Monday, August 25, 2014


Media Arts Techniques
Syllabus Fall 2014

Course info:  Ill 283 Media Art Techniques
Sec, M001, Tuesday 2:00pm to 6:00pm
Sec, M002, Wednesday 8:30am to 12:30pm
Shaffer Art Room 332

Instructor: Associate Prof. James Ransome
Shaffer room 347
Office hours: Tues. 8:30am.-12:00pm. (by appointment)
Wed. 1:00pm-3:30pm (by appointment)
Office phone: (315) 443-1138
Mail box: Viscom office

Class goals
The goal of this class is to have students learn how to handle and explore a variety of media and materials that are used in the field of illustration.  The fall semester will focus on fostering creative ideas and the tools and supplies needed to create illustrations.  The course will explore the importance of line, shape, the relationships of value to color and the impact of simplified images.  The ultimate goal is to help you find your own personal way of communicating visually. All students must participate in the end of the semester survey and the annual field trip to the Society of illustrators in New York City. Students who do not participate will drop one grade. 

  1. To gain knowledge and experimentation with dry and wet drawing media, acrylic paints and the variety of surfaces they are used on. 
  2. To learn the basic elements used to compose a picture and communicate visually. 
  3. To introduce students to a variety of options that can be used to expand their visual voice.
  4. To introduce students to contemporary illustrators and the materials they use.
Class Policies
  • No laptops
  • No texting or phone calls during class. You will be given 2 warnings about texting in class, your 3rd offense will result in an automatic fail.
  • All instruments that receive calls, messaging or anything else that makes a sound     should be put on vibrate.
  • If you receive an emergency phone call or text you should leave the classroom to answer it.

Attendance is required. One absence for the semester will be tolerated; however, you are still responsible for turning in assignments on time. Two unexcused absences will lower your final grade by one letter grade. You will FAIL the course in the event of a third absence!  Mechanical failures (alarm clocks, car failure, etc.) are not valid excuses.  Lateness of an hour or more will count as a half absence.  Chronic lateness or skipping out early will also count towards an absence and will lower your grade. There is a 10 minute grace period and then class will begin.

Presentation of assignments: reflects attitude and is part of the classroom participation component of your grade.

Thumbnail sketches: Small sketches created in your sketchbook so you can see how your thoughts work on paper.  These sketches are for personal critiquing only. This method should help you see if an idea can work visually. Since thumbnail sketches help you resolve your ideas, you should complete as many as possible.  A good amount of thumbnail sketches for each assigned is 5 –15.

Sketches: For each assignment you should create 5 to 15 sketches in your sketchbook. Students should indicate, with an asterisk, which 3 sketches are their favorite or redraw them as a group on a separate sheet(s) in their sketchbook. Your favorite sketches, called rough sketches, should be clear, clean and easy to read. These rough sketches should be completed in black line and/or with 3 values -black, gray and white, and composed of simple shapes that can be “read” from about 10 feet away. They also need to be in proportion to the final illustration.  If the final image is going to be vertical, your rough sketch should also be vertical. 

Review assignments:  are evaluated by the class during critiques but are not handed in. 

Critique: A final review by the class and handed in at the end of class.

Syllabus: The syllabus is subject to change as the need arises.

At the end of each semester, your work will be displayed and individually assessed by department faculty.  All illustration majors must participate in the end of the semester survey.

This is not a portfolio class.  We are here to experiment and learn.

The objective of this class is to experiment and learn, not develop portfolio pieces. Relax and enjoy yourself.

All illustration major students are required to travel with the department on its annual field trip to the Society of illustrators in New York City.

Disability Statement
Any student who needs special consideration in the course due to a disability of any sort, please make an appointment to discuss accommodations.
Students who are in need of disability-related academic accommodations must register with the Office of Disability Services (ODS), 804 University Avenue, Rm. 309, 315/443-4498.  Students with authorized disability-related accommodations should provide a current Accommodations Authorization Letter from ODS to the instructor and review those accommodations with the instructor.   Accommodations, such as exam administration, are not provided retroactively:  therefore, planning for accommodations as early as possible is necessary.  For further information, see the ODS website,

A achievement is outstanding relative to the level necessary to meet course requirements
B achievement is significantly above the level necessary to meet course requirements
C achievement meets the course requirements in every respect
D achievement is worthy of credit even though it fails to meet the course requirements
F achievement is not worthy of credit or was not completed / represents failure

You will receive addition grade points for the following
  • Any additional reading or research on websites, blogs or articles     
  • Class participation
  • Visiting museums and galleries
  • Additional drawing, painting and experimenting 
  • Subscriptions to magazines
Grades will be based on:
  • In class work
  • Assignment
  • Sketchbook
  • Participation in classroom critiques
Grading Standards:
A = 90 and above
B = 80-89
C = 70-79
D = 60-69
F =59 and below
Incompletes:  Incompletes will be granted only in extenuating circumstances.  If you have a valid medical excuse or family emergency, and you’ve completed the bulk of course work for the semester, an incomplete is possible.  You are responsible for initiating the paperwork for an incomplete.