YEAR ONE CURRICULUM
2022-23 TERM DATES:
STARTING ACADEMIC DRAWING
In the initial phase of the curriculum, the emphasis is placed on the mastery of the fundamental concepts of shadow, proportion, and contour. To achieve this, students commence by undertaking a thorough replication of the masterfully crafted images within the Charles Bargue Drawing Course. This allows for the acquisition of the skills necessary for the production of clean, block-like shapes, the manipulation of outline, line weight, and edge quality, as well as the understanding of key values. Through the replication of the forms presented in graphite, students gain a comprehensive understanding of the academic approach to drawing. The studies presented within the Charles Bargue Course are varied in their level of complexity, ranging from relatively simple to highly detailed. This requires students to demonstrate proficiency in their ability to accurately draw shadow shapes, outside edges, values, and to achieve a precise rendering.
The progression through the program serves to cultivate the students' visual language, initially within the realm of two-dimensional representation, as a foundation for the eventual rendering of three-dimensional objects in reality. This enables students to "see" more accurately, using materials that allow for precision within a millimeter, and develops proficiency in their tools. Through sustained practice over a significant number of hours, students will be able to apply the skills and knowledge acquired to represent the human figure. Furthermore, students will also learn the right concepts, knowledge, and process to apply to the drawing. Additionally, students will also learn the sight-size method of measurement, which will aid them in understanding how to replicate the illusion of three-dimensional forms from two-dimensional drawings, which will later be translated to the representation of three-dimensional objects in reality.
In summary, key learning objectives in the Starting Academic Drawing course include: the replication and accurate key-ing of values, the achievement of a high level of drawing cleanliness, the proper application of concepts, knowledge, and process to the drawing, the effective use of the sight-size method of measurement, and the understanding of how to replicate the illusion of three-dimensional forms from two-dimensional drawings.
BEGINNING CAST DRAWING
In the later stages of the curriculum, students engage in the practice of creating two-dimensional replicas of plaster casts. These exercises serve to train students in recognizing tones (or values) in life and developing an appreciation for subtle changes in form and tone. The plaster casts, often derived from ancient statues, provide opportunities for students to discover shapes with similar structures in nature. The simplified forms of the casts, which are motionless and present a less complex representation of natural forms, require students to rely on eye measurements rather than precise measurements with a tool, effectively preparing them for the task of drawing directly from a live model.
Furthermore, students learn to design an effective composition for their cast drawings and paintings, creating a focal point that is impactful and essential to the completion of the artwork. The concept of focal point is particularly relevant in this context, as students utilize optical illusions to depict one area in sharp focus with a range of edge quality, while the remainder of the image is portrayed in a softer focus, replicating the way we perceive objects in reality with certain objects in perfect focus and others in the periphery appearing out of focus. Additionally, students are taught to design an interesting "shadow map" to enhance contrast and create visually compelling works.
Nature has an infinite range of tones, yet our tools are limited in their ability to record them. Therefore, students must learn to value-key through their cast studies, controlling their value range by narrowing and prioritising tones to create a hierarchy, effectively conveying form and depth. Through the skillful manipulation of values, students learn to create the illusion of three dimensions.
FIGURE DRAWING 101
The creation of a two-dimensional representation of a living subject is central to the core program at SSCA, as it utilizes the techniques and knowledge gained through casts and Charles Bargue drawings. Our approach to achieving realistic and finely rendered figure drawings in an academic style is through the Riley Method, which focuses on the placement of the main volumes of the human body and their interconnections through rhythms. This method not only involves outlining, but also involves elements of anatomy and the figure in motion, resulting in a dynamic and naturalistic depiction of the figure. To achieve a realistic representation, students at SSCA begin by "mannequinizing" the figure using the Riley Method to establish the main volumes and then proceed to add more specific features. The use of tone and shadow mapping, as well as the depiction of the most descriptive shapes, helps to bring the drawing to a rendered state. Through this process, students progress from a focus on structure and simple outlines to a deeper understanding of anatomy, resulting in the creation of realistic proportions and a sense of weight and balance. Students then learn to use techniques such as edge quality and grouping of light and shadow families to imply the form of the figure and think more like complete painters, creating focal points and manipulating edge quality. In addition to these methods, students also learn various techniques for quickly sketching the figure, such as gestural quick-sketches, structural quick-sketches, and shadow maps, among others, to capture the complex nature of the figure.
Key learning objectives in Figure Drawing 101 include the application of knowledge in representing the anatomy of the human figure, understanding how to use a complex “shadow map” to illustrate how light is cast across the form of the figure, illustrating a realistically proportioned human figure, developing skill in representing the subtle variations in forms from pose to pose.
The Riley Method is a unique approach to figure drawing that was developed by artist and educator, Frank Riley. This method emphasizes the importance of proportion, anatomy, and gesture in creating realistic and expressive drawings of the human figure.
The Riley Method begins with an understanding of the basic proportions of the human body. Students are taught to break down the figure into simple geometric shapes and to use these shapes as a framework for their drawings. By using these shapes as a guide, students can quickly establish the overall proportions of the figure and ensure that their drawings are accurate.
In addition to understanding proportion, the Riley Method also emphasizes the study of anatomy. Students are taught to understand the underlying structure of the human body and to use this knowledge to create more convincing and realistic drawings. By studying the bones, muscles, and other structures that make up the human figure, students are able to create drawings that have a greater sense of depth and dimensionality.
Finally, the Riley Method places a strong emphasis on gesture. Gesture refers to the movement and energy that is inherent in the human figure. By capturing the gesture of the figure, students are able to create drawings that are more dynamic and expressive. Through a series of exercises and studies, students learn to capture the gesture of the figure quickly and confidently.
Overall, the Riley Method is a comprehensive approach to figure drawing that emphasizes the importance of proportion, anatomy, and gesture. By mastering these elements, students are able to create drawings that are both realistic and expressive, and that capture the essence of the human figure. If you are interested in learning more about the Riley Method and how it can help you improve your figure drawing skills, we encourage you to explore our art school's curriculum and consider enrolling in our figure drawing classes.
ANATOMY FOR THE ARTIST
During the Anatomy for the Artist course at our institution, we provide students with new methods for comprehending the structures of the human body. Our emphasis on drawing from life necessitates a thorough and rigorous approach to the study of anatomy. In order to facilitate understanding and efficient representation of the complex forms of the figure, we aim to impart new ways of simplifying them.
Our anatomy course aims to enhance students' understanding of the skeletal structure and the correct proportions and planes of the human figure. We seek to impart a knowledge of key constructive points and to instill in students a three-dimensional image of each form. Key studies in our course include: the skeleton in three projections, the skull, the rib cage and spinal column, the pelvic bones, major joints (elbow and knee), the hands and feet, and the muscles of the head and neck, torso (front and back), lower limbs, and hands and feet. A schematic model of the full figure is also included in our curriculum.