Level 10-12
Prerequisite: Foundations in Visual Art course (if taken in grade 10, unless waived by the Art Department)
One semester, 1/2 credit

1. Course description
This course emphasizes drawing not only as an art form and means of personal expression, but also as a way to increase visual literacy; understanding what and how we see. This course covers the design elements as they relate to drawing and includes historical study of visual communication. Visual observation, basic media skills and creative uses of drawing are stressed. Various drawing media such as pencil, ink, charcoal, mixed media and the use of the computer as a drawing tool are explored.

2. Course components

Studio work - Students are encouraged to see objects, forms, spaces, shapes, and textures in ways they are not accustomed to. They are instructed in techniques to see and record details that are normally overlooked and to observe and assimilate nuances that might otherwise be visually buried. In the process, they keep a record in a sketchbook of the visual experiences they encounter. The sketchbook will also contain the student's responses to readings and other information. Students will draw upon these in developing their own approach to art making as a means of personal expression.

During the process of observing and recording, students experiment with a variety of materials, tools, and techniques. One example would be the modeling of black and white values with charcoal to create the illusion of form. Another experiment might utilize sticks, toothpicks, cotton swab sticks, or a long-handles brush to produce expressive lines.

While manipulating the formal and informal characteristics of line, shape, color, texture, value, and space, students discover an ability to draw images as realistic renderings.They will also interpret the visual world from unusual and provocative vantage points, abstracting familiar forms to the point that they become their own.
Students put their work on exhibition in the school Library or display cases and are responsible for written statements about their work to accompany these exhibits.

Historical and cultural knowledge - Within the study of any art form, students must learn and understand the significance of specific artists, movements, technological developments, and cultural influences affecting our perception of that art form. The teaching of these areas must be woven within the studio and art criticism framework to create a balance that provides the student with a rich foundation of knowledge to use in the making, analysis, and appreciation of art.

In Drawing, students learn about the relationship of art to humanity through various readings, lectures, and magazine reviews. Weekly drawings and notes of ideas of different ways of working are kept in a sketchbook. Reviews of slides, videos, books, and magazine articles that span topics that cross cultural and historical barriers are added. These give the student a true and broad perspective of how art has been used in the past and is being used today throughout the world.

Students view slides and videos, visit museums and galleries, and read articles on art works from a comprehensive collection of books and magazines. They record ideas, collect images, and draw sketches in their sketchbook for future work. Students write responses to articles on various historical, cultural,and  technical topics as well as study the work of artists in order to see the relationship between technique, idea, content, and production.

Criticism - Students participate in a variety of forms of art criticism. These include description, analysis, interpretation, and judgment of works of art and other forms of visual expression from historical and cultural sources. Students discuss and practice ways of analyzing works in terms of their use of visual elements and principles. They interpret the intent and meaning of these works, making thoughtful and informed responses to the work from more than one point of view. Students also read and respond to reviews by art critics and may write their own review of an art show at a local gallery or museum as a result of a field trip to that show.

Testing - Testing is done on a regular basis. Students are tested in a variety of forms, both written and oral, and also must demonstrate their understanding of course content through application of learned concepts and techniques. Another form of cumulative periodic examination is the portfolio review, in which the student and teacher evaluate the student's demonstration of understanding of art concepts through application in his/her studio work.

Students are tested on their knowledge of the technical aspects of the study of the various theories, media, and techniques they have been using. They are asked to write about art and artists from an historical, analytical, and cultural sense. Students need to be able to demonstrate facility with their artistic endeavors via the work produced and descriptive instructions for various techniques, and to interpret their own work as well as that of other artists.

3. Course materials

Studio materials - In Drawing, a range of materials in drawing media is required. These materials include a variety of pencils such as ebony, graded pencils from 5H to 6B, charcoal, markers of various sizes and colors, erasers of different types, and pen, brush and ink supplies. A range of paper types and sizes is also an essential part of this course. Mat board, tape, and other presentation supplies are also necessary. Drawing boards, drawing benches, easels, spotlights, and a wide assortment of still-life materials are integral to the course.

