Continued Drawing

Course meets for 6 weeks, July  9 – August 13, 6:30 -9pm

S Dillon Ripley Center

rm 3038/3039

Instructor: Jamie Combs

Contact info: Email:



The Smithsonian Associates official course description:

Participants refine and expand their drawing skills through studio practice in traditional media. Sessions focus on four classic subject areas—still-life, landscape, portrait, and figure— and include warm-up exercises, individual and group critiques, and demonstrations by the instructor. Students will develop new skills, learn new techniques, and explore areas of personal interest while building on their previous art training.


Beginning drawing is an introduction to the materials, vocabulary, and processes of drawing.

You are introduced to 4 basic concepts: volume, value, proportion, and perspective.

You learn a new way of looking.  You learn to analyze angles and to simplify complex forms into simple, manageable shapes.  You learn to make comparisons between one aspect of a thing and another that help you make choices about how big to make something, or how dark, etc.


Continued drawing is a catch-all next level course for anyone who has been introduced to the materials, vocabulary, and processes of drawing.  It is important to note that I use the word introduced here.  Introduction is a very different thing than mastery.  Mastery takes years of practice; maybe mastery takes a lifetime.  Nevertheless, now that you have been introduced to the basics of drawing, we can begin to work on more complex drawing problems that will give you a chance to practice and strengthen your drawing.  Regardless of your level of drawing experience, this course will give you the opportunity to stretch it.


Continued drawing is a perceptual drawing course.  You will draw from direct observation of subject matter.  Drawing from observation is the best way I know to sharpen your visual sensitivity.  When you draw from observation you spend concentrated time learning about the way objects actually are and about the way space and light actually work.  Regardless of what kind of drawing you eventually want to do, a foundation in looking at and responding to things in the world will make that drawing stronger.


In this course we will spend time learning to look at things in a counterintuitive way.  We will use “backwards (or inside out or upside down)” means of getting to know things better “forwards (the way we’re used to thinking of things).”  If you’ve done subtractive drawing, you already have some exposure to this idea.


Throughout the course, we will focus on composition and some ways you can approach it.  Composition is the purposeful arrangement of the elements of art—shape, space, value, line, color, texture.


Another thing we will focus on is taking control of line quality—the character of line.  The character of line is determined partly by choice and partly by your personal way of making marks.


We will use a variety of materials to draw a variety of subjects.  You will use graphite pencils, charcoal, erasers, ink and black and white conte crayons.  You will work from still life, landscape, portrait, and the human figure.


There will be weekly homework assignments.  The homework is at will, however, I strongly encourage you to do it if at all possible because the most effective way to absorb new ideas is regular practice.


We will critique homework at the beginning of each class.  This is your opportunity to share ideas, talk about any issues that come up when you are drawing at home, get feedback from your peers.


I have established a blog for this course.  You will find the syllabus, materials, list, and course schedule.  The blog will be updated weekly with the homework assignment and materials required for the upcoming week.  Additionally, I will post relevant images, articles, etc.  You can use this space as a forum to ask questions or make comments.  Please do.  I encourage you to click on follow so you can get notifications of any blog updates in your E-mail.


It is also absolutely fine to contact me by E-mail.


Regarding attendance: This course is short—only 6 weeks.  Life gets busy sometimes and there may be a day or two when you just cannot make it.  Do not be discouraged from coming back if this happens.  If you miss a class, check the blog on Wednesday to see what you missed and find out what you need for the next week.  Even if you miss the next four classes (I hope you don’t!) you can come on the last day.











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