Life and Observational Drawing

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Term 1
SCQF Level
Design and Informatics


Developing student's creative, technical and observational drawing skills, visual explorations, from figurative drawing, environmental studies and object-based drawing will help the student build up a foundation of traditional drawing techniques and support them to develop their own expressive drawing. Through practical drawing sessions, students will explore line, form, proportion, tone, colour, texture, scale, perspective and will apply their skills to consider character, narrative, mood and tone of their work. Students produce a curated folio of drawings that demonstrates their skills.

Abertay Attributes:


  • Master their subject, understand how it is evolving, appreciate the importance of interdisciplinarity and recognise how what has been learned can be applied.


  • Be equipped and motivated to continue learning and professional development throughout their careers.


  • Be determined, ambitious, articulate, adaptable, self-reflective, resilient, practical, proactive, innovative and enterprising


The aim of this Module is to provide the student with the foundation skills and techniques needed to observe, capture and communicate their visual subject, whilst encouraging them to experiment and explore to find their own visual expressive style.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this module the student should be able to:

  1. Illustrate and develop comprehensive observational skills.
  2. Demonstrate the ability and confidence to draw the human form, environmental spaces and objects with technical accuracy.
  3. Exhibit their drawing ability through a variety of media on a variety of scales.
  4. Demonstrate their commitment to developing their own visual style through exploration and experimentation.
  5. Generate a portfolio of work that indicates due concern to the qualities of craftsmanship, draughtsmanship and concept.

Indicative Content

1 Context

Explore and observe the use of line, form, proportion, tone, colour, texture, scale, perspective in traditional and digital visual arts.

2 Context

Build an awareness and appreciation of historical and contemporary visual artists that inform and inspire ideas relating to narrative, character, mood and tone.

3 Content

Identify and investigate the impacts and effects of different colour pallets, compositions lighting on visual imagery.

4 Content

Analyse the technical and aesthetic factors central to the creation of visual imagery and how they can be used to build meaning within an image.

5 Execution

Practice traditional life drawing/observational skills, in relation to form and composition, proportion and measuring, media and technique, structure and anatomy, and developing a visual language.

6 Execution

Explore and experiment with a variety of materials and techniques to develop personal expressive style and approach to drawing.

7 Execution

Analyse and interpret a project brief and create relevant creative explorations and solutions to visuals and support with sketchbook evidence of research.

8 Execution

Discuss and apply presentation techniques.

Teaching and Learning MethodHours
Supervised Practical Activity0
Unsupervised Practical Activity0

Guidance Notes

SCQF Level - The Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework provides an indication of the complexity of award qualifications and associated learning and operates on an ascending numeric scale from Levels 1-12 with SCQF Level 10 equating to a Scottish undergraduate Honours degree.

Credit Value – The total value of SCQF credits for the module. 20 credits are the equivalent of 10 ECTS credits. A full-time student should normally register for 60 SCQF credits per semester.


We make every effort to ensure that the information on our website is accurate but it is possible that some changes may occur prior to the academic year of entry. The modules listed in this catalogue are offered subject to availability during academic year 2023/4, and may be subject to change for future years.