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Course Descriptions

The classes listed below are not necessarily offered every term. For current class schedules, or to register, select Register Now .

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  • ACN-520

    Abstract Painting +composition

    Explore the abstract visual principles and processes that underlie all traditional art. This course examines formalist art theory and the rise of modernism, deep space versus flat space, monumental space, and color versus field painting, as well as the exploration of the creative process. Class will examine traditional abstract as well as contemporary painters for analysis and discussion. Students may work in a variety of mediums of their choice, including watercolor, acrylic and oil. Invited speakers will address the class on both their technique and processes of painting. In-class exercises will offer students an opportunity to discover their individual psychological space and to understand color as a method of tapping into the creative process. The final project includes a painted visual diary.

    Prerequisite: Introduction to Painting or equivalent, or by permission of an ArtCenter advisor; no prior abstract painting experience is required.

    2 units

    Class regularly offered in Fall and Spring

  • ACN-116W

    Basics of Painting: Still Life

    This seven-week Basics of Painting class will explore the fundamentals of painting using objects and still life, allowing beginning students the opportunity to learn basic techniques without the pressure that the human figure presents. Students may paint in the medium of their own choosing: oil, acrylic or watercolor. No prerequisite.

    Noncredit

    Class regularly offered in Fall, Spring and Summer

  • ACN-186W

    Best Practices / Oil Painting

    This one-day seminar will show you how to unlock the endless possibilities for painterly expression in the use of oil paints, a painting medium that has been in use for 1000 years. Many artists never go beyond the basics because so little information beyond the basics is readily available, or they are scared off from oil paints believing they are complicated and dangerous. This seminar will provide you with the knowledge necessary to explore the vast potential of this medium, as well as how to use it safely and simply. Through a combination of video demonstrations, slides, and discussions, we will explore why you should choose one oil painting medium over another, one pigment over another, how to produce artwork that will will last for generations, and how you can take advantage of recent technological advances. Appropriate for painters of all levels. (Formerly titled Mastering Oil Painting.)

    Noncredit

    Class regularly offered in Fall and Spring

  • ACN-372

    Collage and Mixed Media

    This studio course enables you to explore contemporary collage through studio practice, visual aesthetics, and historical concepts as you develop technical skills and a conceptual understanding of the medium. You will be encouraged to set up artistic problems and to explore your own creative ideas as well as develop verbal and written literacy about your work. Practices and techniques to be explored include color mixing, collage (traditional and non-traditional), Medium transfer, Acetone transfer, painting (watercolor and acrylic), drawing, patching and stencil techniques, hand mono-printing, working with found objects and sculpture. Abstraction and representational art will be explored. Group critiques will enable you to analyze and discuss your own artwork as well as artwork of your peers; visits to local galleries and museums will enrich and broaden your perspective. Open to students of all levels.

    2 units

    Class regularly offered in Fall, Spring and Summer

  • ACN-525

    Color + Light in Painting

    To focus on color that creates space, mood and light, this course will use the "light keys in nature" approach to color that originated with American Impressionist Henry Hensche, the direct successor to the great Charles Hawthorne. Relating this to Monet's ideas on color, we will examine how composition and form can be expressed through color planes. Using Hensche's approach as a basis, we will also examine principles of composition as an example of monumental space. Some meetings will be held at off-campus sites where students can paint the landscape directly from nature. Students will be encouraged to read Hensche's and Hawthorne's books on painting.

    2 units

    Class regularly offered in Fall and Spring

  • ACN-401W

    Color in Photography

    Delve into a world of color! Through readings, critiques, lectures and assignments, we will explore color theories, how color is created, color as a cultural tool and the history of color photography. We will also examine technical and practical issues such as color balance, additive and subtractive systems, proper color correction, color management and lighting. Classroom discussions will cover a diverse group of artists, including Alfred Stieglitz, William Eggleston, James Welling, James Turrell, Lita Albuquerque, Anish Kapoor, Mark Rothko and Yves Klein.

    Prerequisite: Basics of Digital Photography or by permission of an ArtCenter advisor. Required: access to a camera with manual controls for exposure and color balance; digital camera is preferred although a film camera with manual controls can be us.

    1.5 units

    Class regularly offered in Fall, Spring and Summer

  • ACN-229W

    Comic Book/Graphic Novels

    Learn the ins and outs of comics and graphic novels by diving into various illustrative exercises and experimental storytelling. You will learn how to make dynamic page designs utilizing an arsenal of trade tools from graphic design, comics, and entertainment design. This class explores illustrative techniques, character design, pacing, cinematic design and story development. Each student will produce a solid portfolio of work, a self-published book and a website.

    Prerequisite: Basic drawing skills are mandatory.

