems of relevance within the commercial art world and/or of personal importance, 
    to develop focus and other mental states conducive to working and persevering at vocational art tasks.
3. Envision: 
    Learning to picture mentally and express to a client what cannot be directly observed and imagine possible next steps in making a piece.

4. Express: 
    Learning to create works that convey an idea, a feeling, or a meaning unique to the needs of a given client.

5. Observe
    Learning to attend to visual contexts more closely than ordinary "looking" requires, 
    and thereby to see things that otherwise might not be seen.
6. Reflect
    Question & Explain: Learning to think and talk with others about an aspect of one’s work or working process. 
    Evaluate: Learning to judge one’s own work and working process and the work of others in relation to commercial standards of the field.

7. Stretch & Explore
    Learning to reach beyond one's capacities, to explore playfully without a preconceived plan,
    and to embrace the opportunity to learn from mistakes and accidents.
8. Understand Art World: 
    Domain: Learning about art history and current practice as it relates to current commercial art practices. 
    Communities: Learning to interact as an artist with other artists 
    (i.e., in classrooms, in local arts organizations, and across the art field) and within the broader society.

    Essential Literacy Outcomes
Color and Composition
All students will describe the color wheel including the difference between analogous and complimentary color schemes
by translating technical information expressed in words in a text into visual form. (Reading Standard 7 for Literacy)

Students will also be able to describe the importance of value as it applies to reproducing the visual world in pictorial form 
by citing evidence from source material to support their description. (Reading Standard 1)

Students will express personal artistic values consistent with industry standards in commercial art through their work.
Formal issues such as color, value, line weight, and composition should support the artists intention.  (Writing Standard 1)

Commercial Illustration
All students will describe the importance of line weight in illustration
by translating technical information expressed in words in a text into visual form. (Reading Standard 7 for Literacy)

Students will also be able to describe the importance of value as it applies to reproducing the visual world in pictorial form 
by citing evidence from source material to support their description. (Reading Standard 1)

Students will express personal artistic values consistent with industry standards in commercial art through their work.
Formal issues such as color, value, line weight, and composition should support the artists intention.  (Writing Standard 1)

Silkscreening
All students will understand the basics of color registration as it relates to multi color printing
by translating technical information expressed in words in a text into visual form. (Reading Standard 7 for Literacy)

Students will also be able to describe the importance of value as it applies to producing printed material with appropriate contrast 
by citing evidence from source material to support their description. (Reading Standard 1)

Students will express personal artistic values consistent with industry standards in commercial art through their work.
Formal issues such as color, value, line weight, and composition should support the artists intention.  (Writing Standard 1)

Sign Making
All students will understand the basics of letter construction with pencil and brush
by translating technical information expressed in words in a text into visual form. (Reading Standard 7 for Literacy)

Students will also be able to describe the importance of value as it applies to producing painted material with appropriate contrast 
by citing evidence from source material to support their description. (Reading Standard 1)

Students will express personal artistic values consistent with industry standards in commercial art through their work.
Formal issues such as color, value, line weight, and composition should support the artists intention.  (Writing Standard 1)

Yearbook
All students will understand the basics of page layout and composition
by translating technical information expressed in words in a text into visual form. (Reading Standard 7 for Literacy)

Students will also be able to describe the importance of using consistent type styles for readability
by citing evidence from source material to support their description. (Reading Standard 1)

Students will express personal artistic values consistent with the yearbook theme.
Formal issues such as type style, layout, and composition should support the artists intention.  (Writing Standard 1)

Literacy Lesson Plan

Goals

 This lesson is designed to introduce students to art specific vocabulary so the can analyze. critique and discuss both existing works of art 

and their own projects. Students will be asked to analyze and describe selected works of art in a teacher led forum and will be encouraged to 

use terms from the art vocabulary word bank.

