Master the fundamentals. Vary materials and techniques. Try everything: oil, acrylic, wood, pencil, ink. Refine. Study color theory. Play with form, structure, proportion.
Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree
Drawing and Painting is a major offered in the four-year bachelor of fine arts degree program. Our BFA curriculum is rooted by
Core Four—fundamental courses that are structured to enrich each student's professional development over four years.
MCAD's drawing and painting majors refine fundamental techniques while expanding conceptual boundaries through dialogue with faculty and visiting artists. Studies in historical and contemporary drawing and painting will put your work in context, and you'll develop a critical vocabulary to further illuminate your artistic vision.
DRPT 2000 Introduction to Painting 3
In this course, students learn basic oil painting techniques through studio paintings rooted in direct observation. Applied color theory, understanding different palettes (color choices), use of critical language, direct painting techniques, and studio safety practices are covered. Studio practice includes the still life and model. Group and individual critique, lectures, slide lectures, demonstrations, and museum visits round out the course.
Prerequisites: Foundation: Drawing 1
AH 3660 History of Drawing and Painting 3
In this course, painters who draw, drawers who paint, modern artists who draw and paint on same surface appear center stage. The course will focus not only “Old Masters,” but also on movements such as Impressionism, Expressionism, and Surrealism. In addition, students will examine the work of the Bauhaus, as well as the School of Paris and the New York School. Contemporary developments in drawing and painting will be addressed by focusing on Neoexpressionism and beyond. Sessions consist primarily of lecture with some discussion. Students will be required to take meticulous notes and to complete in-class exams.
FAS 3090 Critical Studies 3
Critical Studies examines the relationship between art, culture, and students' work. This examination is related to many forms, including the aesthetic, political, social, and philosophic components that exist within works of art. The focus is on making work in the context of issues from the culture. The cross-disciplinary composition of this course increases the depth of discussion and critiques. (May be repeated for elective credit with a different instructor.)
FA 4000 Professional Practice 3
This course addresses processes needed to succeed in the contemporary professional art world. Topics include grant writing, approaching galleries and graduate schools, and documenting and marketing work. Guest lecturers and course faculty will cover establishing a studio, copyright issues, tax and legal documents, and general professional business startup and concerns. Visiting artist presentations connect abstract information with real-world experience.
Prerequisites: Junior standing
DRPT 4010 Internship 3
Internships provide an opportunity for students to gain practical experience in a particular career area and valuable on-the-job skills. Internships may be arranged by the director of career services or initiated by students. All internships must be pre-approved through the career services office. For an internship to be approved, a mentor relationship and learning experience should exist beyond a simple employment opportunity. Three-credit internships require working 135 hours at the internship site and keeping a journal of hours and activities.
Prerequisites: Professional Practice
DRPT 5010 Advanced Drawing/Painting Seminar 3
This course is for the advanced student who is interested in developing a self-motivated, sustained body of work and an understanding of the relationships between the formal, conceptual, and historical aspects of painting and drawing. By examining their own studio practice in relation to current topics in the field, students expand their perspectives while developing singular bodies of work. An additional goal of this course is to develop critical thinking skills through the painting and drawing process. Each student proposes a course of investigation subject to approval. Studio practice is supported by individual and group critiques, guest critiques, writing exercises, and readings on artists, criticism, and theory.
Prerequisites: three 3000-level Drawing/Painting courses, successful Junior Review
DRPT 5100 Senior Project 6
During senior year, each Drawing/Painting major is required to develop and complete a substantial body of work in a specific field. This course provides a forum for the critical evaluation of this work and curatorial guidance in preparation for the Commencement Exhibition. Course content includes critical readings, position paper, individual and group discussion, and informational meetings.
Prerequisites: successful Junior Review, Senior standing
Select one of: 3 DRPT 3010 Drawing: Color and Mixed Media 3
Focusing on color in a drawing context as a descriptive and expressive tool, this course covers interaction of color, optical color mixing, and color layering. Expressive and symbolic uses of color are covered, as well the creation of light, form, and space through color. Observational drawing skills are further developed, and students are encouraged to take individual approaches to subject matter and imagery. Demonstrations include a wide range of wet and dry color drawing media, collage, and experimentation with a variety of drawing surfaces. Slide lectures of historical and contemporary artists provide complementary information.