    Noncredit

    Class regularly offered in Spring and Summer

  • ACN-160

    Composition and Drawing

    Strengthen and enhance the concepts introduced in Introduction to Figure Drawing. During the first several weeks, we will review skills in gesture, proportion, contour and analysis of form. Later, anatomical observation (skeletal structure and musculature), mechanical function and foreshortening will be introduced and integrated into class drawings and assignments. In the final weeks, you will have the opportunity to explore light theory and apply all the concepts gained by practicing with long poses. This fundamental course emphasizes a thorough practice of the skills required to draw the human figure and is a vital class for Illustration or Fine Art students. (Formerly titled Intermediate Figure Drawing).

    Prerequisite: Introduction to Figure Drawing, or by permission of an ArtCenter advisor.

    Transferable.* *Not applicable to current ArtCenter degree students. See "Course Credit" menu under https://www.artcenter.edu/acn/resources.jsp for additional details.

    3 units

    Class regularly offered in Fall, Spring and Summer

  • ACN-007

    Design 360

    Are you interested in art or design, but not sure which area suits you best? Would you like to sample each major offered at Art Center? Then this class is for you! Design 360 explores the major art and design fields offered in Art Center's degree program, including: advertising, graphic design, photography, filmmaking, fine art, illustration, product design, environmental design, entertainment design, and transportation design. Through projects centered around one major theme, you will have a chance to explore the principles of each of these art and design disciplines. Drawing skills will be emphasized as an essential way to communicate your ideas. This class is the perfect first class for adult students (over age 18) who are either new to design or seeking to expand their creative horizons.

    2 units

    Class regularly offered in Fall, Spring and Summer

  • INT-001X

    Drawing Workshop: Optional

    These optional Drawing workshops allow ACN and degree program students who feel they would benefit from expanded exposure to drawing from live models an opportunity to do so in an open, unpressured environment. Students with poor drawing skills can improve while students with more refined skills can further enhance their abilities. Each workshop is structured differently with different lengths of poses, nude or costumed models, full figure or portrait poses and even some lectures. **ACN students must maintain concurrent enrollment during the term in one or more of the following figure drawing classes to participate: ACN-009 Introduction to Figure Drawing ACN-160 Composition and Drawing ACN-219 Fashion + Costume Drawing ACN-168 Head and Hands ACN-390 Character Design for Animation ACN-111W Draw/Paint From Square One ACN-393W Urban Sketch: Pasadena ACN-165 Storyboarding INT-120X Narrative Sketching

    Noncredit

    Class regularly offered in Fall, Spring and Summer

  • ACN-219

    Fashion + Costume Drawing

    Working from live fashion and costumed models, students will explore: transitioning from life drawing to fashion and costume drawing; rendering draped fabric on the figure; drawing garment details; drawing historic costume; figure proportion; and experimentation with an assortment of media techniques. Digital illustrators working on laptops are welcome; please bring your own laptop if you wish to work digitally. This beginning-to-intermediate class is designed for: students working on college degree program entrance portfolios; fashion and costume teachers; illustrators; fashion and costume designers and entertainment business artists and designers. Beginning to intermediate level. Please bring the following supplies to the first class: Biggie drawing pad (14x 17" or larger), drawing board, two black Tombow pens and a water brush.

    1 unit

    Class regularly offered in Fall and Spring

  • ACN-331

    Head Painting

    Become familiar with the "classical method" used by the great masters of the Renaissance and the Northern European traditions. In addition to remaining unequalled in its expressiveness and understanding of the human form, tone and color, the classical method also provides all the tools you'll ever need to evaluate your work and to avoid getting stuck in a painting gone wrong. Using the classical method, you will learn to break up the painting process into different phases, while enhancing your capacity for creative expression. You will also be encouraged to explore and develop individual techniques and styles, and engage in 'direct painting' to enhance your free handling of color, tone and line. This is an ideal course to help you gain a well-rounded understanding of the entire painting process.

    2 units

    Class regularly offered in Fall and Spring

  • ACN-168

    Head and Hands

    This course concentrates on learning how to read the primary forms of the face and hands and then how to translate that knowledge into a meaningful artistic statement. Learn to draw the head in action-in any position-with the proper expressions and conveying the energy of the pose, and ground your observational powers through an understanding of the planes of the head and anatomy. As you realize the expressive power of hands, you will learn what it takes to draw them dynamically to enhance a portrait by breaking down their complexity into simple forms. The ultimate goal of this course is to learn how to simplify and demystify the complexities of a "likeness." You will also examine great masters' portraiture drawings and compare different periods to enhance your understanding.

