[semester equivalent = 4.00 credits]



Debora Supplitt



Please view other courses offered by Debora Supplitt.

This course incorporates Observational Drawing Skills (ODS) based on drawing and design principles that guide participants through the process of creating successful, realistic looking, still life drawings.

As part of this course, Teacher-Artists will develop, support or advance their ODS through an extensive video course “Introduction To Advanced Observational Drawing.”  Please note that there is an extra cost of $100 to gain access to these (30) online teaching videos - constituting approximately 5 hours of step-by-step ODS content.


The lessons are open to all ability levels, from emerging to advance drawing skills. Lessons are broken down into a series of small concepts that build upon each other so that participants can practice each concept before incorporating it into their overarching still life project.


From hands on practice projects, exemplars and skill building, lesson plans will be developed for implementation for any studio and/or classroom setting. Participants will increase their visual literacy by learning to enhance and develop ODS techniques for finding accurate line angles, evaluating nuanced values, observing proportions, identifying plane and light breaks, and evaluating the design strength of a still life setup.        


This course is for those who want to transform any visual impressions from observation, establish an ongoing foundational skill set to transform images directly to drawing paper to achieve a realistic drawing. Bonus footage content is available at the end of many lessons for teachers/artist who wish to implement this material into any K-12 classrooms.


Course text: Speed, H. (1972) The Practice & Science of Drawing: Third Edition. Dover Publications, Inc. New York. Amazon $10.95: used $5.90. Kindle download $.99

Note: Please review course syllabus for additional materials fees associated with course.


LEARNING OUTCOMES: Upon completion of this course, participants will have:

  1. A theoretical pedagogical foundation that supports the development of observational drawing skills (ODS).
  2. Enhanced knowledge and understanding of the use and applications of ODS.
  3. Developed curriculum guides, lessons and a referral resource list that supports ODS.
  4. Developed Exemplars for use with classroom curriculum and/or studio portfolio.

Completion of all specified assignments is required for issuance of hours or credit. The Heritage Institute does not award partial credit.

Completing the basic assignments (Section A. Information Acquisition) for this course automatically earns participant’s their choice of CEUs (Continuing Education Units), or Washington State Clock Hours or Oregon PDUs. The Heritage Institute offers CEUs and is an approved provider of Washington State Clock Hours and Oregon PDUs.



Continuing Education Quarter credits are awarded by Antioch University Seattle (AUS). AUS requires 75% or better for credit at the 400 level and 85% or better to issue credit at the 500 level. These criteria refer both to the amount and quality of work submitted.

  1. Completion of Information Acquisition assignments 30%
  2. Completion of Learning Application assignments 40%
  3. Completion of Integration Paper assignment 30%


CREDIT/NO CREDIT (No Letter Grades or Numeric Equivalents on Transcripts)
Antioch University Seattle (AUS) Continuing Education Quarter credit is offered on a Credit/No Credit basis; neither letter grades nor numeric equivalents are on a transcript. 400 level credit is equal to a "C" or better, 500 level credit is equal to a "B" or better. This information is on the back of the transcript.

AUS Continuing Education quarter credits may or may not be accepted into degree programs. Prior to registering determine with your district personnel, department head or state education office the acceptability of these credits for your purpose.



Course text: Speed, H. (1972) The Practice & Science of Drawing: Third Edition. Dover Publications, Inc. New York. Amazon $10.95: used $5.90. Kindle download $.99 Note: Please review course syllabus for additional materials fees associated with course.