Assessment

Using observation the teacher assesses student engagement and understanding throughout the process. Teacher assesses participation and 

scaffolds during the process when needed. The next assessments will take place in individual teacher student discussions about their own projects 

as Vocabulary, is introduced.  I use a slow sell approach in the arts with lots of discovery to keep the students engaged and positive. The ultimate 

goal of this activity is to get students thinking about their own work in a more critical way so that they may more redily realize their artistic vision

Art vocabulary word bank

 Achromatic

Black, white and greys. Artwork that is executed without color.

 Armature

A structure used beneath something else for support. For example, a sculptor might create a clay sculpture with a wood or wire armature beneath it as support. 

Think about the frame of a house being constructed before all of the brick or siding is built on top.

 Artists Proof

A small group of outstanding prints for the artists use which have been set aside from the edition prints.

 Basic color principles

All color theory is based on the principle that 'color is light'.

An object that we see as red contains pigmentation which absorbs all of the colored rays of white light except the red color, which it reflects. 

White pigment absorbs none of the colored rays, and black absorbs all of the colors of the spectrum.

 Balance

An art and design principle concerned with the arrangement of one or more elements in a work of art so that they appear symmetrical (even) or asymmetrical (uneven) in design and proportion.

 Black

The complete absence of light. Because of impurities, you can not create black with pigments. In most black pigments, the is a slight blue trace. A black surface absorbs all light.

 Brushes

Brush styles are designated by a letter following a series number. Some basic brushes to meet your needs:

F- Flats, square edge, long bristle

B- Brights, flat, square-edged, long sable

R - Rounds, pointed bristle

L- Longs, flat, square-edge, long sable

Filberts- Flat, oval edge, long fibre

 Chroma

This is the intensity, or strength, or purity of a color. Squeezing paint directly from the tube to the palette is 'full chroma'.

 Color

When light is reflected off an object, color is what the eye sees. The primary colors are red, yellow and blue. The secondary colors are orange, purple and green.

 Complementary Colors

Complementary colors are those which appear opposite to one another on a color wheel. The complimentary colors are red and green, blue and orange, and yellow and purple.

 Composition

The arrangement of lines, colors and form.

 Contour Drawing

Contour drawing shows the outline of the subject, and not the volume or mass of an object. Blind contour drawings are those created by looking only at the subject, and not the paper while drawing.

 Contrast

Contrast is created by using opposites near or beside one another, such as a light object next to a dark object or a rough texture next to a smooth texture.

 Distemper

This painting technique involves the use of powdered colors that are mixed with glue size, or such things as egg yolk.

 Dominance

Dominance is an object or color that stands out in relation to the rest of the painting.

 Dry Brushing

Technique used in paintings using more pigment then water.

Egg Tempra

A water-base paint made with an egg yoke binder.

Elements of Art

Elements of art are the basic visual symbols found in the work such as lines, shape, form, space, point, light, motion, direction, scale, dimension, texture and color.

Encaustic

This ancient art uses colored wax for painting. This technique involves painting images onto walls with pigments that are blended with wax. When used with heat, 

such as an iron, the permanent color is burned into the wall, for good.

Fixative Spray

For fixing charcoal drawing on canvas before painting. Fixative spray is available in spray cans, or for use with mouth atomizer.

Form

An element of art, such as you would see in a sculpture that has three dimensions.

 Fresco

Pigment is applied directly to damp plaster making this wall painting medium one of the most permanent form of wall decoration.

 Gamut or Colour Gamut

The range of colours that can be mixed by the paints on an Artists Pallette. Also defined as the range or colours that can be displayed on a TV, Computer Monitor or a Printer. 

The Human eye is capable of seeing colors far beyond any of these limited Gamuts. An Ideal Artists gamut can be produced by 3 colors with Cadmium Yellow Light, 

Quinacridone Magenta and Phthalocyanine Blue GS.

Gesture Drawing

This quick drawing captures the energy and movement of the subject. It does not necessarily have to be realistic.

