Tag: lesson

Experimental Hand Drawn Animations


For this assignment you will be creating a character (or abstract shape), which exists in a certain environment, and you will be animating your character/shape via no less than 100 hand drawn frames. (P2.2) There are various stages which need to be presented in order to successfully finish this assignment. From simple sketching and storyboarding, and idea generation, to a finished drawing of the environment  in which you wish the character to inhabit. One finalized drawing of your character,  one finalized of the environment, and the final animation must be submitted. Students will be encouraged to utilize their strengths in drawing and apply it to the necessary media as well as production. (P4.1)


You are allowed to incorporate scanned textures, photos, draw on peoples bodies, etc in the creation of this work. You may use programs such as Toon Boom, or Flash however each frame must still be hand drawn, and all frames must be exported individually as well.  Students are NOT bound to creating this work simply as a 100 frame animation in the traditional sense, but my hopes are that students blend a multitude of media to create both the character, the movement, and the environment in which it/he/she resides. (D1) Judging by the speed at which students work, they will be encouraged to add sound or other effects to their animations in post-production.

Be aware that the storyboarding for this assignment does not have to be adhered to in the traditional sense. A storyboard can simply be a working document which helps plan your work and guides the process.


What will be submitted?

Storyboards ( scanned)

Sketches   (scanned)

Finalized Environment

Finalized Character

All of your frames

Finalized and compressed animation (must be less than 500 mb in size!)



Examples and Inspiration

Brain Lapse by Jake Fried 2014.
Hand-drawn animation with ink, white-out, coffee and collage.
More at http://www.inkwood.net

Animation experiment, photographing charcoal drawings and transferring them to my laptop, using Adobe Flash CS3 for animation and Adobe Premiere Elements 7.0 for editing.
Largely rotoscoped.

The Umbrella is a short animated film produced in Griffith Film School. The animation has been made with oil painting on glass.

A collection of works from the BFA1 class in Experimental Animation. Edited by Jamie Tan.

I made the video in ToonBoom Animate 3.


Objects in Motion PES

Objects in Motion

Personal Experimental Studies
Semester 1304
Lecturer : Jeremiah Palecek and Krystof Kriz
Due Date:
Verified by
IV Date
Pass Criteria
Pass Criteria Covered
P1 explore materials, processes
and techniques safely
P2: Record Experimental outcomes
Students should show they can use and explore their materials
and associated processes safely andwith care. They should
recognise and apply relevant health and safety guidelines, and
experiment with materials, techniques and processes to generate
a range of tests, samples, roughs and practical work..
students should demonstrate the ability to record their
experimentation in a clear and methodical
manner. They will record findings on a regular basis and include
all relevant technical information. Recording
can take many forms as appropriate to the process and the
individual learning needs. There will be evidence
of their involvement with the processes. Technical language and
terminology will be used correctly.
Grading Criteria
Summary of Tasks

Students will have to choose at least two different objects from which they will be making a sculpture, for instance, this could be
something like matches and bottle caps. They will also be assigned an emotion which they must illustrate. Using these two objects
they will make sketches of how to construct 2 characters which will interact in a short stop motion film. A storyboard will also
accompany these sketches. Students will be allowed to use materials to connect their objects together such as wire, string,
chickenwire fence, or rope. [p1] Once the character/sculptures are finished the students will then create an animation which
incorporates both of their objects into a narrative. Once all the footage is shot we will finalize the animations and add sound in
photoshop and premiere. [p2] Sketchbook (Can Continue using MEAD Sketchbook if you wish)
Experimentation will be carried out during class time. And we will be engaging in a series of
Prague College
Required Work and Format
You must submit a cd to reception with your scans of all relevant sketchbook pages during the last
3 weeks. The more documentation you have of your experimentation, and research the better. Your
submission must contain every media studied during class. Failure to include documentation of each
medium will result in a failing grade.



Examples of Stop Motion Animation

EAGER by Allison Schulnik from garaco taco on Vimeo.


As you can see in all of these stop motions, the animator creating them took materials which had qualities of something quite different than what is portrayed. So slabs of meat become two lovers. Paper becomes water dripping. And dollar bills become herbs and spices.

For next class you must bring your materials with which you will be working! That means if you are going to be using bottle caps, matches, and wire then you must bring all of these materials to class to begin construction of your armature. This is a very in depth project which we don’t have a lot of time for so it is important to stay on track as it is very easy to fall behind. You may use any program to animate your objects. The simplest being Flash, or Photoshop or if you want to download a program like Dragon Frame then feel free as well. The important thing to remember is that your armatures must be solid enough to be moved into various positions.

MÖBIUS from ENESS on Vimeo.

Building Armatures

You’re going to have to find a way to get your objects to stick together. This can be done with a variety of materials from using a glue gun, to using glue, to tying pieces together with wire, to using hinges and joints to create functioning arms and legs.

Building of these armatures can obviously get very complex for more extensive projects.


So, what do you need for next class?

1. Your two Objects which will form the majority of your characters which you will be creating.

2. Something to hold these objects together (Glue, wire, gluestick, etc.)

3. Choose one emotion which will be demonstrated by your animation. (see the list below)

4. Storyboards of your stop motion must also be finished as soon as possible ( but we understand it will take some time to construct your characters first)




List of Emotions












anger, anger2



anticipation, anticipation2








attraction (sexual)

attraction (intellectual)

attraction (spiritual)










































desire poem



















































Gray Because a Broken Heart

grief poem




happy happy2
















inner peace





inspired poem













left out



























































song about Schadenfreude
















stressed stressed2































Painting Intensive Part 1

Hello and welcome to the Summer Painting Intensive at Prague College!

