portion of a drawing by Madison Helmick

Art 1 Drawing


    Course Description

    Drawing is a general, multi-level art course for students who wish to improve their visual communication and drawing skills.  It covers composition and drawing techniques including the elements and principles of design, the proper use of tools, materials and drawing processes.  Students will be introduced to a variety of drawing media and will work to gain competency in each.  Art history, criticism, aesthetics, and appreciation will be incorporated into each unit.  Students should expect to read and write about their own art and others’ on a daily basis.

    This is a studio class.

     I will give you instruction and guide you through various processes.  There are concepts to learn; techniques to practice; projects to create.  

    Academic Expectations

    Active Learners:

    • Students will understand and use what they learn
    • Students will engage in inquiry and self-directed learning
    • Students will use feedback and self-reflection to extend learning

    Resourceful Thinkers:

    • Students will employ creative thinking skills
    • Students will make meaningful connections

    Effective Communicators:

    • Students will express knowledge and skill creatively using a variety of media, technology and the arts
    • Students will engage effectively in discussion

     Learning Objectives

    Students who successfully complete this course will have learned:

    • drawing from observation, using techniques including contour drawing, gesture drawing, calligraphic lines, and value studies
    • rendering skills using materials such as pencil, colored pencil, pen and ink, marker, charcoal, pastel
    • shading and texture techniques such as hatching, stippling, and value scales
    • several techniques for creating the illusion of space, including simple and linear perspective
    • to use the principles of design to organize the art elements into effective compositions
    • basic color theory and color mixing
    • methods of designing and producing a print
    • proper use and care of materials and tools
    • practice a variety of methods to stimulate creative problem solving

    Learning Experiences

    In this course students will:

    • participate in presentations on current projects and connections with art history
    • participate in discussions and assignments related to aesthetics and art criticism
    • watch demonstrations of techniques with materials and tools
    • work on individual during studio time
    • participate in group discussions and critiques
    • evaluate their own artwork through written assignments and discussion
    • do weekly sketchbooks assignments
    • participate in the end of semester Art Show
    • maintain a physical and a digital portfolio of artwork throughout the year
    • be responsible for maintaining cleanliness of tools and workspace


    Enduring Understandings for the Course

    • Creativity, innovative thinking problem solving are essential life skills that develop throughout life.
    • Artists continually develop their work and skills through practice, constructive feedback, reflection and revision.
    • Artists invent, create and experiment with a variety of tools, materials and techniques to communicate ideas and express emotions.
    • People create and interact with objects, places, and design that define, shape, enhance, and empower their lives.
    • Looking at and discussing art can help us understand and appreciate diverse cultures, backgrounds and styles
    • Artists and other presenters consider various techniques, methods, venues, and criteria when analyzing, selecting, and curating objects artifacts, and artworks for preservation and presentation.
    • Art can be used as a social tool to question and challenge.

    Essential Questions for the Course

    • What conditions, attitudes, and behaviors support creativity and innovative thinking? What factors prevent or encourage people to take creative risks? How does collaboration expand the creative process?
    • How does knowing the contexts, histories, and traditions of art forms help us create works of art and design? Why do artists follow or break from established traditions? How do artists determine what resources and criteria are needed to formulate artistic investigations?
    • What role does persistence play in revising, refining, and developing work? How do artists grow and become accomplished in art forms? How does collaboratively reflecting on a work help us experience it more completely?
    • How are artworks cared for and by whom? What criteria, methods, and processes are used to select work for preservation or presentation? Why do people value objects, artifacts, and artworks, and select them for presentation?
    • How do life experiences influence the way you relate to art? How does learning about art impact how we perceive the world? What can we learn from our responses to art?
    • What is an image? Where and how do we encounter images in our world? How do images influence our views of the world?

    Course content

    Unit 1: Still Life

    The Language of Art: Evaluating Art (Art Criticism), Intro to Art History and Aesthetics

    Line - Including Contour, Gesture, Calligraphic, Line and Value

    Unit 2: Landscape/Architecture
    Texture - Including Real, Simulated, Illusionary, Patterning

    Value - Including Scales, Graded, Stepped, High Contrast (chiaroscuro), Low Contrast, Range of values

    Shape, Form, and Space - Including Organic and Geometric, Positive and Negative, Drawing Forms, Perspective

    Unit 3: Portraiture

    Color - Including Color Wheel and mixing, Color Families, Color and Light

    Creativity and Chance

    Value and Proportion - Including Distortion and Exaggeration, Cartooning, Abstraction and Non-objective

    Unit 4: Figure

    Balance and Harmony - Including Proportion, Foreshortening, Symmetry and Asymmetry

    Emphasis, Movement, and Rhythm

    Independent Contract

    Careers in Art


    Each large project is assessed by critique and by a rubric. 

    There will be an assessment at the end of each unit.  These assessments will cover your understanding of the terms and concepts in the unit as well as drawing exercises that will show you have mastered the assigned techniques for each unit. 

    Smaller quizzes, both announced and unannounced, will assist in and verify learning as we progress through the course.

    By then end of the course you will have produced a Digital Portfolio of your best work.  This counts as 10% of your course grade.


