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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-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-078W

    Basics: Interplanetary Flight

    Humans today are encountering new worlds. Thanks to robot emissaries, we are in the extraordinary position of experiencing these places up close for the first time. This raises a myriad of questions for designers: How do you design a spacecraft to travel among the planets? Under what conditions does it have to operate? How do you make it fly? How do you tell it what to do? What information does it send back? You don't have to know the first thing about space flight to participate fully in this course. Your only requirement is that you be curious about how humans are exploring the universe today, and what we're finding. The course an interactive, high-fidelity survey of disciplines and projects in today's interplanetary flight will involve participants in a variety of techniques, including visuals, design-based learning, hands-on physics, brainstorming, lecture, demonstrations, a stellar guest speaker or two and much more. More info: people.artcenter.edu/doody South Campus

    Noncredit

    Class regularly offered in 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-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-472W

    Creative Leadership Workshop

    The transition from being a designer to the leader of a creative team can present many challenges. How do you guide a multidisciplinary group towards one common goal while still empowering each discipline to engage and contribute? In this 7-week workshop, you will explore case studies of current companies revolutionizing the creative industry, discuss leadership styles and identify strategic, change-making role models. Interview creative leaders to gain a better understanding of your own strengths and weaknesses, develop your own brand mission, and leave the course with a network who can help guide your career. Guest speakers with success in art directing multidisciplinary teams will share their experiences. Ideal for designers or art directors looking to move into greater leadership roles, individuals interested in what creative leadership looks like in a variety of fields, and students interested in illustration, graphic design, advertising, industrial design or photography. No prerequisites other than a curious mind and a sense of collaborative thinking. (This workshop is a 7-week version of ACN-470 Art Directing Multidisciplinary Teams.)

    Noncredit

    Class regularly offered in 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

  • ACN-459W

    DIY like an Architect

    Are you a DIY home improvement enthusiast who would rather give up your firstborn than let anyone else design your dream project? Then this hands-on introduction to "architectural thinking" workshop, taught by architect Alla Kazovsky (aka "DIYally), is for you. Having experienced the thrill and satisfaction of forging her own path, DIYally encourages self-reliance in others and, as "architect on demand," spurs others into action by offering advise with no strings attached. Through brainstorming exercises like mind mapping, collaging and 3D diagraming, you will become familiar with the range of tools an architect employs while moving from concept to solution. No prerequisite other than a desire for self-expression.

    Noncredit

    Class regularly offered in Spring 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

  • ACN-418W

    Embroidery Arts Workshop

    This isn't your grandma's embroidery class! Join designer and author, Debra Valencia, to learn the basics of embroidery. In this one-day workshop, Debra will share some of her favorite tips and tricks for successful needlework projects and will also present a slide show of embroidery arts images to inspire your creativity as well as provide a brief history and current trends in the medium. Learn to sew 12 popular embroidery stitches to create unique lines, textures and affects. You will make an embroidery stitch sampler in the form of a color wheel as the morning project. In the afternoon, each student will start a second project and take it as far as possible. Everyone will take home their two projects, as well as a stitch instruction guide for later reference.

    No experience needed. All levels welcome! Materials included (a $25 value). Pack a lunch to eat during break.

    Noncredit

    Class regularly offered in Summer

  • ACN-496W

    Forming the Dream: CMC 2

    Now that you have completed Crafting a Meaningful Career, you are ready to progress to the next level. To do that, you will need to: define your goals; create your vision and mission statements; identify your market; research the impact of your concept in the marketplace; develop fee structures; and market your concept. To provide you with a roadmap to success, in this class you will begin the process of creating either a business plan or life plan. You will meet with your fellow classmates each week to refine and add value to your concept. And you will discover how others have met the challenges of creating a new way of life for themselves.

    Noncredit

    Class regularly offered in Fall and Spring

  • ACN-497W

    Fulfilling the Dream: Cmc-3

    Building on the first two sections of this class, you will now be ready to address other important issues necessary to begin a successful new career. Continuing on the development of your business plan or life plan, you will address such issues as: forms of management; intellectual property; team building and communication; identifying the competition; identifying your competitive advantage; location; financing your new venture; and defining success. Once finished, you will have the tools necessary to proceed, confident that you have examined the necessary aspects of a fulfilling career, and ready to embrace a new career dimension of your own design.

