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2022 Spring


Robert Horvitz
For information about registration please contact our admissions.

(This online version of the course syllabus is shortened. The print-out distributed in class is the full version.)
This course is intended for students with some practical experience and competence in drawing. For students who have not taken ART 180, a portfolio review and brief interview are needed for enrollment in the class.

1.  Course Description

This course is intended for students with some practical experience and competence in drawing. All students should bring examples of their recent drawings to the first class. 

The COVID pandemic continues, affecting whether classes meet in person or online, or as a mix with some students in the classroom and some online. These adjustments, which can change from week to week, alter the amount of time that students can productively listen, discuss or draw as a group. This syllabus is therefore subject to changes to fit current health protection requirements, as well as the expressed needs and interests of students. One-on-one meetings with the instructor are likely to replace some meetings of the class as a group.

In an intermediate-level drawing course, two paths might be followed. The first is continued practice and improvement in the traditional techniques of representation (realistic lighting/shading, perspective, portraiture, etc.). Such skills are still essential for commercial illustrators, and useful for anyone—though less so in the fine arts now, where new ideas and provocations are more valued. Not everyone draws for the same reasons, nor should they.  So the content of this course must take into account how students expect to use drawing in later life. The course can emphasize originality or improvement in representational skills, according to student preferences, as will be discussed in the first class meeting.

A wide variety of tools and materials are used in drawing today, too many to master or even try in one semester. Given this diversity, students should be able to choose the tools they like. Therefore, each member of the class is responsible for buying their own art supplies. Visit a good art supply store during the first week of classes (e.g. Zlatá Loď, in the Platýz courtyard at Narodni 37; nearest metro stop is Mustek), and buy drawing paper, pencils, pens, brushes, watercolors, etc. whatever tools you want to use. Bring the receipts from these purchases to class for reimbursement up to 800 kc. Don’t plan to spend the full amount in the first week as you may need to buy something else later.

2.  Student Learning Outcomes

This course aims to develop each student’s competence in drawing, their creative imagination, their understanding of drawing’s many possibilities and applications, and their observational skills. Their understanding of the history of visual communication, contemporary professional practices and emerging media will also be enhanced.  After completing this course, students should be able to:

  • Use a variety of drawing materials and techniques purposefully and proficiently
  • Imagine or render people, scenes and ideas with increased accuracy and/or stylistic flare
  • Recognize the work of some of the best draftsmen in history
  • Identify the content and techniques which are most meaningful and useful to them
  • Express their drawing aims and strategies verbally

3.   Reading Material

Required Materials

As this course is mainly based on learning by doing, careful observation and critical discussion, reading is just one input. Thomas Buser’s history of drawing website is our primary written reference, along with Dodson’s “Keys to Drawing” for practical advice on technique. 

There are also reading assignments for specific classes.

Recommended Materials

The Internet overflows with useful and relevant resources, from instructional videos to image archives, online display spaces and special-interest communities. Especially noteworthy links will be posted on the “Resources” page of the class website. Some preliminary recommendations concerning the context of this course:



  • G. Anderson (2019), Drawing as a Way of Knowing in Art and Science, Intellect Books
  • A. Bermingham (2000), Learning to Draw: Studies in the Cultural History of a Polite and Useful Art, Yale University Press
  • P. Schenk (2016), Drawing in the Design Process, Intellect Books

4. Teaching methodology

As noted above, the main approach for this course is learning by doing, tailored as much as possible to the needs and interests of each student. Given the importance of individualized assignments, students are expected to draw outside of class-time at least as much as in class. And just as important is learning from the work of past and contemporary masters, especially those cited in the slide lectures, and from your classmates.

Except during lectures and class discussions, students are free to listen to music using earplugs while they draw.

5. General Requirements and School Policies

a. General requirements

All coursework is governed by AAU’s academic rules. Students are expected to be familiar with the academic rules in the Academic Codex and Student Handbook and to maintain the highest standards of honesty and academic integrity in their work.

b. Electronic communication and submission

The university and instructors shall only use students’ university email address for communication, with additional communication via NEO LMS or Microsoft Teams. Students sending e-mail to an instructor shall clearly state the course code and the topic in the subject heading, for example, “COM101-1 Mid-term Exam. Question”. All electronic submissions are through NEO LMS.

c. Attendance

Attendance, i.e., presence in class in real-time, is expected. Instructors are authorized to grant remote status to a student for one week. But otherwise remote status to study online must be officially confirmed. Students must not miss more than 35% of real-time classes.

d. Absence excuse and make-up options

Should a student be absent from classes for relevant reasons (illness, serious family matters), and the student wishes to request that the absence be excused, the student should submit an Absence Excuse Request Form supplemented with documents providing reasons for the absence to the Dean of Students within one week of the absence. If possible, it is recommended the instructor be informed of the absence in advance. Should a student be absent during the add/drop period due to a change in registration this will be an excused absence if s/he submits an Absence Excuse Request Form along with the finalized add/drop form.

Students whose absence has been excused by the Dean of Students are entitled to make up assignments and exams provided their nature allows. Assignments missed due to unexcused absences which cannot be made up, may result in a decreased or failing grade as specified in the syllabus.

Students are responsible for contacting their instructor within one week of the date the absence was excused to arrange for make-up options.

e. Late work

No late submissions will be accepted – please follow the deadlines.

f. Electronic devices

Electronic devices (e.g. phones, tablets, laptops) may be used only for class-related activities (taking notes, looking up related information, etc.). Any other use will result in the student being marked absent and/or being expelled from the class. An important exception is listening to music via earplugs while drawing: this is not only allowed (except during class discussions and lectures), it is encouraged. No electronic devices may be used during tests or exams unless required by the exam format and the instructor.

g. Eating

Eating is not allowed during classes.

Here is the course outline:

1. Course introduction

Feb 7 6:30pm .. 9pm, Room 1.31

2. Drawing History

Feb 14 6:30pm .. 9pm, Room 1.31

3. Truth, Beauty, Importance

Feb 21 6:30pm .. 9pm, Room 1.31

4. Drawn language

Feb 28 6:30pm .. 9pm, Room 1.31

5. Why accurate representation is no longer enough

Mar 7 6:30pm .. 9pm, Room 1.31

6. Faces & Caricatures

Mar 14 6:30pm .. 9pm, Room 1.31

7. Animated Cartoons lead to Computer Graphics

Mar 21 6:30pm .. 9pm, Room 1.31


Mar 28, Prague

9. Pictures & Compositions

Apr 4 6:30pm .. 9pm, Room 1.31

10. Scientific illustration

Apr 11 6:30pm .. 9pm, Room 1.31

11. Speed Sketching

Apr 25 6:30pm .. 9pm, Room 1.31

12. Drawing software & Artificial Intelligence

May 16 6:30pm .. 9pm, Room 1.31

13. PORTFOLIO REVIEW and group critique

May 23 6:30pm .. 9pm, Room 1.31
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