Adult Opportunities

Charcoal Techniques

Explore the possibilities of drawing with charcoal.

Content Detail

Considered to be the oldest drawing material on earth, charcoal is both boldly expressive and very forgiving. Charcoal is a malleable, inexpensive drawing medium with a rich heritage and a pleasing tactile quality. It makes an ideal entry medium to drawing and also offers deeper possibilities as experience is gained. Charcoal used in conjunction with a kneaded eraser offers an additive and subtractive way of working that is efficient and intuitive.

Over the course of this charcoal drawing class at The Morton Arboretum, students will draw from nature both large and small, using specimens from the Arboretum’s collection as well as photo references to render broader landscape views. Each week, students will create a new drawing and practice techniques demonstrated by the instructor, including additive and subtractive methods of rendering using a kneaded eraser and applying various ways of shading for different effects.

Foundational drawing skills are required. See What to Know for a list of supplies to purchase before class.

This program meets in person at the Arboretum.

Instructor: John Fleck, artist

Age: 16 and older

Course number: A822


John Fleck, artist

John Fleck is an artist and teacher based in Skokie. His past career was as an illustrator for children’s educational publishing. Now he focuses on fine art through drawing, painting, and teaching. He received his BFA from Columbia College in Chicago in 2001.

He is primarily inspired by the natural world in his artwork and enjoys wandering in the woods, fields, or along the lakeshore, looking for a weathered tree full of character, a unique view, or a light effect that fascinates him. He works in oils, acrylics, gouache, pen and ink, and various drawing media.

He can often be found at The Art Institute of Chicago or The Field Museum of Natural History, sketchbook in hand. His travels around the Midwest and to places such as Oregon and Maine have inspired many of his works. He exhibits in the Chicago area.

What to Know

This program meets indoors.

Foundational drawing experience is required.

Click here to view the recommended supplies. Students should purchase the recommended supplies and bring them to class.

Program Schedule

This program includes the following eight meeting times.

Wednesday, February 7, 2024, 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Wednesday, February 14, 2024, 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Wednesday, February 21, 2024, 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Wednesday, February 28, 2024, 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Wednesday, March 6, 2024, 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Wednesday, March 13, 2024, 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Thornhill Education Center


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