Glaze

Color that is thinned to a transparent state and applied over previously painted areas to modify the original color. (see also Underpainting)

Gouache

(Tempera)

Opaque watercolors and the technique of painting with such colors using white to make tints.

Highlight

Small areas on a painting or drawing on which reflected light is the brightest.

Hue

Hue is another word for color. The attribute which describes colors by name, i.e. red, blue, yellow etc.

Impasto

A manner of painting where the paint is laid on thickly so texture stands out in relief.

Impressionism

Impressionism is referred to as the most important art movement of the 19th century. The term impressionism came from a painting by Claude Monet. 

His painting was titled Impression Sunrise. Impressionism is about capturing fast fleeting moments with color, light, and surface.

Intensity

This term is used to describe the brightness, or the dullness of a color.

Intermediate colors

Obtained by mixing adjoining Primary and Secondary colors.

Line

A line is an identifiable path of a point moving in space. It can vary in width, direction and length.

Horizontal lines run parallel such as ===

Vertical lines run up and down such as |||||

Diagonal lines are slanting lines such as \\\\\

Angled lines are a combination of diagonal lines such as /\/\/\/\/ ><<>

Curved lines are curly and express movement such as ~~~~~

Linseed Oil

Used as a medium. The tradional "binder" for oil colors.

Medium

The art material that is used in a work of art such as clay, paint or pencil. Describing more then one art medium is referred to as media. 

Any substance added to color to facilitate application or to achieve a desired effect.

Oil Paint

A definition by Winsor & Newton state: "Oils are one of the great classic media, and have dominated painting for five hundred years. 

They remain popular for many reasons: their great versatility, offering the possibility of transparency and opacity in the same painting; 

the lack of color change when the painting dries; and ease of manipulation."

Organic

Shapes that are not regular or even, using a combination of edges that are curved or angular.

Perspective

Perspective creates the feeling of depth through the use of lines that make your image appear to be three dimentional. The closer the image is, the more detailed it will appear, and the larger it will be.

Pigment

Pigment is the material used to create the effect of color on any surface.

Primary colors

Red, yellow, blue.

Repetition

Repetition is created when objects, shapes, space, light, direction, lines etc. are repeated in artwork.

Rhythm

When the regular repetition of particular forms or elements occurs in a work of art, that work is said to have rhythm. It suggests motion.

Secondary colors

Orange, Violet, Green. Each color is midway between the Primaries from which it can be mixed.

Shade

Using a mixture of black mixed with a color to make it darker. The opposite of shade is tint.

Shape

Shapes can be in the form of squares, circles, triangles, rectangles, and ovals.

Spectrum

The colors that are the result of a beam of white light that is broken by a form of prism into its hues.

Stencil

The process in which an area is cut out of paper, or material such as cardboard to enable paint or ink to be applied to a piece of paper, or canvas through the cutout.

Symbol

A symbol is a picture or image that tells a story of what it is without using words.

Symmetry

Symmetry is when one side of something balances out the other side.

Tertiary colors

Colors that represent a mixture of secondary colors.

Texture

Texture creates the feeling of an object.

Tint

Tint is the opposite of shade. Tinting is combining white with a color to make it lighter.

Turpentine (or Grumtine)

Used for cleaning equipment and to thin mediums.

Underpainting

Preliminary painting used as a base for textures or for subsequent painting or glazing.

Unity

A feeling of completeness is created by the use of elements in the artwork.

Value

Shadows, darkness, contrasts and light are all values in artwork.

Wash

A highly fluid application of color.

Watercolour

A translucent, water-based paint that comes in cake or tube form.

Wax Crayon

These crayons are ideal to use to loosen up your drawing style. Crayons are cost effective, and it is difficult to create really detailed drawings.



Blind Canvas Construction



Course Descriptions


Freshman Opportunity

Commercial Art Exploratory

Grade 9

9-week course

Credit: 0-7.5

This course is designed to give 9th grade students an introduction to various commercial art programs 

at Chana high school. In addition to learning how to care for and maintain their tools and the classroom 

environment students will complete projects in commercial illustration, sign painting/lettering, 

silk screening and commercial stencil cutting applications.


