Basic Drawing Art 110

Syllabus   Projects    Class Schedule

Basic Drawing Art 110 Syllabus

Class meets: Tuesdays & Thursdays 6-9:00pm

Kevin O’Neill, MFA

Office hours by appointment (email is the best way to contact me outside of class)



Marywood University, sponsored by the Congregation of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, roots itself in the Catholic intellectual tradition, the principle of justice, and the belief that education empowers people. The University integrates an enduring liberal arts tradition and professional disciplines to create a comprehensive learning experience. Our undergraduate and graduate programs promote academic excellence, advance innovative scholarship and foster leadership in service to others. Within a welcoming and supportive community, Marywood challenges individuals of all backgrounds to achieve their full potential and make choices based on spiritual and ethical values. Marywood University prepares students to seek sustainable solutions for the common good and educates global citizens to live responsibly in an interdependent world.

Course Description 

An introduction to the discipline of drawing as a process of perception and expression. Projects emphasize heightened observation, pictorial problem solving, and visual communication through variety of drawing media and techniques. Appreciation for art history and aesthetics will be systematically incorporated into this course. Normally offered in Fall semester only.

This course is designed to introduce the beginning student to drawing as a foundation study in art and perception through direct observation. All exercises revolve around fundamental issues that pertain to all disciplines within the art program. 

During the course, students experiment with a variety of media but emphasis is placed on pencil, charcoal and pen & ink. The class is conducted within a workshop environment, with a focus on visual problem solving. 

Students are expected to demonstrate a daily routine of drawing and should exhibit an increasing facility in both quick sketches and sustained studies. A resource book will be maintained encouraging students to draw frequently and opening up new approaches to observation. Questions of style, originality and sensibility will be explored and the student will develop an expanded visual vocabulary.

Delivery Method


Program Goal 

Basic Drawing is one of the Foundation Program courses taken during the first year. The Foundation provides beginning art students with a core curriculum of studies in drawing, color, painting, two-dimensional design, three-dimensional design, and art history to help students achieve success as an artist within one of several disciplines.  

Course Goals

While there are many specific goals to achieve in drawing, there are general goals that involve perception and composition. The successful student will be able to compose well while exploring perceptual truths involving space, light and proportion. These concerns, in turn, will help the student to develop his/her individual sensibility and self-expression. 

Student Learning Outcomes

  1. The continued practice of solving visual problems will train the student to think critically and creatively in both the theoretical and practical aspects of life.
  2. The practice of identifying criteria and evaluating the relative success of art will train the student to enjoy beauty, both natural and humanly created.
  3. Reading assignments and the practice of participating in critiques will train the student to read, write and speak effectively.
  4. The practice of composition and depiction of space will train the student to reason abstractly and mathematically.


The learning outcomes of these goals is that students will become artists that take responsibility for their creative decisions, that they will more easily avoid cliché and self-indulgence, and that they will become better judges of the quality of their own work.


There are periodic formal and informal critiques, some spur of the moment, where the goals of each project are examined and results evaluated. Students must participate verbally as well as with samples of work. A portfolio is gradually built, with final evaluations.

In many cases, a project will be repeated several times with slight variation to insure that the student is given the opportunity to practice these new concerns and learn to excel at them.

The student is required to keep a daily journal with a minimum of one sketch per day. The sketch should be related to material done in class that week. All drawing must be from observation. 

Both homework drawings and class work will involve specific issues, such as the perception of angle, or perspective, or balance of value. When observed as specific problems, the relative success or failure to solve each problem is not hard to gauge. There are often multiple solutions to visual problems, but with training it becomes clear when a solution has been arrived at.


Studio Rules: 

No cell phones, headphones, or music devices allowed; Students are expected to be intensely focused on the daily assignment until the instructor dismisses the class, and to be respectful of other students’ concentration by not engaging in unrelated or disruptive conversation. 


Prompt attendance is mandatory. More than 3 absences will adversely affect one’s grade, and missed work must be made up. Lateness by more than 10 minutes counts as 1/3 absence. Students without supplies may be marked absent.

If a student is going to miss several classes because of illness, a death in the family, or other serious reason, the student must take the responsibility to inform the department offering the course. If the absence involves several courses, the student is responsible for notifying each department involved.


Most of the work for this course will be done in the studio during class periods. Students are expected to be present, with all the needed materials at the beginning of each class. The assignment for each day’s work will be explained in the first few minutes of class, and will not be repeated. Students are expected to be intensely focused on the daily assignment until the instructor dismisses the class, and to be respectful of other students’ concentration by not engaging in unrelated or disruptive conversation. 

Outside projects will be due at the beginning of class on the assigned due date.


Grades are based on the quality of effort in completion of the assigned work, and on participation in class discussions and activities. Students will be evaluated on the basis of personal excellence and progress made from one project to the next. Outside projects will be graded according to the same criteria. Late projects will lose one letter grade for each day of lateness.

Your final grade is determined by averaging the grades of your eight homework assignments with your class participation, which is worth two projects.

All course requirements must be complete in order to pass the course.

