Geraldine Ondrizek
A. 205 X7201
Tuesday/Thursday 9:10-11:50                                                              

The study of anatomy increases the sensitivity of the artist's eyes and makes the skin transparent; it allows the artist to grasp the true form of the surface contours of the body because he knows the parts that lie hidden beneath a veil of flesh. It is as though anatomy were a magnifying glass, making forms more visible in minute detail. Through this glass the artist is able to see more clearly and more quickly. When the knowledge of anatomy is applied in the plastic arts, it leads to an understanding of exterior forms through the relationship that exists between it and the underlying forms. The study of anatomy teaches the artist why exterior forms appear as they do, in action and repose.”
—Dr. Paul Richer, Professor of Anatomy at the École des Beaux -Arts and the Academy of Medicine, Paris, 1889


The tradition of Western academic figure drawing began in the Renaissance. The academies of the past, reflecting the official artistic cultures of their time, considered the figure to be central to their artistic training. Each academy represented a different ideal and featured its own style of presentation. The tradition of western figure drawing centers on the body's response to gravity, volume, and weight within a solid floor plane seen in perspective.

The course

In the first half of this course you will be introduced to the traditional methods of rendering the human body from the Renaissance to the eighteenth century. You will practice gesture drawing and proportion studies and focus on the anatomical structure.

In the second half of the course you will investigate tonal rendering of the body with various materials, applying modern and postmodern composition theory and expressionistic representation. Contemporary issues of body politics, gender studies and postcolonial theory will be focused on the second half of the semester. A final project will operate in the public realm, either through multiple printings, a large-scale public work or a book object. Throughout the Semester we will visit and work from the special exhibition:
The Language of the Nude: Four Centuries of Drawing the Human Body at the Douglas F.  Cooley Memorial Art Gallery.
View images in ContentDM.

language of nude image

Some tips for drawing the figure

Outline of concepts covered

Drawing as dance, moving to the motion of the figure.
Massing the gesture of the figure in motion.
Linear studies of the interior and exterior of the body.
Anatomical studies
Skeletal studies drawn from the figure and the skeleton simultaneously.
Muscular studies from anatomy texts will be referred to as you draw the figure.
The study of highlights and shadow on the musculature and the body as a whole.
The negative space and positive image in the picture plane. Theatrically and emotive depictions through tonal compositions.
The communicative aspects in designing the picture plane.
Symmetrical versus asymmetrical composition. Drawing the figure in architectural space.
Image and content
The communicative aspects and the social/political implications of Figurative work in the later 20th century, including Protest Poster, Graphite and Comics.
Sculptural form
Forming the body, physical exaggeration, and physical manifestations of movement through Sculpting.


Folder for essays and handouts.
Sketch book- bound or spiral for drawings and notes.
Newsprint, rough surface, 18" x 24" 3-4 pads (The Bookstore is keeping these in stock.)
White drawing paper, 18 x 24   70  lbs. 1 pad
Portfolio (black or reddish) or make one out of large sheets of cardboard. (you must have one for portfolio reviews)
8-10 sheets 18 x 24 heavy paper for painting and watercolor, a least 100 lb
2 Graphite Pencils
2 Charcoal Pencils
2 Litho crayons
Conte Crayons, Sepia, 8 sticks. White 2 sticks
Chinese bamboo brush or a watercolor brush.
Box for materials
Many of these materials will be in the bookstore. You can pick up pads of paper and drawing pencils and charcoal to get started.
You can also purchase these materials at Art Media at 9th and Yamhill down town, or Utrecht on 13th  in the Pearl district.

art image


Attendance-  40%
Attend all classes. You have two excused absences.
You must be in the studio by 1:15.  
We will usually begin the class with a discussion, so it is vital that you are here for the beginning of the class.
Participation- 20%
Your input and interest in the class, and willingness to share ideas visually and verbally.
Discussion is vital to a studio course.
Doing the readings and the assignments and talking about them is necessary.
 Assignments 40%
1. Turn in projects on time.  Your grade will be lowered for each week the project is late.
2. Generation of basic ideas and exploration of solutions. This includes drawings, models and exploration of materials.
3. Visual organization of your forms.  Your ability to follow a system of formal design.
4. Conceptual thought process put into visual forms.  Your ability to convey the ideas behind the form created is vital to the success of the piece.

