RISD CE logo

Students in southern Rhode Island and eastern Connecticut can take advantage of a number of art and design courses from Rhode Island School of Design Continuing Education (RISD CE) that, until now, required commuting to its Providence campus. A select group of RISD CE courses are now offered at the Westerly Education Center, giving students the opportunity to work with distinguished faculty in a range of visual arts and design disciplines. RISD CE course offerings in Westerly span a variety of creative choices in artistic mediums, but all focus on developing the key building blocks to establish a working knowledge of spatial organization and visual problem solving to further your abilities as an artist.

Clink on the course links to register or visit ce.risd.edu when you enter keyword "Westerly" in the keyword search field.


Graphic Design: Introduction
Mondays, Oct 21 - Dec 2 | 6:30-9:30pm | No Class: 11/25
6 sessions | 18 contact hours | tuition $365
A graphic designer is a creative problem solver who conceptualizes, plans and executes a design that communicates a message. This course introduces students to the fundamentals of working in the field of graphic design by examining the meaning of graphic design, the design process and the role the graphic designer plays in society. Students respond to presentations and engage in hands-on assignments intended to provide a glimpse of the RISD|CE Graphic Design certificate program and the broader field of the professional graphic designer.

Drawing I
Thursdays, Sep 12 - Dec 5 | 6:30-9:30pm | No Class: 11/28
12 sessions | 36 contact hours | tuition $525 | model fee $30
Drawing is an essential means of communicating, and central to every artist’s and designer's practice. This class is a more rigorous and sustained introduction to the drawing medium. Drawing I students begin learning to define shapes and forms with line: investigating weight, direction and speed through gesture, contour and planar analysis. Then moving on to value, using both additive and reductive ways of working, they learn to utilize the power of light and dark to create a sense of texture, volume and space. Spatial systems, including perspective, are investigated as well as fundamentals of composition to construct dynamic imagery. Measuring and attention to negative space are essential skills used and reinforced throughout the learning process. Transcribing what is seen or imagined into visual form utilizing multiple approaches -- from note taking to rendering to diagramming and sketching -- is explored. The course is structured around demonstrations, guided exercises, and sustained drawing of varied subject matter including still-life, landscape, architecture and the human form. Please note that in addition to the lab fee, you can expect to have to buy additional supplies for this class. We try to keep this cost under $100, but for specialized classes (jewelry, wood, metals) this may be higher.

Applied Color
Tuesdays, Sep 10 - Oct 15 | 1-4pm
6 sessions | 18 contact hours | tuition $365 | lab fee $15
Color is one of the most powerful, and complex, tools at the artist's disposal. Bridging the divide between color theory and color practice, this studio course distills the essentials of color mechanics into workable studies and projects. Students explore color through creative exercises using collage and paint to understand color and how to use it effectively. Explorations of the role of light, the psychological impact of color, and how such factors as hue, value and intensity affect design are integral to the learning. Slide-illustrated presentations address the historical background of the use of color. Through the process of experiencing the interface of color theory and color application, guidelines toward developing a personal palette are discussed. Mastery of color is essential in the work of artists, illustrators, craftspeople and designers, making this course an ideal starting point. Please note that in addition to the lab fee, you can expect to have to buy additional supplies for this course. We try to keep this cost under $100, but for specialized courses (jewelry, wood, metals) this may be higher.

Woodworking at Westerly
Wednesdays, Oct 23 - Dec 4 | 6-9pm | No Class: 11/27
6 sessions | 18 contact hours | tuition $365 | lab fee $30
This course is an introduction to the fundamentals of working with wood using power and hand tools. Step by step, students learn the safe and effective use of machinery, and how to develop and execute a realistic plan/design for a simple piece. Students are introduced to ways of understanding wood, both in what to look for in selecting it and considerations when shaping it, work with table saws and sanders, and learn which machines are most effective in achieving their chosen project. Demonstrations and presentations further the learning. This hands-on introductory class helps students gain confidence with machines and working with wood and is ideal for beginners.

