We've moved! The School of Drama operations are relocating to Condon Hall until Summer 2024, while Hutchinson Hall undergoes seismic upgrades. See additional information.

You are here

DRAMA 421 A: Drawing and Rendering Techniques for the Theatre

Meeting Time: 
F 9:00am - 12:50pm
HUT 303
Jennifer Law

Syllabus Description:

Course Description:

DRAMA 421A Uses the human figure, objects, architecture, and elements in nature as subjects of drawing practice. Students will work with different media to learn to translate what they see into drawings and renderings. We will use gesture, proportion, line/mark making, and value to create renderings that can be used as communication tools or for the practice of making art. Some of the approaches we will use include:

  • Practice “seeing” and honing observational skills
  • Gesture drawings of the human figure and subjects in nature
  • Exploring the language of mark making to describe form
  • Understanding anatomical proportion
  • Life drawing in context/surrounding environment. (Life drawing will include drawing from live, nude models)
  • Gesture/sketching and long pose/in depth drawing
  • Course Regulations:

    1. Class will be held in person, but if for any reason zoom is utilized, the following regulations apply: Facilitating or perpetrating “zoom bombing” will result in immediate referral to the UW Community Standards & Student Conduct team, with possible consequences of receiving an F for the class and expulsion from the University. Before joining any Zoom meeting for this class, you must sign in with your UW NetID and password(Links to an external site.) (please bookmark the page). This procedure will prevent unauthorized users from gaining access to class sessions held in Zoom. Also, you should update your personal profile on Zoom with a current photo of yourself. 
    2. Participation in the class is one of the essential requirements for the course. Active involvement in-class critiques, peer reviews, and discussions will enhance your understanding of course materials, and receiving feedback from the instructor as well as classmates will be crucial for every student's learning in the class.
    3. There will be two components of the course assignment: in-class work and homework. Every piece of in-class work will be viewed for class review & discussion. There will be homework assigned after each class, which will be reviewed by the instructor at the following class, and turned in at the end of the class as part of the final review.
    4. Cell phone use not permitted in class. If you are expecting an important call during class that you must take, please let me know at the beginning of class, have you ringer turned off, and step out to take the call. The only other exception is if we are using a still life subject that you would like to continue to reference after class and want to take a picture.
    5. You are fully responsible for following up on all the announcements made throughout the quarter.


    Grading Considerations

    Participation is crucial to the learning and practice of this class. Arriving late or missing class will potentially cause you to miss instruction and/or undermine the completeness of the course assignments. Some in-class work can only be done during the class period since some drawings will be made with real-time model posing, and there will be no recordings of the model sessions. Other class sessions we will be drawing on locations around the UW campus; in both cases class will start promptly, so please make every effort to come to class and be on time. 

    You must communicate with the instructor if you have to miss a class or assignment deadlines for any reason. Although some in-class work cannot be done afterward, there will be options to make up for the class that you have missed. Please note, it is your responsibility to contact the instructor for make-up assignments or extensions. Late work is heavily discouraged and will negatively influence the grades without prior permission.

    The grade for each assignment will be given based on your participation in class sessions, willingness to explore a variety of subjects and techniques, and the improvements that you've made in the evolution of your drawing and rendering.

    Grading criteria

    30% participation 

    70% assignment work (in-class work + homework)


    Religious Accommodation

    Washington state law requires that UW develop a policy for the accommodation of student absences or significant hardship due to reasons of faith or conscience, or for organized religious activities.

    • The UW’s policy, including more information about how to request an

    accommodation, is available at Religious Accommodations Policy

    https://registrar.washington.edu/staffandfaculty/religious-accommodations-policy/ (Links to an external site.)

    • Accommodations must be requested within the first two weeks of this course using the Religious Accommodations Request form

    https://registrar.washington.edu/students/religious-accommodations-request/ (Links to an external site.)


    Disability Accommodation

    To request academic accommodation due to disability, please contact Disabled Services Office, their website: https://hr.uw.edu/dso/contacts/Links to an external site. (Links to an external site) If you have a letter from Disabled Student Services indicating that you have a disability that requires academic accommodations, please present the letter to me so we can discuss the accommodations you might need in this class.



    UW SafeCampus

    • Preventing violence is everyone's responsibility. If you're concerned, tell someone.
      • Always call 911 if you or others may be in danger.
      • Call 206-685-SAFE (7233) to report non-urgent threats of violence and for referrals to UW counseling and/or safety resources. TTY or VP callers, please call through your preferred relay service.
      • Don't walk alone. Campus safety guards can walk with you on campus after dark. Call Husky Night Walk 206-685-WALK (9255).
      • Stay connected in an emergency with UW Alert. Register your mobile number to receive instant notification of campus emergencies via text and voice messaging. Sign up online at www.washington.edu/alert

    For more information visit the SafeCampus website at

    http://www.washington.edu/safecampus (Links to an external site.)


    Materials & Supplies

    • Items needed by Mar 31

    (or equivalent; must work for fluid media)(links to external site)

    • Items needed by April 7



    You are encouraged to use any items already in your possession as long as they can be made to comply with the requirements of the class. (The optional graphite products are interesting to work with, but it’s already a long list, so do what fits your budget best). The instructor does not have recommendations for any vendors, and the brands are flexible. The above links to the external sites are for reference purposes only.


    Weekly Schedule 

    Week 1 Fri. 3/31 “Seeing”, blind contour, value studies

    Week 2 Fri. 4/7 Form and value, mark making

    Week 3 Fri. 4/14 Anatomy, finding “landmarks”

    Week 4 Fri. 4/21 Simplified forms, light and shadow

    Week 5 Fri. 4/28 Figure drawing; gesture

    Week 6 Fri. 5/5 Figure drawing; value, form

    Week 7 Fri. 5/12 Figure drawing; landmarks, proportion

    Week 8 Fri. 5/19 Figure drawing; muscular anatomy, body shape, volume

    Week 9 Fri. 5/26 Figure drawing; longer poses

    Week 10 Fri. 6/2 Figure; longer poses, context

    Week 11 Wed. 6/7 Final Review 12:30-2:20 pm


    Useful texts (not required!)

    The Zen of Seeing; Seeing/Drawing as Meditation by Frederick Franck

    Sketching Techniques for Artists by Alex Hillkurtz

    Morpho anatomy for artists series: Simplified Forms by Michel Lauricel

Catalog Description: 
Weekly figure-drawing laboratories with live model and weekly field trips for laboratories in drawing natural phenomena and architectural detail. Studies in historical drawing styles. Practice in use of several media and techniques of expression.
GE Requirements: 
Arts and Humanities (A&H)
Last updated: 
February 9, 2023 - 8:57pm