Reference texts for Figure Drawing

art image

Adler, Kathleen and Pointon, Marcia, ed. The Body Imaged: The Human Form and Visual Culture Since the Renaissance (Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press, 1993)
Cazort, Mimi, Kornell, Monique, Robert K. B. The Ingenious Machine of Nature: Four Centuries of Art and Anatomy (The National Gallery of Canada, 1996)
Hale, Robert Beverly. Artistic Anatomy, Paul Richer, Professor at the École des Beaux-Arts and the Academy of Medicine, Paris, Lectures and 8 video recordings (Art Students League of New York. New York: Jo-An Pictures, Ltd, 1983)
Goldstein, Nathan. Figure Drawing: The Structure, Anatomy, and Expressive Design of the Human Form (London: Prentice Hall International, 5 ed. 1999)

Modern/Contemporary Figurative Artist

Leon Golub:echoes of the real/Jon Bird
Alice Neel/edited by Ann Temlkin
Raymond Pettibon / Robert Storr, Dennis Cooper, Ulrich Loock
London ; New York, NY : Phaidon, 2001
Jenny Saville Closed contact : Jenny Saville, Glen Luchford, Gagosian Gallery
Kara Walker : My Complement, My Enemy, My Oppressor, My Love                  
Kara Walker : Narratives Of A Negress
Lucian Freud paintings / Robert Hughes
Nancy Spero : a continuous present / herausgegeben von/edited by Dirk Luckow und/and Ingeborg Kähler
Düsseldorf : Richter ; Kiel : Kunsthalle zu Kiel, 2002
Andy Warhol Nudes / Andy Warhol ; essay by Linda Nochlin ; edited by John Cheim
Marlene Dumas : measuring your own grave / organized by Cornelia Butler ; texts by Cornelia Butler ... [et al.]
Publication Los Angeles, CA : Museum of Contemporary Art ; New York : Co-published by D.A.P./Distributed Art Publishers, 2008
John Currin / exhibition curators, Staci Boris, Rochelle Steiner ; essays, Robert Rosenblum, Staci Boris ; interview, Rochelle Steiner
Publication Chicago: Museum of Contemporary Art; London: Serpentine Gallery in association with Harry N. Abrans, New York, 2003.

Reference Websites

Reed College Artist Books Website
The Language of the Nude: Four Centuries of Drawing the Human Body
MOMA- Prints/Drawings/Books
The Feminist Art Project
Wellcome Trust
Ways of Seeing

Contemporary Artist Websites:

John Currin
Raymond Pettibon
William Kentridge
Louise Bourgeois
Kiki Smith
Elizabeth Peyton
Marlena Dumas
Ghada Amer
Kara Walker
Yinka Shonibare
Joe Sacco,
Walker Art Museum Lecture
Comic book review

comics image


View pdfs of articles in Reed's ereserves

The Shape of a Pocket Degas, Vincent, Rembrant, John Berger
Ways of Seeing chapter 3 John Berger
Figure Drawing , Expressive ContentThe Structure, Anatomy, and Expressive Design of the Human Form, Nathan Goldstein
Theories and Documents Figuration, Peter Selz
Art in America, William Kentridge, Ghosts and Erasures Leah Ollman
Women Art and Power, Some Women Realist, Why Have There Been No Great women Artists? Linda Nochlin
Marlena Dumas Barbra Bloom in Conversation with Marlena Dumas
Lets See Writing on Art from The New Yorker Lucian Freud Peter Schjeldahl
Street Art Street Art or Graffiti, Cedar Lewisohn
Eric Fischl Desiring Ambiguity The Art of Eric Fischl,,Robert Enright
Live Forever Elizabeth Peyton Fin de Siecle Laura Hoptman
SAVILLE The Landscape of the Body, Ballard, Bacon, Saville, John Gray

