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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-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-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-518W

    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-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-446W

    Designing Pop-Up Books Wksp

    In this 10-week workshop, you will explore 3D paper engineering mechanisms used in the publishing world - from children's pop-up books, pull tabs and novelty board books to 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. 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.

    Noncredit

    Class regularly offered in Fall 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-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-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-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. The $30 materials fee will allow students will have an opportunity to see their designs printed on fabric.

    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-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-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-561W

    Protect/Sell/License Your Work

    The Legal Side of What to Do and How
    This intensive seminar covers a full range of intellectual property issues, including the language used in contracts that affects the license, sale and creation of designs and other original works. This course will cover: the basics of copyright law; fair use and copyright defenses; trademark law and registration; maintaining trademark rights and avoiding infringements; and patent law. Other topics include: privacy and publicity; legal clearance issues that affect your work; and a variety of contracts and contract clauses necessary to make the most of your business opportunities. Learn the best avenues of protection for the type of work you have produced. Bring in a sample of your work, and we will practice filing a copyright application, searching the availability of a trademark and filing a trademark application.

    Noncredit

    Class regularly offered in 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