ONSITE: Traditional Figure Drawing

If you are looking to master the fundamentals of figure drawing in a traditional manner, then this is the class for you. This class teaches realist techniques that were taught in the academies and ateliers in 19th Century Europe. We will explore charcoal on toned paper – a technique used by masters of this time-period. This medium allows for drawing in a painterly manner. This class is an intermediate to advanced level class and students should have very solid drawing skills. Traditionally, students trained by copying master drawings, drawing from casts of classical sculpture, drawing still lifes, etc., long before being allowed to draw from the figure model. The reason for this is that figure drawing in the realist tradition is fun but also challenging. It is a beautiful way of drawing that requires a great deal of practice. Students can expect the need to come to every class, to do homework, and to practice outside of class time.

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.

    Classes are confirmed one week prior to the start date. In order to help us confirm classes, please register as early as possible.
  • This class does not meet on 1/16.

  • Students must follow current Covid-19 protocols, as outlined by our website. For more info visit This is an On-site course. On-site courses do not come with studio access outside of class time. Paid open studio access is available through our Studio Access Program: if interested please visit

    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 artists program and teacher training program at Studio Incamminati in Philadelphia.
She is a triple threat - as well as being a visual artist she is a musician/composer and activist.
She co-founded art and activism collectives and a radical community center. She's played with many bands, and opened for and/or collaborated with artists including Beck, the Buzzcocks, April March, Ward Dodson from L.A.'s The Gun Club, Bo Diddley, Elliott Smith, and Johnny Cash.


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ONSITE: Traditional Figure Drawing

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Class Details
January 9 - March 66 p.m. - 9 p.m.
Day: Mon
Tuition: $255.00
Member Tuition: $229.50
Additional fees apply
Instructor: Salis Dembling
Level: Intermediate to Advanced