Monday, January 12, 2015


ILL 273: Drawing for Illustration
Room 332, Shaffer Art Building
SEC M002: Wednesdays 2:30-6:00pm
SEC M001: Thursdays 8:00-11:30am

Danny Schwartz

 “Almost all art work, no matter what the final form, begins with drawing because drawing is the artist’s fundamental tool."
                                                                -Mary Blair                     

COURSE DESCRIPTION: No matter what kind of illustration you would like to pursue – editorial, entertainment, design, or sequential – drawing will be essential to your life. The goal of this class is to broaden the drawing tools artists have that apply directly to illustration and narrative image making. A good drawing is a spine for the rest of the creation process, regardless of area of specialization – the more you put into it, the more it will hold up whatever you’re working on. This goes for every stage of our process as illustrators – from sketches all the way through any kind of final. As such, before mastering any other type of medium at all, it is essential that the modern illustrator masters drawing in their own right first. Master drawing, and everything else will follow.

We will spend the semester developing our own vocabularies as draftsmen and creative thinkers. Emphasis will be placed on developing a sense of style through repeated exposure to established technique. My goal by the end of the class is to have you seriously thinking about how each mark you put on your page is distinctly your own. We’re going to cover as much ground as we possibly can – figures, environments, objects, animals, architecture – with the ultimate goal of applying it all towards our conceptual work. Even now (and honestly, I suspect for the rest of my life) I find that everything I learn how to draw just a little bit better becomes an indispensible tool in my arsenal of illustrative devices. Push, play, and experiment with each assignment that is given, in or out of class, no matter the size, and you will be rewarded.

A great deal of time in this class will be spent drawing the figure. The semester is pretty neatly divided in half – in the first half of the semester, we’re going to be working a lot in line and gesture, mostly without value. In the second half of the semester, we’re going to be working more closely with value and shape. Outside of class, assignments will focus on the fundamentals of building a world that does not exist, bringing all of the things we cover in class together under the umbrella of illustration.

w  To push ever closer towards mastery of the fine art of drawing.  
w  To continue to develop a professional, commercial aesthetic that will sell well in today’s competitive market.
w  To continue to establish a habit of pushing artistic boundaries and stylistic evolution.

CLASS POLICIES: Because the amount of learning you can do from drawing is immeasurable, we are going to be doing a lot of drawing in this class. As such, I will not tolerate distraction from the work, electronic or otherwise. I expect an atmosphere of quiet study, especially during drawing sessions. Unless otherwise permitted for work we are doing in class, there will be no laptops or internet surfing permitted during class time. The same goes for cell phone use. Place your cell phone on vibrate before coming to class. You will receive two warnings for texting in class. On the third, I will begin to dismantle your grade. If you receive an emergency call or text, let me know, and quietly answer it in the hall.

ACADEMIC INTEGRITY STATEMENT: The Syracuse University Academic Integrity Policy holds students accountable for the integrity of the work they submit. Students should be familiar with the Policy and know that it is their responsibility to learn about instructor and general academic expectations with regard to proper citation of sources in written work. The policy also governs the integrity of the work submitted in exams and assignments as well as the veracity of signatures on attendance sheets and other verifications of participation in class activities. Serious sanctions can result from academic dishonesty of any sort. For more information and the complete policy, see

DISABILITY-RELATED ACCOMODATIONS: Students who are in need of disability-related academic accommodations must register with the Office of Disabilities Services (ODS), 804 University Avenue, Room 309, 315-443-4498. Students with authorized disability-related accommodations should provide a current Accommodation Authorization Letter from ODS to the instructor and review those accommodations with the instructor. Accommodations, such as exam administration, are not provided retroactively; therefore, planning for accommodations as early as possible is necessary. For further information, see the ODS website, Office of Disability Services

A         achievement is outstanding relative to the level necessary to meet course requirements
B         achievement is significantly above the level necessary to meet course requirements
C          achievement meets the course requirements in every respect
D         achievement is worthy of credit even though it fails to meet the course requirements
F          achievement is not worthy of credit or was not completed / represents failure

Drawing Vocabulary assignments: 25%
Semester-long Project: 15%
Drawing exercises in class: 50%
Classroom participation: 10%
I will repeat here that: in this class, any assignment with a missed deadline will drop a letter grade. Do not hand in anything late. Just as in the professional world, deadlines are incredibly important.

