Course Overview

Experimental Drawing for Portfolio guides students in fine-tuning perceptual drawing skills while also developing more exploratory and unexpected approaches to drawing. Students will create portfolio-worthy works that both demonstrate technique as well as intellectual and philosophical curiosity. Each student will work to develop their individual drawing “voice” while we explore new drawing prompts weekly. Examples of prompts might be: Drawing Site, Surrealist Techniques, Collaborative Drawing, and Drawing Scores, to name a few. Students will be required to keep an active journal–for writing, drawing, note taking, collaging, etc.– individually, and as a group we will produce a collaborative class “zine” as an archive of our summer’s learning and working together. Students will also use journal entries to create a bio and brief statement about their work. Each student will have the unique opportunity to discuss the projects they are working on with not only the instructors but also other professional artists during open class dialogue/critique and one-on-one discussion/critique. For our final meeting, each student will choose one of their works for a review with the class and guest artists.

We will have three field trips. As a class, we will visit art exhibitions at Los Angeles’ world-renowned museums, have lunch, and participate in drawing exercises on-site.

All students who successfully complete the course will receive a Certificate of Completion and have the opportunity to request a Syracuse University noncredit transcript.

Learning Objectives

  • Fine-tune perceptual drawing skills
  • Introduce students to experimental exercises in drawing
  • Develop the professional practices of talking about one’s work and engaging in discussions about the work of others
  • Generate more questions about each student’s practice
  • Build confidence in and understanding of each student’s individual creative process and self-expression

Course Information

Course Prefix and Number: SCN 164

Format: On Location: Los Angeles, CA (commuter only) at Syracuse University’s Dick Clark Los Angeles Program

Eligibility: Students must be of rising high school sophomore, junior or senior status. Students must be able to commute to and from the Los Angeles (North Hollywood, CA) location for class. 

Credit: Noncredit

Grading: Pass/Fail


  • Commuter, only: $1,725

Program rates are subject to change and will be approved by the board of trustees. Discounts and scholarships are also available.

Program Information

Summer College – On Location: Experience what college is really like in one of Syracuse University’s homes on the west or east coasts! 

Course Dates and Details

ProgramCourse DatesLocationClass Time (Pacific Time)Credit/NoncreditStatus
Summer College – On Location3-Week Session: Monday, July 29 – Friday, Aug. 16, 2024Los Angeles (North Hollywood), CAMTW;
9 a.m. –
4 p.m.

Course Requirements


Students will need a sketchbook and/or journal exclusively for this course and favorite drawing or writing supplies.

Typical Day

Tentative Schedule


  • AM: Meet at the SULA Dick Clark Los Angeles Programs Building in North Hollywood. Discussion and visual presentation about that days drawing exercises.
  • 3-hour work session with instructor/student dialogue and feedback throughout
  • PM: Lunch (one hour)
  • In studio drawing and small group discussion about process and experience
  • Debrief and reflect on that day’s visit, journal, and discussion/review for an hour.
  • 2-3 afternoon class time may include a guest speaker or visiting artist


  • AM: Meet at the SULA Dick Clark Los Angeles Programs Building in North Hollywood. Check-in, brief discussion, and introduction to the exhibition we will be visiting that day and present a list of questions to consider during our visit.
  • Take the shuttle to the art exhibition
  • Tour of exhibition
  • Drawing on site
  • Back to the SULA building
  • Talk about that day’s visit, journal, and discussion for an hour.

Faculty Bios

Jill Spector

Jill Spector is an interdisciplinary artist and independent art worker who lives and works in Los Angeles, CA. Her practice encompasses artmaking, performance, design, teaching, and collaboration. Jill’s artistic background blends performance and sculpture, suggesting mimicry and roles to be played, and places the viewer into relationships between bodies and objects.

In 2017 Jill founded In Favor Of, a consultancy that grew out of her desire to partner with others and expand the potential of their work. As an advocate and guide, Jill works with artists and designers to nurture moments in the creative process where collaboration, creative growth, and community collide. In 2021 Jill Spector, along with artist and activist Julie Weitz co-founded Tzitzit Project – a collection of tzitzit, a ritual garment, specifically designed for women, trans, and gender non-conforming Jews.

Jill Spector’s sculptures and collages were featured in Made in L.A. 2012 at the Hammer Museum. Her work has been included in the exhibitions Biomorphic Forms In Sculpture at the Kunsthaus Graz and Drawling, Stretching, and Fainting in Coils…, an exhibition organized by artist Diana Thater, at the Pinakothek der Moderne and National theater in Munich, Germany. Jill Spector’s photography has been featured in publications, including Valeria Napoleone’s Catalog of Exquisite Recipes, and published by the MAK Center. In 2016, Spector created The Editor’s President: Models and Mock-Ups for Elaine May, Nora Kaye, and Eileen Gray, an installation at JOAN in Los Angeles. In 2015, Jill Spector and artist Bret Nicely founded TARP, an ongoing series of performances and installations in and around their empty swimming pool in Altadena, California. In 2016, Spector formed Designing Women, a conversation series by women who own and operate businesses in the fields of art and design. Spector has collaborated with choreographer Rebecca Pappas and NoExit Performance on PARADE 2017: Garfield Park, in Indianapolis, IN, with writer Soffi Stanassi on New And Unknown Thing, a performance inspired by Christine de Pizan’s The Book of the City of Ladies at Cities Of Days in Los Angeles. In 2020 she created a variety of costumes for artist and activist Julie Weitz’s My Golem project. Jill Spector was named one of the Orange County Contemporary Collectors 2013 Fellowship Artists and in 2019 awarded an Inquiry Fellowship from American Jewish University, Los Angeles, CA. Her works are included in the Zabludowicz Collection, London, the Kunsthaus Graz, and The Museum of Modern Art. Jill is an alumna of the Syracuse University School of Visual and Performing Arts (BFA 1998) and the Graduate Art Program at Art Center College of Design (MFA 2005).

Jill Spector is currently the coordinator of Syracuse University’s L.A. Turner Semester Residency Program where MFA candidates from Syracuse University’s School of Art come to Los Angeles to live and work for a semester while developing and employing essential professional practices in the arts.

Olivia Booth

Olivia Booth has been making and teaching art in Los Angeles since moving from New York City over 20 years ago.

Her art practice plays the spectrum between transparency and opacity, and she’s particularly focused on how glass frames individual and collective self-reflection.

Most recently her work could be seen at Irenic Projects, LA, UrbanGlass in Brooklyn, Goldfinch Gallery in Chicago, and Pilchuck Gallery in Seattle. Over the years her work has been shown at non-profit spaces like the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery, SculptureCenter, The Finley Gallery, and The Schindler House, in addition to other exhibition spaces, and has been written about in Art Forum and the LA Times among other publications.

A major portion of her life is spent teaching college art classes and drawing in particular, at private and public colleges and universities in Los Angeles. As of this year, she’ll also be teaching drawing from her own studio school: TheDrawingStudio. She feels extremely fortunate to be in constant dialogue with students.

She was last officially a student herself at Art Center College of Design, where she received her MFA in 2003, and before that at Cornell University, where she received her BFA and BA with honors.