Currents: Digital Painting

PSAM 3060; CRN 6495

Parsons School for Design – Art, Media & Technology

Spring 2016 * Tuesday 7:00–9:40 p.m. @ 6 E. 16th St. Rm: 909


Jeffrey “” Scudder <>


This course covers the history of drawing and painting software while introducing students to the practice of writing their own painting program in JavaScript. Students will be designing and building expressive, idiosyncratic drawing tools that automate repetitive tasks, reinforce formal invention, and encourage spontaneous expression. Previous programming experience is recommended, but not required.







Introduction to Digital Painting. Syllabus Review.



Experimental Drawing Software Presentation. JavaScript Introduction & Review.



Canvas API Overview. Assign “Scene” project. Get Kid Pix Studio Deluxe. Get Mario Paint.



“Scene” project due. Browser events. Assign “Stamp” project. Get Teddy.



“Stamp” project due. Composing browser events. Assign “Mark” project.



Midterm Evaluations. “Mark” project due. Assign “Suite” project.



“What is Modal Software?” Lecture & Discussion.



Modal architecture in JavaScript. *Spring Break Starts*



Working in class.



Working in class. Watch Painting With Light.



WIP Critique. Austin Lee Visit.



Working in class.



Working in class.



Working in class. One week left!



“Suite” project due. Final Critique. 

Learning Outcomes

By the successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

  1. Design and write drawing software.
  2. Understand contemporary modes of image production.
  3. Independently research and learn unfamiliar technical topics.

Assessable Tasks 


Draw a static scene utilizing the Canvas 2D API in JavaScript.


Make software that allows the user to “stamp” imagery by clicking or tapping.


Write a program that allows the user to make “marks” by clicking and dragging.


Create a modal, multi-featured drawing/painting “suite” of your own design.

Final Grade Calculation 

Attendance & Participation        30%

Scene Assignment                10%

Stamp Assignment                10%

Mark Assignment                10%

Suite Assignment                40%                                

Resources & Readings 

Visit our resources page:

Materials and Supplies 

Our class may be held in a computer lab, yet it is recommended that you bring a laptop on which you have permission to install and run software.

Grading Standards


A  [4.0; 96–100%]

Work of exceptional quality, which often goes beyond the stated goals of the course

A- [3.7; 91 –95%]

Work of very high quality

B+ [3.3; 86–90%]

Work of high quality that indicates substantially higher than average abilities

B  [3.0; 81–85%]

Very good work that satisfies the goals of the course

B- [2.7; 76–80%]
Good work

C+ [2.3; 71–75%]

Above-average work

C  [2.0; 66–70%]

Average work that indicates an understanding of the course material; passable

Satisfactory completion of a course is considered to be a grade of C or higher.

C- [1.7; 61–65%]

Passing work but below good academic standing

D  [1.0; 46–60%]

Below-average work that indicates a student does not fully understand the assignments;

Probation level though passing for credit

F  [0.0; 0–45%]

Failure, no credit


A        Work of exceptional quality

A-        Work of high quality

B+        Very good work

B         Good work; satisfies course requirements

Satisfactory completion of a course is considered to be a grade of B or higher.

B-        Below-average work

C+        Less than adequate work

C        Well below average work

C-        Poor work; lowest possible passing grade

F        Failure

GM        Grade missing for an individual

Grades of D are not used in graduate level courses.

Grade of W

The grade of W may be issued by the Office of the Registrar to a student who officially withdraws from a course within the applicable deadline. There is no academic penalty, but the grade will appear on the student transcript. A grade of W may also be issued by an instructor to a graduate student (except at Parsons and Mannes) who has not completed course requirements nor arranged for an Incomplete.

Grade of Z

The grade of Z is issued by an instructor to a student who has not attended or not completed all required work in a course but did not officially withdraw before the withdrawal deadline. It differs from an “F,” which would indicate that the student technically completed requirements but that the level of work did not qualify for a passing grade.

Grades of Incomplete

The grade of I, or temporary incomplete, may be granted to a student under unusual and extenuating circumstances, such as when the student’s academic life is interrupted by a medical or personal emergency. This mark is not given automatically but only upon the student’s request and at the discretion of the instructor. A Request for Incomplete form must be completed and signed by student and instructor. The time allowed for completion of the work and removal of the “I” mark will be set by the instructor with the following limitations:

Undergraduate students: Work must be completed no later than the seventh week of the following fall semester for spring or summer term incompletes and no later than the seventh week of the following spring semester for fall term incompletes. Grades of “I” not revised in the prescribed time will be recorded as a final grade of “F” by the Registrar’s Office.

