Skip navigation

Monthly Archives: January 2010

Laura demonstrated a few paper treatments during our first class on January 21.   First, watercolor paper was coated in gray ink wash then salt crystals (rock, sea, table, kosher) were thrown onto the paper to extract the ink and create organic-looking formations.  Secondly, lace was held above a sheet of watercolor paper while ink was sprayed from a bottle through the lace, to replicate the pattern.   Laura also demonstrated ink and sponge techniques to provide surface variance.   Lastly, crushed color pastel was applied with a sponge  to another sheet of paper for a similar surface effect (a brush could be used as well).  Each method can be used to start a drawing, as a way of letting the treatment influence the content, style, and creative process.


Over the past few months I’ve found the research portion of each assignment for this class to be completely edifying – for both personal knowledge as well as to inform personal artwork.   I came across the following image earlier this winter: an antiquated photograph showcasing the tribal scarification of an African woman.   The date and photographer are unknown.   The picture simply fascinated me.

Online research led me to the work of Helen Coleman and, separately, anthropologist Arnold Rubin and his book Marks of Civilization: Artistic Transformations of the Human Body (UCLA Press, 1988).   I have a copy of the book on it’s way to Fairbanks through inter-library loan.   Until then, check out this link for more information and images.

I decided to base my first out of class drawing on this photograph and the idea of African scarification.   I started with a heavy 18×24 inch piece of Strathmore watercolor paper and saturated it with gray ink wash.   Kosher salt crystals were used to extract ink from various spots around the edges.   I used a grid system and a thin piece of charcoal to enlarge and replicate the photo onto the paper, then masked the perimeter of the sketch, reapplied ink wash and placed large rock salt crystals where each scar appeared in the original photograph.

Drawing from photographs is limiting, so I grabbed an ornate frame I had lying around my cabin and, using gestural methods, created a frame within the papers perimeters to encase the scarred figure.   I thought this was interesting in the end, but the drawing still needs a bit of refinement, a bit of white, and certainly more gray values. Additionally, the second salt extraction method, used to emphasize the scarification, needs more work too.  What else is next?  For the final drawing I plan on adding African alligator imagery to the frame design (to emulate scarification and to relate it both geographically and naturally to the figure).   The final drawing will be completed with mostly ink as well.

Time:  3.5 hours.   Paper:  22×30 inch Strathmore watercolor paper.   Media:  charcoal, salt treatment, ink wash.  Actuals:  ornate frame & photograph of woman with African tribal scarification.

These links are your textbook.  They cover technical principles of drawing like linear perspective, value, composition.

Art Studio Chalkboard

Figure Drawing Lab

Elements of Perspective



21 Jan – Adam

26 Jan – Piatanova

28 Jan – Anderson

2 Feb – Janneck

4 Feb – Henderson

9 Feb – Priday

11 Feb – McCarthy

16 Feb – Stappler

18 Feb – Zaydak

23 Feb – Carman

25 Feb – Morel

2 March – Prowker

4 March – Cobb

16 March – Coon

18 March – Midterm Critique

23 March – Mendoza

25 March – Morey

30 March – Pena

6 – 8 April:  Priday

13 – 15 April – Adam

20 – 22 April – Morel

Every Thursday: Research Projects

23 February: First 4 OOCs due for class critique.

16 March: Final Project Proposals

18 March: All OOCs due for Midterm Critique.

13 April: Color and Life Size Self Portrait due for class critique.

6 May: Blog address due; final images uploaded.

12 and 13 May: Final critique at individual meeting time.  Two actuals are due, your choice.

Instructor: Laura C. Hewitt
Teaching Assistant:  Adam Ottavi Schiesl
Class Blog:

This course will explore the principles and techniques of pictorial composition. A  variety of drawing media and papers will be introduced.   Students will gain a working knowledge of creative interpretation of subjects with emphasis on contemporary processes, subculture genres and internet presentation.

Grading System
Research Projects/Blog Contribution                         15%
Out of class drawings and projects                             30%
Class drawings and projects                                         40%
Participation, includes classroom clean up             15%

Research Projects/Blogs
Research Projects are due on Thursdays.  For each research project, one image, two website addresses and 10 descriptive words are to be neatly presented on  8 1/2 x 11″ paper.  Each student is also required to contribute one photodocumetary entry on the class blog at Blog entry dates will be assigned individually and are to be coordinated with Adam. Note: Finals will be graded by presentation of 2 actuals and 6 images of classwork that you load to your own blog.  See Finals at the end of this syllabus.

