Drawing Objectives

Drawing Resources:

Anne Harris http://www.anneharrispainting.com

Barbara Takenaga http://www.barbaratakenaga.com

Jay DeFeo http://whitney.org/Exhibitions/JayDeFeo

Susan Scwhalb http://www.susanschwalb.com

Leon Ferrari https://www.moma.org/artists/1859?locale=en

Gego. https://www.moma.org/artists/2107#works

Simonette Quamina https://www.simonettequamina.com

Francis Davison https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s47YpqT92wA

Wangechi Mutu http://wangechimutu.com

finally above all else, it is about leaving a mark that I existed; I was here. I was hungry. I was defeated. I was happy. I was sad. I was in love. I was afraid. I was hopeful. I had an idea and I had a good purpose and that’s why I made works of art….Felix Gonzales Torres 1957-1996


I would work at it at night and get the light right, and it was like magic. I’d just put one of these little ceramic pieces here or there, and you couldn’t see the wire that attached it. All you’d see were these little white things floating. And. then I’d move the light, and the “drawing” of the wire would hit the wall, and I’d think, that’s better than the sculpture! That’s a great drawing! Lee Bontecu

Economy and structure and intuition.

Overlapping forms…The intense sensitivity of the moon-at each stage retaining its perfection, size 36.



Break the cycle of seeing.

Magic and awareness arrives.

Diaries of Nasreen Mohamedi 1937-1990

At the most basic level—beyond attempting to link the “formal” language of abstraction with the folk art of jianzhi (papercut)—I also tinker with subtle symbolic implications and metaphors that connect the past and the present, the east and the west, philosophy and religion. In doing so, my work traverses through the medium of drawings, I installations and sculptures. Fred Liang

About sixty years ago, most educated people could draw in a quite skillful way. Which meant they could tell other people about certain experiences in a certain way. Their visual delights could be expressed….Today people don’t draw very much. They use the camera. My point is, they’re not truly, perhaps, expressing what it was they were looking at -what it was about it that delighted them-and how that delight forced them to make something of it, to share the experience, to make it vivid to somebody else. David Hockney

you are feeling your way into the thing. Emily Carr 1871-1945

The process of drawing is, before all else, the process of putting the visual intelligence into action, the very mechanics of visual thought. Unlike painting and sculpture, it is the process by which the artist makes clear to himself, and not to the spectator, what he is doing. It is a soliloquy before it becomes communication. Michael Ayrton 1921-1975

Final Summative Report

Review past graduates summative reports below in week two of the schedule. Use these as a guide for ideas in presentation, from a report format to a listing format to a booklet format. The assignments differ in class to class, semester to semester though so these are just prompts in presentation.

A. Open with a title page

B. Include an artist resume’ or cv

C. Write an artist or designer or educator statement about your work. (This is a few paragraphs about your goals, ideas, execution, influences, future visions, etc.) If you want to include a bio that can follow the cv or resume. Please do not reference semester or thesis..but rather work and research..project or investigation…so the report stands alone. Reflect on the qualities and categories of growth in your work. 


Include  images of all of your work for this seminar in clear format with labels of size (height by width), materials, and title if given.

Independent Work

New Ground

Equal Tone

Silver Point (if done..optional)

Series of 10

Long Drawing

E. Include your interview of your peer or another artist using drawing with both the questions and the answers and an image of the interviewee and their work or paired works with the interview questions.

Put into one PDF with Last Name_Drawing 


Free Drawing Assignment Using a New Ground  
Second Week:
Enjoyable Read: The Pencil Factory article at the end of this scroll.
Equal Tone; Limited Tone Assignment

Third Week:

Series Assignment

Enjoyable Read and Viewing:



For contemporary series works, watch Ellen Gallagher Art 21 videohttps://art21.org/artist/ellen-gallagher/

Ellen Gallagher was born in Providence, Rhode Island, in 1965, and lives and works in New York and Rotterdam, Holland. She attended Oberlin College and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Repetition and revision are central to Gallagher’s treatment of advertisements that she appropriates from popular magazines like Ebony, Our World, and Sepia and uses in works like eXelento (2004) and DeLuxe(2004–05). Initially, Gallagher was drawn to the wig advertisements because of their grid-like structure. Later, she realized that it was the accompanying language that attracted her, and she began to bring these “narratives” into her paintings—making them function through the characters of the advertisements, as a kind of chart of lost worlds.

Individual Meetings 

Metalpoint Drawing Assignment

Enjoyable Read: Irish Museum What is Drawing? https://www.imma.ie/en/downloads/whatisdrawing2013.pdf

Metalpoint Drawing.                                                          

Color Aid and Pilke  paper and silver points supplied.

