Drawing initially emphasizes an exploration of traditional drawing techniques, materials, and processes, with a later emphasis to alternative and mixed-media drawing processes as potential elements in the advanced investigation of drawing as a vehicle for personal expression. Drawing, as a significant foundation of visual communication, is investigated as both an independent discipline and as a vital resource for the investigation of other disciplines. The dynamic union of technical, formal, and conceptual components is emphasized at the thesis level toward the development of a BFA thesis exhibition.
The senior year is a time to focus on the creation of a cohesive body of work for the BFA thesis exhibition, a requirement of graduation. A BFA candidate review occurs at the end of Thesis I and must be accompanied by a written artist’s statement. The purpose of this review is to advise students on the strengths and weaknesses of their work, with the intention of assisting the student in consolidating their aesthetic direction in preparation for the BFA thesis exhibition.
The BFA thesis exhibition is the culmination of each student’s art experience at KCAD, and is accompanied by an oral presentation and a written artist’s statement. Work for the exhibition must receive the approval of three faculty members who comprise the BFA critique committee, which is responsible for conducting the final critique of the BFA thesis exhibition. This final critique is open to all interested students and faculty. The BFA thesis exhibition functions as both a competitive portfolio of work for the student and a showcase of talent for the college.
As a student in the Drawing program, you’ll be immersed in a dynamic and diverse learning environment. Your comprehensive instruction will begin with traditional drawing techniques, materials, and processes before diving into alternative explorations, including mixed media and new media drawing processes and transdisciplinary work as vehicles for personal expression.
You’ll examine the role of drawing as a significant and long-standing discipline in the visual arts, and investigate it as both an independent discipline and as a vital resource for the investigation of other disciplines. The dynamic union of technical, formal, and conceptual components is emphasized in your advanced level course work, culminating in the development of a BFA Thesis Exhibition.
You’ll also round your education out with a wide range of general education and art history courses that will stimulate your curiosity, broaden your perspective, and inspire new creative expressions. KCAD’s flexible General Education Pathways model empowers you to direct your learning by exploring subjects you find most engaging and relevant.
In the Drawing program, you’ll develop a refined understanding of how you actively participate in both the observable and imagined world, opening up a multitude of ways to explore and record your perceptions through the creative process. You’ll also develop the ability to solve problems creatively, take calculated risks, question with an open mind, and adapt to the unexpected.
A thorough understanding of the creative process will provide you with critical thinking and visual communication skills that will enable you to succeed in a wide range of career opportunities both directly and indirectly related to your studies. You’ll emerge from the program with a strong, cohesive portfolio of mindful and personally significant work that contributes to larger dialogues both within and outside of the discipline.
As a student in the Drawing program, you’ll explore both traditional and contemporary practices and experience a strong sense of community driven by an emphasis on faculty availability and interaction. The program’s small class sizes enable our faculty to get to know you as an individual, while you’ll come to see them as not just instructors, but as mentors and professional role models as well. The program also places an emphasis on personalized instruction, resulting in concentrated periods of work, ideation, and exploration with guidance from faculty. The ability to experiment in a safe and supportive environment encourages your growth and confidence and prepares you for success after graduation.
There’s also the matter of place: located in Grand Rapids, a mid-sized city that values art and design, KCAD acts as an incubator for focused artistic growth and cultural engagement. Location also means you’ll enjoy mid-size city living while being only a few hours away from the cultural wealth of larger cities like Chicago and Detroit.
As a graduate of the Drawing program, you’ll be well positioned to pursue a career as a studio artist, either independently or with gallery representation. As creative professionals, our students are very adaptable, having applied their critical thinking, communication, and creative problem solving skills to a variety of professions such as curator, museum preparator, art education specialist, art director, gallery owner, archivist, appraiser, educator, or even as an entrepreneur. In some instances, additional education or graduate studies may be required.
Many Drawing graduates choose to further develop their skills by pursuing a Master of Fine Art degree or by seeking opportunities such as artist residencies or grant-funded projects.