  • The Practice and Science of Drawing (Dover Art Instruction)
    ISBN# 0486228703
    by Harold Speed
    Dover Publications

    Buy from Amazon


Introduction to Observational Drawing Video Access- Cost: $100. The Da Vinci Initiative; video course instructor: Amanda (Mandy) Hallenius. Sign up for full video access through: Additional Materials Needed: Additional materials required: • Binder (for lesson plans and reference printouts from online readings) • Charcoal (Nitram Amazon or Blick) Box of soft, med., hard (15 sticks total) • Sanding Paper (200-300 grit) • Pencil • Notebook to record time developing drawing • Paper (Strathmore 500 Charcoal paper white) • Kneaded Eraser • Drawing Board (Foam Core size 18X24 White) • Masking Tape • Wooden Skewer (can be found in a grocery store) or Knitting needle (thin) • Small White Objects to Draw (white egg and white cup) • Adjustable Light, Small Table Lamp • Optional – Easel • See Online Resource Bibliography for ordering information. Course text: Speed, H. (1972) The Practice & Science of Drawing: Third Edition. Dover Publications, Inc. New York. Amazon $10.95: used $5.90.


Debora Supplitt M.F.A-A.Ed./M.Ed. received her Masters (M.Ed.) and Bachelor of Art (B.A.) degree from San Francisco State University and Masters of Fine Arts in Art Education (M.F.A.-A.Ed,) from Boston University. She has worked with students of all levels, including preschool, elementary, middle school, high school and professional educators, since 1980. She is certified in Washington, Oregon and California in Pre/K-12-Adult Special and Elementary Education and is highly qualified in the core areas of Art, Music, Reading, and Special Education as well as being a trained Intervention Specialist. Debora knows the importance of providing a creative environment where all students and teachers can thrive. Presently she is working in her dream position as a full time middle school Art Teacher. Debora provides classroom teachers with the tools and resources needed to integrate art into the daily curriculum and is always busy developing new, creative and fun workshops for teachers. She is passionate about providing exciting, meaningful, useful and fun filled continuing education for all teachers.




Online Bibliography
Online Resources and Materials to help support video lecture presentations.

Assignment #2
Supports Video Lecture 2-3
Lesson Plans: Da Vinci Initiative: Download any lesson plans from this site.

Aristides, J. (2010) Charcoal Rendering: Paper

Assignment #3
Supports Video Lecture 1-4
Aristides, J. (2010) How to Sharpen Charcoal

Dwyer, D. (2010) Studio Lighting

Afass, S.B. (2014) Udemy Blog

Proko, S. (2014) How To Hold and Control Your Pencil

University of Utah,(2013)  Department of Mathematics: Perspective in Drawing

Aristides, J. (2011) How to Draw a Circle or an Ellipse

University of Delaware: (2011) Foundations of Art; Measuring

Conlon,R. (2011) Blog Spot: Measured Drawing

University of Utah Department of Mathematics(nd). Perspective of Circles

Assignment #4
Choose a Pedagogical Model:
Da Vinci Initiative Lesson Plan model (2014)
McKnight, H. (2013) Multiple Intelligence Video and Chart
Multiple Intelligence Lesson Plan Template
Blooms Newly Revised Taxonomy: University of Tanku, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Blooms Newly Revised Taxonomy Kurwongbah State School, Queensland Australia
Blooms Taxonomy Lesson Plan Template: Free Download (register to get free download)
Sigmon, C.  Blooms Lesson Plan Template:
Homeschooling Lesson Plan Template:
Rohrer, K. (2012) Incredible Art Department, (2012)  Lesson Plan Template for all grades:
Any lesson plan template of your choosing. Provide URL address or attached image of template.
Examine the finished drawings of the French Impressionist, Léon Lhermitte, (see online bibliography).  BBC Your Paintings: View slide show of 12 paintings.

Supports Video Lecture #10:
Three examples of Follow Through Lines drawn by Leonardo DaVinci

Impey, J. Art Room 104 (2014) Art Room Blog

Cousins, C. (2015) Looking at the Images: Phi Grid Vs. The Rule of Thirds
Design Shack Blog post.