Morning: 9:00 – 12:15

Today will start with an introduction to the course and the aims which we wish to achieve.


This course introduces students to a wide range of materials, techniques, and concepts
involving traditional painting. Materials to be explored include Watercolor, Acrylic, and Oils. The three different mediums will be used in relation to the first, second, and third weeks of the course. There will be a heavy emphasis on color theory and traditional paint application techniques as well as composition and design. In addition to teaching a variety of materials and techniques each lesson will also introduce the work of one painter whose work will be examined at both a technical, as well as a conceptual level. Students will learn how to work from a sketch to a finished piece in each of the aforementioned media. It should be noted that this is not a class in how to “paint flowers” ( although we do look at nice paintings of flowers )  or which is focused on one specific technique, since we are limited in the amount of time we have the class is designed to give a foundational background in both how to use 3 different media, as well as give the student some solid theory which can be continually practiced during the week, and in the future.
The class will focus on achieving the following Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes:
L01: Demonstrate the ability to understand and apply the basic principles of design and color as well as the strengths inherent in a variety of painting media.
L02: Demonstrate the ability to use a variety of painting techniques and media to achieve specific aesthetic intents.
L03: Evaluate the use of ones own as well as others painting materials and techniques.
L04: A functional knowledge of the evolution of painting traditions, techniques, and conventions.
L05: Demonstrate the ability to apply the skills needed to take a work from concept to finished work.
L06: Demonstrate the ability to synthesize drawing and painting.


Once we’ve covered the overview of what we will be focusing on for the coming weeks we’ll go straight into the basics of color theory. Since we are starting with watercolors lets look at one of the most important aspects as it concerns good watercolor paintings, and that is contrast.

This part’s featured artist is Andrew Wyeth

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Andrew Newell Wyeth was a visual artist, primarily a realist painter, working predominantly in a regionalist style. He was one of the best-known U.S. artists of the middle 20th century.


Contrast in Painting

There are many different ways we can depict Contrast in Painting, and because of this, this lesson will need to be split into different parts so we can go into each different type of contrast in depth. But first let’s get into exactly what contrast means.

The dictionary definition is as follows:

Contrast: The state of being strikingly different from something else, typically something in
juxtaposition or close association.
Synonyms:  opposition - antithesis - opposite - contradistinction

So I think we all have a pretty good feel of what something is when it is in contrast with an opposing element. But how does this relate to painting and color? In what different ways can we show contrast simply by using different colors?


You may be asking “why is contrast so important?” and the answer is simple. Our eyes love contrast and it is how we make sense of the world. If you want to highlight a certain area of a painting then this is the area which should have the highest amount of contrast. Our eyes are naturally drawn to these areas, and it is easy information for our brains to process. When making a two dimensional representation of the three dimensional world we need to take advantage of how we see, in order to translate this to a believable painting.

Let’s start with Contrast of Hue and what exactly this means.

Contrast of Hue:

This is the simplest of the different types of contrast that painters often use. You should remember that the term Hue just means a color which has not been diluted in any way. It is color in its “purest” form. When we put multiple different colors up against each other we will see a very strong contrast between them. For starters lets look at this painting by Ellsworth Kelley which is a simple illustration of the strength of contrast of hue. He uses the three primary colors in their purest form and paints each individually.

All three of these primary colors are in strict opposition to each other. So much so that there doesn’t seem to be any relation to them at all. Each color stands alone as if it were its own entity altogether. This is what I mean by contrast of hue. So how can we take this out of the square minimalistic boxes and start applying it to more complex compositions? I believe the next painting by Mondrian takes a step in that direction and we can see that not only can we work with these elements as if they stood on their own, but we can also integrate them into a larger composition.

And now let’s take this idea a step further and apply to a composition which has some figural elements as well. In the following painting by Matisse we can see that he used only contrasts in hues, and black and white to create an entire composition that includes both a figure in an environment, but also a small landscape in the window. There are a few other types of contrast occurring in this painting but we’ll get to those later.

contrast matisse

When dealing with only Contrast of Hue we can see that many of the paintings take on a youthful or even joyous feeling to them. Which is one reason why many of the Fauvists decided to use these colors to enhance the meaning of their exuberant paintings. But these types of examples of Contrast of Hue aren’t only from the 20th century. Painters have used this rule of painting for hundreds of years to create an atmosphere of intensity. One can look at Raphael’s Adoration of the Magi for an older example of how Contrast of Hue was utilized hundreds of years ago.

adoration magi raphael painting



Contrast of Value:

This is another rule of color theory which is fairly easy to grasp but which is often ignored. When speaking of the contrast of value we are talking about the lightness vs the darkness of certain colors. The easiest way to illustrate this is to first deal with only black and white as it is the easiest way to see a difference in value. In the video below by EmptyEasel we see a very clear representation of how we can use simple dark and light contrasts to create certain effects which create a more believable depiction of the 3d world on a 2d surface.

In the following drawing by Seurat we can see how a contrast in value achieves similar effects as the video outlined above. Notice how each edge has a sharp contrast in value against the other edges. This pushes certain elements back in space and allows for other elements to come to the forefront. It should be noted however, as stated in the video above, that it isn’t bad to sometimes have your values “bleed” into each other as this causes a composition to have linkages which give it an overall feeling of unity.

Now lets look at another example but this time working with color and the different values that colors have as well. In the following painting by Rembrandt look at how he effectively uses Contrast of Value to bring our eye right to the most important feature of the painting.

