Course Outline

Preview course topics and assignments.

1 - How We See (Getting from Here to There)

Lesson One focuses on learning to see the form of objects in the physical world. Rather than drawing every last detail in your subjects, will learn to recognize the basic form of what you see. Lesson One explores this topic using the gesture drawing technique, helping you develop a sense of mass and space on the page. You'll get an orientation to your art materials, learning how to set up a drawing board and work with charcoal. 

Project - Gesture Drawing

2 - Depth and Perspective

Lesson Two deepens your understanding of form, showing you how the elements in your composition can be viewed as fundamental geometrical shapes and objects. You'll also examine the principles of linear perspective, learning about the vanishing point and one-, two-, and three-point perspective, and the phenomenon of foreshortening. Techniques are addressed to help your integrate these ideas into your work along with techniques for using space, depth, and composition. In the exercise, you'll apply all this knowledge to several still life projects.

Project - Proportion and perspective

3 - Concepts in Value

Separating parts of your drawings into light and dark or shadow areas will go along way toward helping you create the illusion of depth and volume. In this lesson, you'll examine how lighting conditions such location, direction, and angle of light can combine to affect the level of contrast and drama in your drawings. You'll learn how to look for the shadow edge and cast shadow in your still life subjects. 

Project - Value study

4 - More Concepts in Value

This lesson looks beyond basic charcoal as a descriptor of value, turning attention to graphite pencils, compressed charcoal, conté crayon, and even ink washes. You will learn to create value using these materials and learn to create mixed materials drawings. This exercise gives you your choice of materials to explore in two value drawings.

Project - Value drawings

5 - Drawing with Color

Everything is more exciting when color is in the mix. This lesson introduces basic color theory and techniques for dry color media (such as pencils and pastel), exploring hue, value, temperature, and harmony. You will learn to mix and blend colors for realistic shades. 

Project - Pastel drawings

6 - Drawing in Art

To wrap up this course's intensive look at drawing, you will learn in Lesson Six how drawing is applied in different types of art. You will look at art samples and techniques for drawing from photographs, creating photomontages or collages, and even creating abstract expressionist works. 

Project - Expressive art project

Course Objectives

Building skills? Here’s an overview of what you’ll learn in this course:

  • Build a foundation in drawing skills by creating a wide range of still life drawings.

  • Develop best practices for drawing by setting up lighting and choosing and handling materials appropriately.

  • Identify and represent in drawing the basic elements of form (line, plane, mass) and the fundamental geometrical shapes of subjects.

  • Use both gesture and contour drawings to capture the mass and structural lines in drawing subjects.

  • Use measuring points and thumb measures to keep the different areas of a drawing in perspective.

  • Apply approaches to creating the illusion of depth or effective composition.

  • Identify the effects of lighting location, angle, and direction, in creating shadow and value contrast in drawing subjects.

  • Separate a drawing into light and dark areas and represent the overall lighting using a cast shadow and shadow edge.

  • Identify and represent in drawing six different levels of value: highlights, mid-tones, shadow edge, casting shadow, core shadow, and reflected light.

  • Use charcoal, graphite, mixed materials, and ink wash to represent value in drawing.

  • Identify and apply basic color interactions and mixing techniques for use in drawing.

  • Identify and apply stylistic approaches to drawing including photo-realism, photomontage, and abstract expressionism.

Course Registration

Interested in this course? Scheduled and self-paced enrollment options are available. Ask Admissions about taking this course as part of a degree or certificate program.


Course LevelClasses startRegistration FeeTechnology FeeTuition

Degree course
3 credits, 15 weeksJan, May, Aug$200$50/semester$475/credit

Vocational course
60 clock hours, 3 months accessEnroll today, start tomorrow$50$25/course$534

* Registration fees are nonrefundable after 5 days from enrollment. All tuition includes a digital materials fee for updates to course or program content. 


Software and Supplies

To take this course you'll need:

  • Computer with Internet connection.

  • Basic drawing materials including pencil, paper, pastels, and easel. 

  • Access to a digital camera for photographing your artwork.