Introduction to Commercial Illustration

Grades 9-12

9-week course

Credit: 0-7.5

This course explores the basic elements of commercial illustration including line, form,

composition and color theory. Students will explore these concepts primarily through a

series of guided projects focusing on the still life. New elements will be introduced on a

weekly basis and the emphasis will be working with acrylic paint.


Silk Screening

Grades 9-12

9-week course

Credit: 0-7.5

In this course students will learn the basics of photo-silk screening. Emphasis will be on

learning the steps required to create a silk screen including stretching the screen, applying

emulsion and successfully exposing the image. Students will also learn the basics of

designing a strong black and white image for maximum graphic impact.


Color and Composition

Grades 9-12

9-week course

Credit: 0-7.5

This course is designed to give students a basic understanding of composition and color

theory as it applies to commercial design projects. Students will learn color strategies

for design based on value and complimentary pairs through a series of project based

assignments.


Sign Making

Grades 9-12

9-week course

Credit: 0-7.5

This course will teach students the fundamentals of commercial sign painting. Focusing

on materials, pattern making and typography. Students will learn how to use and care

for the basic tools and materials of the sign making trade including the electro pounce,

brushes, paint and adhesive vinyl.


Yearbook

Grades 9-12

9-week course

Credit: 0-7.5

Students will learn how to set up graphics and text for print production. Assignments

will include compiling and organizing photographs as well as generating headlines and

text for the final printed yearbook. Emphasis will be placed on developing an organized

workflow and producing a quality printed product.


Stencil Making

Grades 9-12

9-week course

Credit: 0-7.5

This course covers the production and utilization of stencils for commercial applications.

Students will learn how to simplify images and typefaces for use in stencils as well as

how to make stencils from a variety of materials.


Syllabi

Introduction to Commercial Illustration

Grades 9-12

9-week course

Credit: Variable


This course explores the basic elements of commercial illustration including line, form,

composition and rendering. Students will explore these concepts through a series of guided projects using pencil, colored pencil and pen and ink. In addition, this course will cover marketing, pricing and the artist's responsibilities and relationship to the client/art director.


COURSE CONTENT

Outcomes and Objectives:

The students will:

1. Develop their individual style(s) by applying techniques,

ideas and principles learned in critique and discussion to

projects assigned.

2. Analyze a wide range of techniques and media through

slides/video/demonstrations.

3. Try new solutions to illustration assignments through

application to creativity and ideation exercises.

4. Improve their techniques by applying illustration principles

taught and by applying modifications suggested in critique

sessions, resulting in portfolio pieces that are more marketable.

5. Get used to the critical examination of their work by client

and art director through critique sessions and simulated

artist/client interaction.

6. Assemble a marketable portfolio by completing three or more

high quality illustrations.

Topics:

Demonstration:

1. Basic rendering techniques

2. Pen and ink techniques

3. Colored pencil/pastel techniques

4. Mixed media techniques

Lecture:

1. Illustration markets: What's out there

2. Rendering: Creating 3-dimensional objects in 2-dimensional media

3. Composition: The foundation of dynamic imagery

4. Pricing: Determining hourly rates and formulating bids

5. Self promotion/Marketing/Portfolios: Showing them what you've got

Assignments:

1. Basic rendering techniques: using form, light and shadow,

create realistic illustration of simple object.

2. Use pen and ink to render illustration of a metal or glass

object.

3. Use pencil to render illustration of a human subject.

4. Use colored pencil and/or pastel to render illustration of a landscape or

cityscape.

5. Create spot illustration, in black and white, to be reproduced

smaller than 1/4 page.

6. Create illustration, with any media in full color, in student's

choice of CD cover, Book cover, or Advertisement use.


