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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-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-515W

    Branding for Textile/Surface

    "Branding" is the new buzzword in American business. As a designer you may have created meaningful, powerful brands for many businesses, but what have to done to brand your own surface/textile design business? In this course you will learn the practice of brand management by focusing on four aspects of branding: the basics of self-promotion, how to create "buzz" through storytelling, how to make social media work for your brand using CRM and other tools, and how to develop a product line using your business branding/imagery. Case studies, color psychology, historical references, and tech tools will all be covered in creating your design business branding solution.

    Prerequisites: Must have a laptop to bring to class with the latest Adobe software loaded, plus basic working knowledge of Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop. Please bring a digital version of your logo in Illustrator (if applicable) plus five of your favorite/most successful surface or textile designs as either Photoshop or Illustrator files.

    Noncredit

    Class regularly offered in Summer

  • ACN-390

    Character Design for Animation

    Learn the creative process of conceptualizing iconic characters for the entertainment industry, focusing on research, acting, gesture, psychology, storytelling, originality and other crucial technical aspects of character design for animation. Please note that although this course uses character design methodologies from the world of animation, students will not be animating in this class. This is an ideal course for aspiring students who are preparing admissions portfolios for the Character Animation track of ArtCenter's Entertainment Design program.

    Prerequisite: Introduction to Figure Drawing, or by permission of an ArtCenter advisor. This course will focus primarily on hand-sketching with live models provided during class.

    2 units

    Class regularly offered in Fall, Spring and Summer

  • 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-189W

    Color in Painting 3-Day Intsv

    To focus on color that creates space, mood and light, this three-day intensive 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. Students will also be encouraged to read Hensche's and Hawthorne's books on painting.

    Prerequisite: Introduction to Painting or by permission of an ArtCenter advisor.

    Noncredit

    Class regularly offered in 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-223W

    Costume + Fashion Design

    Explore the conceptual garment design and illustration methods of the entertainment and fashion design industries. This class will cover design foundations, concept development methods, marker and colored pencil illustration techniques, historic costume research and contemporary fashion. Students may use manual or digital methods to execute project concepts and may choose to focus on designs for costume, fashion or video game character costumes. No sewing is involved. Ideal for students interested in costume design, fashion design, and video game character design.

    Noncredit

    Class regularly offered in Fall and Summer

  • ACN-419W

    Creative Process Demystified

    This one-day course will help to demystify the creative process. Whether your project involves a logo, website, illustration or entertainment design-oriented work, by the end of the day, you'll have a solid understanding of each of the different stages of the creative process and how to use them in your particular area of interest to come up with more creative solutions and make better decisions from the early sketch to the final project in the fields of illustration, graphic design, entertainment design and advertising.

    Noncredit

    Class regularly offered in Summer

  • INT-102L

    Design 1 - Materials Lab

    This non-credit lab is specifically for ACN Graphic Design students concurrently enrolled in INT-102X Design 1 and who are prospective students for ArtCenter's Graphic Design degree program. Lab meets weeks 3 through 9 and will instruct students in the safe operation of certain shop equipment (including the table saw, band saw, and lathe), so that they may access the shop to complete class projects during the term.

    This lab requires concurrent enrollment in INT-102X.

    Noncredit

    Class regularly offered in Spring and Summer

  • ACN-544

    Designing Pop-Up Books +more

    In this new course, you will explore 3D paper engineering mechanisms used in publishing from children's pop-up books, pull tabs and novelty board books to unique pop-up greeting cards and fine art installation environments. Learn techniques and mechanisms to create movement with paper from 2D to 3D, and animate your ideas using paper as your surface and tool. Each student will develop a concept proposal or dummy book ready for submission to your specific genre. Pre-press production and publishing submission requirements will also be covered. Skills learned can be applied to a range of disciplines including entertainment, illustration, graphic design, fine art, product, and environmental design.

    2 units

    Class regularly offered in Fall and Summer

  • ACN-068

    Digital Painting Entertainment

    This introductory digital painting course is designed specifically for aspiring entertainment design, entertainment arts, and illustration students. Painting can seem complicated, but by understanding the medium and combining foundation skills with more lateral approaches, you can discover the joy of digital painting. The first half of the course will focus on the fundamentals of painting in Photoshop. Working primarily from observation (master copies, plein air photographs, movie stills), you will learn to create color palettes, how to make brush strokes, understand value, and use lighting and rendering to complete a composition or character. The second half of the class will focus on imaginative principles of creating paintings from scratch using more advanced techniques. For in-class assignments, no digital tools are needed, just a pen or pencil. For homework assignments, students must have access to a computer with Adobe Photoshop CS6, a Wacom tablet and a digital camera to take reference photos for plein air, brush and texture projects. Prerequisite: Introduction to Entertainment Design, or by permission of an Art Center advisor.

    2 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-516W

    Enrich and Enliven Your Design

    Do you have designs that are good, but they need a little extra "something" to make them more marketable as surface or textile designs? If so, bring them to this class! We will use Photoshop and Illustrator to refine, restyle, revamp, and redesign your artwork, transforming your files into high-impact, sellable pieces targeted toward your particular market. Color, colorways (palettes), motif, scale, texture, and substrate issues will all be covered.

