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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-254

    Art of Movie Trailer

    This class will explore the art and evolution of the movie trailer as well as examine the processes, strategies and techniques used to create the trailers that generate interest in a motion picture, build excitement and drive box office. Trailers are often the art of condensing, distilling, packaging, and positioning an existing - or soon-to-be-existing - film into a short, provocative format. Sometimes it involves creating new materials from outside the movie to enhance the story and experience. But it's always about deciding which story to tell and telling it in an exciting way. Course will also examine how these approaches apply to films beyond Hollywood blockbusters, including independent features, student films, shorts and documentaries. An ideal course for writers, copywriters, editors, filmmakers, advertising professionals and anyone who wants an inside perspective on how this increasingly vital commercial art form is created. Based on your individual goals, you will research, conceive and develop trailer concepts in the class through a proof-of-concept pitch - either verbal, script, PowerPoint, or rough edit. Prerequisites: access to a computer with a word processor and/or basic editing software (editing not required.)

    2 units

    Class regularly offered in Fall and Spring

  • ACN-115W

    Basics of Painting: Figure

    Learning to paint the human figure is a natural progression from still life painting. This second class in the Basics of Painting series uses the figure to explore issues such as composition, proportion, shape and value. Students who have an understanding of these essential skills will be more confident painting the figure with conviction. Prerequisite: Basics of Painting: Part 1 Still Life, or by permission of an Art Center advisor.

    Noncredit

    Class regularly offered in Fall, Spring and Summer

  • 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-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-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-020W

    Direct Painting: Figure

    This workshop is designed for students with some painting experience who are seeking to reconnect with paint, color and brush. Working quickly from live models, students will complete one or more paintings per session. Short presentations will suggest a direction for the day and will cover some of the following artists: Lucian Freud, Eduard Manet, Alice Neel, Richard Diebenkorn, David Park, Elmer Bischoff, Chaim Soutine and Henri Matisse.

    Noncredit

    Class regularly offered in Fall and Summer

  • ACN-017W

    Direct Painting: Still Life

    This workshop is meant for students with some painting background who want to get back in touch with paint, color and brush. Working quickly from still-life set-ups, students will complete one or more paintings per session. Short presentations will suggest a direction for the day and will cover some of the following artists: Eduard Manet, Giorgio Morandi, Paul Cezanne, Marsden Hartley, Vanessa Bell, Gabriele Munter, Henri Matisse and Nicolas de Stael.

    Noncredit

    Class regularly offered in Fall 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-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-416

    Intro to Fiber Arts

    This intensive skills-based course will introduce you to a range of techniques associated with fiber arts, including the basics of crochet, knitting, frame-loom weaving, natural dyeing, and hand- and machine-sewing. Through readings and discussions, you will learn how artists who work with fiber address issues around process and material, as well as ideas around labor, value, sexual politics, political activism, and consider the ever-shifting relationship between craft and art. In addition to hands-on learning, there will be class discussions around reading materials from curators, artists, and academics on various aspects of fiber art. No prerequisite.

    2 units

    Class regularly offered in Fall and Spring

  • 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-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-557W

    Letterpress Holiday Card Wkshp

    Design, hand-set and letterpress print your own unique holiday cards, notes or gifts, using Archetype's extensive collection of foundry type, ornaments, dingbats and decorative rules. You will be introduced to the basics of hand-set typography and letterpress printing on the Vandercook proof press. Class meets at Art Center's Archetype Press. Limited to 10 students.

    Noncredit

    Class regularly offered in Fall

  • 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.

    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-589W

    Powerful Presentations

    How to tell it so you can sell it. Whether you are a creative or business professional, you must learn to connect effectively with your audience and communicate your ideas in a compelling way. This inspirational workshop will help you hone one of the most critical and often overlooked skills that everyone must possess: the professional presentation. Learn how to take your presentation skills to the next level using words, voice, body language and visuals. Mastering these skills is vital to your professional success whether you are a designer, artist, entrepreneur or business leader.

    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-165

    Storyboarding

    This course provides an introduction to the versatile field of storyboarding.Class discussions and demonstrations will cover different styles and techniques of sequential art used in live action, animation and commercial applications. Through a combination of in-class and homework assignments, this course will teach you the necessary mechanics of visual storytelling and help you develop an individual and industry-typical style. Special guest speakers will round out the classroom experience. Students may draw by hand or work in digital formats using Wacom boards and laptops. Note: access to Art Center's computer facilities is not included. Please provide your own equipment and software if you wish to work digitally. This course is designed for students and professionals who wish to expand their skills or seek to develop their portfolios for entry into Art Center's full-time degree programs.

    2 units

    Class regularly offered in Fall and Spring