Critiques and Due Dates
Attendance of critiques, getting work complete by due dates and cleaning up the classroom before leaving is mandatory.  Students missing class, critiques, due dates or leaving without cleaning up will be withdrawn from the course with minimal notice.  Due dates are in Class Schedule below, posted on the blog and announced during class sessions.

Drawings/Blog Completed Outside of Class
UAF requires 2.5 hours minimum beyond class time each week for studio art courses.  These hours will be fulfilled by the Research Projects, individual blogs for finals and Out of Class drawings assigned in the Class Schedule.  Out of Class work is due at the next scheduled critique.  They are to be on good paper, black/white/gray until midterm; color until Final Projects.

Newsprint pad 18 x 24
Drawing Paper.  Strathmore or better. 18 x 24 min
Cold press watercolor paper or printmaking paper that will hold up to wet media 18 x 24 min. for drawings, 8 1/2 x 11 min     for Xerox Lithography project
Masking tape or clips
String with weight
BWG:  black, white and gray, media of choice with the exception of graphite.  There must be a gray:  gray     marker, gray pastel, gray ink wash, &c.
Color:  media of choice, including something wet: color pencils, pastel, aquarelle pencils, watercolor, &c.


Week 1: Introduction to Course/Gestural
Out of Class:  Gestural + Tribal/Graffiti
Class Blog:  Tues Piatanova, Thurs Anderson

Week 2:  Proportion/Line
Research: Punk Genres:   70s, Steam, Diesel, Cyber
Out of Class: Punk Genre + Proportion/Line
Class Blog:  Tues Janneck, Thurs Henderson

Week 3: Value
Research:  Geek, Science, SciFi, Biomech and the Post Apocalyptic
Out of Class: Value + Geek Genre

Week 4: Linear Perspective
Research:  Cartoon/Comics
Out of Class:  Linear Perspective + Cartoon/Comics

Week 5:  Mixed Media Drawing
Research: Goth, Glam, Noir
Tues: Critique
Thurs: Preliminary sketches/start paper treatments
Out of Class: continue work on MMD
Due Tues, 23 Feb:  first 4 OOCs due for critique

Week 6:  Mixed Media Drawing cont’d
Research: Kitsch
Tues: continue paper treatments/start on final drawing
Thurs: final drawing
Out of Class:  continue MMD

Spring Break

Week 7: Midterm Critiques
Due Tues: Final Project Proposals
Due Thurs:  All OOCs due for Midterm Critique, 18 March

Week 8: Introduction to Color
Research: Genre of choice that is not on syllabus.
Out of Class:  Genre of choice in color using color paper treatment.

Week 9: Figurative
Research: Anime or Fantasy
Tues:  preliminary sketches
Thursday:  preliminary sketches, start paper treatments
Out of Class:  Life size self portrait as Anime or Fantasy.  Color, using color paper treatment.

Week 10: Figurative
Research: Fantasy or Anime
Tues:  paper treatments, start on final drawing
Thurs: work on final drawing
Out of Class:  continue work on life size self portrait as Anime or Fantasy.  Color, using color paper treatment.

Week 11:  Xerox Lithography
Research:  Sex, Death or Otherwise Leaving Your Personal Comfort Zone
Due Tues, 13 April:  Critique of OOCs since midterm
Thurs:  introduction to xerox lithography
Out of Class:  Xerox lithography project incorporating Sex, Death or Otherwise Leaving Your Comfort Zone.

Week 12:  Xerox Lithography
Class and Out of Class: continue work on xerox lithography project incorporating Sex, Death or Otherwise Leaving Your Personal Comfort Zone

Week 13: Final Projects
Subculture Genre and Media of Choice/finals blog

Week 14:  Final Projects
Subculture Genre and Media of Choice/finals blog
Due Thurs, 6 May:  Your blog address.  Images of 6 works from this class must be posted on a blog that has been set up by you and accessible by me.  Class review of Final Projects.

13 May:  Finals.  Individual meeting times will be assigned.  At that time, 2 actuals are due, your choice of any work.