Drawing | Art & Design | SIU

Southern Illinois University



College of Liberal Arts

Mark Ponder


BFA drawingDrawing is a process that has existed throughout history as a way for artists to record the world around them and experiment with new ideas. The Drawing program at SIU continues this tradition, while simultaneously pushing the boundaries of the drawing medium. Students learn that drawing is not only a preparatory process, but an exciting and engaging art form in itself. Historical methods of drawing are introduced, as well as contemporary concepts and processes. The program is an intense and immersive studio experience, coupled with inspiration from a wide range of visiting artists, critics and faculty. Students develop their individual voice and vision, experiment with content and materials, expand their visual language, and develop the necessary levels of self-reflection and discipline required for a practicing studio artist.

The structure of the curriculum maintains the specificity of focus, while encouraging exploration and cross-disciplinary study. The program emphasizes a strong foundation, transitioning gradually into more complex subjects, such as the figure, and encouraged experimentations with non-tradition materials and contemporary drawing methods. Advanced students use a variety of traditional and contemporary drawing techniques to investigate concepts important to them. Faculty work closely with students, guiding them in their professional practice as well as studio ethic. These combined experiences deepen students’ cultural and intellectual understanding of the world around them, and prepare them to navigate the complexities of being an artist.

Learn more about our undergraduate program.



2D Review

Graduate Gallery:

2D (Drawing, Painting, Printmaking)

The work pictured here is only a small sampling of the outstanding work of our graduate students in Drawing, Painting and Printmaking.


Master of Fine Arts in Art with Emphasis in Drawing

Joey TigertThe Master of Fine Arts in Art with an emphasis in Drawing offers students a comprehensive education that helps prepare them for careers as professional artists. The program has two major goals: 1) for students to learn the skills, creativity, critical awareness, and autonomy necessary for being a professional artist, while simultaneously, 2) gaining the skills and experience necessary to teach art at the college level.  Students must be able to demonstrate a high level of ability in their area of emphasis, present a professional-level body of original artwork which reflects their ability to investigate concepts, issues and processes relevant to their studio practice, and be able to discuss this work critically.  Students supplement their studio practice through graduate assistantships, when possible, using them to complement and enhance their skills, understanding, and ability to communicate art issues.  The outcome is that students are able to pursue a professional art career by exhibiting their work in appropriate venues, as well as pursuing grants and artist residencies and garnering critical acclaim for their work in the press.  They are prepared to teach art at the college level in term or tenure-track positions as well as find other professional opportunities in a variety of cultural venues. 

Lijun ChaoGenerally speaking, the Drawing, Painting, and Printmaking areas of emphasis work together as a whole at the graduate level, and are colloquially known as the “2D area.” The MFA Degrees with emphasis in Drawing, in Painting, and in Printmaking are integrated and inclusive, situating the student's experience within a studio dynamic that broadly investigates the combined and collaborative potential of these studio areas. Students are simultaneously encouraged to explore the relationship of their subject area to other disciplines and media possibilities within the resources of the School.  Through a process of practical and intellectual engagements, students are encouraged to devise individualized strategies to develop and inform their own work in relation to the broader spectrum of contemporary professional practice. The faculty consequently places considerable emphasis on the opportunity for students to encounter a range of ideas, attitudes, and approaches that are necessary to this development, all of which are further enhanced by a program of visiting artists and relevant critical and historical contextualization.

A minimum of 60 semester credit hours is required for the Master of Fine Arts degree with a major in art.

Primary Studio emphasis: 26 hours
Art History or related subjects: 12 hours
Studio Electives (may be within specialization): 9 credit hours
Thesis or terminal project work: 6 hours
Other Electives: The remaining 7 credit hours may be elected from any area within the School of Art & Design or from the University at large.

Bachelor of Fine Arts, Drawing Specialization

The undergraduate major in Drawing can be accomplished by fulfilling the requirements for the Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degree.

Total Degree Requirements: 120 credits
University Core Curriculum: 32 credits
(3 covered by AD 100A or B, 6 by AD 207A, B, or C Introduction to Art History),
Art and Design Requirements: 88 credits