Assignment 1 : First start out by mixing a 5 step value scale using only black. You will be controlling the darkness of your color by the amount of water you add to it, thereby making the color lighter as you add more water. Obviously you can do the same with all of your colors and therefore make a value scale with any color which you have. Don’t fuss about making perfect squares of color, just play around on some scrap paper with the different types of values which can be created. If you get too much water mixed with your color take some toilet paper and daub it out until it is more pure again.

Now that you’ve created some value scales with one color, we will move onto making value scales with two colors. Pick two two colors (three if you wish to include white) and practice making some 5 toned value scales. For instance you could go from green to yellow, deep red to orange to yellow, or violet to blue to light blue (by adding white).  Once you’ve found a value scale which can be easily replicated and is pleasurable to the eye it’s time to move on to assignment 2!

Assignment 2: Now that you’ve played around with some basic vale scales it’s time to jump into the first assignment which is to create a watercolor portrait of a person ( I know, we move fast dont we?) Before we get into this assignment it is important to remember that we do not have time to make finished pieces, so we just need to jump into each assignment and move forward. For this assignment you need to learn how to see value shapes and paint them.  For more tutorials and exercises in drawing feel free to check out the drawing section of my other site Painting-Course.Com.

First lets start with what value shapes are. Simply put, values (the darkness or lightness of how the shadows fall on an object) determine the way we see the everything. With painting we want to be able to copy (or sometimes exaggerate for our own desires) value shapes which can be read by a viewer.

Commonly we see different value scales quite frequenlty in vector graphic imagery such as the image below.


For this assignment you will be working from one of the following images which can all be found here.


And I want you to try and copy the photograph as closely as possible using the same colors you created in your monochromatic value scale.  If you can’t see the value scales clearly then squint as much as you can and you’ll begin to see that the world breaks down into simple shapes quite quickly.  If you don’t get it, or want to recap this method then check out this video.

Nice, now you can see the value shapes better. Now it’s time to jump into your watercolor portrait.

Here’s some more inspiration to check out.




If you have time try some of these exercises out during the week, and further investigate different types of contrast in painting.


Cold Warm Contrast:

In this type of contrast we are looking at the perceived temperature of a color. These should be pretty straightforward to everyone. In class when I ask about which colors are warm and which colors are cool I’ll generally get the following responses.

Red- Hot

Orange- Warm

Yellow- Warm

Green – Cool

Blue – Cold

Violet – Cool

So how can we use these differences in perceived temperature to our advantage? Well, the easiest way to begin to depict the differences in Cool/Warm Contrast can be seen in many landscape paintings. When one looks at a landscape we will notice that things in the far distance take on more of a cool bluish tone (this was first observed by Da Vinci who named this phenomena Atmospheric Perspective). So it is fair to say that cooler colors tend to recede into the distance, while warmer colors want to push to the front in space. In this painting by Corot we can see this in action. Notice how the cool colors near the horizon recede into the distance while the warm orange tones of the ground naturally seem closer to us. The same can also be seen in the Van Gogh painting as well.

But once again, this rule not only can apply to landscape paintings to achieve a sense of depth. It can also be used in figurative works much in the same way as Contrast of Value to direct the viewers eye to certain places. In the image below by Odd Nerdrum we can see how Contrast of Warm and Cool colors makes the figures stand out against their background, but also if we look really closely at the flesh we can also see a lot of warm vs cold happening in shadows vs light areas of value as well.

Assignment: Mix up six different colors both of which are examining the ideas of cold and warm colors. For instance Orange, Red, and Yellow for warm, and Green, Blue, and Violet for Cool. Then create an inverted city landscape where the cool colors are in the foreground, and the warm colors are in the background. This will create an immediate sense of tension (something we convered in Gestalt Principles of Design) and create an interesting dynamic. If this sounds too hard for you to grasp you can take a look at how a third grader interpreted this assignment. If a third grader can do it, so can you.


Complimentary Contrast:

In this case we are looking at how complimentary colors (colors opposite one another on the color wheel) activate elements in a composition and create a contrast. If you recall during the Color Wheel for Painting lesson we extensively went into exactly what complimentary colors are and how they work. Complimentary contrast is often also used to create a sense of contrast and highlight certain objects. It is also many times used to give a painting an overall feeling of harmony as our eyes naturally see the compliment to every color which we perceive (see Properties of Color for further reference).

In the painting below by Monet we see how complimentary contrast can bring life to a painting and can be used effectively to convey harmony across the entire composition.

Notice the interplay between all the complimentary colors in this painting. The blues happily reside right next to the oranges, and the shadows are filled with both violets as well as yellows. But it is important to note that there are numerous shades of each color, and that much experimentation had to be done to get the colors to harmonize. When working with complimentary contrast it is important to understand that one must also manipulate the value of a color when laid beside another in order for the painting to be read correctly. Simply put, this means that the painting should still work as a drawing if a black and white photo were taken of it.

Assignment:Using some source material (either a photo or a sketch) make a portrait painting of a person in which the subject is the complimentary color to the background. Remember as always, the places you want to highlight the most should have the most intense complimentary contrast in the whole composition. You can take a look at this self portrait (after he cut off his ear) by Van Gogh for inspiration.


Simultaneous Contrast:

Now things start to get a bit trickier as we delve into types of contrast which aren’t as clearly defined as the previous ones. Simultaneous contrast identified by Michel Eugène Chevreul refers to the manner in which the colors of two different objects affect each other. The effect is more noticeable when shared between objects of complementary color.

In the image here, the two inner rectangles are exactly the same shade of grey, but the upper one appears to be a lighter grey than the lower one due to the background provided by the outer rectangles.