Prerequisites: Foundation: Drawing 2 DRPT 3030 Painting: Materials and Techniques 3
This course is designed to expand artistic options with the oil painting medium in order to hone the intimate relationship between craft and expression. Topics include experimentation with scale, broadly interpreted observational work, and a personal approach to painting in form and content. Technical demonstrations cover direct and indirect painting, glazes and scumbling, painting media and varnishes, and a variety of painting supports and techniques. Slide lectures, demonstrations, museum visits, short readings, discussions, and critiques support course material.
Prerequisites: Introduction to Painting
Select two of: 6 DRPT 3070 Image and Text 3
In this course, students explore the possibility of image and text to interrelate, interpret, discombobulate, and extend each other into new dimensions of meaning and visual impact. Working in drawing and painting, students use image and text to tell a story or a poem, text as visual information, and calligraphy as a visual form of language. Students may work with a variety of surfaces, formats, and series work. Projects include course assignments and student proposals. Visual lectures covering historical and contemporary art, research, responsive writing, and field trips round out the course.
Prerequisites: Introduction to Painting or Drawing: Color and Mixed Media DRPT 3080 Operative Drawing 3
This course utilizes chance, prompts, conceptual diagramming, collaboration, transcriptions, and other generative processes to develop and question abstract modes of expression. The course translates 3D model building into drawing and then back again. Projects include site-specific drawing and collaborative design teams for installations. Visual lectures, contemporary readings, discussions, artist films about process, and critiques support course material.
Prerequisites: Introduction to Painting or Drawing: Color and Mixed Media (Bachelor of Science students by permission) DRPT 3085 Painting as Object 3
In this course, students create paintings that exist both as image and as a deliberately produced 3D object, including low relief to sculptural form. Topics include experimental and mixed-media painting, sculptural and shaped supports, and process and presentation as they relate to content. Materials include stretched canvas; wood constructions; natural, found and commercial objects for assemblage; and handmade and other papers. Drawing, composition, surface, and scale are discussed continuously within the context of the painted object. Projects include course assignments and student-proposed bodies of work. Visual lectures covering historical and contemporary art, research, responsive writing, and field trips round out the course.
Prerequisites: Introduction to Painting or Drawing: Color and Mixed Media DRPT 3090 Pressed Drawing 3
This course is an exploration of drawing and mark-making through the versatile method of monotype. By directly drawing or painting on a plate that is then printed, students create imagery with a great deal of spontaneity. The course includes direct-trace drawing and additive and subtractive studies as well as chine colle (a process of pasting/collaging other papers into the print). Instruction includes lectures, visual lectures, technical demonstrations, and critiques.
Prerequisites: Foundation: Drawing 2 DRPT 3095 Representational Studio 3
This course provides a contemporary context for working in a representational manner, including connections between invented and described space, realism and imagination, and understanding implied narratives and symbolism. Students use photographic and observed source material as well as live models. Projects are both classroom- and proposal-based. Instruction includes visual lectures, museum visits, critiques, and readings.
Prerequisites: Introduction to Painting or Drawing: Color and Mixed Media
Select two of: 6 DRPT 3020 Drawing: Figure 3
This course combines life drawing with an in-depth study of figurative structure, including skeletal and muscular anatomy. Students will develop figure drawing skills and an understanding of the movement of the figure in space. The course also explores drawing from imagination, narrative, and sequencing images. Students draw from nude and clothed models. Slide lectures, technical demonstrations, and anatomical lectures and texts support course material.
Prerequisites: Foundation: Drawing 2 DRPT 3040 Issues in Abstraction 3
In this course, students study the impulse toward abstraction in Western art and build upon drawing and painting techniques to explore the abstract visual forms. Students work through a wide range of approaches to surface, scale and shape as well as work in series. Materials include oil and acrylic paint with admixtures, canvas, wood, and drawing directly on the wall. Sources can include observation, research, including photographs (particularly those taken by the student), and creative imagination. Projects are derived from course assignments and student proposals. Visual lectures covering historical and contemporary art, research, responsive writing, and field trips round out the course.
Prerequisites: Introduction to Painting DRPT 3050 Painting: Water-Based Media 3
In this course, students explore the versatility and compatibility of water-based media in order to extend, shape, and redefine issues of form and content in painting. The course investigates methods inherent in watercolor and acrylic painting media, such as color interaction, transparency/opacity, drawing, painting supports, and materials. Composition, formats, and content are regularly discussed. Regular visual lectures, information on materials, short readings, writing exercises, field trips, and critiques round out course content.
