The University of Detroit has 2 studio sequences: Design and Visual Communication. Students were required to take 10 – 16 week design studios over 5 years. Design studios met 3 times/week for between 4-5 each class. The Visual Communication studio was offered to the 2nd and 3rd year students. Students were required to take 4 Visual Communication studios.

The purpose of the Visual Communication studio was to introduce students to various means of communicating design intent, graphic representation, and how to use various media. Access to computers and rendering software was limited in the 1980-90’s. As such, students needed to learn to draw, and develop skills for communicating their ideas by hand.

I taught 2 – 16 week Visual Communication studios: one focused on mechanical drawing and Beax-Arts style watercolor renderings. The other course focused on mixed media, including pencil, watercolor, airbrush, tempera, charcoal, and collage. Students in both courses were required to learn figure drawing from a live model. Each 3 hour class would begin with a one hour figure drawing exercise, emphasizing gesture, movement and eye-to-hand coordination. The remainder of the studio would be spent learning technique and developing skills using a selected medium.

It was a demanding course, but students were proud of the results.


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