Beginning to Drawing
Professor: BiLan Liao         

Course Description:

To expose the student to drawing from observation and conceptualization with eye-hand coordination.  Emphasizes linear construction with
concern for accurate proportion and simple positive-negative/figure-ground relationships.  Includes an in-depth study of linear perspective.

Course Outcomes:

Upon successful completion of this course, students should be able to:

•        Draw and sketch objects accurately in regard to structure-proportion and perspective.
•        Develop awareness and understanding of sighting as a measuring system (with the use of a sighing stick and a viewfinder).
•        Develop simple positive-negative figure-ground relationships using concepts of linear perspective.
•        Develop understanding and the abilities in using compositional elements and principles in the structuring of a drawing
   (aided by the use of the viewfinder).
•        Expand the knowledge of spatial understanding moving from tabletop to full interior.
•        Develop a solid understanding of light and the structure of value.

Course Study:

This class is designed to expose students to many different drawing techniques using a variety of tools, media, and support materials.

•        Introduce linear perspective in both tool and freehand as a drawing method to create a 2-D illusion from 3-D subject
      (approximately 50% freehand).
•        Line and proportion: sighting and measuring, transparent construction, thumbnail/concept sketches gesture, continual contour, implied
   line, and edge sensitivity.
•        Composition: to be observed with the use of the viewfinder.
•        Elements of composition: point, line, plane, shape, mass, volume, size, texture, positive and negative space, and focal point.
•        Principles of composition: rhythm, repetition, variation, balance, unity, harmony, movement, energy and tension.
•        Value: value range, relief modeling parallel hatching, contour hatching, reflective studies, texture/mark marking. (Application of value
•        Additionally, at the instructor’s discretion and depending on exhibition scheduling, there may be a gallery visit.

Method of Instruction:

Most of the class time will be spent drawing.  The teaching method is comprised of three steps.

•        Step 1:  Lecture - to explain ideas and concepts to students by using presentations (PowerPoint, my teaching website, and/or videos).
•        Step 2:  Demonstrate - to show students the way/how to do.
•        Step 3:  Practical work - students practice the task, while the teacher monitors performance of the task, making on the spot corrections,
  including one-to-one instruction.

Method of Evaluation:

There will be no written exams.  Students are expected to engage in classroom discussions and informal as well as formal critiques of projects and

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 a grade of “F” for that critique.
Grades will be based on individual and personal improvement (personal best) and not in relation to other students or their progress.  
Out-of-class drawing assignments and sketchbook will also receive grades.   

Grades will reflect:

Attendance and participation.  Tardiness and absences will reduce your grade.

Readiness for critiques and work sessions, including having all required materials.

Evident 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 excellence.

"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.


Excellent attendance is mandatory in this class.  It is simply too difficult to develop your painting skills if you are not in class working.  If you do
miss class, get notes and assignments from a classmate and work on the painting project at home.  Find a “study buddy” at the first class meeting
and exchange contact information.

Additional Note:

Because this class is heavily dependent upon one-on-one instructor feedback, in-classroom work is an important component of your grade. For
every class you miss as an unexcused absence your grade for that project will be reduced by a grade level. (Example: one absence would result in a
grade of “B” reduced to “B-.”)   

Attendance Policy:

Attendance is mandatory at each class.  It is impossible to really “make up” missed demonstrations or critiques, and getting the information
second-hand is rarely satisfactory.  As a result, if you miss 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.  These will be marked as unexcused

Late/Make-Up Work Policy:

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.

Withdrawal Policy:
Keeping with the standard of WKCTC:

August 22nd is the last day students are allowed to withdraw without a grade
October 8th is the last day students can withdraw and receive a automatic “W”
December 5th 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 aid.

Special /Step Exam Policy: None

Recommended Texts and Website:

The Art of Teaching Art by Deborah Rockman. Oxford, 2000
Drawing from Observation by Brian Curtis. McGraw – Hill College, 2001
BiLan Liao’s website: (without the www)

No textbook is required for this class. An additional selection of excellent books and excellent websites about learning to draw will be discussed in

Projects in Class

First half semester -- only contour drawing (lines)
•        Project #1 - Gesture and contour drawing from still life
•        Project  #2 – One, two, and three point perspectives
•        Project #3 - Straight-line construction
•        Project #4 - Transparent construction
•        Project #5 - Large complex still life in line

Second half semester
•        Project #6 - Value studies
•        Project #7 - Drapery studies
•        Project #8 - Complex still life in value
•        Project #9 - Markmaking (hatching)
•        Project #10 - Interior drawing combined with exterior drawing in one composition
•        Final Project – Wrapped Drawing Diptych

*Project dates are subject to change.  Information regarding date changes will be provided in class.  Accordingly, class attendance is extremely


•        Homework #1 - Plant or vegetable with roots
•        Homework #2 – Still life of dishes after a meal
•        Homework #3 - Different perspectives
•        Homework #4 - Five days of drawing in the sketchbook
•        Homework #5 – Drawing the same types of item, but with variation
•        Homework Final Project – Wrapped Drawing Diptych

*Homework dates are subject to change.  Information regarding date changes will be provided in class.  Accordingly, class attendance is
extremely important!

Art Supplies:

You will be given a basic supplies list at various intervals during the semester. 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 for Beginning Drawing

•        36” ruler, triangle (any angle size), and drafting tape
•        News Printing pad 18” x 24”
•        Drawing pad 18” x 24”
•        Sketchbook about 8” x 11”
•        Pink pearl eraser, click eraser, and tackle box
•        Rags (using as a eraser)
•        Pencils: 2H, HB, 2B, 4B and 6B, Graphite stick 2B
•        Pencil sharpener
•        Vine charcoal 2 packs each jumbo medium and thinner soft
•        Charcoal pencils soft and hard, mechanical pencil with blue lead
•        Charcoal white pencil
•        Sighting Stick
•        View Finder (If you do not wish to buy one, I will show you how to make one.)
•        One Foot Long White String (Using for perspective drawing)
•        *Some additional single sheet gray drawing paper may be required during the semester

(Link to Examples of Previous Beginning Drawing Students' Work.)