This practical studio course serves as an introduction to drawing media—its basic principles and techniques, perceptual theory, and experimental as well as conceptual approaches. It is designed to develop observational and non-observational drawing skills through hands-on in-class studio experience, assignments (twice per week), critique of students’ work, and group exercises. Students will gain knowledge of historical and current approaches to drawing media through visual presentations, reading and research. The course will begin with basic drawing principles, techniques and experimental markmaking exercises that will gradually advance towards a more complex use and understanding of the media to convey personal ideas and conceptual issues.

Course Goals

The objective of this introductory studio art course is to provide the student with a working knowledge of, and skills associated with, computer-based art production. For those of you who have not taken a studio art course before, we design, produce, and then analyze (critique) artworks in this class.

The computer is a powerful tool but does not obviate the need for visual fundamental theory and execution, so we will first look at and discuss elements of design, composition, and color theory. In addition, to help us contextualize this kind of artistic production, we will spend some time looking at a brief history of digital art as well as its relationship to artwork in general.

For our work, we will be using Macintosh computers with Adobe software (both raster- and vector-based programs). Early on we will create work that consists primarily of images and sometimes text. Later we can move to time-based and/or conceptual forms as your interests dictate. Your completed pieces will usually be turned in as digital files, but could also be output to hard copy or “published” online. In addition to producing digital works, we will analyze our work in critiques where we will be concerned with technical, formal, and conceptual questions regarding this technology-based form of artwork. In doing so we might consider where a work sits in relation to existing artwork, media, and/or popular culture.

By the end of this term we should know more generally about this technology-based form of artwork and its relationship to contemporary art production; we will have gained experience with basic computer techniques and design concepts; we will have honed our ability to analyze these types of images (like that of a text); and we will have amassed a small body of creative work of a digital nature.


Digital art is based in the computer—a hard machine that functions on logical algorithms. But in the end, the artwork that has been produced with the aid of this device seems to be closer to, and have an affinity for, Dada, Surrealism, Conceptual Art, Happenings, Performance, and even Earth Art.

When looking at computer-based work from the last twenty-five years one notices a propensity for appropriation and reconstitution, akin to some works produced in the Dada and Surrealism movements. The work is inherently non-material as with Conceptual, and in the end, Happenings, Performance, and even Earth Art. And, as with those earlier forms of artistic production, digital art seems to revel in the use of wit, humor, and subversion.

Photography’s influence on painting in the 19th century was profound—providing it with the freedom to move toward non-representational and abstract forms. The work of painters in the Cubist fold then influenced and altered photographic practices—showing that the conceptual discussion went in both directions. In this class, we’ll look at how Digital Art, in a similar fashion, has been having an on-going two-way conversation with contemporary art.

Course Goals

The objective of this studio art course is to provide the student working knowledge of, and experience with, the fundamental creative tools used in fine art photographic practice—using traditional (analog/chemical) processing and printing techniques.

In addition to producing silver-based photographs, participants learn to analyze and discuss their work in critiques. When regarding the images produced in this course, discussion will be centered on technical, formal, and conceptual characteristics. We will also discuss subject matter and content—and the difference between the two. In this critical “reading” of images, like that of a text, we will explore the basics of visual literacy.

To inspire and contextualize, we will view historical examples from the Daguerreotype to contemporary practice—with an emphasis on analog practitioners. Through this study, as well as the production of a small body of work, each student should finish this course with an introductory understanding of traditional (analog) photographic practice.