Certificate Programs

Beginning Drawing – 15.0 credits

Beginning Drawing – 15.0 credits 2017-07-30T23:05:33+00:00

An established set of exercises focuses on outline, proportion, and shadow shape, on a step by step progression through the program’s curriculum.

The first exercises are designed to strengthen the student’s visual relationship with two-dimensional form to help them confront three-dimensional subjects in life. The simplified forms of the Bargue Drawings allow students to learn the procedure very well, and develop skill in reproducing the outline, blocking out shapes, and refining line quality. They also begin to understand the importance of values in turning form.

The first exercises are designed to strengthen the student’s visual relationship with two-dimensional form to help them confront three-dimensional subjects in life.

The simplified forms of the Bargue Drawings allow students to learn the procedure very well, and develop skill in reproducing the outline, blocking out shapes, and refining line quality. They also begin to understand the importance of values in turning form. Students begin to learn how to see their subject, and gain precision through practice over many weeks, as well as skill in handling their materials and tools. The student should begin to transfer these concepts to drawing from the model.

Students are required to copy three small Bargue drawings in pencil and three large in charcoal; the level of difficulty of the Bargue drawings ranges from simple to complex. In order to pass these exercises, the student must correctly draw the subject’s outline, proportion and shadow shape, and use skillfully his materials (pencil, charcoal and paper). This requires that the student sees his shapes correctly, applies the sight size method correctly, and fully controls his technique.

By the conclusion of Beginning Drawing the student will be able to:

  • apply the correct procedure to drawing
  • apply the sight-size method of measurement in order to view the subject accurately and create an accurate outline
  • translate two-dimensional form in order to later translate three-dimensional form in two dimensions
  • draw correct values
  • clean technique

Upon successful completion of the program, students will have acquired a very high practical ability, together with a deep insight into the theory and historical traditions of drawing.

Beginning Cast Drawing · 7.5 credits

Beginning Cast Drawing · 7.5 credits 2017-08-07T14:58:40+00:00

Cast drawing combines the skills acquired from the preceding exercises, and sensitizes the student’s eye to the light and values found in nature.

The cast is a simplified, monochrome, stationary form, usually reproductions of classical statuary that help the student find similar shapes in nature; measurements, however, are no longer exclusively scientific: the sight-size method of measurement provides the student with a format, but accuracy in cast drawing depends on the eye. In a cast drawing, the instructor looks for accuracy in line, mass and values.

The cast is a simplified, monochrome, stationary form, usually reproductions of classical statuary that help the student find similar shapes in nature; measurements, however, are no longer exclusively scientific: the sight-size method of measurement provides the student with a format, but accuracy in cast drawing depends on the eye. In a cast drawing, the instructor looks for accuracy in line, mass and values.

At this time, students are directed in how to set up their cast in order to create a strong focal point that should be prominent in the finished drawing. This is a fundamental concept: to select and draw an area in complete focus, leaving the peripheral area out of focus, as the eye would see in nature. Students also control the light to create and design interesting shadow shapes.

With regard to values of the cast, as the student begins to represent the impression of what he sees, he learns that the value-key must be lowered in his drawing to achieve an accurate impression of reality. The student learns there is a larger range of value from black to white in nature than in a drawing (the darks come close to being the same, but the whites do not). While drawing, he must compress the dark and light ends of the value scale to duplicate the optical effect of light in nature, and create the suggestion of the form turning on the picture plane, thus achieving a three dimensional quality. The student uses a black mirror as an aid to lower the value-key, and therefore represent the impression accurately. Although these values must be accurate in their relationships, and pleasing to the eye, the way students see and reproduce values may differ.

Students are required to copy three plaster casts; the level of difficulty of the casts is considered simple. In order to pass these exercises, the student must correctly draw the subject’s outline, proportion and shadow shape, and use skillfully his materials (charcoal and paper). This requires that the student sees his shapes correctly, applies the sight size method correctly, and fully controls his technique.

By the conclusion of Beginning Cast Drawing you will be able to:

  • Apply the sight-size method of measurement in order to view and reproduce the subject accurately
  • Compress values
  • Translate three-dimensional form into two dimensions
  • Create a focus
  • Create the impression of depth, distance, and atmosphere among parts of the drawing

Beginning Figure Drawing – 25.5 credits

Beginning Figure Drawing – 25.5 credits 2017-08-07T15:00:46+00:00

The figure is the center of the Academy’s curriculum. Beginning figure drawing applies the accuracy gained from the cast to representing a living model.

The student is taught to keep in mind three principal concerns when looking at the live model: proportion, body type, and gesture. In order to achieve those elements, the student may approach the drawing in two ways: linear, whereby the student draws accurately the outline and shadow line, or mass, achieved through the comparison of light shapes vs. shadow shapes. As the student’s drawing progresses from simple outline/shadow line or mass, he culls from his knowledge of anatomy to give the figure a sense of weight and balance.