Project grades

Projects are graded based on four criteria, with up to 10 points awarded for each one for a total of 40 points maximum. This is divided by 10 to arrive at your grade. For instance, if you get 40 points and divide it by 10, you get 4.0, which is an A. If you get 30 points and divide it by 10, you get 3.0, which is a B. The four criteria are:

  • Creativity, 10 points: The subject matter, point of view, lighting, etc. should be interesting and original.
  • Composition, 10 points: The lines, shapes and values should be arranged in a way the directs the viewers eyes to the center of interest and around the image to other areas of interest. Balance, proportion, movement, unity and variety should all be considered.
  • Draftsmanship, 10 points: The subject should be accurately observed and rendered.
  • Presentation, 10 points: All deadlines need to be met. The finished projects should meet the specifications of the assignment and be delivered in a clean, presentable manner with a cover sheet and the students name on it.


A = Present and on time for ALL classes, highly focused and dedicated to learning, ALL projects completed with highest quality of effort, excellent progress made from one project to the next, enthusiastic and thoughtful participation in class activities and discussions.

B = Fewer than 4 absences, focused and dedicated to learning, ALL projects completed with good effort, good progress made from one project to the next, good participation in class activities and discussions.

C = More than 4 absences, lacking some focus and dedication to learning, ALL projects completed but with less than best effort, some progress made from one project to the next, fair participation in class activities and discussions.

D = More than 5 absences, little evidence of focus or dedication to learning, ALL projects completed with minimal effort, insignificant progress made from one project to the next, insignificant participation in class activities and discussions.

F = More than 7 absences, unsatisfactory focus and dedication to learning, ALL projects not completed, little or no discernible progress made, unsatisfactory participation in class activities and discussions.


Any assignment or project that is missed due to absence must be made up on the student’s own time. Uncompleted assignments will count against one’s final grade.


This class is a highly concentrated studio environment in which all students work on the same project at the same time. Students are expected to be present, on time, and prepared to work with the materials needed for each class. It is essential that students are respectful of the high level of concentration needed to successfully complete the projects, and that no unrelated or disruptive conversation occurs during class. 

Formal group critiques are opportunities for thoughtful discussion of the work that has been completed. Each student is expected to participate and contribute to this discussion. These group critiques may take place via Zoom.

Drawing Materials: link to Dick Blick U Basic Drawing Art 110 materials list for purchase:

  • Pencils: several soft lead pencils such as 2B, 4B, 6B, Ebony pencil; pencil sharpener
  • Pens: Artline drawing pens sizes: 0.5, 0.3, 0.1 or Sakura Pigma Micron Pens (both are in the Dick Blick U list – you can choose either)
  • Charcoal: Winsor & Newton Vine Charcoal – soft, pack of 12
  • 5” x 7” Chamois cloth 
  • Paper: 5 sheets Strathmore 500 series Charcoal paper. 19” x 25” color: Bright White 
  • Paper: 2 sheets Canson Mi-Teintes 19” x 25” color: Buff
  • Drawing Pad: Blick Studio (or equivalent) drawing paper pad – 18” x 24” 30 sheets; 14” x 17” 30 sheets
  • Kneaded eraser
  • 18” cork-backed metal ruler
  • X-Acto Knife #1
  • Blick Studio Tracing Paper Pad, 14” x 17”
  • Masking Tape
  • 23” x 26” Richeson drawing clip board (or equivalent) 


  • Primary gouache set – recommended but not required. You will use this in other courses as well. 
  • Drawing 101 pencil set (includes sanguine, white, sepia, black, etc. pencils); You can purchase a few of these pencils individually instead of the whole set. 

Instructional/Teaching approach  

Presentations and demonstrations to the class as a group and in individual exchange. All assignments are posted on Moodle along with additional supplemental material. 

Academic Honesty

You are expected to read, understand, and abide by this University’s Academic Honesty policy. Cheating and plagiarism are behaviors destructive of the learning process and of the ethical standards expected of all students at both the graduate and undergraduate levels. The policy can be accessed at:

Student Academic Grievance

A student who feels that s/he has been treated unfairly or unjustly by instructional staff, chair or dean with regard to an academic matter has a right to grieve. Information about the Academic Grievance Policy can be found here:

Academic Accommodations

Marywood University complies with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 as amended by the ADA Amendments Act of 2008. Students with disabilities who need special accommodations must submit documentation of their disability to the Office of Student Disability Services, Learning Commons 166, in order for reasonable accommodations to be granted. The Office of Disability Services will partner with students to determine the appropriate accommodations and, in cooperation with the instructor, will work to ensure that all students have a fair opportunity to perform in this class. Students are encouraged to notify instructors and the Office of Student Disability Services as soon as they determine accommodations are necessary; however, documentation will be reviewed at any point in the semester upon receipt. Specific details of the disability will remain confidential between the student and the Office of Disability Services unless the student chooses to disclose or there is legitimate academic need for disclosure on a case-by-case basis.  For assistance, or to schedule an appointment please contact Kaitlin Anderle, Director of Student Disability Services, by email at kaanderle@marywood.eduor by phone 570-348-6211 ext 2335.

More information about services for students with disabilities can be found here:

Office of Student Success
Information about the Writing Center, Tutoring, and Adaptive Technology can be found here:

Severe Weather Policy