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September 1-3

Introduction. Materials list and slides of artist work.
Visit Exhibition: The Language of the Nude: Four Centuries of Drawing the Human Body at the Douglas F. Cooley Memorial Art Gallery.
Drawing as dance, massing the gesture of the body in motion.
Lecture: Overview Representations of the Body: Classical to Contemporary
Assignment: 10 Gestures. Masters Drawings: 3 Sketches from in The Language of the Nude
Reading: The Evolution of Intent, Nathan Goldstein
The Language of the Nude: Four Centuries of Drawing the Human Body

September 8-10

Massing the body in motion—massing gesture, charcoal. Proportions, distortion, and perceptions—linear gesture, charcoal.
Lecture: Gesture/ Fluidity of Form: Michelangelo, Durer, Rembrandt, Inge, Raphael, Degas, Peyton, Fischl
Assignment: Body in motion, 6 Gesture drawings. Masters Drawings: 3 Sketches from The Language of the Nude
Reading: The Shape of a Pocket Degas, Vincent John Berger

September 15-17

Line wrapping the body—linear, blind, and cross contour, litho crayon. Introduction to the skeletal structure of the body and linear contour.
Lecture: Contour: The Blind Line Wrapping: Rembrandt, Klimt, Sheila, Matisse, Deibenkorn, Warhol, Amer, Kara Walker
Assignment-Skeletal studies, spine, and rib cage, clavicle, scapula, pencil 18 x 24.
Masters Drawings: 1 Sketch The Language of the Nude
Reading: The Anatomical Factors, Nathan Goldstein
References: Artistic Anatomy, Paul Richer
Drawing Lessons from the Great Masters, Robert Beverly Hale

September 22-24

Skeletal structure of the body—linear contour, cross contour, graphite.
Lecture: Anatomy Lessons: Vesalius, Leonardo, Durer, Kiki Smith, Ghada Amer
Assignment: Skeletal studies, pelvis, back and front, pencil 18 x 24.
Masters Drawings: 1 Sketch The Language of the Nude
Reading: Why Have There Been no Great Women Artist, Linda Nochlin
Ways of Seeing, John Berger
John Currin

September 29- October 1

Muscular studies, the mass and weight of the body. Gesture massing—Sepia Conte.
Lecture: Classical Studies of Musculature: Michelangelo, Raphael, Inge, Degas, Becker, Jenny Saville, Joan Seminal, Alice Neel
Selected examples: The Female Nude in Context, from the Rennaisance to 1960, &1960 to now. Titian, Rubens, Inge, Manet, Valadon, Walker, Message.
Assignment—muscular studies, front, back, and side of torso, pencil 18 x 24.
Master Studies: The Language of the Nude
Reading: Eric Fischl Desiring Ambiguity The Art of Eric Fischl, Robert Enright
Lets See Writing on Art from The New Yorker Lucian Freud Peter Schjeldahl

October 6-8

Muscular studies, the mass and weight of the body. Gesture & massing in sepia conte crayon.
Lectures: The Exaggeration of Proportional Relationships: Michelangelo, Raphael, Titian, Caravaggio, Rubens, Goya, Dumas, Freud, Fischl, Currin
Assignment: muscular studies, arms and legs, back, front, and side Pencil, 18 x 24.
Master Studies
Reading: Figuration, Peter Selz
SAVILLE The Landscape of the Body, Ballard, Bacon, Saville, John Gray

October 13-15

Darkness and light; additive and subtractive processes in building of tone, sepia and white conte crayon.
Lecture: Tonal Rendering, Theatricality and Empathy: Durer, Rembrant, Goya, Beckman, Paula Moderson Becker, Susan Valadon, Golub, Kentridge.
Assignment: Midterm Piece- 6-10 Tonal renderings of a Face each 10 x 10”
Reading: The Shape of a Pocket Rembrandt and the Body, The Cloth Over the Mirror, John Berger


