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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-388

    Abstract Painting: Summer Intv

    In this 6-week intensive, you will explore the abstract visual principles and processes that underlie all traditional art. 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. Traditional abstract as well as contemporary painters will be explored for analysis and discussion. You may work in a variety of mediums, including watercolor, acrylic and oil. In-class exercises will offer you an opportunity to discover your individual psychological space and to understand color as a method of tapping into the creative process.

    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, Spring and Summer

  • 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-422W

    Art As a Living Force

    This class explores a specific approach to art-making created by American painter/ printmaker Arthur Wesley Dow. As an art teacher at Columbia University's Teacher's College, Dow was an influential mentor and teacher to many artists, including Georgia O'Keeffe. Dow's systematic path to composition explores harmonic relations between lines, colors, dark and light patterns. This essential approach to pictorial creation, of filling space in a beautiful way, remains relevant today.

    Prerequisites: Basics of Painting: Still Life, or by permission of an ArtCenter advisor.

    Noncredit

    Class regularly offered in Summer

  • 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-187W

    Best Practice/Waterborne Paint

    This one-day seminar will show you how to unlock the endless possibilities for painterly expression when using acrylic, vinyl, watercolor, gouache, and egg tempera paints and their respective mediums. Many artists never go beyond the basics because, sadly, so little information beyond the basics is available. This seminar will provide you with the kind of knowledge necessary to explore the vast potential that these materials offer. Through a combination of video demonstrations, slides, and discussions we will explore why you should choose one medium over another, one pigment over another, how you can work more safely, how to produce artwork that will last for generations, as well as how you can take advantage of recent technological advances. Appropriate for painters of all levels. (Formerly titled: Mastering Acrylics & Watercolors.)

    Noncredit

    Class regularly offered in Summer

  • ACN-485W

    Business of Art:Getting Start

    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-528W

    Character Dsn for Pitches

    Learn the creative process of conceptualizing realistic and story-driven characters for the video game and film industry. This 7-week course will focus on ideation, storytelling, originality, character archetypes as well as learning the design fundamentals that make up the wide range of styles commonly found in the today's most popular triple-A titles and blockbuster films. Topics covered will include armor and suit design, costume and prop design, non-playable characters vs playable characters, hero/villain/boss relationships and more. Students will design a cast of characters for a story using a variety of approaches and techniques. This is an ideal course for aspiring concept artists and prospective Entertainment Design students. Prerequisite: Intro to Figure Drawing or by permission of an ArtCenter advisor.

    1 unit

    Class regularly offered in Fall, Spring and Summer

  • ACN-122W

    Children's Book Illustration

    Picture book illustration is about telling stories with pictures. Finding those stories and our own unique voice is the largest hurdle upcoming illustrators face and it may be the most important aspect of illustration. Narrative picture-making can offer a direct route to this process of discovery. This class will focus on visual storytelling as it relates to the challenging picture book form and will help students define themselves to themselves, with the goal of moving toward a more personally satisfying, creative, and ultimately, marketable illustration voice.

    Basic picture-making skills are recommended, but not required. Self-motivation is a prerequisite.

    Noncredit

    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-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

  • ACN-356W

    Creative Sketchbook Seminar

    Develop creative ideas, imagery and your own personal style, all within a sketchbook format. The sketchbook is the most unintimidating place to explore and is the perfect vehicle for creating the seeds of future projects. It can also become a fascinating work of art unto itself. In this inspiring one-day workshop, students will explore a variety of media and creative exercises including collage, evidence journaling and collaboration. Great for beginners or beleaguered professionals longing for some creative fun. Bring a new sketchbook,pencils and box lunch. Optional supplies: Collage materials/found papers, acrylic paints, inks, brushes, pastels, glue sticks, aluminum foil and blow-dryers.

    Noncredit

    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-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-531W

    Direct Painting Workshop

    Do you have some painting experience and are seeking to reconnect with paint and color? In this workshop, you will work quickly from live models and interesting still-life setups, completing one or more paintings per session. Short presentations will suggest a direction for the day and include the following artists, among others: Richard Diebenkorn and Henri Matisse, Mary Cassatt and Edgar Degas, Giorgio Morandi and Sydney Licht.

    Prerequisite: Intermediate-level painting courses, or by permission of an Art Center advisor. A supply list will be emailed to enrolled students prior to the first class meeting.

    Noncredit

    Class regularly offered in 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-456W

    Gelatin Printmaking Workshop

    Gelatin printmaking is a form of monoprinting, meaning each print you pull is unique. No two prints are the same. In this 2-day workshop, you'll make your own gelatin plate and use water-soluble printing inks and acrylics to create unique textures, forms, and shapes through gelatin printmaking techniques. You will also learn to incorporate various media into your work, including crayons, gouache, watercolor, and pencil, as you explore color, pattern, opacity levels, ink layering, and multiple impressions in order to give added depth to your artwork. Open to students of all levels.

    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-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-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-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-477W

    Meditation/Creative Mind 1

    For the creative mind, there is more to meditation than mindfulness. There is also awareness, insight, and vision. This 4-part series, taught by Steven Saitzyk, professor, painter and author of "Place Your Thoughts Here: Meditation for the Creative Mind," is about connecting better to our world through our senses. It is also about using meditation and meditation-in-action to create the space for something new to arise, be recognized as inspiration, and make a work of art. In addition to meditation exercises, readings and field trips will enhance your understanding of the practice. Parts 1 and 2 of the series will be offered during the Summer and Fall terms, with the series continuing in Spring 2020 with Parts 3 and 4. (Fall and Spring dates TBD).

    Required textbook: "Place Your Thoughts Here: Meditation for the Creative Mind"

    Noncredit

    Class regularly offered in Fall and Summer

  • ACN-478W

    Meditation/Creative Mind 2

    For the creative mind, there is more to meditation than mindfulness. There is also awareness, insight, and vision. This 4-part series, taught by Steven Saitzyk, professor, painter and author of "Place Your Thoughts Here: Meditation for the Creative Mind," is about connecting better to our world through our senses. It is also about using meditation and meditation-in-action to create the space for something new to arise, be recognized as inspiration, and make a work of art. In addition to meditation exercises, readings and field trips will enhance your understanding of the practice. Parts 1 and 2 of the series will be offered during the Summer and Fall terms, with the series continuing in Spring 2020 with Parts 3 and 4. (Fall and Spring dates TBD).

    Noncredit

    Class regularly offered in Fall 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-425W

    Plaster Sculpture Workshop

    This two-day workshop provides an introduction to sculptural approaches in a variety of media including plaster, wire, aluminum foil, foam, air-dry clay used to create three-dimensional objects. Learn to build structures, manipulate materials and use sculpting tools. Students will be encouraged to set up their own artistic problems and to explore their own creative ideas through discussions and demonstrations which will be presented by the instructor. Experiential learning and exploration of individual creative voice are primary goals of this class. This is an ideal workshop for those interested in fine art or illustration.

    Noncredit

    Class regularly offered in 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-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

  • ACN-543W

    Type As Image

    This weekend workshop introduces students to letterpress printing by using type as object, character and pattern, as opposed to language and communication. Workshop will include ample talk about the basics of letterpress printing, press fundamentals, typographic concerns, impression and inking control. In the creation of a "one sheet" or broadside, students will choose a thematic jumping off point, creating either a character or another kind of visual story that is not language based. The works by icons Kurt Schwitters, Laszlo Moholy-Nagy and Bradbury Thompson are among those we will explore for inspiration. Each student will print an edition large enough to share a folio of prints at the end of class.

    Noncredit

    Class regularly offered in Spring and Summer