Composition : Where the subject matter sits in relation to the frame of the image or Picture Plane.

Picture Plane: The frame of the image. Everything inside the frame of the image makes up the picture plane.

Value: All of the different shades including and between white and black, which make up the image.

Contour: All of the edges which separate one part of the image from another: i.e. the outlines! ‘contour’ is French for ‘outline”.

Focal Point : A specific place of visual emphasis in a work of art or design.

Line Weight : The relative ‘weight’ – strength, heaviness, or darkness – of the contour line.

Contrast: The arrangement of opposite elements (light vs. dark, rough vs. smooth textures, large vs. small shapes, etc.) in a piece so as to create visual interest, excitement and drama.

Balance: The sense of distribution of perceived visual weights of the parts of an artwork.

Symmetry: A mirror image — identical on both sides of a central line.

Asymmetry: Not a mirror image — not identical on both sides of a central line.

Negative Spaces: The empty areas within a composition.

 Positive Forms: The objects or persons within the drawing. The subject matter.

Silhouette: A silhouette is an object or scene represented as a solid shape with its edges matching the exterior contour of the subject. The interior of a silhouette is featureless, with no interior details.


Scale: Size, usually in comparison to something else. For instance, a child is a small-scale person, while a giant is large scale. Both people are being compared to the average size of an adult.

Proportion: the relative amount of something compared to something else. For instance, Johnny is twice the size of his sister, or there are twice as many apples as oranges in the bucket.

Uploading Instructions

Upload photographs of your assignment drawings from this semester in the Drawings Category on this site and also in your ePortfolio.

Be sure to give the drawings a title.  On our class site, write brief descriptions of the drawings, and be sure to reference the drawings’ titles.  Your descriptions should include what you feel the aim of each drawing was, what you learned from making it, and what was challenging to do.  Of course you may write other comments as well. For instance, you may ask questions for other students to answers.

How to Post to our class: On this class site, go to Post located on the left > Give your drawing a title in the subject line like this: Assignment 1, contour drawing: “My Converse Sneakers” > Write a brief description of the drawing in the Comments space > Just above your title click on the Add Media icon (it looks like a camera on top of a music note) and browse for your file > Click Insert > Click Drawings in the list of Categories on the right > Click Publish at the top right.

Your description should include what you feel the aim of the drawing was, what you learned from making it, and what was challenging to do.  Of course you may include other thoughts as well.

How to Post to your ePortfolio:  Go to Dashboard > New Page > Pages > Add New > Locate “Parent” in the Page Attributes > choose “Academics” from the pull-down menu. In the Title area of your ePortfolio, be sure to write the name of our class (Foundation Drawing) or our course code (COMD1103).  Also be sure to Publish, and invite me to join your ePortfolio.  In settings, be sure to state either “Public” or “Private>visible to City Tech members.”  Otherwise no one will be able to see what you’ve posted.

To take the photo, find a spot with even light so that you will have no shadows or strange light gradations across the drawing.  Frame the drawing so there is a small even frame on all sides.  Optimize the file, or reduce it to 72 dpi, with a file size no more than 1MB (about 8-9 inches on one side). Rotate it if necessary to it uploads right-side-up. If you have access to any photo-correcting program, see if you can increase the contrast so that delicate drawing lines are visible.

Life Drawing in New York

Since we are in New York City artists have many options to improve their life drawing skills by drawing from a model outside of this class.  Most of these options offer a student rate. Practicing our craft is VITAL.  Take advantage of the resources in our city!




The New York Society of Illustrators is an incredible resource for up and coming commercial artists.  The sketch night is a great way to get to know this institution.  Its lively with great models,live music, pro illustrators, and often comes with FOOD!  This one is wonderful and is the cheapest option I’ve found.