Course Description
How is meaning constructed and communicated through visual images? In this course, students use traditional drawing and digital imaging methods to explore the conceptual, aesthetic and formal qualities that inform how ideas and impressions are expressed on a two-dimensional plane. Students explore visual organization, representational and abstract forms and engagement through observational drawing, photography, digital image creation, and the integration of a variety of media. The tools and methods acquired in this course form an introductory platform for students to build upon in their upper level disciplinary courses. Sections of this class may explore the following themes in relationship to the construction of form, function, identity and meaning.

This course is an introduction to the way that meaning is constructed and communicated through visual images. Students use a variety of tools, skills, methods and media, to explore the creative process: to translate observations, analyze relationships, communicate visually, organize form, and foster the exploratory process of developing ideas.

How do our bodies define us? What is a relational body? Can it be a neutral symbol? When is it a loaded message? These and more questions will be addressed by this section, which looks to explore the singular and the collective through the lenses of communities, tribes, nations, and cultures.


This section focuses on space, location, and the unique place as a site of investigation and may include personal, private, public, and historical space. What is the question/exploration for discovery being addressed?


This section focuses on the tangible object and may include found, crafted, mass-produced, artifacts. What is the question/exploration for discovery being addressed?


How do visual images enhance or create meaning? What can signs and symbols convey? In this class students will address these questions by using the concrete elements of design and observational drawing to explore and develop a visual language.

How to tell a story? What is the role of narrative in contextual culture? This section focuses in the way in which signs are combined into codes to transmit visual messages. Using both verbal and non-verbal elements, the students will create a discourse with different tools and forms.

Represented spaces
This section focuses on the origins of images and the digital tools used to represent reality. Students will develop their capacity to complete three dimension environments in two dimensions. How relationships to other people and objects are defined in a virtual world? What are the conditions of representation?

Learning Outcomes
By the successful completion of this course, students will be able, at an introductory level, to:

1.  Demonstrate perceptual and visual awareness through drawing from observation (figures, objects and environments).

2.  Demonstrate the application of elements of art and principles of design related to two-dimensional form and their implications on content.

3.  Demonstrate an engagement with visual and perceptual literacy related to aesthetic phenomena, such as principles of gestalt and color theory.

4.  Demonstrate an understanding that perception is conditioned by an understanding of context as well as culture as a dynamic system in which meaning is constructed.

5.  Demonstrate the appropriate and exploratory application of analog and digital tools, media and processes to convey observations and ideas. Tools include raster and vector software applications, wet and dry media and various substrates.

6.  Demonstrate comprehension of skills and techniques across media with a synthesis of the two; as well as an understanding of the value of craftsmanship and its impact on form and meaning.

7.  Demonstrate reflection on creative skills learned, choices made, and connections fostered, through the ongoing documentation and archiving of assignments in an online learning portfolio. Students will use the portfolio and a sketchbook to demonstrate an engagement with the idea of making as a form of thinking.