A small drawing of the human head with a partial brain

Exploring Studio Arts 303: Life Drawing

Gain deeper understanding of—and bring to life—the human figure

Students in this 300-level studio arts course study aesthetic form and how it is affected by human subjectivity.

This class challenges students’ thinking through discussions of what it means to be a human being, as well as the ethical concerns involved in representing the human body.

Topics of discussion range from the body as an aesthetic ideal, as a genre of art history, as an ideological projection of gender and power... to the body as machine, or as a vessel of spirit.

Drawing of the muscular structure of an arm, supplemented with robotics Cut-out drawings of human bones and arms that have been glued together to form a new image

Students examine the structure of the human figure and anatomy, while also delving into broader intellectual contexts.

Life Drawing students explore:

  • The structure of the human figure and anatomy
  • The body as an aesthetic ideal
  • Creating 3-dimensional forms using values and color
  • The elements of composition
Figure drawing includes a broad range of methods that respond to a lived experience. Drawing the human figure is a deeply philosophical act; representing our being as physical beings involves profound ethical as well as aesthetic determinations. Our being is rooted in the ideologies of our bodies, and art is the primary site for imagining what it means to be human.

Drawing conclusions about the human form

Experiment with dimensions using values and color

Students experiment with a variety of approaches to a basic life drawing problem: creating the illusion of three-dimensional form on a two-dimensional surface by using values and color. Students use a variety of materials to depict the human form in a variety of unique ways—both in class and during independent study—including pencil, charcoal, pen and ink, pastels, and more.

Skeletal and muscle sketches help familiarize students with the structure of the human form and lead into studies from the nude model.

Anatomy lectures and readings on the human aesthetic

Students in this class learn about the human anatomy, and then read essays from Cixous, Clarke, Sappol, and other experts to gain a deep understanding of both physical human structure and the themes represented within depictions of the human body.

A semester-long, life-size project

Through a variety of class assignments, students gradually construct a “Cyborg,” a life-size human silhouette with a series of drawings inspired by class readings and discussions.


Visit the Department of Fine Arts