Books magazines, videos, slides, field trips - The studio area has an extensive collection of titles ranging from art texts to instructional information; to monographs of artists; art historical surveys; books that focus on particular art styles, movements, media, or cultures; and writings by artists. These magazines and books serve as a constant resource of information and exposure to the expansive realm of the study of art. In fact, they serve as a text, in that students are required to use them constantly.

Videos, slides, and filmstrips - Because art is a visual activity, high-quality visual media are vital in the presentation of artists' work and working techniques and in understanding the varied expression of ideas. A collection of videos, representing a broad range of artists, art styles, and movements, helps students understand the process an artist works through in formulating and expressing ideas in various media, and exposes the student to images of the artists' work. Slide reproductions of artwork from throughout history are often used to examine work from different periods, to compare and contrast works of art in terms of content, meaning, style, and media, and to examine art in formal terms of composition.

Actual art works - Examples of work done by students as well as that of professional artists given as gifts illustrate various media and processes.

Field trips
- Visiting the Bowdoin College of Art Museum, Portland Museum of Art, Payson Gallery, Olin Arts Center, Brunswick galleries exhibiting contemporary art, etc. is an important facet of this course. This affords the student the invaluable opportunity to see real art work in its original state, not as a slide or print in a book. Visits to the studios of area artists are also encouraged.

4. Student expectations

Attendance - Most course learning requires that students are actively involved in the process of making art. Students must demonstrate satisfactory participation in class activities, including studio work, lectures, demonstrations, critiques, and discussions. Since the studio experience cannot be reproduced, students are expected to be present in class. Following an absence, it is a student's responsibility to ask for makeup work and to spend time in the studio making up missed work.

Time - Work each week outside of class is expected, both on long-term and short-term assignments. It is expected that work in the sketchbook/journal be an ongoing commitment each week. Time spent during class must be on the processes of making art.

Presentation of work - Students are expected to keep in a portfolio, or other means of storage, each work they create. Work from this portfolio is appropriately presented by matting, framing, or building a suitable display base, etc. Work is presented to other class members in critiques and is periodically put on display in the cases outside the Library and Art Room, or in a special exhibit in the Library or Art Room,. A written statement will be required to accompany the display of work to focus both the student/creator and the viewer on the objectives, ideas, and intent of the piece. Sketchbook/journals are presented periodically for evaluation of specific assignments and ongoing work.

Behavior - Appropriate behavior includes respect for other learners , school property, their own work, that of their peers, and the learning environment set by the teacher. Learning is the central activity in the classroom; student actions are expected to contribute to and support the plan for learning. When a student's actions detract from the learning situation , an offending student's grade will reflect the negative impact his/her actions have on the learning of other students in the class as well as his own.

Care of books, materials, and equipment - A student who loses, abuses, or destroys a book or any other course material or equipment that has been assigned to his/her care is responsible for its replacement costs. Students may be able to work in the art room to compensate for monetary losses when appropriate.

5. Evaluation

Grading standards - In this course, student's thinking, development of visual acuity, problem solving, and demonstration of skills in studio work are at the center of class activity. Grading is viewed in this context. Because the critique process is an important part of learning about art, students are expected to participate in the evaluation of their own work, as well as the work of others. As students become more aware of the language and process involved in making and looking at art, they will become more comfortable with self-assessment.

Teachers will assess student performance and progress as evidenced by studio work, in class task commitment, homework, and daily preparation. Work is regularly reviewed to give students the opportunity to learn more through looking at their own work and the work of other students form different points of view.
The usual A B C D F system is used to grade student work each quarter. Work handed in late is subject to the penalty of a lower grade or loss of credit for that work as specified by individual teachers.

Student outcomes

  1. Students will understand the technical processes of working in a variety of art media within the focus of drawing.
  2. Students will understand ways artists from various cultures and historical periods have used these materials and tools as an expressive medium.
  3. Students will be able to recognize art works from various periods, and understand how these works reflect the culture and time in which they were created.
  4. Students will apply this understanding to create original works from various subjects or themes as solutions to technical or visual problems, or as an expression of an idea.