Necessary Read and Handout Essay: Drawings under Scrutiny: The Materials and Techniques of Metalpoint. Kimberly Schenk. From:
Drawing in Silver and Gold, Leonardo to Jasper Johns Editors Stacey Sell and Hugo Chapman 2015 Princeton University Press

Fourth Week: 

Chazan Gallery in person exhibition visit.

The Boston Drawing Project https://thebostondrawingproject.net

RISD Museum Collection Friese Museum Drawings Choices


Fifth Week:   

Series Works: any work up to the total 10  outer edge all the same size in each.

Drawing on a new ground 

Drawing of limited tonal range 

Peer Interview Assignment  

Pose six substantive open-ended questions and arrange an interview time with your interviewee. You may interview in video, in email, in person.  Focus the interview on work for this class and intersecting works. Content, procedures, goals, methods, failures, reflections may be areas one could probe in questions to your peer. The interviewee will answer in writing, video, email, or in-person.

Sample interviews:

The Archives of American Art has written transcripts of designers and artists

such as Anni Albers interview below.  


Some of the websites that used to have extensive written interviews are now just using video interview format; one can infer the questions the artist/designer has been asked.





Sixth Week:  Midterm  Zoom Group Meeting


Assignment: Enjoyable Read: Midterm:                                           https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2019/apr/21/make-your-mark-enduring-appeal-of-drawing-draw-art-fair-london-saatchi-laura-cumming    A general overview of drawing’s power.

Long Drawing Assignment 

Necessary Read

The Beautiful Brain: The Drawings of Santiago Ramon y Cajal

Historical medical drawings by a neuro-researcher over time.

The Beautiful Brain: The Drawings of Santiago Ramón y Cajal

Gego Drawings 


Seventh Week: Peer Interview Sharing


Eighth Week: Open/Work/Individual Meetings 


NinthWeek: Open/Work/Individual Meetings


Tenth Week: Individual Meetings

Charts, and toned grounds, books and reading sources precede a  review any new work by the group.

Color Ideas and Reflections: Charts, Resources, Colored Grounds Synthesis, and Integration. 

Enjoyable Reads:  Wash and Gouache by Marjorie Cohn https://risdcollegiateteaching.files.wordpress.com/2019/02/wash-and-gouache-marjorie-cohn.pdf

Color Resources:

Colour: The Professional’s Guide Karen Triedman   2015 full range of ideas around color use including new media. RISD faculty’s book.

Materials of Artists and Their Use in Painting.  Max Doerner. 1935. With a very good section on painters’ color-methods.  This manual along with Ralph Mayer’s Materials and Techniques and Bernard Chaet’s An Artist’s Notebook 1979 and The Art of Drawing are cornerstones to working methods for drawing.

Chromophobia. David Batchelor 2000  and  Luminosity and The Grey 2014                     Contemporary philosophical and contextual ideas about color.

Color a Natural History of Palette. Victoria Finlay 2003 Fascinating traveling look at color through history and culture. 

Interaction of Color.Josef Albers 1963 the basic primer for painters and designers to more powerfully use color.

Color: A Workshop Approach.  David Hornung 2004 work-a-day manual for artists and designers to apply color principles.

The Principles of Harmony and Contrast of Colors and Their Applications to the Arts.  Gobelin Tapestry’s Chemist Theory. M. E. Chevreul 1860 reflections on color for industry and artists as an early applied system of color.

Modern chromatics; students’ text-book of color,: With applications to art and industry  Ogden N Rood and Faber Birren 1879very in-depth survey of science and methods of use for color in the late 19th century which gave a foundation for modernist color.

Blue: The History of a Color Michael Pastoureau 2004 Red: The History of a Color 2016 and more volumes on specific colors.

Wash and Gouache: A Study of the Development of WatercolorMarjorie B Cohn, Rachel Rosenfielda survey of British watercolor techniques and applications. The RISD Museum has 600 British watercolors that exhibit a full spectrum of color usage from tonality, to luminosity, to color interaction. Looking at these and the range of color Japanese woodcuts would fortify one’s color thinking.

A Dictionary of Color Combinations by Sanzo Wada (1883-1967) an artist, teacher, costume and kimono designer in avant-garde Japanese art and cinema. A richly visual and beautiful treatise on color.




Wash and Gouache Marjorie Cohn

RISD’s Color Lab opposite the RISD Store…The Lab will grow to house research collections and provide resources—physical and electronic—that allow classes to experience first-hand demonstrations and experiments clarifying the importance of color in human experience and world culture. In our first year, we will host events, lectures, demonstrations and classes, all centered on the rich and vital subject of color.