    3 units

    Class regularly offered in Summer

  • ACN-152

    Intro to Filmmaking

    Learn the fundamental concepts and practices involved in filmmaking. In this course, directing and cinematography are closely linked and students explore methods that make a film play. Emphasis is on effective communication, storytelling and creative editing techniques for story enhancement. Students will make three short films. Required: access to a digital video camera and editing system (Art Center's cameras and computer lab facilities are not available for student use.

    2 units

    Class regularly offered in Fall, Spring and Summer

  • ACN-089

    Introduction to 3D Design

    Designers and artists work with form and space to create meaningful and useful products, communications and experiences. In this course, you'll explore the basic elements and principles of three-dimensional design as a means for artistic expression and design solutions of all kinds. Develop a working knowledge of the processes and vocabulary associated with three-dimensional form. Topics include form, space, mass, weight, balance, rhythm, unit forms, structure and balance. This course focuses on principles and elements of design and the design process. While digital tools may be used, assignments and exercises are created by hand and are conceptual in nature. The course is an ideal foundation for beginning- and intermediate-level students interested in transportation and product design, architecture, 3D modeling, sculpting, environmental design, furniture design and more. Open to beginning and intermediate-level students.

    2 units

    Class regularly offered in Fall, Spring and Summer

  • ACN-009

    Introduction to Figure Drawing

    The ability to draw the human figure is a vital skill for your academic and professional success in many areas of art and design. This class is an essential first step for those planning to study fine art, animation, illustration, costume design, character design and concept design. Working from a model, you will examine the elements of drawing the human figure and the principles of composition and develop observational drawing skills by investigating proportion, form and gesture. Charcoal, graphite pencil and various other media will be used.

    2 units

    Class regularly offered in Fall, Spring and Summer

  • ACN-380

    Introduction to Illustration

    Sharpen your conceptual problem-solving abilities as you explore various mediums and techniques-including acrylic, watercolor and mixed-media-to illustrate ideas for magazines, newspapers and books. Demonstrations are given for each technique, and practical compositional and design elements will be addressed with each assignment. Projects will be editorial in nature; later projects can be self-directed to reflect individual interests or portfolio needs. An overview of the field of illustration will also be provided.

    Prerequisite: Some prior drawing experience is required. Formerly titled: ACN-224 Illustration Techniques and Concepts

    2 units

    Class regularly offered in Fall, Spring and Summer

  • ACN-020

    Introduction to Painting

    This course will provide an in-depth presentation of the fundamentals and motives of painting. Both traditional techniques and contemporary attitudes will be explored, with an emphasis on color, composition and form. Students will engage in a series of exercises using simple subject matter and will study the human figure to learn painting principles and develop creative approaches. Some prior drawing experience is recommended but not required.

    2 units

    Class regularly offered in Fall and Spring

  • ACN-128

    Mastering Color:Artist/Design

    Color is one of the main communicators in any visual endeavor. In this seven-week workshop, students will learn to use color in ways that enhance the aesthetics and usability of their work. Topics covered include: understanding and controlling the three characteristics of color; dealing with tonal and color keys; developing proficiencies using the inherent relationships of colors within the color wheel; and the psychology of color. Discussions of color throughout the visual arts, including photo and film, will also be covered. Class projects will help students become proficient in color mixing and deciding which colors are the best ones relative to a given assignment. This class is ideal for those interested in illustration, design, advertising and fine art, and may be taken in conjunction with Mastering Composition and Design. For more info visit: www.artcenter.robertpastrana.com

    1 unit

    Class regularly offered in Fall, Spring and Summer

  • ACN-127

    Mastering Composition + Design

    Developing a keen awareness of the communicative power of shapes and designing expressive compositions are the foundations of visual expression. In this seven-week class, you will learn to use design and compositional elements to enhance the effectiveness of your work. Composition will be discussed at two levels: the micro level, managing shapes inherent in the design process; and the macro level, learning effective ways to compose on the page. Time will be spent learning how to effectively control visual priorities on the page, whether in a painting, logo, website or drawing. With open assignments based on a student's area of interest, this course can serve to enhance ongoing projects and inform new ones. This course is suitable for those interested in illustration, design, advertising and fine art, and may be taken in conjunction with Mastering Color for Illustrators and Designers. For more info visit: www.artcenter.robertpastrana.com

    1 unit

    Class regularly offered in Fall, Spring and Summer

  • INT-002X

    Painting Workshop: Optional

    These optional Painting workshops allow ACN and degree program students who feel they would benefit from expanded exposure to painting from live models an opportunity to improve their painting techniques and concepts in an open, unpressured environment. **ACN students must maintain concurrent enrollment during the term in one or more of the following painting classes to participate: ACN-116W Basics of Painting: Still Life ACN-115W Basics of Painting: Figure ACN-020 Introduction to Painting ART-261X Painting Materials/Techniques ACN-527 Intro to Narrative Painting ACN-520 Abstract Painting +composition ACN-525 Color + Light in Painting ACN-331 Head Painting ACN-068 Digital Painting Entertainment ACN-394W Symbolism: Surreal-Abstract

    Noncredit

    Class regularly offered in Fall, Spring and Summer

  • ACN-106

    Perspective

    Increase your understanding of 3D perception and linear perspective systems. Through a series of exercises, develop your technical skills and improve your ability to simulate 3D space on a 2D plane. Theories explored in class apply to traditional and digitally generated images. Primary applications are to illustration and to industrial and environmental design. A foundation course for many majors.

