The Noir Portrait: Drawing with Charcoal

Learn how to make realistic portraits using the beautiful, painterly medium of charcoal on toned paper. This class teaches traditional academic concepts, but in an encouraging open environment conducive to learning. We will examine how to successfully represent form and capture a likeness from life. This class teaches Realist techniques that were taught in the academies and ateliers in 19th Century Europe. French ateliers and academies started their students off with charcoal drawing before painting, and we will take the same approach. This approach begins with a few lines forming a simple abstraction and eventually evolves to a tonal drawing. This method is a step in a natural progression towards realist portrait painting in oils.

Special Notes

  • Classes are confirmed one week prior to the start date. In order to help us confirm classes, please register as early as possible.
    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.
    Instructor speaks Spanish, but the class is held in English.

Materials List

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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.

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The Noir Portrait: Drawing with Charcoal

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Class Details
September 10 - October 299 a.m. - 12 p.m.
Day: Tue
Tuition: $305.00
Member Tuition: $274.50
Additional fees apply
Instructor: Salis Dembling
Level: Intermediate to Advanced