A pencil is a little wonder-wand: a stick of wood that traces the tiniest motions of your hand as it moves across a surface. I am using one now, making weird little loops and slashes to write these words. As a tool, it is admirably sensitive. The lines it makes can be fat or thin, screams or whispers, blocks of concrete or blades of grass, all depending on changes of pressure so subtle that we would hardly notice them in any other context. (The difference in force between a bold line and nothing at all would hardly tip a domino.) And while a pencil is sophisticated enough to track every gradation of the human hand, it is also simple enough for a toddler to use.

Such radical simplicity is surprisingly complicated to produce. Since 1889, the General Pencil Company has been converting huge quantities of raw materials (wax, paint, cedar planks, graphite) into products you can find, neatly boxed and labeled, in art and office-supply stores across the nation: watercolor pencils, editing pencils, sticks of charcoal, pastel chalks. Even as other factories have chased higher profit margins overseas, General Pencil has stayed put, cranking out thousands upon thousands of writing instruments in the middle of Jersey City.

Extrusions of graphite are collected for recycling.

Packing graphite, which is the consistency of sand, is used to distribute the oven’s heat evenly around the graphite cores. Afterward, the packing material will be poured out and recycled. 

Graphite cores cooling after being dipped in heated wax. 

These graphite cores were heated in an oven to remove moisture and harden the material.

After being heated, graphite cores are placed in perforated cans and dipped in hot wax.

The pastel cores are fragile and must be carefully placed by hand into the cedar slats. 

The employee seen here has worked at General Pencil for 47 years. The mixer behind him handles pastels and charcoals. 

Pastel extrusions, used for colored pencils, are laid by hand onto grooved wooden boards, where they will dry before being placed in pencil slats. The extruding machine that produced them usually handles a single color each week, after which it is scrubbed clean to prepare it for the next. 

A lead layer drops graphite cores into pre-glued slats. 

Another layer of wood fully encases the pencil’s core. The resulting “sandwich” is clamped together to bond and dry. 

This sandwich still needs to be shaped. A woodworking machine will cut the individual pencils into their desired shape — round, hexagonal or otherwise. 

Editing pencils are sharpened at each end: One makes red marks, the other blue. The trays seen here will be turned upside down and dunked in blue paint by a dipper machine, marking the blue half.

Ferrules — the metal bands that cinch around the bases of erasers — are loaded onto a conveyor and sent to a tipping machine. 

The tipping machine adds metal ferrules and erasers. 

After receiving a coating of paint, pencils are returned by conveyor for another layer. Most pencils receive four coats of paint. 

On some pencils, a capper installs smooth metal caps — no eraser. 

Pencils are sharpened by rolling them across a high-speed sanding belt. 

Over the past few years, the photographer Christopher Payne visited the factory dozens of times, documenting every phase of the manufacturing process. His photographs capture the many different worlds hidden inside the complex’s plain brick exterior. The basement, where workers process charcoal, is a universe of absolute gray: gray shirts, gray hands, gray machines swallowing gray ingredients. A surprising amount of the work is done manually; it can take employees multiple days off to get their hands fully clean. Pencil cores emerge from the machines like fresh pasta, smooth and wet, ready to be cut into different lengths and dried before going into their wooden shells.

Other parts of the factory are eruptions of color. Red pencils wait, in orderly grids, to be dipped into bright blue paint. A worker named Maria matches the color of her shirt and nail polish to the shade of the pastel cores being manufactured each week. One of the company’s signature products, white pastels, have to be made in a dedicated machine, separated from every other color. At the tipping machine, a whirlpool of pink erasers twists, supervised patiently by a woman wearing a bindi.

Payne conveys the incidental beauty of functional machines: strange architectures of chains, conveyor belts, glue pots, metal discs and gears thick with generations of grease. He captures the strangeness of seeing a tool as simple as a pencil disassembled into its even simpler component parts. He shows us the aesthetic magic of scale. Heaps of pencil cores wait piled against a concrete wall, like an arsenal of gray spaghetti. Hundreds of pencils sit stacked in honeycomb towers. Wood shavings fly as fresh pencils are dragged across the sharpening machine, a wheel of fast-spinning sandpaper.

In an era of infinite screens, the humble pencil feels revolutionarily direct: It does exactly what it does, when it does it, right in front of you. Pencils eschew digital jujitsu. They are pure analog, absolute presence. They help to rescue us from oblivion. Think of how many of our finest motions disappear, untracked — how many eye blinks and toe twitches and secret glances vanish into nothing. And yet when you hold a pencil, your quietest little hand-dances are mapped exactly, from the loops and slashes to the final dot at the very end of a sentence.

Photographs like these do something similar. They preserve the secret origins of objects we tend to take for granted. They show us the pride and connection of the humans who make those objects, as well as a mode of manufacturing that is itself disappearing in favor of automation. Like a pencil, these photos trace motions that may someday be gone.