CCOG for ART 237A Spring 2024

Course Number:
ART 237A
Course Title:
Drawing the Human Figure
Credit Hours:
Lecture Hours:
Lecture/Lab Hours:
Lab Hours:

Course Description

Investigates drawing the human form through direct observation of nude and clothed professional models. Develops understanding of the structure, form and proportions of the human figure in the context of composition, personal expression and an awareness of materials. Applies a variety of drawing concepts and processes. Audit available.

Addendum to Course Description

The course includes demonstrations, slides, lectures, video/films, and potential field trips. Homework assignments will include writing assignments, sketchbook projects and expanded solutions to problems introduced in class.  Homework assignments will explore the concepts and processes introduced in class through drawing and writing activities.

Intended Outcomes for the course

Upon completion of the course students should be able to:

  • Implement creative ways to solve visualization problems in drawing the human form using a variety of perceptual and conceptual strategies.
  • Apply an introductory-level of understanding of the proportions of the human figure and the relation of the figure to the compositional space through the processes, materials, and techniques associated with drawing.
  • Participate with others in a critical dialogue about figure drawings from the past, the present, and from other cultures.
  • Develop personal expression and self-critical skills in figure drawing while observing the standards and definitions already established by both contemporary and historical works of art from different cultures.

Integrative Learning

Students completing an associate degree at Portland Community College will be able to reflect on one’s work or competencies to make connections between course content and lived experience.

General education philosophy statement

The study of Visual Arts is essential to the development of the individual and one’s meaningful participation in society. At the heart of artistic practice is the ability to organize experience and recognize its meaning. The creation of artwork and appreciation of aesthetics is a source of great pleasure and also a valuable means to effective visual communication. Participating in Visual Arts is an important way for individuals to connect to the past and respond to the present with a stronger sense of engagement with culture and society.

Course Activities and Design

  • Create original drawings in a variety of compositional and perceptual strategies.
  • Generate ideas/concepts with an awareness of the intended content of the work produced.
  • Utilize an effective vocabulary specific to figure drawing when participating in class critiques and discussions.
  • Begin to assess and self-critique personal work to strategize creative solutions.
  • Generate personal drawings with an awareness of historical and contemporary artists working in the figure drawing tradition.

Outcome Assessment Strategies

  • Execute observational drawings from life models and additional figurative-based work incorporating a range of technical methods and historical approaches.
  • Complete homework projects which emphasize personalized solutions to concepts introduced in class.
  • Complete writing assignments which address and articulate artistic concepts such as drawing methodology, individual expression, awareness of cultural context and recognition of historical and contemporary artists from the discipline.
  • Participate in critiques through application of vocabulary and aesthetic processes in review of individual’s own and other's work.

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)

  • Themes

    ·      Historical role of figure drawing

    ·      Modes of figurative representation

    ·      Perceptual awareness


  • Figure and ground
  • Light source and volume
  • Formal and expressive treatment of the figure
  • Compositional devices and strategies
  • Issues

    ·      Figurative proportion

    ·      Relationship of form to space

    ·      Awareness of audience


    ·      Knowledge of drawing terminology with respect to the human form

    ·      Vocabulary of drawing tools and methodologies

    ·      Ability to measure and represent forms in space

    ·      Relate personal work to historical and contemporary examples of figure drawing

    ·      Decipher form through visual analysis

    .      Critical skills and analysis