Courses Perceptual Studies page 4


Working Procedure
I took a desk at the front of the class and students came to me to ask questions or show their work. When evaluating one student’s work it was beneficial if other students were there listening and watching. Sometimes I would ask another student to critique the work in front of me. This procedure stimulated student interest and participation. Also, it was an inducement to articulate what they were doing which aids the learning process. Throughout the entire program, the teacher must control the class in terms of student behavior. The studio should be absolutely quiet with no visiting, radios or headphones. If students need to talk, encourage them to step out of the studio to do so. Stress concentration on the work. Point out how talking or unnecessary moving around not only destroys their concentration, but also that of others around them.

Typical Criticisms
) This line is broken. Can you show me where?
) There are flat places in the curves, mark them for me.
) This is a wet spaghetti line with no tension.
) All the curves are about the same scale. Try making some larger and others smaller.
) Although you have changed the scale, all the curves are the same. Mix in pointed, asymmetrical, flat, etc. for a more interesting line.
) Variety is the spice of life and visually interesting lines!
) You are bringing this curve back too far making a rather ugly shape and one that will be difficult to work with other shapes.
) This curve is limp. More tension in the line.
) This shape is sagging. Don’t draw the implied shapes vertically. Try and keep them more to the horizontal so they can work in a dynamic (oppositional) relationship to the other lines.
) The peak of the curve is in the exact middle of the line. Move it up or down.
) You are entering the picture plane at too much of an angle creating an ugly triangular foot which will give you problems at the composition stage.
) You are pushing too hard on the pencil. By pushing too hard, you lose control.
) Your pencil is too dull and you are losing line quality. Sharpen the pencil!
) You are holding the pencil at too much of an angle and the strokes are too broad. Hold the pencil at a more vertical angle and use the point.
) On this shape closure (4 line), the neck is too long and the lines too parallel.
) On this shape (line 4), if I draw a horizontal line through the middle, the top half is exactly the same as the bottom half. Play one line against the other to make the shape more interesting.
) The line (4 line) has equal activity from top to bottom which reduces the illusion of activity. Within the line, play the highly active segment against the relatively static segments.
) Too many curves for this line. You need the contrast of curves to straight.
) Restrict activity to a segment of the line.
) Construct the line! You cannot draw it with a single stroke.
) You are bringing the bottom (or top) of the curve too far back creating an ugly negative shape.
) Try to visualize the line and then draw it. Feel the line as you draw it.
) Use the pencil with sensitivity.
) You must concentrate on the line as you draw it. You cannot be thinking about something else or visiting with your neighbor and be successful.
) This part of the line looks good but this part does not work.
) Save the good part and erase the other and try some alternative variations.
) On this closure, the ends of the implied shape are tangential which allows the eye to skip by the shape. Try extending either the bottom or top line of the closure creating an oppositional relationship between the two lines.
) Try to avoid the tangential relationships.
) Chatter! Chatter! Chatter! It is impossible to talk and work on lines at the same time. If each of you is concentrating as you should, this room would be absolutely quiet.
) You know the criteria. Before you bring work to me, ask yourself the questions related to criteria, make the judgments and corrections before bringing the work for discussion.
) Get out of here! You have been to me every five minutes. Go back to your desk and work. You are becoming dependent on me when you should be dependent on yourself. I don’t want to see you again until the end of the period.


Line Composition
The next step is to arrange the lines as a composition in a 10-inch square on tracing paper. On the composition, students may turn lines upside down, flop them, or modify lines as necessary to improve the composition. They may draw entirely new lines if it makes the composition better. Lines cannot touch or overlap and must enter and exit the picture plane vertically. In order to control interval, students use the lines to define a major and minor shape. They cannot incorporate side edges as part of either shape. Major and minor shapes relate to enclosed areas, and the distinction between the two should be extreme. The spaces between lines become shapes and the lines become edges or contours. Students should be made aware and sensitive to shapes and which ones are visually interesting and those that are not. The typical student approach to the composition problem is to take a clean piece of tracing paper and draw a 10-inch square in the center; the lines on the save sheet are individually cut out. The students then arrange the lines under the 10-inch square. Students experiment with turning lines upside down, flopped and in different combinations until they ind something worth redrawing on another piece of tracing paper. I encourage this approach as it requires multiple decisions within a short period of time, and each decision is a critical judgement. This activity is most inductive to self-discovery by students, and as such, it is an important part of the learning experience.




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Student example
Step 2
Line composition
Four lines of varying activity

Line Composition
(more examples)

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