Simultaneous Contrast

This is a different concept from contrast, which by itself refers to one object’s difference in color and luminance compared to its surroundings or background. Basically it is important to always remember that whatever color surrounds the color you wish to depict will change how we perceive that color. For this reason you’ll see that many artist palettes are grey which gives the least amount of interference with the color which is being mixed.

Assignment: Using Simultaneous Contrast create an abstract composition where the same color is used in different places throughout the composition but appears to be a different color when viewed overall. This can be achieived by first working on a large “background” of your painting first, and then painting in small sections of the same color in different selected small sections of the work. You can look at the painting below and examine how the same color has vastly different qualities based upon the colors surrounding it.


Contrast of Saturation:

This refers to the contrast present when more than one instance of a saturated color are present. We previously covered saturation and intensity, and by using Contrast by Saturation we can achieve an effect which gives us contrast based solely on the saturation (brightness) of a color. In the image below we can see how different colors change when their saturation is changed. Generally this can be easily achieved by adding more white, black, or a colors compliment to the color which is being mixed.

In the following painting by Matisse we can see how he used different saturations of the same color to achieve contrast. The pipe is the most saturated color in the painting, and also the place where our eye goes first. By doing so he has led our eye in the right direction by using a more intense/saturated color up against less saturated colors.

Assignment: Start with a very saturated color and make it less saturated by adding black in successive amounts, then do the same with white and make five different variations of tints. Then mix it with it’s compliment and make five different variations of the color. Using this single color as a base make a painting based upon a sketch or photo while thinking about which area should be the most important (saturated) and which areas should be the least.


Contrast by Extension:

Think of this as seeing the overall color theme for an entire work first. Looking at the painting by Breugel below we can see that the painting has an overall feeling of being very blue and cold. While the animals as well as the people are contrasted against the larger environment. Essentially you are contrasting a large amount of canvas against a very small portion. In order to achieve this effect you must also use other types of contrast which we have already covered such as Warm/Cool Contrast , Or Complimentary Contrast. The idea being that large areas will effect smaller areas, and if these smaller areas are in high contrast against the larger whole a balance can be achieved and the smaller subjects can be seen as more important.

Assignment: For this assignment you will first create a landscape which has an overall color theme to it (cool colors work best such as green and blue) and then you will create a figure to put into this environment which is out of tune with the larger color theme. You will notice immediately that the figure stands out in a very extreme fashion to the point where it may not seem like it should fit. If this is the case you can lower the intensity of the figure by lowering the saturation of the color.

Painting Intensive: Part 2

After Lunch we will be continuing with the second part of today’s lesson.

1:00 – 5:00

This part’s featured artist is:

Edward Hopper (1882 – 1967)

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Edward Hopper was a prominent American realist painter and printmaker. While he was most popularly known for his oil paintings, he was equally proficient as a watercolorist and printmaker in etching.

Still Life Value Studies

This section will now move towards creating multiple sketches and a finished watercolor painting of a still life which will be set up in front of you.

The history of still lives goes back thousands of years and was a stark contrast to the religious imagery which commonly dominated painting. The benefits of still lives were many. For one, the subjects didn’t move so they could be carefully studied. By having small objects which could be easily moved around also gave the artist the ability to play around with composition. So as we proceed through this lesson we will first be looking at how composition plays a role in the creation of painting.

The most important thing to remember is that when we are painting we are painting within a certain shape (generally a rectangle) which has limits and boundaries. Somewhere usually in our teenage years it becomes common to ignore the edges of a painting and still lives take up the center of the page/canvas, since we generally believe that since this is the subject, it should therefore be placed in the center. However, as we look over the rules of composition we can see that there are a multitude of ways to draw attention to certain areas of a composition. We can take a look at this PDF for a quick guide to how we can think about composition.


Glass bowl of fruit and vases. Romanwall painting in Pompeii (around 70 AD)

Jan Brueghel the Elder (1568–1625),Bouquet (1599), Kunsthistorisches MuseumVienna. Some of the earliest examples of still life were paintings of flowers by Northern Renaissance, Dutch, and Flemish painters.

First we will start off with pencil and paper and begin working on what are called reductive drawings. It is best to use a softer ( 2b) pencil for this task. The same exercise can be done with toned (grey) paper and both white and black charcoal pencils, however the goal remains the same, and that is to create a study/sketch of how are values are working on our objects in preparation for the next stage which will be to paint these values utilizing the same values we used in the last assignment.

A value sketch can be something as simple as what you see below. There’s no need for too much detail, here we are focusing on compositional elements, value, and form. An example of what a quick sketch of a still life subject should look like can be seen below in the drawing of the shoe.

Watercolor painting of a shoe


Painting Intensive: Part 6

This part’s artist is Chuck Close

Charles Thomas “Chuck” Close is an American painter and photographer who achieved fame as a photorealist, through his massive-scale portraits.

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This section of the painting intensive deals with blending acrylics and creating form. We will be using the dry brush blending technique which can be seen in the video below as well as have an introduction to glazing. You will be working from a still life of objects which have been painted white and lit in front of you.

Once again you will be drawing light sketches based upon the contours of the objects placed in front of you as well as the large value shapes. From there you will be using mainly white, and a grey mixture which I will teach you how to mix using your three primaries. These paintings should look rather dull, but full of form.

Once we have created our form paintings we will explore some very simple glazing with acrylics. Please note that glazing depends on many factors which are largely determined through trial and error. However, the main objective in creating a believable glaze will be to minimize the streakiness of the color as much as possible.

