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scale art history (kcj)

Page history last edited by kcj 11 years, 2 months ago

2D design - spring 2011

karl conner johnson

march 24, 2011


unit v - “scale, proportion, and the grid” - due 4/12/11



to facilitate understanding of the concepts of scale, proportion, and the grid, their relevance to two-dimensional design, and their application within a finished artwork.



tracing paper, pencil, tape, medium of your choice


project overview

your goal for this assignment is to plan and execute a pair of matching compositions, one small and one large, using the grid to scale up from your smaller piece.  the theme of the project is “colossal precedents in art history”.  


design process

  1. the whole of art history is an incredibly rich resource for a contemporary artist to draw inspiration from, and many themes are regularly repeated by various different artists from different times.  your assignment is to find an image or group of images that you think has interesting content, concept, or design (and is relative to the topic of scale and/or proportion) and reinterpret that work in your own artistic voice.  this project will require some research, and a good place to start is ARTstor (for directions on how to get to ARTstor, see the bottom of this handout).  as your piece will be based on something that’s already been done, your challenge will be to figure out how to make it worth looking at again.  can you make it better than the piece that inspired you?  can you make it more relevant to the modern world?  can you somehow make it personal to you or to a modern audience? etc.  i want to stress the idea that the assignment is not to simply copy someone else’s work, but to create something new and interesting from an existing idea
  2. choose a medium that you think is best suits your chosen content, concept, or design (your small piece can be in the 2-dimentional medium of your choice.  your large piece must be done by hand but can also be done in any medium).
  3. figure out the dimensions for your pieces.  your small piece should be no larger than 8 ½” x 11” and your large piece should be no smaller than 22” x 30”.  you have to make sure the ratio of length to width is the same for both pieces.  this will take a little math (don’t be scared!).  the best way to go would be to decide what you will be using for your large piece based on your chosen medium (if you want to paint you’ll probably want a canvas, if you want to use ink or charcoal you’ll probably want a large sheet of paper, etc.) and figure out the dimensions of that.  from there you can divide both the length and width of your large piece by the same number to find the size of your small piece.  write this number down!
  4. do a number of quick sketches in your notebook to figure out your composition.  do you want to mimic the composition of your inspiration piece or create something completely new?  how are you going to work in what we’ve learned about scale and proportion?  as always, remember to address the lessons from the previous units (the frame, marks and lines, unity, figure/ground, balance, emphasis, color).
  5. create your small piece.  remember that you are creating two finished pieces (not a small sketch and a large finished piece).
  6. on a sheet of tracing paper, create a grid of even squares that will fit over your small piece.  the size of the squares will depend on the size and the amount of detail in your piece (more detail = more squares).
  7. lightly draw a scaled up version of the same grid on your larger piece.  again, make sure the ratio of height to width is the same (multiply the dimensions of the grid by the number you wrote down in step 3)
  8. copy the contents of the smaller piece to your large one using the grid as a guide.


tentative schedule

thurs 3/24: “scale” lecture and assignment; quiz #3

tues 3/29: “depth cues” lecture and exercise

thurs 3/31: small composition for “scale” assignment due; in-progress critique; demo: using the grid; “balance, emphasis and pattern” self critique papers due

tues 4/5: quiz #4 (Ch 2, pg 38-63)

thurs 4/7: work day

tues 4/12: “scale” projects due: critique!


directions to get to ARTstor

  1. log into your My ASU homepage
  2. under the “Quick Links” column click “Library”.
  3. in the pop-up box click “All Research Databases”.
  4. from the dropdown menu under “Select by database subject area” click “Art” and hit “Go”.
  5. scroll down and click on "Connect to>>ARTstor Digital Library"  this should take you to the ARTstor homepage
  6. in the beige box on the top-right side of the screen click “Go”
  7. use the search box to find an artist or topic.  the advanced search has some great options if you would like to browse a certain medium, location, or era.
  8. look at all the pretty pictures!

1.    log in to your My ASU homepage.

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