    Required textbook: The Complete Guide to Perspective Drawing. Author: Craig Attebery ISBN: 978-1-13-821562-7. www.routledge.com

    Transferable for Illustration majors (see REGISTRATION INFO-COURSE CREDIT for details).

    3 units

    Class regularly offered in Fall, Spring and Summer

  • ACN-114W

    Plein Air Painting

    In this course, you will explore the on-site plein-air experience of landscape painting and examine the technical questions and formal issues that arise in this genre. Painting on location, you will discover that landscape is more than subject matter; it is a way to explore how an artist organizes elements in a visual field to make a dynamic, coherent and paintable composition. Color theory, composition and quick painting techniques will be the main focus of this seven-week course. Atmosphere and depth-crucial elements in achieving believability-will be studied extensively. First class meeting will be held at Art Center's Hillside Campus; subsequent class meetings will explore various sites around Los Angeles and the San Gabriel Valley.

    Noncredit

    Class regularly offered in Fall, Spring and Summer

  • ACN-367

    Printmaking Studio

    Explore both historical and current digital techniques involved in fine art printmaking and image production. Develop an increased appreciation for and knowledge of printmaking processes such as intaglio, silkscreen, woodcut, plate lithography, as well as alternative photographic techniques that include photoengraving, salt printing and cyanotype. Course includes weekly demonstrations, assignments, presentations and group critiques. Individual projects will emphasize independent thought, creativity, problem solving and technical ability. Class size is limited.

    Prerequisite: Open to beginning- to intermediate-level students but previous coursework in art, design or photography is strongly recommended.

    2 units

    Class regularly offered in Fall, Spring and Summer

  • ACN-001L

    Printmaking: Optional Lab

    Art Center at Night students enrolled in Printmaking Studio this term may purchase additional lab time to use the printmaking facilities outside of their scheduled class hours. Concurrent enrollment in Printmaking Studio is required. Note: Space in the Printmaking lab is extremely limited. Available lab time is based on a first-come, first-served basis and is limited to the hours listed.

    Noncredit

    Class regularly offered in Fall, Spring and Summer

  • ACN-394W

    Symbolism: Surreal-Abstract

    Since the beginning of history, humans have used visual images to signify concepts, beliefs, and ideas. This course on the history of symbolism in art explores the universality of visual vocabularies and how artists have used images of the earth (stone), animals, and geometric forms (the circle) in some of their most powerful pieces. You will create four interpretive surrealist paintings based on a select group of artists who use symbolism in their work, including Magritte, Frida Kahlo, Salvador Dali, Kandinsky and Miro. Course will also provide you with a solid foundation in acrylic painting, including types of brush strokes, color palette, and composition, while readings from the book Man and His Symbols by Carl Jung will enhance your understanding of the subject matter.

    Prerequisites: Basic drawing and painting skills are recommended.

    Noncredit

    Class regularly offered in Spring and Summer

  • ACN-393W

    Urban Sketch: Pasadena

    Make the world your studio. Capture the bustle and beauty of life in your town. Sketch people, landscapes, cityscapes, and more. Build upon skills an artist needs to draw vibrant city sketches and urban landscapes full of people. Learn to see the world one drawing at a time as you connect with the energy of place and capture the decisive moment pictorially. Each class session will meet at a different location around Pasadena. Course will cover 2D and 3D shapes, proportions, silhouette, contouring, value, shadow, texture, and perspective. Supplies needed: Please bring blank journals, as well as a variety of pens, pencils, and watercolors to each class meeting.

    Prerequisite: Introduction to Figure Drawing.

    Noncredit

    Class regularly offered in Spring

  • ACN-122W

    Write/Illus Books for Children

    Explore the principles of children's books and learn what is needed to approach a publisher. Through individual and group critiques, in-class lectures and visual presentations, you will learn the process of writing and illustrating a children's book, including character development, revisions, pacing and design. Discussions will also cover the business side of the industry, including topics like payment, royalties and licensing. The goal? By the end of the term you will be able to develop a presentable picture book dummy suitable for submitting to a publisher.

    Basic drawing skills are recommended but not required.

    Noncredit

    Class regularly offered in Fall, Spring and Summer