Painting Intensive: Part 11

The artist for today should be looked at before class as today we will be going on a trip to do some painting outside.

George Inness (May 1, 1825 – August 3, 1894) was an influential American landscape painter. His work was influenced, in turn, by that of the old masters, the Hudson River school, the Barbizon school, and, finally, by the theology of Emanuel Swedenborg, whose spiritualism found vivid expression in the work of Inness’ maturity. Often called “the father of American landscape painting”

Today we will be meeting at the school at 9 like normal. From here we will each grab our easels and then walk to Hlavni Nadrazi where we will be taking a train to Cernosice (a 20 minute train ride from Prague. 61Kc round trip) to paint outdoors. Be prepared to paint! Feel free to use the medium, or a combination of any mediums which you are comfortable with. I’ll be meeting with each of you individually throughout the day, and we will be having lunch in Cernosice. This class does not have two parts, but the entire class will be devoted to painting outdoors.

Styles of Drawing

So you have been drawing for months from life. You have piles of worn Bridgeman and Loomis books piled up by your desk, and you still suffer from a simple problem. You don’t seem to have anything close to a personal style developed. Fear not. There is light at the end of the tunnel. Developing a personal style consists of two main components, 1 is to draw as much from life as possible as this builds up what is called your Visual Library (This means that if you draw a guitar 20 times from life, you’ll have a better chance of drawing a realistic one from memory), the second component is to understand and get very familiar with the type of symbols you generally use to convey certain features (or other objects). One must first get familiar with the different styles of drawing first in order to get a good feel for your visual vocabulary (symbols) .

So what does it mean to understand the symbols which you use? You have already been taught not to use symbols but instead use abstraction to create the illusion of depth. And this is fine if you want to make paintings like a traditional painter. However, a large group of people don’t start drawing from life in this manner when they are 14 or 15, they start by drawing from cartoons, comic books, and from their heads. And these early symbols we make for a nose (for example) stick with us for all eternity, or so it seems. Let’s take a look at just how eyes are handled in three different cartoons in the image below.

In all of these examples we can see that the symbol for an eye can vary greatly, but still depict an eye. This is what we generally refer to as someone’s style. The nuts and bolts of someone’s style is based upon the symbols they use, and the techniques which are used to represent them. So we can look at the image below, and see how different symbols are also further stylized by the techniques in which they are depicted.

So how did Ralph Steadman find his personal style, and how did that differ from Todd McFarlane and Bill Plimpton? Well, in order to see how these people draw, we can simply dissect the way they construct a drawing. In the top drawing by Steadman we can see a lot of importance is given to the gesture of the figures, and this is followed by a very methodical and technical series of dark cross hatching marks. The line is fluid and wild, and this is then kept in place by the very meticulous cross hatching. Therefore we could safely say that if we wanted to develop a style similar to Ralph Steadman we should do loads of gesture drawings, as well as practice how to crosshatch. In the second drawing by Todd McFarlane we see highly developed and structured figure drawing in outrageous poses. These drawings were most likely done in pencil first and are heavily dependent on drawing the figure from memory. So in order to draw more like Todd McFarlane I would suggest studying the figure from life, as well as drawings from memory and building up compositions slowly. Starting with sketches first of multiple characters, and then resketching these onto a larger composition, and then finally finishing them with pen and ink. In the third drawing by Bill Plimpton we can see that his depictions of form are very painterly and that his mark making is fluid and free. So in order to draw more like Bill Plimpton I would suggest working with colored pencils (because of their ease of use in depicting large areas of value) and then slowly building these values up and finishing the drawing with darker marks to place the features of the face. Then, when working with pen we will treat the ink in a similar manner as the colored pencil and gently shade in large value shapes with a pen.

So, so far we have distinguished two important aspects of how to develop a personal style. One is the symbols which are used, and the second is the techniques which are employed (ie. how someone handles the medium). But by going through the different ways these artists constructed their drawings we also added a third important aspect which needs to be considered. And that is the ability to look at drawings (preferably by an artist you admire) and take apart how they are created. Every artist on the planet is influenced by other artists. The simplest way to say this is for you to find out what you think is cool. Once you have identified your favorite artists you should then do what I’ve done in the preceding paragraph, and that is to take apart to the best of your ability how their drawing were made. Now, you shouldn’t just bite their style, you want to create your own, but the good news is that a style will naturally come out after years of drawing and multiple attempts at recreating a variety of other styles. In fact, you may already have a style now, it just might be a really generic and crappy style. So ask yourself, how do you want to improve it? Is there an artist which could be influential? Are you interested in creating commercial work? Or work for animations or comic books? Well, then you’ve got to create a style which already meets commercial expectations. Which means that straying from the accepted commercial norms will be looked down upon (this can even be the case for well established Comic Book artists). Otherwise the sky’s the limit and by using the tactics outlined above (and with a lot of practice!) you’ll be able to create a personal style that not only satisfies you, but others as well. Just remember that these things don’t come over night!

Media Experimentation in Art and Design Class: Lesson 1 and 2: Elements of Design in Art

Thursday – Jeremiah:


Looking at the Principles and Elements of Design in Art

Introduction to the course and a brief discussion about imagery  and Visual Culture. What is visual culture and how does it effect all of our lives?

Introduction to Principles and Elements of Design. 

The Principles of Design

There are many basic concepts that underly the field of design. They are often categorized differently depending on philosophy or teaching methodology. The first thing we need to do is organize them, so that we have a framework for this discussion.

