Academic Catalog


Foothill College Course Outline of Record

Foothill College Course Outline of Record
Heading Value
Units: 4
Hours: 3 lecture, 3 laboratory per week (72 total per quarter)
Advisory: This course is included in the Drawing family of activity courses.
Degree & Credit Status: Degree-Applicable Credit Course
Foothill GE: Non-GE
Transferable: CSU/UC
Grade Type: Letter Grade (Request for Pass/No Pass)
Repeatability: Not Repeatable

Student Learning Outcomes

  • Students will be able to Incorporate historical approaches to drawing the human figure
  • A successful student is able to demonstrate to draw the basic skeleton structure and the human body from observation.


Intermediate figure drawing course emphasizing the development of drawing skills in depicting the human figure. This is a practical and theoretical course that emphasizes proportion and basic human anatomy. The course will also expose students to great works of historical and contemporary figure drawing in relationship to figure drawing and human anatomy.

Course Objectives

The student will be able to:
A. Demonstrate skills in drawing the human figure from observation in a representational style.
B. Demonstrate an ability to draw interpretive expressions of the human figure.
C. Demonstrate different figure proportion systems.
D. Incorporate historical and contemporary approaches to drawing the human figure.
E. Experiment with a variety of materials to render and complement the human figure.
F. Demonstrate a basic understanding of the human skeletal and muscular system.
G. Demonstrate communication skills in a class critique.

Course Content

A. Demonstrate skills in drawing the human figure from observation
1. Hand-eye coordination
2. Sighting and measuring observational skills
B. Demonstrate an ability to draw interpretive expressions of the human figure
1. Gesture drawing capturing movement
2. Figure in action poses
3. Volumes of the human figure
4. Gesture drawing expressing human emotion
5. Value drawings expressing mood and value
C. Demonstrate accurate figure proportion
1. Ideal human proportions
a. Seven and a half heads high
b. Eight head measurements
c. 5 eye cube measurements
d. Proportion subcutaneous landmarks: ASIS, great trochanter
2. Sighting techniques
D. Incorporate historical and contemporary approaches to drawing the human figure
1. Using references in drawing the human figure
2. Chiaroscuro and value patterns
3. Study the style and use of materials of a known figurative artist
4. Study the great works of contemporary figure artists in relation to the human anatomy
5. Study the great works of figure drawings in relation to the human anatomy
E. Drawing materials
1. Sanguine Conte or Pastels
2. Vine Charcoal
3. Pencil
4. Oil paint washes
F. Drawing skeletal system
1. Skull-cranium and mandible
2. Shoulder gridle: clavicle and scapula
3. Ribcage: sternum
4. Spinal column: vertebrates
5. Upper and lower arms: humerus, ulna, radius
6. Carpals, metacarpals, phalanges
7. Pelvis
8. Femur, patella, tibia, fibula
9. Tarsals and metatarsals
G. Drawing the muscles of the human form
1. Sternocleidomastoid
2. Trapezius
3. Deltoid, pectoralis major, biceps, triceps
4. Latissimus dorsi, External oblique
5. Gluteus maximus and gluteus medius
6. Hamstrings, gastrocnemius
7. Achilles tendon, peroneus longus
H. Demonstrate communication skills in a class critique
1. Evaluate the strengths and areas for improvement on the works in progress
2. Engage in dialogue about the finished drawings in the form of group critiques both large and small

Lab Content

A. Figure drawing exercises that explore drawing the figure in short to long poses.
B. Assignments and exercises related to form. Assignments may focus on constructing the figure using volumes, chiaroscuro techniques, block in methods, additive and subtractive method and drawing planes.
C. Assignments that use the application of foreshortening perspective.
D. Application of basic anatomy in gesture drawing exercises and short poses.
E. Exercises that use different human proportion systems. Students will measure the human form using the seven and a half heads high proportion system, the eight heads high measuring system or the five eye cube measuring system.
G. Exercises that use the application of drawing media and tools, such as traditional drawing media by various artists throughout history.
H. Drawing exercises that focus on human anatomy, the skeletal systems, muscle system and subcutaneous landmarks.
I. Exercises that have students make drawing revisions or corrections.
J. Critiques, self critiques and evaluation of drawing assignments and exercises.

Special Facilities and/or Equipment

A. When taught via Foothill Global Access: on-going access to computer with email software and capabilities; email address; JavaScript-enabled internet browsing software.
B. When taught in the classroom: easels, a skeleton, stools, drapes for the room, heater, a projector and screen, portable lighting equipment and a model stand.

Method(s) of Evaluation

Evaluation methods may include, but are not limited to:
A. Portfolio review: each drawing will be evaluated for technical ability, craftsmanship, attention to proportion, and personal creative and conceptual approaches.
B. Quizzes based on human anatomy and figure drawing.
C. Written or oral participation in lectures of historical and contemporary figure drawings.
E. Drawing revisions.

Method(s) of Instruction

A. Drawing lectures and demonstrations using human anatomy terminology.
B. Discussion using the human anatomy and figure drawing terminology.
C. Demonstration of a variety of proportion systems and sighting systems.
D. Weekly in progress figure drawings projects followed by in-class discussions and evaluations.

Representative Text(s) and Other Materials

Winslow, Valerie. Classic Human Anatomy: The Artist's Guide to Form, Function, and Movement. Watson-Guptil, 2008.

Winslow, Valerie. Classic Human Anatomy in Motion: The Artist's Guide to the Dynamics of Figure Drawing. Watson-Guptil, 2015.

Although one or more text is older than the suggested "5 years or newer" standard, it remains a seminal text in this area of study.


Types and/or Examples of Required Reading, Writing, and Outside of Class Assignments

A. Make a drawing study of the skeletal systems and muscle system using accurate human proportions.

B. Write a self critique discussing the outside drawing project using figure drawing and human anatomy terminology.