Supports Lecture Video #15 Shadow Shapes:
Kostel, H. (2013)  Light and Shadow Practice worksheet

Drawing & Painting Lessons with Edward A Burke

Assignment #8
Section 4: Shading/Rendering/Turning Form
Supports Video Lectures #16-25

Value Scale Worksheet

Practice Value Shading Worksheet

Shading Worksheet with Rubric

Art Instruction Blog (2009) Value Study with three values: Dark Medium and Light (2015) Value Scale Using Lines Worksheets:

Furton, (2014)Studio Art: Value Study and technique

Costello, E. (2012) The Art of Erin Costello. Example of 3 Value Still Life

Hopcroft, M. (2013) Another Paper cut Value Study. Examples of Atelier artist paper cut value study

Supports Video Lecture #21:
Understanding Shadow and Light: Rendering Form Closer light source

Boyer, S.L. (2009) Light Source, Cast Shadows and the Axis Reference sheet

Blend (2014). Blend Space Light and Shadow Reference Sheet

Section 5-Finishing the Still Life:
Supports Video lectures 26-30

Rowland, J.  (2014).  7 Secrets That Will Add Depth to Your Drawings
Examine the following two 19th-century studies and finished paintings:

Frederick Lord Leighton: study of Dorothy Deane and his completed painting of Phoebe

The Art Tribune:
Art Renewal: Phoebe Oil:
Tate: Composition Study for ‘The Merciful Knight’ 1863.
Google Art Project: Edward Burne-Jones: ‘The Merciful Knight’ Painting

Assignment #9 Lesson & Unit Plan
Develop a Three to four lesson/unit plan. Download the following sites to help support your unit plan.

Da Vinci outline for lesson development:
Elementary model to access:
Middle School and or High School access the following:  5 E’s Learning Framework:
Middle School and Secondary Teachers access:  The Inquiry Ladder: The Inquiry Process:

All educator’s access and download:  Apps for the Learning Inquiry Model:

Questions to support the development of your unit. Access and download the Inquiry Cycle Lesson Plan for the Wall:

Color image of Inquiry Cycle to download:

Classroom examples for unit plans can be access at the following sites.  Adapt this model to fit your curriculum needs and include the apps selected.  Pro Diva Blog:
PYP Qatar Academy Approaches to Teaching/Planning
The IB Inquiry Cycle: International School Site:

Assignment #10:
Please write a (3-5) page paper examining the work of your chosen master artists who would have implemented similar techniques used for your still life drawing.

Willem Claesz Heda: BBC, Your Paintings: Six paintings by Willem Claesz. Heda: View 6 paining Slide show:
Google Art Project:  Willem Claez Heda
Pieter Clasez: The Metropolitan Museum of Art Collection (2014):  Pieter Claesz:
Still Life with a Skull and a Writing Quill:
Jan van Huysum: The J. Paul Getty Museum: Jan van Huysum: (ND)
Vase with Flowers:
Abraham van Beyeren: BBC: Your Paintings: Abraham van Beyeren: View 16 painting slide show.


Vocabulary List

Observational Drawing


Aerial/Atmospheric Perspective:
The means by which the illusion of atmospheric distance and depth is created by rendering objects in background space with less edge and value contrast.  May also be accompanied by a shift from warmer to cooler hues. softer focus or lighter value.

The reduction or simplification of an image or object to an essential aspect (geometric or organic) of its form or content.

An imaginary straight line that indicates movement and the direction of movement.

Objects or undetermined spaces surrounding the main subject of a work.
The most distant zone of space in three-dimensional illusion

A light source positioned behind a person or object that can create a silhouette or separate the person or object from the background.

Base Tone:
The darkest tone on a form, located on that part of the surface that is turned away from rays of light.

Cast Shadow:
The shadow thrown by a form onto an adjacent or nearby surface in a direction away from the light source.

A word borrowed from Italian ("light and shade" or "dark") referring to the modeling of volume by depicting light and shade by contrasting them boldly. This is one means of strengthening an illusion of depth on a two-dimensional surface, and was an important topic among artists of the Renaissance.

