creative research gallery and drawing center
a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization







“Fine art is that in which the hand, the head, and the heart of man go together.” – John Ruskin

Throughout our lives as artists, we may speak in a variety of visual languages in order create images unique to our own, evolving perspectives. For many artists throughout history, these visual languages, or “styles,” have been assembled from both their investigations into the connotative potentials of multiple subjects (consider Piet Mondrian’s famous tree studies that preceded his geometric abstraction, for example) and the complex influences of their artistic community. 

The Drawn Subject is a new series of classes that offer curious artists the opportunity to experience such a survey of subject-matter connotations, looking at five of the most influential Art Historical subjects…

• The Figure


• The Portrait (November)
• The Still Life (January)
• Interior Spaces (March)
• Exterior Places (Plein Air) (May)

… while simultaneously building further upon previous knowledge and skills, as they gain a better understanding of their personal “language.” Through an array of new observational studies from a different subject each month, we will focus on what guides your own perspective and the ways that it can be refined to develop an artistic voice.


Series Instructor: Brad Davis

Fee:  Individual 4-week Classes: $140

Full Series Price (all ten courses): $525 (25% discount)

Course Schedule: Saturdays, 1:30-4:30pm

Minimum Enrollment: 4


Level: Drawing Materials is specifically geared towards artists with basic knowledge of observational drawing and drawing media, but who may not have a clear idea of what to draw. This series will also benefit those wishing to brush up on their basic knowledge of particular subjects. Each class will feature short demonstrations, specific lessons, and individual feedback for each student. Drawing is a practice that has a far reach, and whether your artistic goals are for pleasure or profession, we believe that anyone can learn to draw and in doing so, learn to appreciate the world more deeply.


Instructor Bio:
Brad Davis is a painter from Cincinnati, Ohio. He earned his BFA from the Art Academy of Cincinnati in 2016, and his MFA from the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in 2019. His paintings are typically centered around the urban environment and seek to transform its banality through careful and personal reconstruction. In addition to teaching at Manifest Drawing Center, Davis also teaches at the University of Cincinnati’s College of Design, Art, Architecture, and Planning (DAAP). Davis’ work has been exhibited nationally and was included in the 2018 XL Catlin Art Prize traveling show. Most recently he has been shown at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. His paintings are in the permanent collections of the Union League of Philadelphia and Capitol One Bank.

Unless otherwise specified, each The Drawn Subject class will be hosted at Manifest's Drawing Center Studios in Madisonville at 4905 Whetsel Avenue (second floor) (see map and directions below). Manifest's facility provides two studio classrooms totaling over 3500 square-feet. The studios are outfitted with professional equipment, furniture, and study aids.


Brad Davis



2019-2020 Schedule:
4 Meetings Per Course: Saturdays 1:30-4:30pm
(See full descriptions in Subject menu below.)


Introduction to the Figure
September 7-28
Registration Deadline: Wednesday, September 4, 2019

The Portrait as Likeness and Expression
November 2-25
Registration Deadline: Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Animating the Still Life
January 4-25
Registration Deadline: Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Interior Spaces Beyond Perspective
March 7-28
Registration Deadline: Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Wrestling with Exterior Places (en Plein Air)
May 2-30* (no class on May 23)
Registration Deadline: Wednesday, April 29, 2020


(These same supplies will be used in each month’s class):

• Vine charcoal
• Workable spray fixative (Krylon suggested)
• White Prismacolor Premier colored pencil
• 2-3 sheets of Canson Mi-Teintes 19x25” gray paper (either dark gray, felt gray, flannel gray, or steel gray) OR 1 Strathmore Grayscale pad, 12x18”
• Strathmore 400 drawing paper 18x24”
• Kneaded eraser
• Retractable eraser
• HB Pencil
• One sheet 100 grit sandpaper


Questions?: Contact Adam Mysock at

Map to Studio    |   Studio Calendar    |   Darkroom Calendar


Introduction to the Figure

The Portrait as Likeness and Expression

Animating the Still Life

Interior Spaces Beyond Perspective

September 7-28
Registration Deadline:
Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2019

While the figure is perhaps the most common subject throughout art history, its depictions and interpretations could never be exhausted. Drawing the figure is a challenge that begins with the establishment of good composition, proportion, and form and culminates in the rousing interpretation of subtle gestures and postures. Few artistic tasks are as demanding or as rewarding!

Topics covered:

• proportions of the body
• value hierarchy
• composition
• gesture
• communicating through posture

November 2-25
Registration Deadline:
Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2019

Portraiture is perhaps the most personal and psychologically engaging pursuit in drawing because it is linked to what we most readily identify with—ourselves. We will explore the dynamism created by various lighting structures over the human face as well as the small-scale shifts that lend a portrait expression.

Topics covered:

• landmarks of the head
• finding planes of light
• defining parts of a shadow
• expressive movements of the head and its features


January 4-25
Registration Deadline:
Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2020

While it’s not always apparent, every object has its own personality derived from the nature of its creation, the people it’s touched, the spaces it’s inhabited, and the jobs it’s done. In this way, they combine the intimacy of portraiture and the compositional potential of figure drawing (with the added benefit of staying still). Whether single or combined, drawing from the inanimate allows for a deep study of form, texture, and edge quality.

Topics covered:

• working in a set range of value
• edge quality
• developing texture
• overlapping shapes and tangencies
• objects as symbols


March 7-28
Registration Deadline:
Wednesday, March 4, 2020

How often do we really pause to consider the spaces through we transition throughout our day? To consider the events that define one room and separate its tone from another? Beautifully, interior drawing harnesses the ability to imply activity, existence, and history through absence. In this month’s investigation, we will look at the descriptive qualities of spaces and how light and composition can work to enhance their potential narratives.

Topics covered:

• layering space
• finding dynamic angles
• implementing tools of perspective
• technical narrative



Wrestling with Exterior Places (en Plein Air)


May 2-30*
Registration Deadline:
Wednesday, April 29, 2020

* (no class on May 23)

Drawing outside allows an artist to embrace one of drawing’s most fundamental challenges—simplifying complexity. While traveling to a new site each week, we will discuss how to synthesize and refine the magnitude of landscape through composition, shape, and mark making.

Topics covered:

• working with the gestalt
• harmony and rhythm through mark making
• developing atmosphere
• embracing a changing environment



Manifest's 16th season is funded in part by a grant from the Robert H. Reakirt Foundation, PNC Bank, Trustee. This season's programming is also supported by an impact grant from ArtsWave, by a sustainability grant from the Ohio Arts Council, and through the generous contributions of individual supporters who care deeply about the visual arts.

gallery hours:

tues-fri noon-7pm, sat noon-5pm
(or by special appointment)

closed Sun and Mon

Contribute to our Annual Fund



gallery map
2727 woodburn avenue
cincinnati, ohio 45206

drawing center map
4905 whetsel avenue
cincinnati, ohio 45227



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