Home Submissions Artists Member Support Workshops Mission Contact

Drawing/Painting Workshop Class Syllabus


I believe that all visual work starts with a solid grasp of drawing skills. When we paint we use a brush or fingers or rags as drawing implements. To understand flat shapes, 3 dimensional shapes, cast shadows and object shadowing, and perspective are essentials to create intelligent compositions.

You can adapt direct observation toward many contemporary and traditional art forms, bringing an ancient human ability into living practice, and changing how you think about what you see. We will use traditional materials of paper, pencils and charcoal, but the goal is to understand and practice the grammar of visual representation, and to use this as a structure for exploring all our visual expectations and experiences: our imagination, our memory, our identities, our social connection and alienation, our sense of beauty and ugliness, and anything that can be described visually. All visual art from painting to film to animation and sculpture derive from this basis of understanding in drawing.

Foundation Drawing Principles

I will demonstrate the basic drawing principles and vocabulary through lecture and example to lead your in-class work with the hopes that you will continue at home. I encourage you to spend some time with the works of artists throughout history, looking at how they used these principles in their own artwork.

Still Life Drawing/Painting Principles

I will setup vignettes for you to focus upon and use as the subject for your in-class practice. Before we start, I sometimes like to introduce ways of drawing to challenge and stretch your habits and expectations.

Advanced Figurative Principles

Longer class time will involve focused study and critique of in-class observational drawing/painting from live models.


  • Value (Light and Shadow)
  • Texture and Line, Line weight
  • Negative And Positive Space (figure-ground)
  • Composition, balance, the power of geometry
  • Background, Middle ground, and Foreground
  • 1 and 2 Point Perspective
  • Scalable grid for perspective layout
  • Form, Volume, Saturation, and mass
  • Complex shapes in space
  • Building a human
  • Building, destroying, redux, Rebuild
  • Alternative materials and methods


Be certain to come to class with necessary drawing/paiting materials. The costs for the materials in this class are much less than the costs of textbooks for most classes. The following is an overview. Please check the requirements of the specific workshop you plan to attend so as not to miss anything.


  • I suggest a trip to Wal-Mart and the fishing department, and purchase yourself a large sturdy tackle box to put all your miscellaneous supplies into. You may also find that basic tools like rulers and yardsticks, even erasers and pencils will be much cheaper at this kind of store than what a specialty store might charge.
  • Art Gum Eraser, Kneaded Rubber, and white vinyl eraser types.
  • Graphite Pencils in a range of hardness no softer than 4B and no harder than HB
  • Small Vine (willow) Charcoal sticks, medium hardness.
  • Hard “compressed” Charcoal sticks (regular charcoal square sticks)
  • 18 by 24 Pad of Newsprint or sketch paper
  • 18 by 24 Pad of white drawing paper or 18” wide roll
  • 24” Ruler
  • Large Drawing Board with clips (At least 20” by 26”)
  • For the PAINTING class I expect you already have many items. For beginners I suggest the following:
  • Canvas board is usually a cheaper allternative to canvas. you will need sizes from 11x17 to 18x24 approximately.
  • You can purchase a set of 2oz. tubes of acrylic paints or simply buy the primary colors of Red (Cyan), Yellow and Blue
  • At least 4oz. of Mars Black, and Titanium White.
  • Brush assortment filbert #2, #4, #8, #10
  • Cotton rags
  • A couple of 6-8oz small containers for water and mixing
  • A tablet of mixing paper or a palet
  • Wear clothing you would not mind getting paint on.


(these will be determined by the specific workshop you attend, they are not meant for all workshops)
  • Scissors,
  • Cheap plastic ruler
  • For the perspective classes and an inexpensive 36” yardstick
  • Small Sketch Book of your choice, for studies
  • Pencil sharpener (tip: make it a good one)
  • Charcoal and Graphite drawing pencils (4B to HB)
  • Hemp twine or old frazzled rope
  • 18” wide roll of tracing paper
  • Chisel point black marking pen
  • Various round and Filbert paint brushes
  • Water container
  • Acrylic black paint
  • Acrylic gesso

The Cookie Rule

If your cell phone, laptop, or other electronic wonder box beeps, blinks or plays the Star-Spangled Banner during the workshop, you are asked to restore your honor with the class by bringing cookies for everyone at the next workshop.



    TRIBE Fine Arts     TRIBE Workshops HOME     E-mail Info