Drawing Class Lesson 11: Self Directed Project

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Today you will begin preliminary research about what artists will influence you, and the materials you will need to begin your final Self Directed Project. You will be given the entire semester, and 13 total class times devoted just to working on the project of your choice.

This means that you are allowed to create your own assignment, and your own schedule to create a project which will help you in your future goals. In the past I’ve had students make comic books, sculptures out of plastaline, character design, traditional painting in oils, digital painting, ZBrush, Flash, Stop Motion Animations, Paper cut out animations, studying anatomy, Toon Boom Studio, Blender, etc. Basically if you think it involves drawing somehow, then we will discuss your project ideas and I will say whether or not they are acceptable. However as you can see I’m very open. The most important thing is to set goals which we can work together on. At the end of your project you will be giving a presentation of your work, as well as research into both technique, as well as process which should be documented in your sketchbook.

For this assignment you must submit the following. Research on an artist in your field of interest. This can be done digitally and submitted on a pdf, or you can print out images of the work, and paste them into your sketchbook. There must be no less than 15 pages of research.

Your sketches and preliminary stages must be shown. This will vary depending on the medium you choose.  There must be at least 15 sketches showing the progression of your projects. If working with digital media it will be important to document the step by step process of the creation of your work.

The final work.

Your Calendar and Statement of Intent


Your statement of intent should cover logistical concerns. Materials needed, programs needed, etc.

Writing a statement of intent may seem like a task which has little to do with your work, when in reality, it actually has everything to do with your work. It is important to overcome technical limitations of your work, however, it is also important to learn how to synthesize your ideas and make sure they also relate to the work which you are creating. Some things you can start to think about include. Your intended work should have a concept and thought process behind it and answering the questions below will help you define what your FMP will be…

  • What are your major interests and why?
  • What do you want to communicate, and what other artists/designers have been successful in communicating the ideas which you are interested in to an audience/viewer?
  • What is the subject and/or content of your work? In other words, what is it about?
  • What kinds of things inform your work? This can include other pieces, politics or society, and your own experiences.
  • What materials do you use and why?
  • What is your process and how does it affect the way you work?
  • How do you want your audience to view your work? Do you want them to react in a certain way?


It is important to differentiate between writing an Artist Statement, and writing a statement of intent. As they are two different things. However, by looking at sample artist statements we can begin to examine the thought process required for formulating a statement of intent. With an artist statement the work has already completed, and the artist is attempting to sum up in words, what was the intent of the work to communicate it to the audience. You will be formulating a statement of what you intend to create and the ideas which you wish to explore.


Your statement of Intent MUST Include the following:

1. What are your creative intentions.

2. What materials are you going to use? Why does this medium lend itself to the concept you are trying to explore?

3. What techniques are you going to use? How does technique effect how the piece will be read by a viewer?

4. What processes will be implemented and why?

5. What methods are you going to use to record your review progress and outcomes? This means that you must have a schedule you are following in which there are deadlines which must be met.


Here’s some inspiration for possible avenues to pursue.

Paper Cut Illustrations

Working in Blender/3dsMax/Maya or any other 3d program.

The Spine by Chris Landreth, National Film Board of Canada


Traditional Painting

Character Design


Sculptures with projection mapping