Drawing Syllabus

Jamie Bollenbach, Art Faculty, Highline Community College.  Drawing I and II 2008 Syllabus  


 Student Drawing, pencil, 2005


Highline  Community College


Art 110, 111 (Drawing I, Item: 5019,   

and Drawing II, Item 5021)


Jamie Bollenbach   Studio Location 1148 NW Leary, #22 

Highline email: jbollenb@highline.edu

Highline  Community College.  Art 110, 111 (Drawing I, Item: 5019,  and Drawing II, Item5021)

Office Hours and location Bldg 16-room 170 

OR Building 16 Faculty Offices

 4:30 -5PM  T-TH,  6-7PM MW


If you would like to  schedule an office hours appointment, 

please email me, or sign up during class.



Recent neuro-science studies show that 40% of our brain is involved in vision: to recognize, to categorize, to greet or avoid, to desire or fear.   We survive and thrive by seeing, and negotiate between what we expect to see and what we actually see.  The pencil, brush, lens and software are simply tools that serve the act of seeing, and in this class you will learn to see the in new and more sophisticated way. In drawing from observation, an artist attempts to master this deep language of vision.  Through disciplined study and creative drive, an artist can build his or her own visual poetry, otherwise known as Art. 

You can adapt direct observation toward many contemporary and traditional art forms, bringing an ancient human ability into living practice, and changing how you think about what you see.  Here we use traditional materials -paper and pencils and charcoal, but the goal is to master the grammar of visual representation, and to use this as a structure for exploring all our visual expectations and experiences:  our imagination, our memory, our identities, our social connection and alienation,  our senses of beauty and ugliness- anything that can be described visually.   


Foundation Drawing Principles

I expect you to learn the following basic drawing principles and vocabulary, primarily through in-class practice, drawing at home, and lecture.  I encourage you to spend some time with the works of artists through history, looking at how they used these principles in their own artwork.


1:1 measurement

Value (Light and Shadow),

Background, Middlegound and Foreground

Negative And Positive Space


1 and 2 Point Perspective

Atmospheric Perspective

Texture and Line

Abstraction and Realism

Form, Volume and Mass



 This is not an ordinary lecture, test and correction class.  It is a studio practice class. The class-work is focused on  observation and drawing itself, and the homework is a direct extension of your in-class work.  I mean to challenge you, to question you, to help you recognize the rich visual life of the world and to give you the tools to observe and understand what you see, and what you create.  I mean to expand your creative thinking, to make your visual awareness active and your drawing choices deliberate.  But only you can provide the self-discipline, motivation and imagination to do so.

The primary learning method is a combination of real-time drawing and extensive instructor feedback. Much of the material can be very difficult to cover on your own if you miss a session covering an essential skill.  Attendance in class is absolutely essential to success, because of the working time it takes to build these skills directly.  But extra help is available- if I can’t answer your questions right away, set up an appointment during office hours.


Note: ESL students

Please let me know if you need any help to understand a topic we cover in class.  I am very happy to go over the class material with you.



Be certain to come to class with necessary drawing materials. The costs for the materials in this class are  much less than the costs of textbooks for most classes.


Art Gum Eraser, other eraser types. Pencils in a range of hardness

Small Vine (willow) Charcoal sticks, medium hardness.

 18 by 24 Pad of Newsprint

Inexpensive Black Ball Point (not gel or liquid ink) Pen

5 sheets 18” by 24” white Stonehenge heavy duty Drawing Paper

24” Ruler

Masking or Blue Masking Tape

Large Drawing Board with clips (At least 18” by 24”)

Small Sketch Book of your choice, for studies.




Sumi Brush and Ink

See-through plastic ruler

Pencil sharpener (tip: make it a good one)



Section 1

Introductory Discussion and Topics:

1:1 Proportion

Studio Assignment-

A.      Introduction  

B.     Gesture and Timed Drawings

C.       Rapid Value Drawings  D.     Measurement

Out of Class Assignment (s)  Self-Portrait.  Rapid Value Drawings.


Section 2

Discussion and Topics:.

Studio Assignment-

A.      Still Life Contours.  Outline contour, blind contour, cross-contour

B.      The skeleton/ ball pen, and pencil.  

Out of Class Assignment (s) Master Copy. 


