Drawing and Painting, 3 years

“Study at the Academy centers upon the importance of drawing (particularly drawing from the human figure) as a means to gaining skill in painting or sculpture.  Through intense observation students acquire a visual literacy that enables them to interpret humanist values in their work, and, ultimately, seek to create a work of universal relevance.”
– excerpt from our Philosophy 
Our three year Academic Program in Drawing and Painting constitutes of three programs of one year each: the Intensive Drawing program, the Intermediate program and the Advanced Painting program. There are also additional programs, mainly scheduled to evenings; Anatomy including Écorché, Study the masters including Composition and View and review artists.


1. Intensive Drawing

Beginning Drawing · 15.0 credits

An established set of exercises focuses on outline, proportion, and shadow shape, on a step by step progression through the program’s curriculum.
The first exercises are designed to strengthen the student’s visual relationship with two-dimensional form to help them confront three-dimensional subjects in life. The simplified forms of the Bargue Drawings allow students to learn the procedure very well, and develop skill in reproducing the outline, blocking out shapes, and refining line quality. They also begin to understand the importance of values in turning form.

Beginning Cast Drawing · 7.5 credits

Cast drawing combines the skills acquired from the preceding exercises, and sensitizes the student’s eye to the light and values found in nature.
The cast is a simplified, monochrome, stationary form, usually reproductions of classical statuary that help the student find similar shapes in nature; measurements, however, are no longer exclusively scientific: the sight-size method of measurement provides the student with a format, but accuracy in cast drawing depends on the eye. In a cast drawing, the instructor looks for accuracy in line, mass and values.

Beginning Figure Drawing · 25.5 credits

The figure is the center of the Academy’s curriculum. Beginning figure drawing applies the accuracy gained from the cast to representing a living model.
The student is taught to keep in mind three principal concerns when looking at the live model: proportion, body type, and gesture. In order to achieve those elements, the student may approach the drawing in two ways: linear, whereby the student draws accurately the outline and shadow line, or mass, achieved through the comparison of light shapes vs. shadow shapes. As the student’s drawing progresses from simple outline/shadow line or mass, he culls from his knowledge of anatomy to give the figure a sense of weight and balance.

2. Intermediate

Advanced Cast Drawing · 7.5 credits

The student is challenged to see and organize value relationships with more sophistication and strategy.
Advanced Cast Drawing in charcoal reinforces the principles presented in Beginning Cast Drawing and introduces the added challenge of toned paper and white chalk. Students are required to copy two plaster casts.

Advanced Figure Drawing · 8.5 credits

By decisively organizing and observing value shapes in relationship with anatomical elements, students develop their ability to think as painters.
The figure is the center of the Academy’s curriculum, the core of the program. Students work under north facing natural light, drawing from live models. The models return to pose in the same position for the duration of the long pose that may last 4 – 6 weeks, three hours per day. Long-poses are essential to the accomplishment of fully finished drawings.

Beginning Figure Painting · 17.0 credits

A limited palette serves as a manageable base from which to explore expanding degrees of chromatic complexity.
At this level, students concentrate on tonal values, and work in an ordered regimen of grisaille, limited palette and full palette. A successful figure painting uses all of the skills learned in drawing: line, value, gesture and proportion.

Beginning Painting · 15.0 credits

Students attend technical demonstrations and learn to grind their own paint, beginning without the aid of mediums, concentrating on exact mixtures and values.
At this level, students concentrate on tonal values, and work in an ordered regimen of grisaille, limited palette and full palette.

3. Advanced Painting

Advanced Figure Painting · 25.5 credits

Advanced Figure Painting incorporates line, values, gesture, body type and proportion, and also a convincing sense of reality – anatomy, weight, and flesh.
By the conclusion of Advanced Figure Painting you will be able to:

  • use of all the skills thus far achieved to produce a life-like image in a believable environment (coordination figure-background)
  • demonstrate good understanding of color values
  • demonstrate good understanding of drawing with paint and anatomy

Students who complete all the required exercises receive a Certificate of Proficiency in Painting at the End of Year Awards Ceremony, and are considered graduates of our program. After completing the Painting program, students may continue in an optional year of specialization to realize more ambitious projects, like a large scale and or multi-figured work.

Still Life and Portraiture · 22.5 credits

Simple still lifes represent the student’s first opportunity to confront composition, to control the light source, and to create a meaningful expression.
A successful portrait encompasses all of the requirements of a figure painting, and in addition must show the character of the sitter and a perfect likeness. Third year students are required to produce a portrait with hands as their final graduation piece. Here the greater complexity of the subject allows students to deal with the psychology of the sitter and/or placing of the sitter in a specific setting or costume. The third year, students explore composition (line, rhythm, color, etc), themes and expression of an idea.

Evening courses

Anatomy, including Écorché

Year 1, Visual Anatomy
This course combines the study of anatomy with the observation of light falling on the human form. Students will complete at least two drawings each evening from a live model, focusing on individual parts of the body. In addition to working from the live model the students will draw from the human skeleton and do anatomical studies of master paintings and of their own model room drawings. The purpose of this course is to understand very well the various muscles, bones and tendons which lie just below the surface of the skin and how they affect the shadow shapes, light shapes and contour lines of the body.

Year 2, Écorché Sculpture
In this course the student will construct a 75 cm 3D anatomical model of the human body in clay, starting by making a complete skeleton and then adding deep muscles, surface muscles and tendons onto one side. The process will both deepen the students understanding of human anatomy and at the same time strengthen the ability to understand the contours, light shapes and shadow shapes of the body as they appear in the model room. The écorché program is available primarily to 2nd year students who have completed the first year Visual Anatomy curriculum. It is also available to 3rd year students and alumni.

Year 3, Advanced Anatomy
In the third year of studying anatomy at FAA Sweden the students will have sufficient fundamental anatomical knowledge to do in depth investigations of particularly interesting features of the body. The exercises in sculpture and drawing are directly related to the painting curriculum and therefor focus heavily on portraiture and facial anatomy. Towards the end of the year the ambitious student will have the opportunity to plan and carry out a personal final project.

Composition, Study the masters

One night a week is spent on studies of excellent examples, recently completed or reproductions of works from the old masters. The idea is simple; students prepare for the next stage of their training by following in someone’s footsteps.

Within this course studies in composition is also conducted. Fundamental concepts and approaches are presented with the aim to support students in their artistic endeavour.

Viewing and reviewing artists

The Wednesday lectures at FAA/Sweden are designed to introduce students to a select group of topics chosen from the vast field of art and art related subject matter. Theoretical lectures by art historians are interspersed with show and tell, discussions on the examples from selected epochs. Some lectures make use of the resources, knowledge and inspiration of the FAA student body in order to create an engaging debate in a supportive and educational atmosphere.