My First Semester in Art School


Wow, I can't believe it!

I finished my first semester of art school! For those who don't know I am currently enrolled in VIU's (Vancouver Island University) visual art bachelor program. I just finished the first week of my second semester but before getting into that I wanted to look back on my first semester.

Although it's not all "Draw! Draw! Draw!" I did make a lot of art in my first semester alone. I wanted to cover some of my favourite assignments from my first semester.

Arts 101

Arts 101 is a mandatory course I had to take for my program.  Being an intro course I didn't think I was going to enjoy the class as much as I did. I was also surprised by how much I actually learned during this class. All around I had supportive classmates, a great teacher and a fun time.

Another reason why I didn't think I was going to enjoy the class as much as I did was that the main art supply we used was charcoal, a medium I was never much of a fan of.  I did, however, discover a new liking to this medium and saw how useful it is to an artist, even one who focuses on painting like me.

We did a lot of in classwork, drawing from still life arrangements, and yes, we drew from live nude models which was very new to me. I had really pushed my boundaries in this class, drawing things I would never draw otherwise, and learning that drawing from real life is better than from a photo. Even when we did self-portraits we had to use mirrors because photos are too flat, something I never thought of.

I'm only showcasing my assignments and exercises from this class in this blog post because it's already going to be long enough, but keep an eye on my Instagram (@veebeearts) because I may showcase them there.

Anyway! Enough of this talk lets get to the artwork!

For every big assignment we received, we were given 2 weeks to complete it.  We would spend in-class time working on exercises and learning new drawing techniques.

The first assignment was simple. we had to take 3 objects that were (or represented something that is) important to us and draw it with charcoal. I chose a teapot to represent my love for tea (and coffee) and I used a paintbrush and a tube of paint for well, art!

For the second assignment, we had to pick a plant and draw it from afar and draw the same plant closer up. I struggled with this piece a lot because I rarely draw plants. I ended up choosing fake flowers my mom had even though I have quite the collection of real plants because it was easiest for me. Although I am not the happiest with this piece I do really enjoy how it turned out.

The third assignment was interesting. This piece actually had to be done in ink and brush which had me excited because it is a lot like watercolour. We had multiple options, like items in a drawer or a cluttered mess, or 3 more objects. I took too long to get started on this piece so I ended up going the easy route and choosing 3 more objects. It was close to Halloween so I chose a pumpkin, a book I was reading (Educated by Tara Westover) and one of my favourite mugs.

So for assignment #4 we had to do a self-portrait using both ink and charcoal. I never really liked doing a self-portrait, but I did enjoy doing this one. Although I can see many mistakes, I still really like it. We had two options, a realistic portrait which I did, or an altar ego portrait. I wish I chose to do an altar ego instead because some of my classmate's altar ego works were stunning. I mean, everyone's self-portrait was beautiful of course, but a realistic portrait has such a different feeling compared to an altar ego piece.

The final assignment was for us to learn from the masters. We had two options, again, either to completely copy a famous artist's piece and research the piece and artist or to take the style of an artist and do the same. I chose the amazing artist Pablo Picasso. It was fun to research an artist and see the meaning behind their works. I was inspired by Pablo's more sketchily work but I wanted to try to include his distinct cubism style aswell. Overall I really enjoyed this assignment.

Art 101 Exercises

Art 101 Life Drawing

In this class, I got to draw from live models. It was quite the experience and much different from drawing from photos of people. I noticed that the drawings were more expressive and showed a better understanding of the human form. Drawing from live models is the best way to draw the human figure and worth it if you haven't done it before. Warning, nudity ahead!

Quick Drawing Exercise

When we had a class where we drew from life models we had to do many 60-second gesture drawings. It was challenging capturing both the full form and the expression of the form in only 60 seconds but this kind of exercise is really useful if you plan on drawing the human form.

Full Figure Study

For the second model, we were given more time to do more fully developed figure studies. The model had props and we had to capture not only the pose but more shading of the figure and capture a full form. Both of the models were really nice people and it was a great experience working with them.

Arts 120

Since this post is long enough I won't get into great detail of the work in my 120 class. This class was an intro to the basics of 2D design. The assignments were fun, creative and exciting. I did struggle with creating pieces that made me happy but looking back I would say I learned a lot.

This is only the beginning of my long journey ahead. All this learning, done in a semester alone, I have so much more to look forward too. Thank you for taking the time to read about my art journey, I will make sure to keep updating!

One Comment

  1. Really enjoyed seeing your art and reading about your Art 101 experiences.

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