ONSITE: Traditional Figure Drawing

Figure drawing is a time honored tradition in the history of art, and due to its challenging nature, it is an excellent training ground for the all-around artist. For most students, the toughest part of drawing a portrait or figure is getting the proportions right. It can be challenging to find an instructor who teaches a solid method for mastering this skill. Look no further! In this class we will draw on techniques developed over centuries – from the Renaissance through the 1800’s and into the 1900’s. We will study linear construction, anatomy, shading and values, as well as various techniques for mastering proportions. We will analyze and copy master drawings to reinforce our learning. The materials we use in class are charcoal on toned paper. This medium allows for drawing in a painterly manner, and was used in ateliers and academies in Europe in the 19th century to train students for painting the figure. Students can expect homework assignments and the need to practice outside of class time by signing up for open figure drawing sessions. Take a trip back in time before AI, smart phones, and even cameras, and learn the secrets that artists used to capture stunning likenesses of each unique model. Once armed with these skilled you will feel more confident in front of nature.

Special Notes

  • Anyone can learn to draw the figure this way, but just like music or sports, practice and repetition is essential. VisArts offers open session figure drawing classes every week and students will be expected to take advantage of these classes and practice ($10 per session on Thursday afternoons or Friday evenings). Please also consider signing up for the Master Drawing Saturday workshop - as the technique taught in the workshop is a key to this type of drawing. The instructor will give homework assignments so students will have ways to practice between classes. Each class builds on skills taught in previous classes so students will be expected to attend all classes. Be prepared to break old drawing habits to learn a completely new approach. The more humble you can be, the more open you will be to a brand new to you (but traditional!) method.

    Instructor speaks Spanish, but the class is held in English.
    Classes are confirmed one week prior to the start date. In order to help us confirm classes, please register as early as possible.
    This is an On-site course. Students must follow current Covid-19 protocols, as outlined on our website. On-site courses do not come with studio access outside of class time. Paid open studio access is available through our Studio Access Program. Please visit for more information.

Materials List

Download materials list

About the Instructor

Salis Dembling

Salis was raised in New York City and Massachusetts and spent formative years in L.A. and South America. She's mixed/Black and the daughter of Black Historian Sterling Stuckey and granddaughter of poet Elma Stuckey She studied drawing and sculpture at Columbia University, where she received a Bachelor of Arts degree. She studied painting and illustration at The School of Visual Arts and in the studio of portrait painter John Murray, both in New York as well. She completed the professional four year atelier painting program and teacher training program at Studio Incamminati in Philadelphia. As well as being a visual artist she is a musician/composer. She co-founded art and activism collectives and a radical community center called Better than Television.

See More Classes By Instructor
Back to Classes

ONSITE: Traditional Figure Drawing

Register for this class
Enroll Now
Class Details
June 10 - July 156 p.m. - 9 p.m.
Day: Mon
Tuition: $255.00
Member Tuition: $229.50
Additional fees apply
Instructor: Salis Dembling
Level: Intermediate