The ABCs of Drawing: Dr. Wei Xu's Innovative Approach to Art

By: Georgia Schumacher Filed under: Gaming & Technology

March 19, 2015

Wei Xu sketches

While those passionate about art sometimes shy away from math and science, faculty member and inventor of the ABC drawing method, Dr. Wei Xu, has always embraced all three. 

In 2011, Xu introduced an innovative approach to realistic and observational drawing called the Angle-Based Constructive (ABC) method, which is based on the principles of math and computer graphics. Since then, Xu has presented the ABC method at countless universities and international art conferences, including Comic-Con 2012, 2013, and 2014, the National Art Education Association 2014, and the California Art Education Association 2014.

Xu also authored the book Drawing in the Digital Age ─ An Observational Method for Artists and Animators, which he later translated into Chinese. A self-taught artist, he has published 18 research articles in math, art, and computer science, has credits in 10 commercial video games and apps, and his drawings have been turned into two digital books—Dimension of Figure Drawing and Zen of Figure Sketching. Recently, San Diego Korean magazine "샌디에고" (Monthly San Diego) described Xu as "The Modern Renaissance Man." 

At The Art Institute of California – San Diego, a campus of Argosy UniversityXu is also a Game Art & Design Instructor and recently began teaching hands-on, non-credit classes and workshops to the public through the school’s GETCreative program.

At GETCreative, Xu teaches basic drawing skills to students serious about improving their craft—especially beginners with tech backgrounds. “The drawing skills taught in this class are fundamental to the further study of art,” Xu says. “They are also useful for gaining better skills in visual communication across all fields.” All courses are held at The Art Institute of California – San Diego, a campus of Argosy University.

To develop the ABC method, Xu devoted years studying the relationship between drawing and geometry. Knowing that art and math were successfully integrated during the Renaissance to create the Perspective Theory, he was intrigued by the opportunity to bring the two together again. “Little had been done beyond this old theory [the Perspective Theory], while science had had huge advances in almost every other field,” he says. “I wanted to find a new method that could help me teach my students, and many others, how to draw.”

Today, he finds joy in teaching the ABC method. “It is always exciting to see beginners acquire drawing skills quickly using my scientific method, especially those who were skeptical at first,” Xu says.

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By: Georgia Schumacher Filed under: Gaming & Technology

March 19, 2015

faculty GETcreative