The organization and interaction of shapes, forms, lines, patterns, light and color.

Cone of Vision:
The visual area represented by the drawing usually corresponding to a normal person’s vision.

The subject and meaning of a work of art.

Continuous Line Drawing:
A drawing in which the implement remains in uninterrupted contact with the picture plane creating enclosed shapes.

The outline and other visible edges of a mass, figure or object.

Contour Line (Drawing):
A single line that represents the edge of a form or group of forms and suggests three-dimensional quality indicating the thickness as well as height and width of the form it describes. Contour line drawing uses subtle overlapping planes.

In linear perspective, parallel lines in nature appear to converge (come together) as they recede to a point on the Eye Level or Horizon Line. into the picture plane.

Core Shadow: 
The darkest area of an object.

Cross-Contour Lines:
Multiple, curving parallel lines running over the surface of an object horizontally and/or vertically that describe its surface qualities. Much like wire framing in 3D design.

Cross Hatching:
A drawing technique to shade an object using two or more networks of parallel lines in a gradual angular progression (to achieve a build up of complex value).

Depiction of shapes and forms on a surface chiefly by means of lines. Color and shading may be included. A major fine art technique in itself, drawing is the basis of all pictorial representation, and an early step in most art activities. Though an integral part of most painting, drawing is generally differentiated from painting by the dominance of line over mass.

The rim or border, the place where two things meet: the background (negative space) meets surface of objects (positive space),  a “tone” or “value” meets a different tone/value.

Eye Level:
In linear perspective, the height at which the eyes are located in relation to the ground plane. Standing creates a high eye-level while sitting creates a lower one. In most views, the eye level will match a horizon line. The same as horizon line. All vanishing points in one and two point perspective are positioned on the eye level.

The primary or positive shape in a drawing. A shape that is noticeably separated from the background. The figure is the dominant, advancing shape in a figure/ground relationship.

Figure-Ground Relationship:
An arrangement in which positive and negative shapes alternatively command attention. Also known as a positive/negative relationship.

The “nearest” space represented to the viewer.  The “front” of the visual stage.
An exaggeration of perspective in which elements nearer to the viewer are shown much larger, and elements at a distance appear much reduced in size.

A technique for producing the illusion of an object’s extension into space by contracting its form. A way of representing a subject or an object so that it conveys the illusion of depth -- so that it seems to go back into space.

Freehand Drawing:
Drawn by hand, without the use of any mechanical device -- without the aid of a straightedge, compass, protractor, French curves, computer equipment, etc. This is the opposite of mechanical drawing.

A total mental picture, or conception, of a form.\

Any gradual transition from one tone to another. In drawing, shading through gradation can be used to suggest three-dimensional illusion.

A spontaneous representation of the dominant physical and expressive stance of an object. The act of making a sketch with relatively loose arm movements (gestures) -- with the large muscles of the arm, rather than with the small muscles of the hand and wrist; Or a drawing made this way.

A framework or pattern of crisscrossed or parallel lines. A lattice. When crisscrossed, lines are usually horizontal and vertical; and when lines are diagonal, they are usually at right angles to each other.

The actual flat surface of a drawing, synonymous with a drawing’s opaque picture plane. In a three dimensional illusion, ground also refers to the area behind an object (or figure).

Half Tone:
After the highlight and quarter tone, the next brightest area of illumination on a form. The halftone is located on that part of the surface that is parallel to the rays of light.

The brightest area of illumination on a form, which appears on that part of the surface most perpendicular to the light source.

Horizon Line:
In linear perspective, the line on which all vanishing points are positioned. More accurately described as the eye line or eye level.

The placement of images within a two dimensional format.

Light Tone:
After highlight, the next light value of illumination on a form. Sometimes called indirect light.