Acrylic Painting: Technique Intensive
Saturday + Sunday, Nov 16 - 17 | 10am-4pm
2 sessions | 12 contact hours | tuition $275 | lab fee $15
Experience with acrylic paint lays a foundation for learning to work with other paint, such as oil or gouache. Through acrylic paint, students in this workshop gain in-depth knowledge of color mixing, composition and paint application -- essential skills for any painter, illustrator or designer. The workshop is designed to help students quickly gain a command of color and an understanding of the process of painting. Students then use these fundamental skills to create dynamic compositions and to explore paint application. The first day, students practice simple painting methods through exercises, including how to mix colors, apply paint, create layers, control opacity and transparency, and create thick vs. thin paint. On day two, students prepare a background for painting, create a preliminary drawing, and learn how to transfer the drawing onto that background. Everyone works from a simple subject of their own choice. Clear, step-by-step instructions enable students to fully understand the process. This workshop is intended for absolute beginners, as well as for experienced artists who want to gain confidence and skill with the medium.

Jewelry Design: Introduction
Wednesdays, Sep 11 - Oct 16 | 6:30-9:30pm
6 sessions | 18 contact hours | tuition $365 | lab fee $25
Inspiration plays an essential role in the design and creation of jewelry -- so does research. In this design-focused course, students learn to research and extrapolate ideas from inspiration and to translate them into designs through sketches and paper models. The course begins with a variety of paper exercises that allow students to learn essential model making skills in paper as well as ways of cutting, manipulating, bending and folding that help them understand different materials' natural properties. To facilitate this process, students observe how nature and natural forms are ideal catalysts in the development of unique pieces of jewelry. Fundamental techniques for wire-wrapping and working with found objects are explored, and examples of contemporary jewelry design are shown though digital presentations. As the course takes place outside of the jewelry studio, all projects are created using readily available tools and materials such as paper, wire and everyday materials. Students of all levels are welcome. Note: This is not a jewelry bench studio course. In addition to the lab fee, you can expect to have to buy additional supplies for this course. We try to keep this cost under $100, but for specialized courses (jewelry, wood, metals) this may be higher.

Comic Book Illustration: Introduction
Thursdays, Oct 24 - Dec 5 | 6:30-9:30pm | No Class: 11/28
6 sessions | 18 contact hours | tuition $365 | lab fee $10
From the everyday sweetness and melancholy of Charles Schulz's Peanuts to the hyper-literate personal reflections of Alison Bechdel's Fun Home, the comic book illustration medium has been especially suited to capturing the internal lives and unique voices of creators. Comics are narratives told in illustrated sequence, combining images and text, and are integrally connected to the communicative task of illustration, while having an intuitive language all their own. In this course, students learn how to construct this kind of language (both written and visual), starting with their own experience: They create narratives from simple autobiographical prompts, beginning with the basic design principles of a four-panel comic strip, then move on to a more long-form and complex final piece. Along the way, the fundamental building blocks of comics -- panel shape, page layout, dialogue and sound effects -- are explored in class exercises. Demonstrations of ink media techniques give students a primer on the classic tools of the cartoonist's trade, and examples of work by significant comics creators are shown.

Illustration: Introduction
Thursdays, Sep 12 - Oct 17 | 6:30-9:30pm
6 sessions | 18 contact hours | tuition $365 | lab fee $10
From Maurice Sendak's Where the Wild Things Are to Audubon's naturalist watercolors, to Mike Mignola's Hellboy creation, illustration encompasses many approaches to making pictures tell stories. This course introduces the fascinating relationship between image and text, and investigates the multi-faceted process of interpreting and translating words into pictures. Projects are designed to ignite the imagination, help students gain skills and gather information they need to begin illustrating. Students are able to tailor projects to their specific interests, and considerations of composition, medium, personal style and ways to draw and hold viewers' attention are part of the discussion. Additionally, the business side of illustration, including the art of marketing and pitching your work to publishing houses, is addressed. Prerequisite: Some drawing experience is recommended

Portrait Drawing Workshop
Saturday + Sunday, Oct 19 - 20 | 10am-4pm
2 sessions | 12 contact hours | tuition $275 | model fee $40
A portrait is so much more than just eyes, nose and mouth. In this workshop, the head -- including the skull -- is considered as a whole. The initial focus is on the anatomy associated with the human head. Students then gain skill in observing the relationship of the facial features to each other and to the overall whole, as well as to surface fluctuations created by muscle, skin folds and age. Students study and draw the head from multiple vantage points and angles, as they learn to measure, assess proportional relationships and consider the head as a volume. The use of lighting to create drama, volume and depth is considered in the process of learning to render what is actually seen in order to create a very convincing portrait.