Commercial Sign Making

Grades 9-12

9-week course

Credit: Variable

This course will teach students the fundamentals of commercial sign painting. Focusing

on materials, pattern making and typography. Students will learn how to use and care

for the basic tools and materials of the sign making trade including the electro pounce,

brushes, paint and adhesive vinyl. Upon completion of this course students should be prepared for an entry level position in the sign industry.

COURSE CONTENT

Outcomes and Objectives:

The students will:

  1. develop an understanding of the scope of the sign fabricating industry.

  2. Learn to clean and care for materials and equipment.

  3. Be aware of safety and environmental issues.

  4. understand various aspects of quality control.

  5. Learn how to prepare various substrates for lettering.

  6. Learn brush control and letter construction.

  7. Work with team members to develop a work flow for printing large orders.

  8. Get used to the critical examination of their work by client and art director through critique sessions and simulated artist/client interaction.

  9. Assemble a marketable portfolio by completing three or more high quality prints.

Topics:

Demonstration:

  1. Care and handling of tools and materials.

  2. Paper pattern making.

  3. Substrate preparation (banners, plywood, etc.).

  4. Lettering and brush control.

Lecture:

  1. Painted vs, vinyl, pros and cons.

  2. Time saving tricks.

  3. Pricing: Determining hourly rates and formulating bids

  4. Self promotion/Marketing/Portfolios: Showing them what you've got

Assignments:

  1. Create a paper pattern using the font of your choice using letters four to six inches high, one or two words and no more that 12 letters.

  2. Prep a piece of vinyl banner material and letter your pattern on it using One-Shot lettering enamel.

  3. Paint a sign on tile board or plywood. It must include a roller fade and an outline or drop shadow

  4. Paint any single letter and outline it as many times as possible until the edge of the panel is hit.

  5. Recreate a main ID sign for a local business.

  6. Write a bid for this sign. Figure out what size would work well for the actual business. Use the internet to price substrate material. Be sure to include ink and set up cost.


Commercial Silk Screening

Grades 9-12

9-week course

Credit: Variable

This course is designed to teach students the basic skills to find work in the screen printing industry. Students will learn the basics of hand cut and photo-silk screening. Emphasis will be on learning the steps required to create a silk screen including stretching the screen, applying emulsion and successfully exposing the image. Students will also learn the basics of 

designing a strong black and white image for maximum graphic impact.


COURSE CONTENT


Outcomes and Objectives:

The students will:

1. Learn to clean and care for materials and equipment.

2. Learn how to stretch and prepare a screen for printing.
3. Create strong compositions and designs within the limitations of one color printing by

focusing on contrast and silhouette.


4. Work with team members to develop a work flow for printing large orders.
5. Get used to the critical examination of their work by client

and art director through critique sessions and simulated

artist/client interaction.

6. Assemble a marketable portfolio by completing three or more

high quality prints.

Topics:

Demonstration:

1. Care and handling of tools and materials

2. Quick and dirty, using adhesive vinyl to hand cut a screen

3. Exposure and wash out of photo emulsion screen

4. Prepping a screen with photo emulsion


Lecture:

1. What is silk screening? Historical overview

2. Hand cut vs. photo techniques

3. One color vs. multi color printing

4. Pricing: Determining hourly rates and formulating bids

5. Self promotion/Marketing/Portfolios: Showing them what you've got


Assignments:

1. Create a strong black and white portrait suitable for screen printing using a camera

and a sharpie

2. Create a silk screen stencil using the hand cut method.
3. Create a silk screen using the photo-emulsion method

4. Create a multi colored image using more than one screen printing stencil.

5. Produce a production run of ten or more consistent piece


Yearbook

Grades 9-12

9-week course

Credit: Variable

Students will learn how to set up graphics and text for print production. Assignments

will include compiling and organizing photographs as well as generating headlines and

text for the final printed yearbook. Emphasis will be placed on developing an organized

workflow and producing a quality printed product.

