PSAD, WKCTC 2D/Color Theory Syllabus

Color and Design Theory                                                             
Professor: BiLan Liao

Link to Examples of Previous 2D/Color Theory Students' Work

1) To provide a good, basic, general, and working knowledge of color and design.
2) To develop visual perception skills in color and design.
3) To provide practice in mixing and manipulating color to develop control that will   
enhance practical applications.
4) To provide practice in manipulating compositional components in order to develop
design skills.
5) To develop discipline and technique in order to acquire a professional standard of
craftsmanship and presentation.

Launching the imagination – A comprehensive Guide to Basic Design (Second Edition) by Mary Stewart

Below is a list of required supplies.  Always bring appropriate materials to class.  Part of your grade will reflect on
your coming to class prepared to do the work.  If you are not prepared with the appropriate materials, you
cannot do the class work and therefore your work and grade will be affected.

Materials List
(I will show examples of materials in the fist class)

Liquifex Acrylic Pigments  or
Chroma Link Pigments
(You can purchase them in Canvas Room, Paducah, 270 443-1249)

White - may use large tube or small jar Titanium White or gesso  
Black (ivory or mars)  
Prism violet  
Phthalocyanine blue  
Permanent green light  
Deep magenta  
Cadmium yellow light  
Napthol crimson (deep red color)  
Cadmium red light  

Two flat brushes
One small round brush  
(Do not get soft watercolor brushes or heavy bristle brushes.)  

White palette only, disposable paper works very well. Look for one with coated sheets that will not allow paint to
be absorbed by the paper. Strathmore or Grumbacher paper palettes are good. No thumb holes.  

One HB pencil  
Palette knife (mixing knife, not a painting knife)  
Small Staedtler "mars" eraser  
Rubber cement  
Mat knife (also known as a utility knife)  
9 x 12 sketch book  
Scissors, 1” masking tape, large plastic water jars, paper towels, 20+ small, empty, clean film canisters (free from
many film processors), white press illustration board, white drawing paper for cover sheets, tracing paper (as

Most of the class time will be spent painting.  My teaching method is comprised of three steps:
1)  Lecture - to explain ideas and concepts to students by using presentations (PowerPoint, my teaching
website, and/or videos).
2)  Demonstration - to show students the way / how to do.
3)  Practice - students practice the task while the teacher monitors performance of the task, making on the spot
corrections, including one-to-one instruction.

Additionally, at the instructor’s discretion and depending on exhibition scheduling, there may be one museum
and/or gallery visit.  There will be no written exams.  Students will engage in

classroom discussions and informal as well as formal critiques of projects and assignments.   Students must
successfully complete the projects and homework assigned in class and participate in critiques as required by
instructor. (See course outline)

Students will participate in both informal/work-in-progress (not graded) and formal (graded) critiques.  Students
must participate to receive a grade, which means that “no shows” on critique day will receive an “E” for that
critique.  Unfinished work will receive a lower grade for that project.  Work must be matted or mounted as
required, according to the assignment in order to be considered “finished.”  Grades will be based on individual
and personal improvement (personal best) and not in relation to other students or other students’ progress.  
Outside-of-class painting assignments will also receive grades

Grades will reflect:
1)        Attendance and participation.  Tardiness and absences will reduce your grade.
2)        Readiness for critiques and work sessions, including having all required materials.
3)        Evidence of quality and growth in your portfolio.  Work completed on time.

"A" students complete all assignments on time and exceed project expectations. They present their work neatly
in critiques. They miss few if any class sessions. They participate verbally without being called upon, and their
independent work is vigorous, original and consistent throughout the term. Their work in all respects goes
beyond the minimum, the expected, and the required. Their cumulative portfolios show both growth and objective
"B" students complete all assignments competently and on time. They present their work neatly in critique
sessions, where they participate when called on to do so. They miss few classes. Their independent work is a bit
spotty but overall exhibits commitment to surmounting issues with which they struggle. Their cumulative portfolio
shows growth and above average achievement.
"C" students complete all or almost all assignments on time, though some of their work may not be improved
after critique. They may display their work in critique with minimal attention to presentational standards. They
participate when called upon in critiques. Their independent work may not be consistent and their cumulative
portfolios may show growth but little objective excellence even though some aspects of it may be quite
"D" students do not complete assignments on time. Attendance and/or tardiness may be a problem.
"E" students do not complete many assignments on time or at all.  Attendance and/or tardiness may also be a
major problem.

Chronic absenteeism, tardiness, and failure to do your work will get you fired in the workplace. It will get you an
"F" in school.   It is impossible to really “make up” missed demonstrations or critiques, and getting the information
second-hand is rarely satisfactory.  As a result, missing more than three classes will result in your final grade
being lowered by one full letter grade and your grade will continue to be lowered for every class you miss
thereafter.  Missing five or more classes will be grounds for failing the class.   Attendance will be taken at the
beginning of each class and if you are late you will be counted as absent.  Outside appointments such as
doctors, dentist, car repair, make-up tests, etc do not constitute grounds for missing class or leaving early.  

Projects are due at the beginning of class on the due date.  Only the assignments that are completed on time will
receive full credit.  Projects will be lowered one full letter grade for each calendar day that they are late.  It is
your responsibility to have your project turned in if you are going to miss the class when the project is due.

WRITTEN WORK POLICY:  There will be no written papers assigned.  

January 16 is the last day students are allowed to withdraw without a grade.  
March 6th is the last day students can withdraw and receive a automatic “W”
May 1st is the last day a student can officially withdraw with a “W”, with the discretion of the instructor.

FINANCIAL AID REPAYMENT:  Financial Aid – Pell, SEOG, and Student Loan recipients (Title IV) who stop
attending or withdraw prior to the 60% point in the semester may be obligated to repay a portion of their financial


I. Art, Design and Gestalt Theory

   A. Elements of Design-.Dot, line, shape, direction, texture, color, value, and
   B. Positive and Negative Space
   C. Symmetric Balance, Asymmetric Balance and Radial Balance
   D. Emphasis/Focal Point
   E. Atmospheric Perspective
   F. Unity of Design:  Proximity, Repetition, Continuation, Closure, and Symmetry.
   G. Repetition
   H. Continuation
    I.  Closure
   J.  Similarity

II. Color Theory

A. RGB primary system
B. CMYK primary system
C. RBY primary system
a. Color vocabulary
b. Properties of color: hue, intensity and value.
c. Simultaneous Contrast
III. Pigments characteristic and Critical thinking
 A. Pigments study
B. Painting Techniques
C. Critical thinking and creative approaches to painting

A#1 - Pigments study
A#2.  Hues study        
A#3. Value match
A#4. Complementary color
A#5. Value gradual change from dark to light, and intensity gradual change from dull to bright.        
A # 6 Transparent study
A#7 Simultaneous contrast
Project #1 - Color wheel and color swatches
Project # 2 -Four of patterns (Gestalt and Design Principles)
Project #3- Different balances and illusion transparency study
Project #4- Simultaneous contrast in the nine blocks compositions
Final Project: Atmosphere perspective study