Oil Painting: Technique Intensive
Saturday + Sunday, Sep 21 - 22 | 10am-4pm
2 sessions | 12 contact hours | tuition $275 | lab fee $10
Without the right first steps, oil painting can be a challenging medium. This workshop aims to get students on the right track by emphasizing technique and strategy, while encouraging experimentation and individual development. Students are given an introduction to paint, brushes, medium and palette set-up. They then learn mixing, direct paint application, and consideration of value, color and composition, gaining knowledge and confidence in beginning and sustaining a painting. Learning to quickly establish design elements within a composition and assert a specific point of view, as well as understanding the importance of directional lighting, are crucial to critical first steps. A survey of the fundamentals of representational painting is presented. The class is structured around hands-on demonstrations and painting a variety of subjects so students gain familiarity with this exciting medium. Please note that in addition to the lab fee, you can expect to have to buy additional supplies for this course. We try to keep this cost under $100, but for specialized courses (jewelry, wood, metals) this may be higher.

Watercolor: Technique Intensive
Saturday + Sunday, Nov 9 - 10 | 10am-4pm
2 sessions | 12 contact hours | tuition $275 | lab fee $20
Using a more controlled approach to painting with watercolors, students in this workshop gain confidence and skill through comprehensive demonstrations and hands-on exercises. Techniques include brush control, applying flat and gradated washes, masking and layering to create form. Students experiment with different papers and effects, including wet in wet, dry brush, lifting and texturing. The essential issues of color mixing, composition and value are addressed through quick studies, progressing toward larger color pieces. The instructor provides subject material, and students are encouraged to work from their own sources.

Gaining Control of Your Digital Camera
Thursday, Oct 24 | 6:30-9:30pm
1 session | 3 contact hours | tuition $85
Do you have a digital single lens reflex (DSLR) camera but feel unsure about how to use it effectively? This workshop is for you if you have little or no experience using a DSLR and want to gain a basic understanding of how to use it to maximum advantage. We cover everything from initial setup and deciphering the camera's menus and settings, to making accurate exposures and dealing with focusing and white balance issues. We also explore the different options available for controlling lighting in various situations. You'll leave with a newfound confidence in handling the DSLR and producing consistently pleasing images. Note: Please bring your camera, its instruction manual and a willingness to learn to this fast-paced introductory workshop.

iPhone Photography Workshop
Saturday, Oct 5 | 10am-1pm
1 session | 3 contact hours | tuition $85
Your iPhone is about to get even more useful to you -- even if you didn't think that was possible! In this workshop you'll learn how to take professional-looking photos with just your iPhone. Whether you're looking to photograph your own artwork, or seeking to perfect your social media aesthetic for your brand, these skills can be applied to many aspects of your creative life. You'll develop tricks, tips and insights into a few of the instructor's favorite (free) photo editing applications; how to take product/food shots; and how to make use of natural light. You'll also gain resources on local printing companies to print all of your favorite shots.


Comic Book Creator

American comics are filled with wild characters like musclemen, monsters, robots, villains and freaks, but you need more than a wild character to make a good comic book. It takes a story that, when combined with convincing pictures, draws the reader in and doesn't let them go. You'll learn from a professional artist how to pull together all the components of great comic book creation: word balloons, captions, panels and personalities. Important topics such as character design, perspective drawing and page layout are considered and, in the end, you'll leave with a mini comic to share with friends and family.
Monday - Friday, Aug 12 - 16 | 9am-12pm
tuition $285 | lab fee $10

Fashion Illustration
Saturdays, Oct 26 - Nov 23 | 1-4pm
ages 13-17 | 2019/CF-TEEN-3725
5 sessions | 15 contact hours | tuition $285 | lab fee $10 | model fee $10
All fashion designers start their planning on paper, well before they ever see their garments worn and walking the runway. Students in this course explore the fashion drawing techniques used in the industry, such as basic fashion figures (or 'croquis') and mood boards -- the process tools for translating a creative idea into a sophisticated design. Students also communicate the ideas, moods, motion and details of a garment by visually interpreting fashion apparel, including the body proportions used in basic fashion drawing. As students create various croquis bodies and draw from a model, they develop their personal style and drawing skills, as well as an appreciation for the role fashion illustration plays in the design business.




One of the oldest colleges of its kind in the US, Rhode Island School of Design stands out as a leader in art and design education. RISD Continuing Education educates students of all ages in art and design with high quality, accessible programs. The division serves more than 4,000 individual students per year in its non-credit courses, six-week Pre-College program for high school artists and designers, and Summer Programs for college credit. RISD CE also offers non-credit certificate programs for adults and teens. For more information about RISD Continuing Education, visit http://ce.risd.edu