Schedule: 2D Design & Color

Please note: this is not a static document, and will be added to and revised as the Fall 2017 semester progresses. Please check back at least once a week so you are prepared for class!

This is a studio art course. ALWAYS bring core art supplies & your sketchbook, except when we’re in the computer lab that day.


Th 9/7 Introduction to class, syllabus, and to each other. Overview of the Elements and Principles of Design. Explain materials list. Assignment: Exploration #11 from How to Be an Explorer of the World. Bring sketchbooks and your art kit to all future classes.


T 9/12 Topics: What is design? How does it relate to art? The value of abstract (non-objective) art and design. Why design requires decision making. What are you trying to communicate? Pre-conceived notions of worth & beauty. What does it mean to be an artist/designer? Look at Exploration #11 results. Exploration Expansion #11. Assignment: Exploration #1 from How to Be an Explorer of the World.

Th 9/14 Topic: Dot. Examples of how the dot used in art & design. Share Exploration #1 results. Assignments/in-class activities: Library of 100 Marks & Exploration Expansion #1. How to “steal like an artist.”


T 9/19 Topic: Line. Examples of how the line used in art & design. Lines classified by type. Implied lines. Massing of lines. Stability of lines. How lines create movement, power, fragility, anxiety, etc. Lines connecting to other lines. Look at Expansion #1 (bitmap art). Featured artist: Kandinsky, Introduction to Visual Music project. Remember to bring sketchbooks and your art kit to each class. 

Th 9/21 Topic: Gestalt Theory. Figure/Ground, Equilibrium, Isomorphic Correspondence, Closure, Proximity, Continuation, and Similarity. In class studio time to work on Visual Music. Large paper will be made available today. Assignment: Exploration #26 or #47 (your choice).


T 9/26 Topic: Shape. When does a line become a shape? What is a form? Open & closed shapes. Positive and negative shapes. Geometric vs. organic shapes. Shapes as symbols. How shapes symbolize thoughts, emotions, and ideas. Use of abstract and non-objective shapes to elicit emotions or ideas. Finding shapes all around you. Priebe Gallery visit + questions to consider. Discuss Exploration results (#26 or #47). (Exploration Expansion #26/#47 postponed for now due to gallery visit). Studio work time. 

Th 9/28 Instructor out of town this afternoon. Do whatever it is you need to do to be ready for Tuesday’s class.


T 10/3 Due today: completed “final” versions of three Visual Music compositions. We will hang them up in class to discuss. More about shapes. Making lines and shapes in Adobe Illustrator. Conceptual map shape assignment introduction. 

Th 10/5 Making lines and shapes in Adobe Illustrator. Make progress on conceptual map shape assignment. Featured : The Bauhaus.


T 10/10 Topic: Texture. Real or simulated? Association via surface quality. Natural & handmade texture. Digital use of texture to simulate connection on a screen. Different kinds of paper. Engaging the senses. Organic texture vs. geometric/structured texture. Collage. Introduce and work on Texture Parallelogram assignment. Access to computer lab if needed.

Th 10/12  Class does not meet today as I’ll be at the AIGA Conference in Minnesota. Work on Texture Parallelograms. Highly recommended: go on the Art Department’s Chicago Bus Trip, which is always fun. Watch for sign up information, as it usually sells out.


T 10/17 Topic: Pattern. Density/lightness vs. darkness. Patterns in nature. Fractals. Patterns from different cultures. **Submit sketchbooks and all projects completed so far for midterm review. Sketchbooks include assigned explorations, expansions, 100 marks, pixel art, and preliminary work on larger projects. Also hand in music compositions (3). Lastly, be sure to submit your Illustrator Map Shape PDFs to the specified D2L inbox folder by the end of the day today. (Save as Adobe PDF only. No .ai files, please.) Work on parallelograms. Assignment: Exploration #46. Please have at least 25 photos (digital files are just fine) for Thursday.

Th 10/19 All 15 texture parallelograms must be complete by today. You must have all 15 or can’t participate in the next step, which we’ll do today.


T 10/24 Come to class with 25 photos from Exploration #46. Digital files are just fine: we’ll look at them in the computer lab. Introduce first step of pattern assignment: “one element” and “random repeat” exercises using Adobe Illustrator. Return graded midterm work. 

Th 10/26 Bring a few paintbrushes: CMYK color mixing in class. Bring paintbrushes to create color using gouache (supplied) on paper. Topic: Color. How we see. Properties of color: saturation, shade, hue, tint, value. Color through the lens of culture and emotion. Color theory. Working with color in a digital context. CMYK & RGB & Pantone & Hex Values. Assignment: Exploration #7 (find at least 10 colors). 


T 10/31 Color mixing demo with painter Trina May Smith. Review Exploration #7: be prepared to show and explain your findings. Continue to work on pattern assignment: creating vector graphics.

Th 11/2 Introduce second pattern assignment. Lab time to work on pattern assignment: select and render chosen pattern in Illustrator.


T 11/7  Topic: Space & Format. Lab time to work on pattern assignment. First pattern assignment—One Element/Many Patterns and Random Repeat due to my email by end of the day today. Assignment: Exploration #18.

Th 11/9 Topic: Hierarchy. Second pattern assignment—original pattern with different scales, color schemes, and applications using Adobe Illustrator— is due to my e-mail inbox ( by end of the day. Look at Exploration #18 results. Bring multi-color paper pad (as specified on first day of class: scrapbook type, small is ok), Xacto knife, scissors, and gluestick. We will do simple color theory/simultaneous contrast exercises in class.


T 11/14 Topic:Unity (Harmony) & Rhythm. Reminder: Pattern & Color Assignment using Adobe Illustrator due to my e-mail inbox ( by end of the day. More time to work on simultaneous contrast examples. Distribute 12 in. x 12 in. squares of paper for three best simultaneous contrast examples. Assignment: perfect Exploration #18 results. If you need to do more, do more. If you need to take pictures, take them.

Th 11/16 Topic: Layers & transparency. We will also print out pattern exercises and hang them up today for a critique. Introduce final project. Photoshop crash course.


T 11/21 Topic: Balance & Weight. Bring best three Simultaneous Contrast examples, each on a 12 inch x 12 inch square (black, grey, or white square only). We will pin them up for discussion.

Th 11/23 Thanksgiving. Eat more than usual while being thankful.


T 11/28 tba

Th 11/30 tba


T 12/5 Studio time: work on final project. Discussion on what to hand in for final portfolio. 

Th 12/7 Studio time: work on final project.


T 12/12 Final portfolio due at 1:50 p.m. This is the last time we will gather as a class.

Th 12/14, after 4:00 p.m. Class does not meet. Graded projects available for pickup in S217 classroom (studio room).