Prerequisites: Introduction to Painting DRPT 3060 Working from Life 3
This drawing and painting course is an in-depth exploration of specific locations in order to understand and create a sense of place. Students discover the relationship between on-site observational work and studio-based work. There is further development of observational drawing and painting skills through composition, spatial dynamics, and the particularities of a place. Studio projects are based on information gathered while working on location from direct observation. Critiques, discussions, and lectures on historical and contemporary artists support course material.
Prerequisites: Introduction to Painting or Drawing: Color and Mixed Media
Select one of: 3 PPB 3010 Relief Printmaking 3
Students explore a variety of textures, mark-making, and image techniques in the direct and versatile medium of relief printmaking. Media include linoleum and wood block, collographs, pressure printing, stenciling masks, and wood type. Technical information on cutting techniques, printing by hand and press, reduction and multi-block prints, overprinting, and color layering are also covered. Demonstrations, lectures, and field trips support course material.
Prerequisites: Foundation: Drawing 1 and Foundation: 2D PPB 3015 Screenprinting 3
Screenprinting is a direct printmaking technique that builds images from layers of color. Students will explore photographic, computer-generated, hand drawn and painted stencil techniques. Through field trips, slide lectures, print samples, and critiques, the course will provide an overview of the wide range of historical and contemporary approaches. Students will complete a portfolio of editioned and non-editioned prints. Nontoxic, water-based inks will be used.
Prerequisites: Foundation: Drawing 1 and Foundation: 2D PPB 3020 Intaglio 3
Through experimentation with process and practice, including the editioning of copper plates, students use different grounds, aquatints, acids, and dry-point techniques to gain an understanding of the intaglio process. Line work, halftones, Xerox transfers, chine colle, color printing and photo etching are all possibilities. Both historical and contemporary applications are explored.
Prerequisites: Foundation: Drawing 1 and Foundation: 2D PPB 3025 Lithography 3
The process of lithography allows the artist to draw directly on grained lithographic limestone and aluminum plates to create printable matrices. Students experience both the graphic capacity and painterly possibilities of this medium through a wide range of dry and wet lithographic drawing material. Students develop a portfolio of print-based work emphasizing personal imagery using primarily plate lithography while incorporating Xerox transfer, traditional stone lithography, and photo and digital processes. Historical and contemporary contexts are explored through lectures and field trips to museums and/or print studios.
Prerequisites: Foundation: Drawing 1, Foundation: 2D PPB 3030 Photo Processes in Printmaking 3
Students gain working knowledge of a variety of printmaking techniques that involve photographic and digitally generated images. Students explore photo-plate processes such as Z-Acryl etching, photo litho, pronto, and photo-polymer plates. Techniques include contact printing, halftones and four-color separations. Students are encouraged to experiment within a wide range of possibilities while exploring the conceptual and aesthetic exchange between printmaking and photography.
Prerequisites: all Foundation studio requirements, one Print Paper Book course PPB 3035 Digital Printmaking 3
This course introduces students to contemporary printmaking trends in digital technology. The emphasis is on experimentation and discovery through various techniques including the inkjet printer as painting tool, the scanner as camera, the production of oversize prints, and repeat pattern printing. Through screenprinting, relief, and digital output, this course considers the shift and overlap of old and new techniques as a vital investigation in contemporary visual culture. Contemporary artists working in digital and print-based media are discussed.
Prerequisites: all Foundation studio requirements, one Print Paper Book course PPB 3040 Making Space: Large Scale Prints 3
This course investigates print-based concepts and strategies through installation, intervention and site-specificity. Students are introduced to oversize printing techniques, repeat imagery for large- scale works, and unconventional printing surfaces. The context for studio investigations ranges from gallery to public domain, encouraging a variety of perspectives on site engagement while expanding the definition of print.
Prerequisites: all Foundation studio requirements PPB 3045 Drawing into Print 3
This course introduces a mixed-media approach to printmaking through drawing, collage, and unconventional mark-making. Rubbings, resists, and transfers can be combined with found printed fabric and paper, wood, canvas or other working surfaces. The course investigates printed color and viscosity or built up surfaces achieved in printmaking but defined through a drawing context. Students are encouraged to develop a personal direction through process and play. Demonstrations, field trips, and artists’ talks round out the course.
