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Expressive Figure Drawing: The Figurative Arabesque- Online

Instructor: Susan O’Neill

Using basic drawing materials and water-soluble mixed media, this class will explore curvilinear elements and artistic anatomy essential in capturing a dynamic figure drawing. Understanding anatomical landmarks and structure will help you move with confidence through the drawing process, whatever style, to gain confidence in your ability. Emphasis is placed on careful observation of gesture and structure, line quality, and composition. Included are discussions of historical and contemporary works of art, instructor demonstrations, and focused attention on skeletal and muscular anatomy of the figure. Working from a live model, students learn to respond and understand the structure and vitality of a pose using a variety of materials. Group discussions will be held to share work, exchange experiences, and receive feedback from the instructor. Students will receive individual feedback, as well.

Model fee is extra.


For more information, contact The Art League School at 703-683-2323.

All Dates & Times

Class Supplies

Expressive Figure Drawing: The Figurative Arabesque Supplies

This kit of supplies is available for purchase here, and can be shipped for a fee, or picked up curbside. The kit includes the underlined items.

Please indicate in the notes section of your order if you would like to schedule curbside pick-up, or if you need your kit mailed to you.

Please contact us at store@theartleague.org if you would like to purchase a selection of items different than the kit.

Expressive Figure Drawing: The Figurative Arabesque, Susan O’Neill

NOTE:  If you have previous materials you can start there, no need to purchase all new.  We will discuss materials and paper during the first class and why certain choices may be useful. It is not necessary to have all the materials on the first day. Pace your introduction of new materials if you are not comfortable. Class will offer suggested techniques with mixed-media work but work however you are comfortable.  You will stumble on your own unique techniques and marks through the experimentation with the material discussed in class.

Newsprint paper 18” x 24” for warm up gestures each week

Drawing paper or any sturdy drawing paper. You may want 2-3 sheets of each depending on how you work.  Papers vary depending on your style/touch. Experimentation is encouraged. Suggestions:

  1. Canson Mi-Teintes paper, white, light gray such as “Pearl Gray.” 2-3 sheets. This is a heavier multi-purpose drawing paper. Make sure to use the side that is less rough.
  2. Hanhemuehle Ingres paper, “middle gray” (2-3 sheets). This is a nice drawing paper but does not work well with multi-media material and water.
  3. Stonehenge Drawing Paper or Hot-pressed watercolor paper – best for mixed media work, (2-5 sheets, white)
  4. (optional) Strathmore 500 Series Charcoal Pad – 12” x 18”, Assorted Tints, 24 Sheets or single sheets


Black Conte crayons

Sanguine Conte crayons

2 or 3 each hard, medium, and soft General’s compressed Charcoal pencils

White charcoal stick or pencil

Red chalk – either Faber Castell 190 Venetian Red pencil or NuPastel (Sanguine or Burnt Sienna)

Stump (Tortillion – twisted paper to blend charcoal)

Kneaded eraser

Tombow Mono Zero refillable eraser and/or General’s Factis mechanical eraser


Compressed charcoal sticks

2 Char-Kole sticks

Box of vine charcoal – General’s Brand or Nitram charcoal sticks: H (blue), HB (orange), B (green). Or various sizes of vine charcoal.

Water-Soluble graphite Lyra Graphite Crayon  – 6B or 9B

Water-soluble charcoal (Derwent XL Charcoal Blocks OR Water-Soluble colored Charcoals (Art Graf Artist Water-Soluble Chalk set of 3, or 6

Walnut Ink

Inexpensive watercolor brush, or a variety of brushes to apply water

Hog bristle brush, size 6, filbert, only to be used for charcoal

1-2” Bristle brushes to blend charcoal – (large inexpensive or worn house painting brushes)

Spray bottle

Drawing board 23” x 26”



Acrylic gesso

Clear Gesso by Liquitex

Sandpaper block – (for sharpening charcoal sticks) – Nitram makes a nice one, but it’s a little pricey. You can make your own out of sandpaper wrapped around a piece of wood.

Canning wax


The kit includes the underlined items.

Cost is $101.63 plus sales tax of $6.10 for a Total = $ 107.73

Please contact us at store@theartleague.org if you would like to purchase a selection of items different than the kit.




How to Register

When registration is open (check the “Registration starts” date above), click the Add to Cart button to select this course. Add as many classes and workshops as you like, and then proceed to the Checkout page to complete your registration.

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