Course Title: Create observational drawings

Part B: Course Detail

Teaching Period: Term2 2018

Course Code: VART6438C

Course Title: Create observational drawings

School: 320T Architecture & Urban Design

Campus: Brunswick Campus

Program: C5359 - Diploma of Graphic Design

Course Contact: Alistair Briggs

Course Contact Phone: +61 9925 9446

Course Contact Email:

Name and Contact Details of All Other Relevant Staff

Ruth Lyon

Nominal Hours: 50

Regardless of the mode of delivery, represent a guide to the relative teaching time and student effort required to successfully achieve a particular competency/module. This may include not only scheduled classes or workplace visits but also the amount of effort required to undertake, evaluate and complete all assessment requirements, including any non-classroom activities.

Pre-requisites and Co-requisites

None required

Course Description

In this course you will explore and apply the specific techniques and considerations required for observational drawing, developing an understanding of perspective, line, space, colour and tone. You will also select and apply appropriate media and tools to create different effects in observational drawings.

National Codes, Titles, Elements and Performance Criteria

National Element Code & Title:

CUAACD502 Create observational drawings


1 Develop and refine observational drawing technique

Performance Criteria:

1a. Investigate specific techniques and considerations for observational drawing

1b. Explore ways to achieve perspective in drawings

1c. Experiment with use of lines and edges

1d. Consider ways to recognise and accurately represent space

1e. Work with different techniques to observe and depict light and shade

1f.Identify problems in own drawing technique and explore ways to resolve them


2 Explore media and tools for observational drawings

Performance Criteria:

2a. Research historical and contemporary observational drawing in the context of own work

2b. Determine how different media and tools can create different effects in drawings

2c. Select and use appropriate media to achieve the desired outcome


3 Produce finished observational drawings

Performance Criteria:

3a. Select subjects for observational drawing projects based on the needs of own work

3b. Confirm key objectives for the drawing project

3c. Create finished drawings that show command of observational drawing techniques and appropriate selection of media

3d. Evaluate own observational drawing in terms of key objectives

3e. Seek critical feedback from others

3f. Reflect and act on the need for further development of skills

Learning Outcomes

Details of Learning Activities

In class activities will include:
• Lectures
• Peer teaching and class presentations
• Group discussion
• Online research
• Library research
• Independent project based work
• Teacher directed group activities/projects
• Class exercises to review discussions/lectures
• ‘Workshopping’ of student projects

Out of class activities will include:
Independent research activity

Teaching Schedule


 WeekActivityLearning Elements

Introduction: What is drawing? What is the role of drawing in graphic design?

Task 1: Spontaneous drawing and continuous line activities. Pen and pencil.
1.1 – 1.6
2.1 – 2.3
3.2 – 3.6

Drawing and Graphic Design - A communication tool

Themes in drawing: Momento Mori
Observing tone: drawing still life with skull with white on black paper (easel drawing)
Task 2: chiaroscuro / tone

1.1 – 1.6
2.1 – 2.3
3.2 – 3.6

Task 3: Drawing Basics: Tone: White objects on black paper. White chalk or china-graph on black paper.

Observing and drawing highlights.

1.1 – 1.6
2.1 – 2.3
3.2 – 3.6

Project 1:

Overview and commencing project 1. Make a constructed object which will become the subject of your illustration for project 1Overview and commencing project 1. Make a constructed object which will become the subject of your illustration for project 1

1.1 – 1.6
2.1 – 2.3
3.2 – 3.6

Workshop on Project 1
Produce detailed sketches of your object. produce thumbnails of your composition. draw the object from 3 viewpoints on one page. Use heavy weight paper 300 gsm watercolour or other paper suitable for drawing. May use any coloured media - pencil, marker or a combination. 

1.1 – 1.6
2.1 – 2.3
3.2 – 3.6

Drawing in public
Learning from the greats: Plein air drawing. Perspective drawing

Sketchbooks and the cafe drawing tradition
Task 4: Plein Air drawing - drawing in sketchbooks in cafes

1.1 – 1.6
2.1 – 2.3
3.2 – 3.6

Task 4: make a resolved drawing from sketches

Drawing in public 2: Refining sketches make 1 refined / finished drawings based on last week’s sketches

1.1 – 1.6
2.1 – 2.3
3.2 – 3.6

Task 6: Botanical Drawing: Observing plants/ flowers and grasses in detail using water colour coloured pencil and fine liner

1.1 – 1.6
2.1 – 2.3
3.2 – 3.6

Task 7:Form / structure-bike structures

observing and drawing the underlying structure or framework of an object. Work in blue or grey pencil as an under-drawing, using perspective and measuring as tools to achieve accuracy in the drawing.  

1.1 – 1.6
2.1 – 2.3
3.2 – 3.6

Project 1 submitted on line to CANVAS

Review of completed Project 1
1.1 – 1.6
2.1 – 2.3
3.2 – 3.6 
 11Task 8: Analytical drawing: Observing miniature animals using basic shapes to construct their proportions. Study of 3 views of animals and 1 final study using mixed media1.1 – 1.6
2.1 – 2.3
3.1 – 3.6

Museum of Melbourne excursion to observe and draw inert animals

Watercolour Introduction and animals. Introduction to watercolour techniques. Fruits and colour,. Begin painting plastic animals.
Task 9: watercolour basics

1.1 – 1.6
2.1 – 2.3
3.1 – 3.6

Task 10 Water reflection glass and ink: Observing and interpreting the use of ink very diluted to layer colour and represent the reflection and refraction of light through coloured ink

1.1 – 1.6
2.1 – 2.3
3.2 – 3.6
 14Task 11 Representing colour, form and detail - candy wrapper / food packaging. Watercolour/coloured inks, watercolour pencils.  Product illustration:packaging
1.1 – 1.6
2.1 – 2.3
3.1 – 3.6

Candy wrapper/ food packaging

refine and resolve the watercolour drawing. (different package from last week or continue on from last week).