Prerequisites: all Foundation studio requirements PPB 3050 Artists' Books 3
Traditional and sculptural books provide exciting options for artistic expression. This course is an interdisciplinary exploration of art in the book form, ranging from one-of-a-kind books to printed multiples and sculptural works. Individual projects focus on the relationship of form and content and employ a wide range of media and materials for text and/or images. Contemporary and historical artists’ books will be explored through critique, samples, slide lectures and field trips.
Prerequisites: all Foundation studio requirements PPB 3055 Books: Materials and Techniques 3
Students explore the materials and techniques of book construction through a variety of forms, from simple pamphlets for editions to hardcover multiple-section books. Adhesive and non-adhesive bindings and covers, folded and sewn structures, and Japanese and Western styles are included. Additional projects include presentation cases, envelopes, and box-making. Integration of contents to outer wrapping is discussed, from self-promotion to client presentations. Demonstrations, material exploration, and class discussions complement student projects.
Prerequisites: all Foundation studio requirements PPB 3060 Books: Series Sequence Structure 3
This course explores the internal structure and content of the book form. Topics include the relationships between image/text, caption/illustration, and truth/lies. The development of voice, rhythm, and timing is examined as components of narrative structure. Although simple bookbinding is incorporated, the course concentrates on developing subject matter and ways of telling. Assignments include small editions and collaborative and student-proposed projects. Work may be produced using the medium of students’ choice, including photo, illustration, digital, printmaking, and drawing. Lectures, films, and readings complement course material.
Prerequisites: all Foundation studio requirements PPB 3065 Books and Broadsides 3
This course examines the traditional forms and contemporary possibilities of the printed book. From one-page poetry and political broadsides to multi-paged books, students explore a range of printing and distribution methods. Text and image, page layout, and overall book design are covered. Print technologies covered include letterpress with handset type and photo-polymer plate, relief and collograph techniques, and the wood-type poster press. Projects may be one-of-a-kind, editioned, or collaborative. Basic bookbinding as appropriate to the projects will be covered.
Prerequisites: all Foundation studio requirements, one Print Paper Book course PPB 3070 Papermaking 3
In this course, students learn how to make artwork with handmade paper from recycled materials, botanical fibers, and imported fiber. The course covers sheet formation for drawing, painting, and printmaking purposes, as well as 3D applications in sculpture or lighting projects. Work in related areas such as bookbinding, surface applications, and paper uses in other disciplines are encouraged. Students are expected to experiment with the technical information presented and develop new work.
Prerequisites: Foundation: 2D PPB 3075 Dimensional Paper 2
Students are introduced to Western and Eastern fiber techniques and make 3D work with and without armatures. Fibers include cotton, abaca, and flax for work with plaster molds, vacuum table, and pulp sprayer. Four-foot by eight-foot paper and flexible molds are used with strong, translucent Eastern fiber. Students are encouraged to investigate experimental methods of production in order to develop their own working methods.
Prerequisites: Foundation: 3D
First-Year Studio Foundation 15 FDN 1111 Foundation: 2D 3
This course is an introduction to creative thinking that develops skills in research, observation, interpretation, and self-expression. There is an emphasis on learning new ways to read and see the world and how to report on it. Students learn basic two-dimensional principles through the use of various media, tools, materials, and processes. As a result, students develop a visual and verbal language for analyzing, organizing, shaping, and communicating two-dimensional form and meaning.
FDN 1112 Foundation: 3D 3
This course is an introduction to understanding of visual creation for the development of knowledge, imagination, and perception. Students are introduced to basic three-dimensional concepts as well as materials and technical production processes. Classroom activities include shop demonstrations of tools and techniques, information, lectures, and discussions appropriate to promote the balanced fusion of practice and theory.
FDN 1211 Foundation: Drawing 1 3
This course is an introductory drawing course designed to prepare students for study in all majors of the College. Students develop basic drawing skills, including the ability to perceive and express visual relationships, organize a two-dimensional composition, and depict and manipulate form, space, and light. Students work from direct observation of still life, interior spaces, and landscape.