The student is taught to keep in mind three principal concerns when looking at the live model: proportion, body type, and gesture. In order to achieve those elements, the student may approach the drawing in two ways: linear, whereby the student draws accurately the outline and shadow line, or mass, achieved through the comparison of light shapes vs. shadow shapes. As the student’s drawing progresses from simple outline/shadow line or mass, he culls from his knowledge of anatomy to give the figure a sense of weight and balance. The student then addresses values in his drawing and keys them to what he sees in nature. The black mirror is used to help the student find the value-key of the figure in order to skillfully represent the impression of nature. By relating the values of the figure to the values in the background, the student gives a sense of space and atmosphere within the pictorial plane. (Light is form; shadow is atmosphere.) The last step in the drawing is working out the transitions in the edges in order to make the forms turn, and create a sense of atmosphere and three dimensions.

By thinking about how to render light by value, and the quality of the edges of the form, the student begins to think like a painter.

Students work under north facing natural light, drawing from live models.  The models return to pose in the same position for the duration of the long pose that may last 4 – 6 weeks, three hours per day. Long-poses are essential to the accomplishment of fully finished drawings.

Students attend mandatory life drawing classes in pencil four hours per week, and may choose to attend additional life drawing classes in the evening. Pencil drawing reinforces the importance of learning to reproduce accurately the subject’s outline and shadow line. By placing the model against a neutral background, students are limited to one flat even value in the shadow areas; they are not allowed to put background value into the drawing, nor may they include any values in their drawing, so the outcome is an outline and a flat, even shadow. Pencil drawing allows the student to understand how far he/she can take a drawing, from simple outline to dramatic gesture, while being precise and accurate with regard to proportion, body type and gesture on a small scale. It emphasizes the importance of line quality to rendering soft or hard edges thus turning form and creating atmosphere and focus.

By the conclusion of Beginning Figure Drawing the student will be able to:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of human anatomy by a sophisticated outline and well designed shadow shapes, as well as descriptive half tone shapes integrated into the big light shape
  • Demonstrate proportion among various forms
  • Demonstrate skill with dealing with the subtle changes of the living, moving form
  • Create edges that give the impression of form turning in space
  • Create a realistic impression of weight and balance
  • Create a realistic impression of structure and solidity
  • Create a realistic impression of light flowing over the form

Anatomy, the Living Form · 3.0 credits

Anatomy, the Living Form · 3.0 credits 2017-08-07T15:01:50+00:00

Weekly lectures begin with a discussion of the skeleton and myology, the study of the muscles, then move to drawing exercises with the model.

“The Living Form” is a phrase taken from the 19th century anatomist, Dr. Paul Richer, in his classic text, “Artistic Anatomy”. It describes our goal as draftsmen, painters, and sculptors who study anatomy in order to see the shape and structure of the human form as it exists in life, as opposed to the altered and fragmented forms of the cadaver, or the static nature of charts and diagrams.

“The Living Form” is a phrase taken from the 19th century anatomist, Dr. Paul Richer, in his classic text, “Artistic Anatomy”. It describes our goal as draftsmen, painters, and sculptors who study anatomy in order to see the shape and structure of the human form as it exists in life, as opposed to the altered and fragmented forms of the cadaver, or the static nature of charts and diagrams. Richer believed that the key to understanding form is to draw from life regularly, and to complement this visual method of study with a solid intellectual understanding of the structures of the human body. With its strong emphasis on drawing from life in both the painting and sculpture programs, students at The Florence Academy of Art study anatomy daily. It is the goal of the Anatomy course to complement these studies and offer students new tools to help them understand the connections between exterior forms and deeper structures.

Weekly lectures begin with a discussion of the skeleton and myology, the study of muscles, then move on to drawing exercises with the model. Throughout the course a strong emphasis will be placed on morphology, the study of the forms. Students will be encouraged to study from various sources that include selected texts, life casts, 3 dimensional models, the works of master painters and sculptors, live models, and local resources in Florence such as the 18th century human anatomy wax collection at “La Specola” Museum of Natural History. The course will also include brief discussions of relevant historical figures and events that have contributed to the science of anatomy. Thus we place this discipline into the context of the history and tradition of Western figurative art. The drawing portion of the class is designed to help students commit the forms of the human body to memory. Extra work outside of the class is not required but encouraged. Those who attend regularly and participate in class exercises will be given priority for admission to the Ecorchè Sculpture course.

By the conclusion of Anatomy, The Living Form you will be able to work freely and confidently with the human figure and use the descriptive information it provides to create a believable visual impression.