We can group all of the basic tenets of design into two categories: principles and elements. For this article, the principles of design are the overarching truths of the profession. They represent the basic assumptions of the world that guide the design practice, and affect the arrangement of objects within a composition. By comparison, the elements of design are the components of design themselves, the objects to be arranged.

Let’s begin by focusing on the principles of design, the axioms of our profession. Specifically, we will be looking at the following principles:

  • Balance
  • Rhythm
  • Proportion
  • Dominance
  • Unity


Balance is an equilibrium that results from looking at images and judging them against our ideas of physical structure (such as mass, gravity or the sides of a page). It is the arrangement of the objects in a given design as it relates to their visual weight within a composition. Balance usually comes in two forms: symmetrical and asymmetrical.


Symmetrical balance occurs when the weight of a composition is evenly distributed around a central vertical or horizontal axis. Under normal circumstances it assumes identical forms on both sides of the axis. When symmetry occurs with similar, but not identical, forms it is called approximate symmetry. In addition, it is possible to build a composition equally around a central point resulting in radial symmetry1. Symmetrical balance is also known as formal balance.


Asymmetrical balance occurs when the weight of a composition is not evenly distributed around a central axis. It involves the arranging of objects of differing size in a composition such that they balance one another with their respective visual weights. Often there is one dominant form that is offset by many smaller forms. In general, asymmetrical compositions tend to have a greater sense of visual tension. Asymmetrical balance is also known as informal balance.


horizontal symmetry



Rhythm is the repetition or alternation of elements, often with defined intervals between them. Rhythm can create a sense of movement, and can establish pattern and texture. There are many different kinds of rhythm, often defined by the feeling it evokes when looking at it.

  • Regular: A regular rhythm occurs when the intervals between the elements, and often the elements themselves, are similar in size or length.
  • Flowing: A flowing rhythm gives a sense of movement, and is often more organic in nature.
  • Progressive: A progressive rhythm shows a sequence of forms through a progression of steps.





Proportion is the comparison of dimensions or distribution of forms. It is the relationship in scale between one element and another, or between a whole object and one of its parts. Differing proportions within a composition can relate to different kinds of balance or symmetry, and can help establish visual weight and depth. In the below examples, notice how the smaller elements seem to recede into the background while the larger elements come to the front.


Dominance relates to varying degrees of emphasis in design. It determines the visual weight of a composition, establishes space and perspective, and often resolves where the eye goes first when looking at a design. There are three stages of dominance, each relating to the weight of a particular object within a composition.

  • Dominant: The object given the most visual weight, the element of primary emphasis that advances to the foreground in the composition.
  • Sub-dominant: The element of secondary emphasis, the elements in the middle ground of the composition.
  • Subordinate: The object given the least visual weight, the element of tertiary emphasis that recedes to the background of the composition.

In the below example, the trees act as the dominant element, the house and hills as the secondary element, and the mountains as the tertiary element.


The concept of unity describes the relationship between the individual parts and the whole of a composition. It investigates the aspects of a given design that are necessary to tie the composition together, to give it a sense of wholeness, or to break it apart and give it a sense of variety. Unity in design is a concept that stems from some of the Gestalt theories of visual perception and psychology, specifically those dealing with how the human brain organizes visual information into categories, or groups2.

Gestalt theory itself is rather lengthy and complex, dealing in various levels of abstraction and generalization, but some of the basic ideas that come out of this kind of thinking are more universal.


Closure is the idea that the brain tends to fill in missing information when it perceives an object is missing some of its pieces. Objects can be deconstructed into groups of smaller parts, and when some of these parts are missing the brain tends to add information about an object to achieve closure. In the below examples, we compulsively fill in the missing information to create shape.


Continuance is the idea that once you begin looking in one direction, you will continue to do so until something more significant catches your attention. Perspective, or the use of dominant directional lines, tends to successfully direct the viewers eye in a given direction. In addition, the eye direction of any subjects in the design itself can cause a similar effect. In the below example, the eye immediately goes down the direction of the road ending up in the upper right corner of the frame of reference. There is no other dominant object to catch and redirect the attention.

Similarity, Proximity and Alignment

Items of similar size, shape and color tend to be grouped together by the brain, and a semantic relationship between the items is formed. In addition, items in close proximity to or aligned with one another tend to be grouped in a similar way. In the below example, notice how much easier it is to group and define the shape of the objects in the upper left than the lower right.

Related concepts

There are many additional concepts that are related to the principles of design. These can include specific terms and/or techniques that are in some way based on one or more of the above tenets. In they end, they add to the collection of compositional tools available for use by the designer.

Contrast or Opposition

Contrast addresses the notion of dynamic tensionÔthe degree of conflict that exists within a given design between the visual elements in the composition.

Positive and Negative Space

Positive and negative space refers to the juxtaposition of figure and ground in a composition. The objects in the environment represent the positive space, and the environment itself is the negative space.

Rule of Thirds

The rule of thirds is a compositional tool that makes use of the notion that the most interesting compositions are those in which the primary element is off center. Basically, take any frame of reference and divide it into thirds placing the elements of the composition on the lines in between.

Visual Center

The visual center of any page is just slightly above and to the right of the actual (mathematical) center. This tends to be the natural placement of visual focus, and is also sometimes referred to as museum height.

Color and Typography

Many would place color and typography along side the five principals I have outlined above. I personally believe both to be elements of design, so I’ll give them some attention in my next column. In addition, both topics are so robust that I plan on writing an entire article about each of them in the future.



Lets look at all the main elements of design in art and how by manipulating these simple concepts we can create a multitude of different compositions.


