Easy A(rts): UB's best introductory art courses

Art classes to take for those who still draw stick figures


Flashback to your seventh grade art class – you’re painting a self-portrait. You’re mostly worried about getting paint on your new shirt, despite the school-provided smock. You have 10 more minutes before you have to start cleaning up, and you’re questioning why someone ever let you use a paintbrush. The eyes look like oranges, the head looks pretty square. By the end of the whole ordeal, you’re happy to accept you aren’t the next Picasso.

Now you’re in college. UB requires students to fulfill an art requirement. Although this may seem like a nightmare to some who have been out of practice, there are plenty of classes that fulfill this credit and can teach any student the value of art. The Art Department offers a variety of classes, from traditional painting to digital media classes to dance. The key is to find the one best suited to you, or at least the one that’s least painful.

Art 210: Intro to Photography

With the advent of Instagram, everyone can feel like a professional photographer. Still, we buy nice cameras. But why spend money on an expensive camera if you can’t tell if you’re using it correctly? Intro to Photography allows students to explore the world of traditional camera work and use programs such as Photoshop.

“It’s getting exposed to not just practicing art, but thinking and seeing and discovering,” said Todd Smith, a teaching assistant for Intro to Photography.

Art 111: Drawing Fundamentals

If your biggest artistic accomplishments are the doodles on the side of your notes, then Introduction to Drawing may be the right class to take. The class teaches basic techniques like adding depth and shading to drawings. Basic concepts in art and history behind drawing are interesting and simple for non-majors to pick up on. This introductory drawing class is the perfect class to enhance both technique and your perception of your skills.

Art 231: Painting for non-majors

It can be intimidating to walk into an art class where everyone else is majoring in painting or sculpting and you’re pre-med. Painting for non-majors allows those who are interested in painting to learn the basics of strokes, color scheme and realism, without the pressures of sitting next to an experienced art major. This is a perfect class for those with interested in painting but have little knowledge about the skills required to paint. Work toward being the next Picasso without hassling through 10,000 hours of painting.

Art 105: Art and the Everyday

Art 105 is pretty much the first step in the program. The class explores material culture, information media design and practices of two and three-dimensional design.

“I moved to America looking to learn new things,” said Zening Wang, a sophomore painting major. “I am taking a few intro classes and even if it isn’t my major, I am exposed to new forms of art.”

DMS 121: Basic Digital Arts

Digital media presence is increasing exponentially with the rise of the Internet. The course takes Photoshop a step further, teaching students how to use programs like Illustrator, Audacity and InDesign.

“I like to take art classes, but I took this one specifically because I want to work in a museum,” said Amanda Busch, a senior history major. “More jobs look for this kind of experience. It allowed me to progress more as an artist, and taught me some skills I wouldn’t have been able to learn through my major.”

Although these courses fill up quickly, with the add/drop date Monday, you may still be able to squeeze in. If not, keep them in mind for next semester so you can develop your inner artist.

email: arts@ubspectrum.com