FDN 1311 Foundation: Media 1 3
Students are introduced to the digital resources at MCAD while exploring digital media and laptop computing. Areas covered include the Service Bureau, student servers, Media Center, and digital resources. Students discuss media and media artists as well as study various software applications including Adobe Photoshop and web-development tools.
FDN 1212 Foundation: Drawing 2 3
This course is an observationally based drawing course designed to reinforce and develop the basic drawing skills established in Foundation: Drawing 1. Students work with a variety of subjects, including a substantial amount of drawing from the figure. In addition to working from direct observation, students explore drawing as a tool for invention, conceptualization, and idea development. The course also affords students an opportunity to investigate drawing materials in more breadth and depth than in Foundation: Drawing 1.
Prerequisites: Foundation: Drawing 1
First-Year Liberal Arts Foundation 12 AH 1701 Introduction to Art and Design History 1 3
The objective of this course is to familiarize students with the major stylistic, thematic, and historical trends in Western art history from prehistoric times through the nineteenth century. This course is designed to encourage a critical understanding of the meaning and function of art objects, architecture, and design artifacts within their original historical contexts. The final section of this course deals with the emergence of modernity in art. Class sessions consist primarily of lecture with some discussion. Students will take in-class examinations and complete short essay assignments.
AH 1702 Introduction to Art and Design History 2 3
This course introduces students to issues in contemporary cultural theory, popular culture, and contemporary art and design. Topics include anti-aesthetic challenges to modernist aesthetics, the rise of consumerism, the proliferation of the designed object, and the transition from source-oriented media to user oriented media, among others. The course is a roughly equal mix of lecture and discussion. Students will produce short writing assignments and will complete written exams consisting of identification and essay questions.
EN 1100 Reading and Writing 1 3
Effective writing requires innovative thinking and creative engagement. Students in this course focus on building a writing portfolio by developing college-level writing skills and using these skills to produce a variety of assignments. Regular writing workshops will allow students to concentrate on experiential and practical approaches to writing. Assigned course materials will explore a variety of texts and objects. By the end of the course students will have the foundational skills to be reflective and eloquent writers. Class sessions are composed of seminar discussions, group work, and writing workshops. Course requirements include participation, presentations, directed group work and research assignments, and a portfolio of seven essays.
EN 1200 Reading and Writing 2 3
Key to the creative and critical nature of college-level writing is the idea that students explore a topic by developing a thesis that changes as they ask questions, explore ideas, and conduct research. To that end, this course extends and concentrates the thinking and communication skills introduced in Reading and Writing 1. The foci of this course are developing a thesis; engaging in critical and sustained research; and drafting, revising, editing, and proofreading a finished research project. As a result, students will become increasingly adept at utilizing a wide variety of research tools, from published books to online search engines. The final project will be a completed research paper and a visual presentation using programs such as PowerPoint. Class sessions are composed of seminar discussions, research exercises, presentations and debates, and writing workshops. Course requirements include participation, presentations, a research journal, a major research paper and a final research presentation.
Second-Year Studio Foundation 4 FDN 1411 Ideation and Process 3
Everything we make has its beginning as an idea, which takes form as the artist/designer makes a series of decisions to guide its creative evolution. This course is designed to help students explore the development of new ideas and their own process of making. Students also create visual tools to track their creative process from idea through construction and then to post-production analysis. The course consists of discussions, critiques, exercises, and visual logs.
Prerequisites: Sophomore standing FDN 1412 Sophomore Seminar: Contemporary Practice 1
Practice is more than working methods: it’s the context, marketing, and creative space that maintain creative work. This course is designed to introduce students to the variety, tools, and foundations of a professional practice. Students upgrade websites and documentation, enter contests, and create a professional presentation of their work as well as hear from guest speakers from a wide range of disciplines. Classes consist of lectures, student presentations, and guest speakers.
Prerequisites: Sophomore standing
varying Studio Electives 23
Drawing / Painting majors take 23 elective studio credits in any media they choose.
Liberal Arts Electives
varying Liberal Arts Electives 24
Drawing / Painting majors take liberal arts electives in the following distribution:
Art History (6 credits)
Scientific Perspectives (3 credits)
Economic and Mathematical Systems (3 credits)
Global Perspectives (3 credits)
Political Thought and Ethics (3 credits)
Creative and Professional Writing (3 credits)
Liberal Arts Capstone Course (3 credits)