Line:  An element of art that is used to define shape, contours, and outlines, also to suggest mass and volume.  It may be a continuous mark made on a surface with a pointed tool or implied by the edges of shapes and forms.

Characteristic of Line are:

  • Width– thick, thin, tapering, uneven
  • Length – long, short, continuous, broken
  • Direction– horizontal, vertical, diagonal, curving, perpendicular, oblique, parallel, radial, zigzag
  • Focus– sharp, blurry, fuzzy, choppy
  • Feeling– sharp, jagged, graceful, smooth

Types of Line:

  1. Outlines– Lines made by the edge of an object or its silhouette.
  2. Contour Lines– Lines that describe the shape of an object and the interior detail.
  3. Gesture Lines– Line that are energetic and catches the movement and gestures of an active figure.
  4. Sketch Lines– Lines that captures the appearance of an object or impression of a place.
  5. Calligraphic Lines– Greek word meaning “beautiful writing.”  Precise, elegant handwriting or lettering done by hand. Also artwork that has flowing lines like an elegant handwriting.
  6. Implied Line– Lines that are not actually drawn but created by a group of objects seen from a distance.  The direction an object is pointing to, or the direction a person is looking at.

  Name the Line:

1.    Below are five boxes.  Create a different type of line for each box.

2.    In the blank under the box come up with a name for that line that describes it.

 _____________    ____________    _____________    _____________    _____________ 


Color comes form light; if it weren’t for light we would have no color.  Light rays move in a straight path from a light source.  Within this light rays are all the rays of colors in the spectrumor rainbow.  Shining a light into a prism will create a rainbow of colors because it separates the color of the spectrum.  When the light rays hits an object our eyes responds to the light that is bounced back and we see that color.  For example a red ball reflects all the red light rays.  As artist we use pigments in the form of powder or liquid paints to create color.

Categories of Color

Color Wheels a tool used to organize color.  It is made up of:

·        Primary Colors-Red, Yellow, Blue these color cannot be mixed, they must be bought in some form.

·      Secondary Color-Orange, Violet, Green, these colors are created by mixing two primaries.

·      Intermediate Colors– Red Orange, Yellow Green, Blue Violet, etc.; mixing a primary with a secondary creates these colors. 

·      Complementary Colors-are colors that are opposite each other on the color wheel.  When placed next to each other they look bright and when mixed together they neutralize each other. 

Color Harmonies

Color Harmonies is when an artist uses certain combinations of colors that create different looks or feelings.

·        Analogous Colors are colors that are next to each other on the color wheel for example red, red orange, and orange are analogous colors.

·      Triadic Harmony is where three equally spaced colors on the color wheel are used for example, yellow, Red, Blue is a triadic harmony color scheme.

·      Monochromatic is where one color is used but in different values and intensity.

·      Warm colors are on one side of the color wheel and they give the felling of warmth for example red, orange and yellow are the color of fire and feel warm.

·      Cool colors are on the other side of the color wheel and they give the feeling of coolness for example blue, violet, are the color of water, and green are the color of cool grass.


On the back of this sheet of paper create a color wheel.  Be sure to include the primary, secondary and intermediate colors.  Use colored pencils to create your colors.



Shape:  When a line crosses itself or intersects with other lines to enclose a space it creates a shape.  Shape is two-dimensional it has heights and width but no depth.

Categories of Shapes:

  • Geometric Shapes-Circles, Squares, rectangles and triangles.  We see them in architecture and manufactured items.
  • Organic Shapes-Leaf, seashells, flowers.  We see them in nature and with characteristics that are free flowing, informal and irregular.
  • Positive Shapes-In a drawing or painting positive shapes are the solid forms in a design such as a bowl of fruit.  In a sculpture it is the solid form of the sculpture.
  • Negative Shapes-In a drawing it is the space around the positive shape or the shape around the bowl of fruit.  In sculpture it is the empty shape around and between the sculptures.
  • Static Shape-Shapes that appears stable and resting.
  • Dynamic Shape-Shapes that appears moving and active.

Create a Shape

In box 1 create a design with Geometrical Shapes

In box 2 create a design with Organic Shapes

1                                                                              2

In these two boxes below draw the same picture in each box.  The first box shade the positive space and the second box shade the negative space.


Space is the three-dimensionality of a sculpture.  With a sculpture or architecture you can walk around them, look above them, and enter them, this refers to the space of the sculpture or architecture.  A three-dimensional object will have height, width, and depth.

Space in a two-dimensional drawing or painting refers to the arrangement of objects on the picture plane.  The picture plane is the surface of your drawing paper or canvas.  You can have a picture plane that is a crowded space with lots of objects or an empty space with very few objects in the picture plane.  A two-dimensional piece of art has heights and width but no depth.  The illusion of depth can be achieved by using perspective.  This is the technique used to have your picture look likes it is moving to the distance like a landscape or cityscape. 

Categories of Space

·        Positive space-Like in positive shape it is the actual sculpture or building.

·        Negative space-Also like negative shape it is the space around the sculpture or building.

·        Picture Plane is the flat surface of your drawing paper or canvas.

·        Composition is the organization and placement of the elements on your picture plane.

·        Focal Point is the object or area you want the viewer to look at first.

Types of Perspective

·        Nonlinear Perspective is the method of showing depth that incorporates the following techniques.

o      Position-Placing an object higher on the page makes it appear farther back then objects placed lower on the page.

o      Overlapping-When an object overlaps another object it appears closer to the viewer, and the object behind the object appears farther away.

o      Size Variation-Smaller objects look farther away in the distance.  Larger objects look closer.

o      Color-Bright colors look like they are closer to you and neutral colors look like they are farther away.

o      Value-Lighter values look like they are farther back and darker value look like they are closer.  For example in a landscape the mountains often look bluish and lighter then the trees or houses that are closer to you.