    Prerequisites: Must have a laptop to bring to class with Adobe CS6 or CC software loaded, plus basic working knowledge of Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop.

    Noncredit

    Class regularly offered in Summer

  • 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-045

    Intro to Entertainment Design

    Concept designers for the entertainment industry skillfully illustrate and design unique and compelling characters, environments, vehicles and props for all kinds of stories and eras. This industry requires a unique combination of industrial design and illustration skills to understand how things are built, to communicate this through drawings and to show narrative aspects of the design. This course offers an introduction to the concept design process. Students will create original design solutions through sketches and renderings to support a story. This is an ideal class for students considering Art Center's undergraduate Entertainment Design major or for those seeking an understanding of how concepts are created for entertainment-oriented projects. Prerequisites: Intro to Figure Drawing and Perspective, or by permission of an ArtCenter advisor.

    2 units

    Class regularly offered in Fall, Spring and Summer

  • ACN-015

    Intro to Fig. Drawing: Summer

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

    2 units

    Class regularly offered in 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-485W

    Launching Your Art Career

    Eager to exhibit your work but not sure what steps to take? This no-nonsense seminar will help get you started. Topics include: setting goals, making connections, managing time, selling your work, and creating an action plan. Open to students and emerging artists who are looking to launch or refocus their art careers, find exhibition opportunities, etc.

    Noncredit

    Class regularly offered in Fall, Spring and Summer

  • 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

  • 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-514W

    Plein Air Textile Surface Dsn.

    The ubiquitous nature of digitally produced art The ubiquitous nature of digitally produced art has rendered many designs aesthetically "boring," "unclear," or "lacking in personality." In this class, we will capitalize on the resurgence of the hand-drawn image by spending the first session sketching and drawing at the Huntington Library's Botanical Gardens. Subsequent class sessions will capture the "how-to's" of getting your imagery into the computer, creating a CAD design that doesn't lose its personality or textural qualities, and finally applying your designs to several different product lines for fashion, home decor, or paper/stationery products.

    Prerequisites: Previous drawing experience helpful, but not necessary. Must have a laptop to bring to class with the latest Adobe software loaded, plus basic working knowledge of Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop. Instructions on Huntington admissions pricing, where to meet and what to bring on the first day will be sent to enrolled students.

    Noncredit

    Class regularly offered in 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-513W

    Silk Screen Printing

    Capitalize on the global textile/surface bespoke trend by learning to create your own beautiful silkscreened designs on fabric and paper. Learn to design an image/pattern appropriate for silk screening, how make a screen using both photo emulsion and screen stenciling, how to discover and use the best tools and techniques for screen printing, how to keep your supplies in good repair, and how to create multi-color designs using just one screen.

    NOTE: You will need to purchase a silk screening kit from Dharma Trading for $39.99, or the equivalent, prior to the first class meeting: https://www.dharmatrading.com/kits/starter/sets/versatex-screen-printing-kit.html

    Noncredit

    Class regularly offered in Summer

  • ACN-433W

    Surface Design: Photoshop

    This one-day workshop provides an overview of Adobe Photoshop tools, tips, tricks and best work practices necessary in creating commonly used repeat patterns for the surface/textile industry. In-class hands-on projects will be done to practice full drop, half drop, brick, diamond, mirror and scatter-toss repeats. Other topics include precise measurements, color editing, define pattern, pattern layers, manual pattern layout using both transform and offset options, technical requirements for mass production, and more. Adobe Photoshop is ideal for continuous tone artwork and is equally important as Adobe Illustrator is for vector artwork. Equal knowledge of both programs is crucial for professional level work in the field of surface/textile design.

    Prerequisite: Digital Design 1 or basic knowledge of Adobe Photoshop.

    Noncredit

    Class regularly offered in Fall, Spring and Summer

  • ACN-210

    Surrealist Pen and Ink

    This new summer-only course is designed for those who want to hone their skills in pen and ink, explore the use of collage techniques in drawing, or gain some hands-on experience with surrealist art. Learn techniques of contour line drawing, shading, pointillism, scumbling, cross hatching, and design fundamentals in ink drawings. Experiment with typography, adding prose and poetry to your work. Create surreal collages based on the techniques perfected by Max Ernst, Salvador Dali, Rene Magritte, and Man Ray. For the experienced and the beginner alike.

    No prerequisites, however prior drawing experience is recommended.

    1 unit

    Class regularly offered in Summer

  • ACN-484W

    The Next Great Idea

    In this one-day workshop, you will develop a keen awareness and understanding of the methods that artists, designers, and copywriters use to grow their creativity, with special emphasis on creative problem solving in a visually-oriented workplace. Gain a better understanding of the creative process, simplified; from idea to final execution and how it differs from what most people do today; how to come up with a wide range of potential solutions for visuals and/ or written word; what to do to put yourself in a creative state of mind; and understand the differences between creative play and creative problem solving - and how both are necessary. Open to students and working professionals with an interest in advertising, illustration, fine art, graphic design, photography, film, and product design.

    Noncredit

    Class regularly offered in Summer