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2D/3D Fine Arts Portfolio Development


Drawing and Sculpture

School of the Arts admissions are getting more and more competitive so it is essential that students submit a high quality portfolio. Students will spend time in class and open studio sessions working on an assortment of 2D/3D (Drawing and Sculpture) projects. Experienced portfolio reviewers will hold sessions regarding how best to present portfolios. Student work will be professionally documented, and preserved on CD for them to take home with them. All students will participate in a culminating exhibition.

2D/3D Portfolio Development participants will focus on enhancing their Drawing skills for half of the day and their Sculpture skills the other half of the day throughout the entire Intensive.


This class focuses upon the fundamental principles of drawing. Through studio instruction and lectures the students will develop the use of basic drawing concepts. The importance of observational drawing will be emphasized to facilitate the understanding of studio work.

Also, students will learn and expand an artistic vocabulary necessary to critique their own work, as well as that of others. This will enable students to engage in-group discussions and exchange ideas during the Summer Intensive.

Contour Drawing and Composition

  • Introduction and exploration of the different practices of contour and “blind” contour drawing
  • Introduction of the significance of composition in work
  • Exploration of positive/negative space and planar relationships


  • Explanation of the various uses of value: implied space and volume through light, shadow, and texture
  • Discussion of the importance of how light and dark are used in compositions
  • Application of these drawing concepts to various still lifes

Perspective and Scale

  • Introduction and practice of one, two, and three point perspective
  • Combination of contour drawing, planar relationships, and composition with perspective
  • Discussion of how scale affects compositions
  • Work with various objects to explore relations of scale

Introduction to Life Drawing/Gesture Drawing from Life

  • Explanation of methods of gesture drawing relative to life drawing
  • Discussion of movement, rhythm, and position relevant to drawing from life
  • Students begin to use proper proportions relevant to human anatomy

Basics of Figure Drawing

  • Applying ideas of gesture drawing to represent human anatomy
  • Work with model to depict body structure, mass, and volume


Students will explore sculptural form through hands-on studio projects as well as instructor-led demonstrations, lectures, and studio guidance. Building skills are emphasized along with critical observation and discussion. Throughout the building process students will learn important problem solving skills as well as creative idea development.

Additive and Subtractive Processes

  • Creation of form though additive processes (combining and adhering)
  • Creation of form through subtractive processes (cutting, carving, and sanding)


  • Exploration of volume and dimension
  • Exploration of forms in space
  • Exploration of forms in relation to one another (composition)


  • Introduction to surface application
  • How surface meets form
  • Local color vs. applied color


  • Experimentation in variation of scale


  • Polystyrene foam (form)
  • Paper (surface)
  • Paint (color)


  • Idea generation
  • Evolution of idea in relation to materials and process


Nathan Tersteeg teaches drawing in the Art Foundation area of Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia. He holds a BFA in Graphic Design from the Cleveland Institute of Art and an MFA in Painting and Printmaking from the University of Cincinnati. His work has been featured in group and solo exhibitions across the United States. Nathan’s work utilizes a combination of animal and popular culture references to examine people’s relationships with one another and their desires, both material and existential. Nathan has also been involved in sound, video and performance art activities.

As a drawing instructor, Nathan provides his students with both an understanding of the importance of the visualization skills connected to drawing and a thorough exploration of a variety of media and mark-making techniques. As students progress through his classes, they learn the place of drawing in a contemporary creative landscape, and work to cultivate a talent that will inform every creative endeavor they undertake.


“Laboring is our only window through the curtain of our present reality. It is this medium through which we may gaze upon meaning from a distance.”

Jacob Copetillo received his BFA in Painting and Drawing at the University of Georgia. Upon graduating, he taught Visual Art to middle and high school students for two years at Prince Avenue Christian School. There he developed a full curriculum for Arts and Composition, Drawing I &II and Printmaking I & II, including an entire middle school art program. Later, he set off for graduate school at Virginia Commonwealth University and received his MFA in Crafts/Material Studies. He was awarded a Graduate Teaching Assistantship and two research grants, funded by the Graduate School along with the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia Award. He has also taught within the Craft/Material Studies Program and the Art Foundations Program for two years.

Copetillo has exhibited at Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art in Virginia Beach, Page Bond Gallery and Art6 in Richmond and Linda Matney Gallery in Williamsburg. Currently, Copetillo lives and works in Richmond, VA where he teaches as adjunct faculty at Virginia Commonwealth University within Sculpture + Extended Media and the Art Foundations programs.

Comments from 2013 Students:
“This class helped me understand the portfolio/application process. It also helped me better understand my desired field and reaffirmed my decision to apply to VCU.”
“My technical and observational skills improved a great deal, as did my time management skills.