Images from the VCS foundation drawing class

Since it’s almost time for the start of another academic year and the arrival of a new group of first-year students in the Visual & Critical Studies program, today’s post features information and art from Amy Wilson’s VCS foundation drawing class. The class is designed to provide incoming students with a solid grounding in the basic materials and techniques of drawing, and it’s also an integral part of a year-long block of courses that set the stage for the academic and studio work that will follow in subsequent semesters.

Here is Amy’s description of what the class is all about:

During the Fall in Drawing I, we work almost exclusively from observation, in order to hone some basic skills. Students work in pencil, walnut ink, and watercolor, and draw from a live model, still lifes, and reproductions. The assignments are very labor-intensive, and are designed to really get everyone to slow down and concentrate, and develop some confidence in their skills.

In the Spring semester (Drawing II), things are much more open and idea-based. One project I always do involves having the students tell someone’s life story through drawings; another has them creating one-minute-long animations. The assignments become much more specifically about the student as an individual artist, in a way that helps them to develop their own artistic voice.

It’s not unusual for someone to sail through the first semester with no problem and stumble on the second; vice versa also often happens. But I really believe the two semesters are important to be taken one after the other, in order to give a complete sense of the art-making process.

Below are a handful of student works from previous years’ sessions of Drawing I and II. You can also find a few more in this photoset on the VCS flickr page.


An ink drawing by Megan Connaughton, based on Albrecht Dürer’s 1515 woodcut of a rhinoceros.

A drawing of a still life by Shannon Broder.

Shannon’s contour drawing of a row of park benches.

Two quick gesture studies of a model by Mariko Shinoda-Mettler, done in walnut ink.

An outdoor study in walnut ink by Katie Armstrong.

A pencil drawing by Courtney Linderman, based on Dürer’s 1514 portrait of his mother.


To learn a little more about the VCS curriculum and see a listing of the other first-year courses, visit the Visual & Critical Studies curriculum page on the SVA website.

Visual & Critical Studies