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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-436

    Advanced Surface Design

    In this advanced-level surface design class, you will complete 14 collections (1 per week) with the goal of building a full portfolio that you can use to apply for jobs in the industry or show potential clients. For those interested in pursuing surface design professionally, this class will provide an opportunity to work at a much deeper level into various themes and develop a signature style.

    Prerequisite: Introduction to Surface Design.

    2 units

    Class regularly offered in 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-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-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-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

  • 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-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

  • 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 and Spring

  • ACN-429

    Digital Sketching W/Photoshop

    Learn to digitally draw (almost) everything using a variety of digital drawing techniques used by professional concept artists, storyboard artists, illustrators, and industrial designers in today's entertainment design industry. Using photographic reference, you will learn how to approach a sketch of various subject matter such as rocks, plants, animals, armor, characters, creatures, vehicles, props, environments, film studies and props. This is an ideal class for aspiring concept designers, illustrators, animators or students considering ArtCenter's undergraduate Entertainment Design major. Prerequisites: Introduction to Figure Drawing and Digital Design 1 or by permission of an ArtCenter advisor.

    2 units

    Class regularly offered in Spring

  • 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-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-574W

    Intro to Letterpress Printing

    Explore the art of letterpress printing in this hands-on workshop. This is a great introduction to setting and printing metal type, where you can take advantage of more than 2,500 drawers of foundry type in the Archetype Press collection. Learn how to use a pica rule, composing stick, leading, spacing, the layout of the California Job Case, mix ink and how to operate a Vandercook proof press. You will set, proof and print multiple copies of a poem or a few lines of text. We will then distribute type and clean up. No prerequisites or previous experience required.

    Noncredit

    Class regularly offered in Fall, Spring and Summer

  • ACN-450

    Intro to Rhino 3D

    As the most versatile 3D modeling tool, Rhinoceros 3D can do it all. This software's flexible and easy-to-adapt tool set makes the learning process fun and extremely intuitive. Unlike surface modelers, Rhino uses NURBS to create fast and accurate geometry which allows you to focus on design and not worry about surface inconsistencies. Course will provide enough information to start modeling in Rhino and utilize its Grasshopper visual programming language for extensive parametric capabilities.

    Prerequisite: Digital Design 1 or by permission of an ArtCenter advisor.

    2 units

    Class regularly offered in Fall and Spring

  • ACN-258

    Intro to Surface Design

    Discover the limitless possibilities-and career opportunities-of the burgeoning arena of surface design! In this new course ideal for advanced students and professionals in the fields of graphic design, textile design and illustration, we will explore the many styles and techniques used in creating surface designs. Over the course of 14 weeks, we will review designer case studies, product categories beyond textiles, and themes in demand by manufacturers. Using Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator, we will also scan hand-drawn artwork; set up accurate repeat patterns; change colors, scale and textures; and color index for mass production. Finally, we will develop coordinated surface design collections, take a collection from concept through refinement, and apply designs to products. Prerequisites: Basic drawing, color theory, design and computer skills using Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator, or by permission of an ArtCenter advisor.

    2 units

    Class regularly offered in Spring

  • 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