Section 3

Discussion and Topics: Perspective

Studio Assignment-

A.  (NOTE: This session is of critical importance, please let me know if you cannot attend. )  Still Life: Cube Practices; Solids by Points of Intersection. Introduction of Perspective

       B.  2 1/2 hour full class perspective still life study.

Out of Class Assignment (s)  a) Further value studies, in perspective. b) BIG ASSIGNMENT!  Set aside at least six hours well before to complete this assignment, although it may take less if your preparatory work is good; make a number of thumbnail sketches first. Full 1 or 2 point perspective hard pencil drawing of a whole scene, featuring a building, inside or outside. The perspective accuracy is the whole criteria, and rulers are permitted.  


Section 4

Discussion and Topics:  The Complete Drawing - Unifying Drawing Concepts

Studio Assignment-

A.     Still Life: Figurative Solids: Complete Drawing Full value figurative solids.

B.   MID-TERM CRITIQUE.  Special notes:   This will be a review of all your drawings done in the class, and all your at-home drawings. Keep every drawing of at least 5 minutes duration, plus any gestural sketch you like.  You will be expected to describe your own work in some detail, and contribute to the review of other students work. Be specific in your criticism  - all work has some merit, all but the most accomplished work can be improved. 

Out of Class Assignment (s)  2nd Copy of a Master Drawing. 3 hours. 


Section 5

Discussion and Topics: Model (Depending on availability)

Studio Assignment-

A.  Model. (if available)

            B.  Art as Art. Final Project Development.  

            C.  Seattle Art Museum Visit.

Out of Class Assignment (s)  3-6 hours.  Studies for Final project.


Section 6

Discussion and Topics: FINAL PROJECT

Studio Assignment-

            A. Model. Single Pose.  (As Available). 

            B. Final Project development.

            C. Gallery Visit (If time allows).

Out of Class Assignment (s) FINAL Project. Set aside at least 8 clear hours at home over the last two weeks to do preparatory work and make the final project drawing.  


Section 7 



FINAL CRITIQUE.  We will hold two separate sessions.  Special notes:   This will be a review of your FINAL PROJECT, all your drawings done in the class, and all your at-home drawings. Keep every drawing of at least 5 minutes duration, plus any gestural sketch or short study you like. You are also free to include any other personal drawings you have done during the class session. You will be expected to describe your own work in some detail, and contribute to the review of other students’ work. Be specific in your criticism  - all work has some merit, all but the most accomplished work can be improved. 



Grading in a studio art class is necessarily subjective, but there are common principles behind any successful creative process.  The grading system used is a traditional system common to the fine arts. There will be extensive informal verbal feedback from the instructor and fellow students towards the homework and studio work in group critique sessions , which will normally occur weekly;  you will usually get a good sense of how you are doing.

The instructor will assign decimal grades based on two formal review sessions, the mid-term and final critiques, which are equivalent to major exams.  All of your work during the quarter will be critiqued at that time.  The mid-term counts for 30% of your grade.  The Final critique at the end of the class will be a review of all of your work during the whole quarter, will include your Final Project, and will constitute 70% of your grade.

Specific grading criteria include: 

1.                          Mastery of drawing concepts.  (Your understanding of value, perspective, proportion, and other technical elements of drawing.)

2.                          Overall quality of work. (This is the most subjective quality-)

3.                          Overall quantity of work.  (Students who spend more time and produce more drawings invariably improve the most. )

4.                          Willingness to Experiment.  (Your willingness to go beyond the assignments and explore new artistic problems and questions on your own – a critical part of creativity.)

5.                          Degree of Progress (Your improvement from the beginning.) 20%

Please note that regular attendance is a practical necessity to perform well in the class – known as “experiential” classes, studio arts require extensive time spent in the class working on specific drawing problems.  Because of the missed working time in building your skills, missing more than 5 classes will substantially reduce the quality of your work, and your grade will be affected.

Cheating, plagiarism and other forms of academic dishonesty are unacceptable at Highline Community College and are subject to disciplinary action. 


The COOKIE Rule.   If your cell phone, laptop, or other electronic wonderbox beeps, blinks or plays the Star-Spangled Banner during the period, you are asked to restore your honor with the class by bringing cookies for everyone next time.


Welcome, and I look forward to working with you throughout the quarter

Jamie Bollenbach

 Studio Location 1148 NW Leary, #22   




Office Hours and location Bldg 16-room 170 OR Building 16 Faculty Offices

 12:30 -1:15PM  T-TH,  6:30-7:15 PM MW

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