As a Drawing student, you’ll learn and experiment in spacious classrooms with plentiful natural light and extensive studio equipment including large format scanners and printers and Cintiq digital drawing tablets. You’ll also have access to designated project spaces for installation and other space-intensive exploration, private personal studio spaces, and communal exhibition spaces equipped with expansive display walls and track-lighting.
Elsewhere on campus, you’ll have access to The Fed Galleries @ KCAD, an exhibition space featuring the work of nationally and internationally-recognized artists and designers; The Dow Center FlexLab, KCAD’s state-of-the-art digital fabrication facility featuring 3D printers and scanners, laser cutting and vinyl cutting machines, wide format printers, and more; a printmaking lab with a range of facilities that accommodates wood cuts, intaglio prints, stone and plate lithography, aquatinting and mezzo tinting, screen-printing, papermaking and more; KCAD’s Material ConneXion Satellite Library, which offers direct access to more than 1,000 physical samples of advanced, innovative, and sustainable materials as well as online access to over 7,000 more; the KCAD Library, which provides access to millions of books through the MeLCat shared library catalog as well as access to specialized research databases and subscriptions to scholarly journals; KCAD’s Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts (UICA), an innovative cultural institution hosting exhibitions of such contemporary artists and designers as Nick Cave, Kehinde Wiley, Kara Walker, Nari Ward, Carrie Mae Weems, and Judi Werthein; a fully appointed photo shooting studio; a fully equipped ceramics facility and sculpture facility; fully-equipped wood and metals shops; and much more.
KCAD also offers a number of summer travel/study experiences as well as internships during the academic year and the summer. You’ll have the opportunity to pursue work in a variety of settings, such as fine art galleries, museums, and community arts organizations, to name a few.
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An overview of the Western Art tradition from prehistory through the Renaissance using a socio-cultural methodology in a chronological framework. (Students who have earned credit for ARTH 110, Prehistoric through Middle Ages, may not use credit earned in KCAH 111 to meet graduation requirements.)
An overview of the Western art tradition from prehistory through the Renaissance using a socio-cultural methodology in a chronological framework. (Students who have earned credit for ARTH 110, Prehistoric through Middle Ages, may not use credit earned in KCAH 111 to meet graduation requirements.)
An examination of the concept of Modernism and how it is expressed in Western art and architecture from the mid-19th century to the mid-20th century. (Students who have earned credit for ARTH 310, History of Twentieth Century Art, may not use credit earned in KCAH 311.)
An indepth study of fine art and theory from 1960 to the present.
The process of drawing as observation and conceptualization through eye-hand coordination. Emphasizes linear construction with concern for accurate proportion and simple positive-negative/figure-ground relationships. Includes an in-depth study of linear perspective. (Students who have earned FSU credit for VISC 112 Drawing I, may not use credit earned in KCDR 131 to meet graduation requirements.
Emphasis on development of convincing illusion of three-dimensional objects, through the combined use of line, value, proportion, and composition. This course focuses on the further refinement of the concepts, processes, and techniques introduced in Drawing I. Expanded exploration of perspective, composition, color investigation, media exploration, and idea development within traditional subject matter will be emphasized.
This course focuses on gesture drawing, rapid visualization skills, movement and expressive content, composition, structure, skeletal anatomy, and engaging in critiques.
This course develops concepts introduced in Figure Drawing I with additional emphasis on the development of volume and mass through structural application of line and value; heads, hands, and feet; figure in environments; anatomical focus on musculature; and engaging in critique.
Emphasizes independent problem solving, refinement of technical skills, and the development of conceptualization processes. Examines contemporary issues, artists, and the significance of content.
A topical course that allows the program to respond to students' interest in a particular area, or other expressed need or capacity to offer a particular topic.
Explores the figure within increasingly complex and spacial compositions and emphasizes through treatment of both positive and negative space. The figure is studied as both a form in space and a vehicle of expression. The use of color in relation to the figure is introduced primarily through chalk pastels.
Encourages the development and definition of personal connections with the figure. Increased emphasis on individual artistic interpretation of form, space, color, and conceptual development.
An advanced level, self-directed investigation of drawing. Conceptual development is emphasized along with refinement of technical and formal skills toward the creation of a cohesive body of work. Incorporation of mixed media elements is encouraged for those students who wish to expand the boundaries of traditional drawing media and processes.