COURSE CONTENT

Outcomes and Objectives:

The students will:

  1. Develop good work habits and attitudes

  2. Describe and identify the various pieces of production equipment and their functions including computers, software, scanners and cameras.

  3. Demonstrate working knowledge of cameras.

  4. Demonstrate ability to meet deadlines

  5. Demonstrate ability to work with various class members in groups to accomplish production tasks

  6. Identify factors involved in production costs and adhere to budget constraints

  7. Work with other class members to assign responsibilities and develop efficient workflow.

Topics:

Demonstration and lecture:

  1. Care and handling of tools and materials.

  2. Deciding this year's theme.

  3. Assigning yearbook section responsibilities..

  4. Creating a workable schedule for photographing students and staff.

  5. Candids and special events.

Assignments:

Assignments will vary from term to term based on workflow and production needs of the final produc





The grading rubric is the same for all projects done in my classes. They are listed below.

Commercial Art Grading Rubric

ELEMENTS OF COMMERCIAL DESIGN (which, incidentally, are the elements of good design, wether or not they are used in commercial applications)

LINE, TEXTURE, COLOR, SHAPE/FORM, VALUE, SPACE PRINCIPLES OF DESIGN: REPETITION, BALANCE, EMPHASIS, CONTRAST, UNITY

A:  Planned carefully, made several sketches, and showed an awareness of the elements and principles of design; chose color scheme carefully, used space effectively.

B: The artwork shows that the student applied the principles of design while using one or more elements effectively; showed an awareness of filling the space adequately.

C: The student did the assignment adequately, yet it shows lack of planning and little evidence that an overall composition was planned.

D: The assignment was completed and turned in, but showed little evidence of any understanding of the elements and principles of design; no evidence of planning.

F: The student did the minimum or the piece was never completed.

Creativity/Originality

A: The student explored several choices before selecting one; generating many ideas; tried unusual combinations or changes on several ideas; made connections to previous knowledge; demonstrated understanding problem solving skills.

B: The student tried a few ideas for selecting one; or based his or her work on someone else's idea; made decisions after referring to one source; solved the problem in logical way.

C: The student tried one idea, and it was just adequate, but it lacked originality; substituted "symbols" for personal observation; might have copied work.

D: The student fulfilled the assignment, but gave no evidence of trying anything unusual.

F: The student showed no evidence of original thought.

Effort/Perseverance

A: The project was continued until it was complete as the student could make it; gave it effort far beyond that required; took pride in going well beyond the requirement.

B: The student worked hard and completed the project, but with a little more effort it might have been outstanding.

C: The student finished the project, but it could have been improved with more effort; adequate interpretation of the assignment, but lacking finish; chose an easy project and did it indifferently.

D: The project was completed with minimum effort.

F: The student did not finished the work adequately.

Craftsmanship/Skill/Consistency

A: The artwork was beautiful and patiently done; it was as good as hard work could make it.

B: With a little more effort, the work could have been outstanding; lacks the finishing touches.

C: The student showed average craftsmanship; adequate, but not as good as it could have been, a bit careless.

D: The student showed below average craftsmanship, lack of pride in finished work.

F: The student showed poor craftsmanship; evidence of laziness or lack of understanding.

Group Cooperation/Attitude (Group Critique and Clean up)

A: The student worked toward group goals, effectively performed a variety of roles in group work, followed through on commitments, was sensitive to the feelings and knowledge level of others, willingly participated in necessary preparation or work for classroom.

B: The student participated enthusiastically, followed through with commitments, performed more than adequately, assisted in preparation and clean-up.

C: The student mostly allowed others in the group to make all the decisions, did his or her share of work adequately, assisted in preparation and cleanup when asked.

D: The student allowed others to do most of the work, did participate minimally, did the minimum amount.

F: The student was part of the group, but did almost nothing toward group goals, did a minimal amount of preparation and cleanup.

























Congratulations! You made it all the way to the end! You can claim your prize by emailing your snailmail address to: craigstephens@mac.com

include the code WEBPRIZE in the subject line.