    This is my Happy Place!

    The following rules will help to keep this a happy place for all of us.  These are also the criteria for your conduct grade.

    In Class Rules:

    1. During times when masks are required, mask must cover your mouth and nose at all times.
    2. Be on time. Be seated and working at the start of class.
    3. Raise your hand when you would like to speak.
    4. Follow directions the first time they are given.
    5. In a studio, safety is a top priority. Treat one another, the tools, and materials with care.
    6. Use appropriate language at all times.
    7. Keep things neat and orderly.


    Hopefully, this won't be needed, but just in case...Virtual Class Rules:

    - Raise your camera to eye level so that your classmates are not looking at the ceiling or up your nose.

    - Show up a few minutes before class time and wait to be admitted into the class.

    - Dress in a way that shows respect for yourself and others.

    - Want to comment, but someone else is speaking?  Use the chat box!

    - Pay polite attention when someone else is speaking: leave your video on, look into the camera. 

    - Be respectful of others, both verbally and visually.

    - Inappropriate behavior will affect your participation grade; may result in muting or removal from class that day; and may be referred to administration for additional consequences, depending on the severity of the offense.

    - Students and parents should be aware that zoom classes and meetings are usually recorded.

    Attendance Expectations

    Please make every effort to attend class each day, on time, and mentally present as well.  If you are unable to attend, the work you missed will be posted on Google classroom.  According to school policy, you have a reasonable amount of time to make up work.  For example, if you are absent one day, you have one extra day to complete missed work.  If you are absent 3 days, you have 3 days extension.  Most of our work is studio work.  Which means if you miss a 90 minute class, you will likely need 90 minutes to make up the work.

    JUST IN CASE...Blended

    Be sure to complete the asynchronous assignment each Monday by 3:15.  Attend on your assigned in-person day.  Be on time and participate.

    On your virtual days, plan to attend the full amount of time working on class projects and assignments.  Meet due dates for all assignments.

    Virtual attendance requires that you leave your video on for the majority of the class.  

    JUST IN CASE...Fully Virtual

    Be sure to complete the asynchronous assignment each Monday by 3:15.  Attend virtually Tuesday through Friday at your assigned day and time.  Be on time and participate.

    Plan to spend at least 90 minutes per day attending virtual class meetings and/or working on at home projects and assignments.  Meet due dates for all assignments.

    Virtual attendance requires that you leave your video on for the majority of the class.



    Grades are dependent upon 3 factors: class participation and time management; studio projects and sketchbook drawings (minimum of 1 per week); written work, notebooks, tests, and quizzes.  All grades are earned on an assigned point basis.  Large studio projects will be given a grade rubric so that you know what is important and how many points each aspect of the assignment is worth.  Late work does not receive full credit. If you need an extension on a project, show me your work BEFORE THE DUE DATE, and we can work out an extended time for mishaps or extra effort.  Students are required to keep a sketchbook.  We organize a binder with drawing paper, or you may choose to purchase a commercial sketchbook,  minimum size 8” x 10”.  You may access your grades at any time by using the Parent Portal at this web address (you will need to create an account if you have not already done so).https://scps.powerschool.com/public

    Extra Credit

    All larger projects may be repeated in a different way at the same or better skill level for up to 10% extra credit applied to that grade.  Extra credit may be turned in for two weeks following the due date of each assignment (except at the end of the grading period).

    Drawing contests and competitions can also earn you extra credit.


    Daily Routine

    Each day when you arrive at class:

    1. Make certain you have sharpened pencils, your notebook/sketchbook, and other necessary supplies at your place.
    2. Make sure your phone is put away or face down on your desk.
    3. Begin the assignment listed on the board.
    4. Instructional time: Remain seated. Listen attentively.  Take notes when appropriate.  Raise your hand if you wish to speak.
    5. Studio Time: Studio time is slightly more relaxed than instructional time. However, it is a time when your primary focus must be on working skillfully and creatively. 
    • You may stand and stretch briefly when you need to.
    • Respect the space and concentration of those around you.
    • If you finish early, work in your sketchbook or on an extra credit project.
    • Label every assignment, large or small, with your name and classroom number


    Clean up: At the appropriate time, usually 5-10 minutes before the end of class, clean-up will be announced.

    • Stopping work before clean up is announced will reduce your participation grade.
    • Wait to be called move about the room to put things away.
    • Sanitize your desk and chair.
    • Certain tasks will be assigned to students on a rotating basis.
    • When you finish clean up, return to your seat for “Final Thoughts”.


    Other Important Information

    • There is a $5 fee for this class. Please pay the school bookkeeper if you did not do so at registration.
    • Projects may kept at school the entire semester to allow for portfolio review, as well as select shows and competitions.
    • Parents should feel free to contact me by calling the school or emailing me directly at sciszek@staunton.k12.va.us


    We have established a Staunton High Chapter of National Art Honor Society
    We promote art in the school and community; build the resumes and portfolios of aspiring art students; and do art service in and out of school.

    We also have Art Club for those who just want to enjoy fun activities, but not the rigor of NAHS.

    Please let me know if this is something you would like to be part of!