Ida Applebrough



October 27-29 Midterm Project Due   

Designing the Composition through cropping, symmetry, and asymmetry.
Lecture: Shape of the Page: Diebenkorn, Beckman, Neel, Warhol, Kentridge, Spero, Applebroog.
Assignment: 20 page diagrams- various position of the body in space. Copy the compositional structure of a master’s work.
Reading: Ghost and Erasures, William Ketridge,
Interview with Joe Sacco, Rebecca Tuhus-Dubuw
Walker Art Museum Lecture
Comic book review

November 3-5

Ink line drawing, quill pen/calligraphic marks.
Drawing the body as a narrative sequence, the body in time and movement.
Lecture: The Story Unfolds, the Comic and the Animated: The Re-Emergence of Figuration in Contemporary Art.
Clip of Kentridge Film, Books Jim Lee, Art Speigelman, & Joe Sacco, work by Ghada Amer, Darrel Morris,
Elaine Reichek, & Exhibtion: Pricked
Assignment:A Narrative Sequence of 5-10 Drawings
Reading: Live Forever Elizabeth Peyton Fin de Siecle Laura Hoptman

November 10-12

Line and tone, ink wash, Prints.
Lecture: Contemporary strategies reflecting past traditions: Saville & Rembrant, Peyton & Inge, Petibone & Goya, Currin&Durer/Meleing, Gallager & Warhol
Assignment: 6-10 Drawings in the style of an artist use exhibition, The Language of the Nude or Contentdm
Reading: Interview with Kiki Smith


Ellen Galleger

November 17-19

Sculpture- representing the 3 dimensional bodies. Gesture, One figure study and a series of fragments. Clay
Lecture: Fragmentation of the Whole: Sculpture after Classical Ruins: Rodin, Giacometti, Hague, Brancusi, Rosso, Kiki Smith, Eric Fischl
Assignment: One body and one fragment complete
Reading: Street Art, Ceder Lewisohn

November: 24

Final Assignment: In the Street and in the Media- Positioning your work
Final Lecture: From Warhol to Graphite, the Place of the Figuration in Popular Culture
Warhol, Basquiat, Keith Haring, Ernst Pigeon Ernst, Barbara Kruger
Guerilla girls, Jenny Holzer, Kara Walker, Raymond Pettibone, Barry MeGee, Poster Boy
Shepard Fiery, Bansky, JR (The Separation wall), Swoon

December 1,3,8

Final Project

December 14

Final review of work

Artists we will cover

Albrecht Durer
Paula Moderson-Becker
Susan Valadon
Kathe Kolowitz
Max Beckman
Lucian Freud
Alice Neel
Andy Warhol
Nancy Spero
Chuck Close
Marlene Durmas
Kiki Smith
William Kentridge
Kara Walker
Ghada Amer

Suzanne Valadon,Detail of The Blue Room, 1923



Skeletal Structure
Blind contour
Cross contour
Lyrical Line
Calligraphic Line
Wrapping Contour
Meandering, Blind Contour
Spontaneous Contour line
Delineating Contour line
Weight of the contour -Lacing Cross contour
       Heavy, carved line,

Informed line-witty line, spontaneous contour
Fragmented- broken, nervous, non-continuous contour line
Empathetic Line- emotional charged, character marks
Mechanical- geometric, angular contour line


High light
Core of Shadow
Reflected light
Cast Shadow
White, Black
Intermediate tone- shades of gray
Chiaroscuro- Deep shadow
Shallow space
Deep space
Contrast of value
Dark values
Light values


Direction- Vertical movement, Horizontal, Diagonal
Fibonacci, Dynamic Symmetry- Spiral motion
Space- Positive form/Negative space
Spatial Thrust- foreground middle ground, background
Psychological Space
Deep Space
Shallow Space, Patterning
Liner Relationships- Scale
Visual weight
Pictorial emphasis- Location and Proximity
Expressive content

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