A mark with length and direction. An element of art which refers to the continuous mark made on some surface by a moving point. Types of line include: vertical, horizontal, diagonal, straight or ruled, curved, bent, angular, thin, thick or wide, interrupted (dotted, dashed, broken, etc.), blurred or fuzzy, controlled, freehand, parallel, hatching, meandering, and spiraling. Often it defines a space, and may create an outline or contour, define a silhouette; create patterns, or movement, and the illusion of mass or volume. It may be two-dimensional (as with pencil on paper) three-dimensional (as with wire) or implied (the edge of a shape or form).

Line gesture:
A type of gesture drawing that describes interior forms, utilizing line rather than mass.

Local Value:
The basic tonality of an object’s surface. regardless of incidental lighting effects or surface texture.

A visible trace or impression on a surface, such as a line, a dot, spot, stain, scratch, etc.

The density or weight of an object.

In composition: to block-in forms with the purpose of achieving an overall organization of visual weight\

Mass gesture:
A system of broad, gestural marks used to create density and weight in a form.

Picture Plane:
The flat, two-dimensional surface on which a drawing is made.

Any flat level or surface.

Denotes the illusion of three dimensionality or movement into the picture plane as it relates to the flat, two-dimensional nature of the picture plane itself. We refer to this as plastic space in contrast to perspective space.

Plumb Line: 
A line with a plumb attached to it, used for finding or determining the vertical and an upright surface.

Positive Space:
The shape of an object that serves as the subject for a drawing. The relationship between positive shape and negative space is sometimes called figure/ground, foreground/background relationship.

A term that refers to the “accurate” relationship of part to part in a realistic drawing. It can also refer to the expressive purposes, e.g. Distortion of proportion to consciously or unconsciously achieve a subjective intention. Proportion also relates to a sense of balance.

Reflective Light:
The relatively weak light that bounces off a nearby surface onto the shadowed side of a form.

Relative Scale:
A way in which to represent and judge the spatial position of an object in three-dimensional illusionistic space so that forms drawn smaller appear further away and forms that are drawn larger appear closer.

A drawing that attempts to achieve a near-likeness to the objects being drawn. Drawings which strive to achieve the qualities of realism.

A depiction or an interpretation. Also, a drawing in perspective of a proposed structure. (Rendering can be used either as a noun or as a verb.)

A ratio or proportion used in determining the dimensional relationship  between a representation to that which it represents (its actual size), such as maps, building plans, and models.

Shallow Space:
A relatively flat space, having weight and width but limited depth.

A contained, edged-in area on the two-dimensional surface. Or an area that suggests containment. A shape is always interdependent with another element (shape or space) in the composition.

The visual measurements of objects and spaces between objects.

Any dark two-dimensional shape seen against a light background.

A quick drawing that loosely captures the appearance or action of a place or situation. Sketches are often done in preparation for larger, more detailed works of art.

The distance between images or points in a drawing. We contain space when defining edges of interrelated shapes.

Station Point:
In linear perspective, the fixed position a person occupies in relation to the subject that is being drawn.

The actual physical structure or texture of the drawing paper containing degrees of smoothness, gloss, or roughness.

The actual or suggestive surface quality of a two-dimensional shape or three-dimensional volume. Texture can be created by using skillful drawing techniques, erasure, rubbing, or employing specific materials such as sand.

Two Dimensional Space:
The flat, actual surface area of a drawing, which is the product of the length times the width of the drawing paper support.

Three Dimensional Space:
The actual space in the environment, and the representation of it in the form of pictorial illusion.

Black, white and the gradations of gray tones between them. The relative degree of light and dark.

Value Relativity:
The changing visual identity of values in juxtaposition, sometimes called value contrast.

Value Scale:
The gradual range from white through gray to black.

Value Pattern:
The arrangement or organization of values that control compositional movement and create a unifying effect throughout a work of art.

Visual Weight:
The potential of any element or area of a drawing to attract the eye.

The overall size of an object, and by extension the quantity of three-dimensional space it occupies.