A further investigation of Studio Drawing I concerns with continued emphasis on self-direction, conceptual strenth, development of a cohesive body of work, and potential for the incorporation of mixed media or non-tradional drawing media and techniques.
Focuses on the creation of a unified body of work in drawing in preparation for the BFA Thesis Exhibition. Emphasizes cohesiveness of technical, formal, and conceptual concerns. Includes both individual and group critiques.
Emphasizes continued responsibility for the creation of a unified body of work in drawing for the BFA Thesis Exhbition. Emphasizes technical, formal and conceptual continuity. Includes both individual and group critiques. The student is required to install a thesis exhibition and present an artist's statement to complete the BFA in Drawing.
This course focuses on using writing to develop ideas, hone critical thinking skills, and express ideas clearly and appropriately according to audience and purpose. Students write in a variety of modes and spend a portion of the semester engaging in scholarly research. Students also develop their public speaking skills.
This course provides a core understanding of effective storytelling. It examines the ways in which storytellers-both past and present-craft, organize, and convey ideas to successfully impact audiences, doing so through both inquiry into established narratives, as well as students' own experiments with narrative forms.
This course examines what it means to be a member of a particular society and how individuals both form and are formed by society. It will provide students with a better understanding of the social and cultural worlds they inhabit.
This course is an inquiry into the nature and power of philosophy to transform the way we experience the world around us and understand our place within it. Through a selection of readings representing various philosophical traditions and perspectives, critical discussion, and writing, students will examine some of the great questions that have intrigues philosophers from antiquity to present.
Students will be introduced to digital drawing, coloring, compositing and image manipulation techniques for both print and digital delivery systems.
This course is designed to guide students through the career-oriented aspects of working as a fine artist. Course work will include information on applying for grants and exhibitions, documenting artwork, compiling a resume and applying for graduate school.
This course will focus on an in depth examination of those strategic points at which social practice, theory, and the practice of art intersect. Students will read from key theoretical texts on Post-structuralism and Deconstruction including the writings of such seminal thinkers as Jacques Derrida, Michel Foucault, Julia Kristeva, and others.
A problem-solving course covering the principles of composition and modular design systems. Uses predominately abstract shapes and black, white, and achromatic gray ranges.(Students who have earned credit for VISC 110, Design I, may not use credit earned in KCPA 110 to meet graduation requirements.)
A problem-solving course which studies the properties and interactions of color and its resulting perceptual effects in pictorial space.
The first course that deals exclusively with the medium of oil painting. Observation of nature and the depiction of solid three-dimensional form in illusionistic space are the central concerns. Emphasis is primarily on still life painting; some figure/portrait painting may be introduced. Also surveys Western painting and the traditional techniques pertaining to that history.
An introduction to the fundamentals of photography using both manually adjustable 35mm film cameras and digital cameras. This course includes black and white film development and darkroom printing as well as digital camera use and basic image manipulation controls using PhotoShop. The aesthetics of photography will be discussed in terms of its history, and artistic and technical advancements. Students must own or have use of a digital camera (prosumer grade or above; camera phones are not acceptable).
An introductory course which explores some of the following media: monotype, relief, intaglio, lithography. Students gain proficiency in printing, proofing, and editioning.
To explore the elements, principles and aesthetic concepts integral to three-dimensional design and to consider relationships between concept, process, materials, tools and technical skills. (Students who have earned credit for ARTS 120, 3-D Design, may not use credit earned in KCSF 11 to meet graduation requirements.)
Introduction of media and techniques in the sculptural processes, including but not limited to: welding (gas, MIG, TIG), subtractive carving, additive/constructive and molding and casting. Builds upon concepts and vocabulary from 3-D Design.
Download the catalog for the most recent course listings and prerequisites.
As a graduate of the BFA Drawing program, you’ll be fully prepared to engage in a rich, fulfilling practice of creating culturally significant and meaningful works of art.
The versatile set of creative, critical thinking, and communication skills you’ll develop will also provide opportunities to pursue a number of other art-related career options.