·        Linear Perspective is the method of using lines to show the illusion of depth in a picture.  The following are types of linear perspective.

o     One-point perspective-When lines created by the sides of tables or building look like that are pointing to the distance and they all meet at one point on the horizon this is one-point perspective. To see an example stand in the middle of the hallway and look at the horizontal lines in the brick or the corner where the ceiling meets the wall.  See how they move to one point on the horizon.

o     Two-point perspective-Here the lines look like they are meeting at two points on the horizon line.



Texture is the surface quality of an object.  A rock may be rough and jagged.  A piece of silk may be soft and smooth and your desk may feel hard and smooth.  Texture also refers to the way a picture is made to look rough or smooth. 

Categories of Texture

·        Real Texture is the actual texture of an object.  Artist may create real texture in art to give it visual interest or evoke a feeling.  A piece of pottery may have a rough texture so that it will look like it came from nature or a smooth texture to make it look like it is machine made.

·      Implied Texture is the where a two-dimensional piece of art is made to look like a certain texture but in fact is just a smooth piece of paper.  Like a drawing of a tree trunk may look rough but in fact it is just a smooth piece of paper

Using your pencil create different types of textures in the boxes below. 

Explain what the texture is at the bottom of each box.



Value is the range of lightness and darkness within a picture.  Value is created by a light source that shines on an object creating highlights and shadows.  It also illuminates the local or actual color of the subject.  Value creates depth within a picture making an object look three dimensional with highlights and cast shadows, or in a landscape where it gets lighter in value as it recedes to the background giving the illusion of depth.

Categories of Values

·            Tint is adding white to color paint to create lighter values such as light blue or pink.

·        Shade is adding black to paint to create dark values such as dark blue or dark red.

·        High-Key is where the picture is all light values.

·        Low-Key is where the picture is all dark values.

·        Value Contrast is where light values are placed next to dark values to create contrast or strong differences.

·        Value Scale is a scale that shows the gradual change in value from its lightest value, white to its darkest value black. 

Create a 5 value, Value Scale.

Beginning with the box on the right leave it blank, it will be the lightest value of the value scale.  The box on the far left will be the darkest value, so shade it in completely black.  The three remaining shade in to show a gradual change form the lightest to the darkest.


Form is the three-dimensionality of an object.  Shape is only two-dimensional; form is three-dimensional.  You can hold a form; walk around a form and in some cases walk inside a form. In drawing or painting using value can imply form.  Shading a circle in a certain manner can turn it into a sphere.  

Types of Form

Draw and correctly shade the four basic Forms.





 When looking at the Elements of Design in Art we can now hopefully see correlations between what is often regarded as high art, and also advertising and the visual culture which surrounds all of us everyday. Building up a working vocabulary about how to talk about these elements will be important as you move forward into the HND program. 


Friday – Ryan:

Spiel about attendance and expectations

Class overview (what is design, what will we learn)

Intro to computer graphics theory (raster/vector etc)

Personal Experimental Studies Class: 9 and 10: Ink Wash Techniques

Photographing Portraits and Ink Wash Techniques


1st Class: Krystof

During todays class you will all be taking photos of yourselves with the camera and lights from the school.

2nd Class:  Today we will be drawing self portraits in pen and ink from the images which were taken on Monday.

First we will “Live Trace” all of our images in Illustrator. If you don’t know how to Live Trace then here’s a quick tutorial.

By Live tracing the image we will get a clear “value scale” map of our images. A value simply refers to a shadow.  Since we don’t have a lot of time to spend drawing these we can use the same transfer technique we used on our stencils so we can have more time working with the materials, and many of the drawing elements will be already taken care of.

ink wash techniques

In this video tutorial we can see how to simply make different values for making washes with ink.

You will be using the photographed portraits made with Krystof and then you will be drawing these images with pen and ink, and then use ink wash techniques to fill in the final value shapes and variations.

Personal Experimental Studies Class: 7 and 8

1st Class: Krystof

For this class you will bring your completed sequence of frames and begin to do any more post production that you wish to do. This would include things like adding sound effects (which can be downloaded for free from places like freesound.org , or imcompetech.com . If you wish to use some music you can find royalty free music at jamendo.com . Why use royalty free music and sound effects? Well, because for one thing many of you may want to share your animation with friends, and a really quick way to get your video taken down from sites like youtube is to have a famous song as background music. Once you have found the sound effects as well as the music you’d like to include you can then add them using Premiere. Here’s a quick tutorial on how to do that.

Make an animation in Premiere by finalizing all of the frames you have been working on.

Open Adobe Premiere Elements.
Create a new project.
Go to File -> Import, and import and open your video.
Now, go back to File -> Import, and select the audio you want to use.
Open it. It will now appear in the project panel. You can press Shift + 1 if you do not see this window.
You should now see an Audio section on your timeline. Drag your audio to this section.
Your audio will now appear under your video tracks and will sync with it. You can play around with your audio on your timeline. If you want it to come in a few seconds after the video starts, you can move the start of the video a few clicks in.

Other things to consider may be some minor color correction, and setting the contrast and tone. You can edit multiple images at the same time by using photoshop. Here’s a video tutorial on how to do it.

2nd Class:

During this class we will be showing all of our animations to the class. Be prepared and make sure to have it saved as a Mp4, .mov, or .avi, so we can easily play it. After we have shown all of the animations we will have a brief critique and then you will be turning them in to reception.