    Noncredit

    Class regularly offered in Spring and Summer

  • ACN-260W

    Furniture Design

    Explore the diverse discipline of furniture design through various projects, such as functional furniture, interior systems, hybrid objects and lighting. Learn how to develop a concept into an actual object through various exercises in ideation, sketching, model building and materials exploration. Students will design and develop final models and basic production drawings, as well as design and fabricate a final 1:1 scale project. Class will meet at South Campus for the first few weeks; remaining classes will be held at the Hillside Campus model shop facilities.

    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-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-300W

    Invention Innovation: Products

    This course builds the skills independent designers need to develop, produce and distribute their own products. You will design and develop a product line and a manufacturing company, identify and secure intellectual property, write a business plan, evaluate its feasibility and raise funds. You will also apply the same knowledge to license a product line to an actual manufacturer, as well as generate a business plan and licensing packet to send out to potential licensees. The course uses weekly visual, verbal and writing exercises to show designers the similarities between business and design.

    Noncredit

    Class regularly offered in 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

  • ACN-457W

    Model Making Basics

    This 7-week course will introduce you to the fundamentals of architectural model making as it relates to the field of Environmental Design. Emphasis will be on manual and analog techniques using modeling supplies such as Foam-Core, balsa wood, cardboard, styrene, etc.) Designed for those who have little or no background in model making, this course will cover basics and proceed to an intermediate level. Through assignments and work in class, you will complete two simple study maquettes: one small white study model and one detailed color model.

    1 unit

    Class regularly offered in Fall and Summer

  • ACN-383W

    Molding and Casting/Silicone

    This workshop will provide you with an introductory experience with the materials, techniques, and physical skills required to replicate a three dimensional object. You will explore one- and two-part silicone molds (RTV- Rubber), materials for rapid casting, and learn safety and environmental considerations of said materials. No previous shop experience required.

    Noncredit

    Class regularly offered in Summer

  • ACN-102W

    Photo 102: Taking the Streets

    In this course, you will fine-tune your camera skills and publish a collection of photographs online. You will learn how to focus your "photographer's eye," discover your photographic "nouns"-the persons, places and things that speak to you-and clarify your personal vision as you refresh or continue your visual voyage. You may choose to shoot traditional or digital imagery. Access to a 35mm SLR or a digital camera with manual capabilities is required.

    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-589W

    Powerful Presentations

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

    Noncredit

    Class regularly offered in Fall, Spring and Summer

  • ACN-086

    Product Design: Basics

    Housewares, appliances, electronics, toys, soft goods, sporting goods, tools, lighting and other lifestyle products are just some of the items that product designers create. This seven-week crash course is designed for beginners seeking to explore educational and career opportunities in product design fields and learn basic industrial design sketching and fundamental design processes through hands-on projects. No prerequisite.

    1.5 units

    Class regularly offered in Fall, Spring and Summer

  • ACN-087

    Product Design: Process

    Students with basic skills in product design will learn to apply more advanced "design processes" through one intense project. In-class demonstrations of more advanced rendering and presentation techniques will also be covered. This course is recommended for intermediate or returning industrial design students, as well as design professionals. For individuals interested in applying to Art Center's industrial design or interaction design programs, the project created in this course will be suitable for use as part of your application portfolio.

    1.5 units

    Class regularly offered in Fall, Spring and Summer

  • ACN-307W

    Transpor-Tainment

    From Rey's speeder in Star Wars: The Force Awakens to Mercedes' Intelligent Aerodynamic Automobile concept, the lines between sci-fi, production, concept and entertainment are becoming blurred. Automotive design is often energized by the open-minded spirit of the entertainment industry and, likewise, vehicles designed for entertainment purposes need a sense of realism through the fundamentals of transportation design. This intermediate-level transportation/entertainment vehicle design course embraces and nurtures these notions by exploring what it takes to transport humans (and other creatures) from point A to point B. This course examines buyer/character, usage/theme, ideation sketch development and final renderings through two intensive projects.

    Prerequisites: Introduction to Product and Transportation Design or Introduction to Entertainment Design, or by permission of an ArtCenter advisor. Concurrent enrollment in Introduction to Communication Sketching or Visual Communication and Form Development is strongly recommended.

    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