Graduate students: Work must be completed no later than one year following the end of the class. Grades of “I” not revised in the prescribed time will be recorded as a final grade of “N” by the Registrar’s Office.

Divisional, Program and Class Policies


Students are responsible for all assignments, even if they are absent.  Late assignments, failure to complete the assignments for class discussion and/or critique, and lack of preparedness for in-class discussions, presentations and/or critiques will jeopardize your successful completion of this course.  


Class participation is an essential part of class and includes: keeping up with reading, assignments, projects, contributing meaningfully to class discussions, active participation in group work, and coming to class regularly and on time.  


Parsons’ attendance guidelines were developed to encourage students’ success in all aspects of their academic programs. Full participation is essential to the successful completion of coursework and enhances the quality of the educational experience for all, particularly in courses where group work is integral; thus, Parsons promotes high levels of attendance. Students are expected to attend classes regularly and promptly and in compliance with the standards stated in the course syllabus.

While attendance is just one aspect of active participation, absence from a significant portion of class time may prevent the successful attainment of course objectives. A significant portion of class time is generally defined as the equivalent of three weeks, or 20%, of class time. Lateness or early departure from class may be recorded by the instructor as one full absence. Students may be asked to withdraw from a course if habitual absenteeism or tardiness has a negative impact on the class environment.

Members of the faculty are expected to provide syllabi in which course objectives and assessment criteria are described, in writing, at the beginning of the term. The syllabus should also articulate how attendance is assessed with respect to active participation.

At Parsons, attendance and lateness are assessed as of the first day of classes. Students who register after a class has begun are responsible for any missed assignments and coursework. Students who must miss a class session should notify the instructor and arrange to make up any missed work as soon as possible. A student who anticipates an extended absence should immediately inform the faculty and his or her program advisor. Advance approval for an extended absence is required to ensure successful completion of the course. Withdrawal from the course may be recommended if the proposed absence would compromise a student’s ability to meet course objectives.

Finally, faculty are asked to notify the student’s advisor for any student who misses two consecutive class sessions without explanation or who otherwise miss a significant portion of class time. Following two absences, students may be asked to speak with their advisor to review any impediments to their successful performance in class and, if so, to provide confirmation to the faculty member that such a conversation took place.

Religious Absences and Equivalent Opportunity

Pursuant to Section 224-a of the New York State Education Laws, any student who is absent from school because of his or her religious beliefs will be given an equivalent opportunity to register for classes or make up any examination, study, or work requirements which he or she may have missed because of such absence on any particular day or days. The student must inform the instructor at the beginning of the course of any anticipated absences due to religious observance.


Use of Canvas may be an important resource for this class. Students should check it for announcements before coming to class each week.  


In rare instances, I may be delayed arriving to class.  If I have not arrived by the time class is scheduled to start, you must wait a minimum of thirty minutes for my arrival.  In the event that I will miss class entirely, a sign will be posted at the classroom indicating your assignment for the next class meeting.

Electronic Devices

The use of electronic devices (phones, tablets, laptops, cameras, etc.) is permitted when the device is being used in relation to the course's work. All other uses are prohibited in the classroom and devices should be turned off before class starts.

Academic Honesty and Integrity

The New School views “academic honesty and integrity” as the duty of every member of an academic community to claim authorship for his or her own work and only for that work, and to recognize the contributions of others accurately and completely. This obligation is fundamental to the integrity of intellectual debate, and creative and academic pursuits. Academic honesty and integrity includes accurate use of quotations, as well as appropriate and explicit citation of sources in instances of paraphrasing and describing ideas, or reporting on research findings or any aspect of the work of others (including that of faculty members and other students). Academic dishonesty results from infractions of this “accurate use”. The standards of academic honesty and integrity, and citation of sources, apply to all forms of academic work, including submissions of drafts of final papers or projects. All members of the University community are expected to conduct themselves in accord with the standards of academic honesty and integrity. Please see the complete policy in the Parsons Catalog.

It is the responsibility of students to learn the procedures specific to their discipline for correctly and appropriately differentiating their own work from that of others.  Compromising your academic integrity may lead to serious consequences, including (but not limited to) one or more of the following: failure of the assignment, failure of the course, academic warning, disciplinary probation, suspension from the university, or dismissal from the university.  

Student Disability Services (SDS)

In keeping with the University’s policy of providing equal access for students with disabilities, any student with a disability who needs academic accommodations is welcome to meet with me privately.  All conversations will be kept confidential.  Students requesting any accommodations will also need to meet with Jason Luchs in the Office of Student Disability Services, who will conduct an intake, and if appropriate, provide an academic accommodation notification letter to you to bring to me.  SDS assists students with disabilities in need of academic and programmatic accommodations as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) and Section 504 of the Federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973.