Task 11: packaging - continued

1.1 – 1.6
2.1 – 2.3
3.1 – 3.6

Selection and presentation of drawings for folio

Submit at least 8 resolved drawings top Canvas


Learning Resources

Prescribed Texts

None required


Other Resources



Kaupelis, Robert, Experimental drawing

Dexter, Emma, Vitamin D: New Perspectives in Drawing

Betti, Clausia & Sale, Teel, Drawing: A Contemporary Approach
Walton, Roger & Cogliantry, Jen, The big book of illustration ideas 2

Klanten, Robert & Hellige, Hendrik, Illusive - Contemporary Illustration and its context


You will require materials and tools that are listed in the Graphic Design Kit and you will need to bring specific materials each week. Some materials are provided. Your instructor will let you know what you need to bring for each week. It is essential that you have an A2 folder (plastic or paper) for storing your work in our plan drawers. You will also need a sketchbook (any kind you prefer) solely for this course. 

RMIT will provide you with resources and tools for learning in this 
course through our online systems and access to specialised facilities and relevant software. You will also have access of the library resources.
You are advised to look at the Learning Hub at myRMIT site for ongoing updated information. A range of learning resources and references are provided throughout the year.

You will require a personal storage device and tools as outlined in tool kit list.

Amongst the library’s electronic resources is the ability to access for online tutorials and lessons. You may be given these tutorials (and other resources) to supplement your classroom learning. The University Library has extensive resources for Design students. The Library has produced a subject guide that includes quality online and print resources for your studies The Library provides guides on academic referencing and subject specialist help via your Liaison Librarian

Overview of Assessment

Assessment is on-going throughout the course. Assessment tasks will require you demonstrate the application of knowledge and skills through practical projects and/or exercises and creative activities. The assessment tasks are:
Major drawing project
Folio of drawing exercises. 

An assessment charter summarises your responsibilities as an RMIT student as well as those of your teachers.

Assessment Tasks

Assessment  tasks provide the basis for ongoing feedback and can be considered essential building blocks for the more assessment tasks. Assessment tasks in this unit are graded.

To demonstrate competency in this course you need to complete each one of the following pieces of assessment to a satisfactory standard.

Assessment tasks:
This course has 2 PROJECTS AND 11 TASKS. You are required to demonstrate all learning outcomes to a satisfactory standard.


11 Weekly class projects with ongoing feedback. Tasks are listed in the teaching schedule.


DUE WEEK 10 : Project 1. Object sculpture and drawing (Submitted to Canvas)

Make your own 3D object and create drawings from 3 angles. Communicate form, detail and texture of the observed object.


DUE WEEK 16 : Project 2.

Folio of 8 class tasks, (chosen from the 11 tasks completed in class), presented flat in a folio and submitted to Canvas.


You will receive feedback with verbal and/or written evaluation of your progress within class time. The submitted projects will be assessed with written feedback as well as a quality indicator that relates to separate components of the project and the overall outcome.

At the completion of the course, grading will be offered in addition to, and after, competency based assessment.

Grades which apply to courses delivered in accordance with competency-based assessment, but which also use graded assessment:

CHD    Competent with High Distinction
CDI     Competent with Distinction
CC      Competent with Credit
CAG   Competency Achieved - Graded
NYC   Not Yet Competent
DNS   Did Not Submit for Assessment


Assessment Matrix

The assessment matrix demonstrates alignment of assessment tasks with the relevant Unit of Competency. These are available through the course contact in Program administration.

Other Information

The major learning experience involves studio based exercises, demonstration and production. It is strongly advised that you attend all sessions in order to engage in the required learning activities, ensuring the maximum opportunity to gain the competency.

Feedback - You will receive verbal and written feedback by teacher on your work. This feedback also includes suggestions on how you can proceed to the next stage of developing your projects.
Student feedback at RMIT

Student Progress
Monitoring academic progress is an important enabling and proactive strategy to assist you to achieve your learning potential. Student progress policy (unresolved)

Special Consideration Policy, Late Submission & Extensions
All assessment tasks are required to be completed to a satisfactory level.
If you are unable to complete any piece of assessment by the due date, you will need to apply for an extension.
Pick the following link for details on applying for Special consideration
Any student seeking an extension, should aim at doing so a minimum of 2 days before the deadline. Work submitted late and without an extension at any point will incur late penalties in accordance with university policy.
If you require an extension you must complete an extension form with evidence supporting your application and hand this to your instructor. Further links - Application for extension of time

On Time Submission and Impact of Late Submission
On time submission is an important factor in your assessment. Employability skills are embedded in all courses and these include Planning & Organising and Self-management. For this reason, late work impacts on your overall grade for each assessment task.
The following adjustments for late submission will be made: Work submitted late will be assessed for competency only. Submissions are only permitted during the period that the competency is scheduled.

Cover Sheet for Submissions
You must complete a submission cover sheet for every piece of submitted work. This signed sheet acknowledges that you are aware of the plagiarism implications. Submission cover sheet

Academic Integrity and Plagiarism - RMIT University has a strict policy on plagiarism and academic integrity. Please refer to the website for more information on this policy go to Academic Integrity (unresolved)

Course Overview: Access Course Overview