ATTENDANCE: The semester is short, so any missed class really hurts. You get one excused absence. A second one will result in the loss of a letter grade. A third will result in a failing grade. If something comes up and you DO have to miss a class, please try and let me know ahead of time so I can get you caught up to speed. A missed class is never, under any circumstance, an excuse for a missed assignment. If you are not in class on the day an assignment or sketches are due, it is your responsibility to get it to me via email on that same day – otherwise, that assignment will be considered late.

You can reach me at any time, for any reason, via cell or email. Texting me if you really need me works probably better than anything for a rapid response, but I’m pretty good about responding to emails quickly as well.

And now, a very rough outline of due dates for our class. Dates are subject to change:

January 14/15: First class. We meet. We discuss the drawing vocabulary project.

January 21/22: Drawing vocabulary #1 due. In class, we are drawing from the figure with conté crayons, using line and gesture. Quick poses.

January 28/29: Drawing vocabulary #2 due. Again, in class we are drawing from the figure using conté crayons, with line and gesture. Quick poses.

February 4/5: Drawing vocabulary #3 due. Drawing from the model, contour drawings. Longer poses.

February 11/12: Drawing vocabulary #4 due. Line drawings of the figure with charcoal on newsprint. We discuss the final research project guidelines and proposal.

February 18/19: TBD

February 25/26: Drawing vocabulary #5 due. Drawing from the model. Longer poses.

March 4/5: Drawing vocabulary #6 due. Final research project proposal due. Value and graphite. Drawing from taxidermy animals. “Sam Wolfe Connely Day”. Drawing on Stonehenge printmaking paper with graphite powder, erasers, and pencils.


March 18/19: Drawing vocabulary #7 due. Special guests, Tim Bower and Jeffrey Decoster.

March 25/26: Drawing vocabulary #8 due. More redactive drawing on Stonehenge printmaking paper with graphite power, this time drawing from the figure.

April 1/2: Drawing vocabulary #9 due. “Spring drawing” assignment, in class. Full value.

April 8/9: NO CLASS.

April 15/16: Drawing vocabulary #10 due. Figure drawing from the model, larger scene, full value.

April 22/23: Final Class. Final research assignment due. All 10 drawing vocab assignments due. Bring everything in from the entire semester. Figure drawing from the model, larger scene, full value. For all non-illustration students, or anyone who does not have survey, this is the last time we meet, and everything is due. There are no exceptions. I do not accept any work after this date.

Survey: Seniors: Wednesday, April 29 (Senior Portfolio Day)
             Juniors: Thursday, April 30
            Sophomores: Friday, May 1

ILL 273: Drawing for Illustration

As previously stated, a great deal of time in this class will be spent drawing the figure, so certain materials are mandatory. If I am not specific about the brand, as I am not in almost all cases, then simply make sure that you have the correct material for class.

2 DRAWING PADS, WHITE PAPER, 18x24: We are going to be blowing through paper this semester. Get either two pads or one giant pad. You might have to get more, depending on how the semester goes. I prefer Strathmore everything, but I leave it to you to choose your favorite papers. Just make sure the paper is white, and not some weird cream.
NEWSPRINT PAD, 18x24: One of these should do to start.
2 SHEETS STONEHENGE PRINTMAKING PAPER, 20x30 SHEETS: Mostly for specific class assignments, this paper is superb for drawing, especially with graphite. You can cut them down to two 18 x 24 sheets to start. We won’t get to this for a little while.
CONTÉ CRAYONS: RED, BLACK, AND WHITE: Self-explanatory. Get the brand that appeals to you. Great for gesture drawings, which we’ll be concentrating on for the first few weeks.
VINE CHARCOAL: More gesture drawings.
GRAPHITE PENCILS, YOUR FAVORITE: For some of the longer poses, I’ll let you do your own thing with your favorite pencils. If you like mechanical pencils, I have some great recommendations.
GRAPHITE POWDER: For a special technique workshop.
ERASER PENCILS: For a special technique workshop.
MICRON PENS, FULL RANGE: Mostly for use for homework assignments. I expect all drawing vocabulary assignments to be done in ink, unless otherwise specified.
SOME SOFT, CHEAP PAINTBRUSHES: Blending, and also for use in special workshop.
WORKABLE FIXATIVE: Please do your drawings a favor and spray-fix them at the end of an especially long drawing session, especially when we are working with powdered dry media. Do not bring in finals for critique, especially the final assignment, without having sprayed it first. Professional presentation is incredibly important at all times.

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