DESMA 21 explores key concepts in color theory, design software, and studio practice. A combination of drawing, painting and industry-standard software will be the predominant techniques used in the expression of abstract ideas. Students will learn color and drawing fundamentals in Adobe Illustrator and will gain a holistic understanding of the symbolism, psychology and materiality of color in visual communication.

Exercises will move from mixing and applying pigment in paint to computer and printed material , giving students a clear understanding of how to use color with intention and consistency across media. Drawing explores the relationship between concept and image creation, while fostering development of acute observation skills.

After moving through technical explorations of color through the framework of Josef Albers, students will expand their investigation to a conceptual use of color and drawing to reinterpret text as image and composition.

This course is designed for beginners and does not require any previous qualifications.

Studio, six hours; outside study, six hours.


Your attendance for all class meetings is required. Individual evaluation is based upon participation in classroom discussion, exercises, and attendance. Punctuality, focus, articulation of concepts, and contribution to class discussions are all part of class participation.

Classes start at 9:00 AM. If you are 15 minutes late, you will receive a tardy.

3 tardies = 1 absence.

Every unexcused (before the class time) absence = 1 full grade down (A- to B-)

3 unexcused absences result in a failing grade.

If there is an emergency and you will be late or absent from the class, please email me.


40% Exercises

25% Assignment 1

25% Assignment 2

10% Participation

Project feedback will be qualitative through discussion during the quarter and numeric scores will assigned for all work.


We understand the classroom as a space for practicing freedom; where one may challenge psychic, social, and cultural borders and create meaningful artistic expressions. To do so we must acknowledge and embrace the different identities and backgrounds we inhabit. This means that we will use preferred pronouns, respect self-identifications, and be mindful of special needs. Disagreement is encouraged and supported, however our differences affect our conceptualization and experience of reality, and it is extremely important to remember that certain gender, race, sex, and class identities are more privileged while others are undermined and marginalized. Consequently, this makes some people feel more protected or vulnerable during debates and discussions. A collaborative effort between the students, TA, and instructor is needed to create a supportive learning environment. While everyone should feel free to experiment creatively and conceptually, if a class member points out that something you have said or shared with the group is offensive, avoid being defensive; instead approach the discussion as a valuable opportunity for us to grow and learn from one another. Alternatively if you feel that something said in discussion or included in a piece of work is harmful, you are encouraged to speak with the instructor or TA.


Students will complete 4 exercises and 2 projects throughout the course. Work must be clean and shown in a presentable manner. All digital assignments need to be saved as high resolution pdfs and placed in the class drop folder before class begins. Students are also required to keep prints and objects from the assignments to demonstrate progress. Keeping a sketchbook with drawings and conceptual explorations is highly encouraged. Classtime will be used to review student work, conduct software tutorials, and investigate the practical and theoretical dimensions of color and drawing.


Underground Museum, Artists of Color

3508 W Washington Blvd, LA 90018

Wednesday – Sunday , 12 pm – 7pm


11″ x 15″ Acid free Watercolor pad, heavy weight (140lb) cold press with perforated tear edges

18″ ruler (metal with cork bottom)

#11 Exacto Knife with replacement blades

1″ Masking tape, neutral color, scotch 3m brand preferred

Drawing pencil (2b softness)

3/4″ Watercolor/Acrylic paint brush

Size #6 Watercolor/Acrylic paint brush

Palette knife (small sized)

Plastic wheel palette (for acrylic, not oil)

2fl oz/ 59ml Liquitex Acrylic paint Acra Red #112

2fl oz/ 59ml Liquitex Acrylic paint Ivory Black #244

2fl oz/ 59ml Liquitex Acrylic paint Phthalocyanine Blue #314

2fl oz/ 59ml Liquitex Acrylic paint Phthalocyanine Green (blue shade) #317

2fl oz/ 59ml Liquitex Acrylic paint Cadium Orange Hue (Brilliant Orange) #720

4.65fl oz/ 59ml Liquitex Acrylic paint Titanium White #432

2fl oz/ 59ml Liquitex Acrylic paint Dioxazine Purple #186 (optional)

+ plastic water container, eraser, black sharpie


Blick Art Materials

11531 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles CA 90025