Welcome to Art 101 – Introduction to 2D Design

Scene from <i>Meshes of the Afternoon</i> by Maya Deren (1943)
Scene from Meshes of the Afternoon by Maya Deren (1943)

Course Description

This course is for students with little or no experience in design for the visual arts. In general, we will explore practices, concepts, history and aesthetic impact of two-dimensional design. The organization of form on two-dimensional surfaces; history of type and practice of lettering: integration of imagery and type; traditional techniques of illustration using pen and pencil as well as collage and assemblage. We will also explore documentation of theoretical and/or historical issues relevant to contemporary practice.

Specifically, however, this semester we will be making connections between narrative concepts found in film – such as plot structure and mise en scène – and visual concepts found in art and design, and embodied in graphic design principles. This course will also explores confluence of modern art and design practices in film.


[Click here] to download the course syllabus.

Topics covered today:

Project #1 – Visual Plot Analysis – Due February 14th

Part 1.) Pick a film or tv show you've never seen before and watch first 10 min with the sound off. Pay attention to the visual language that forms. Describe what you think is going on the 10 min clip and analyse what is happening visually to communicate story development:
  • is it tense, is it funny, fast paced or slow?
  • Are the characters in danger? Are they at peace?
  • What visual cues are communicating the plot to you?

Part 2.) Now watch the last 10 minutes and answer the same questions. Has the story changed and what visual cues communicate this to you?

Part 3.) Find 2-3 frames each from both the first and last 10 minute sections that best illustrate your points. You have two class periods to complete this.  

(Why no sound? As was the case in Eisenstein’s day, silence will force you to pay more attention to visual language)

What should a visual plot analysis look like? There's no right or wrong way to create one. I created a very detailed one for Denis Villeneuve's Socario (2015), so [click here to download an example of my visual plot analysis.] I included many screenshots, whereas you only need to have a few – 2-3 from the first ten minutes, and 2-3 from the last ten minutes.