September 21, 2020
5 online drawing classes you can take right now

5 online drawing classes you can take right now


While in lockdown during the coronavirus pandemic, I started drawing again to try to do something creative in my newly acquired spare time. Art can be an effective mode of self-expression and a way to help process events going on around you. Even watching other people paint can be therapeutic: If you’re a Bob Ross fan, you know all about “happy accidents” and why every tree should have a friend. 

But how can you start honing your drawing skills if you’re still stuck at home? You don’t need to go back to college or buy expensive tools to learn how to draw, all you need is an online art class. From figure drawing to illustration to graphic design, there are online drawing tutorials that can scratch the artsy itch. We’ve pulled together five online classes to help you learn the fundamentals of drawing and form your own art style. It’s time to grab your pencil and start sketching, regardless of whether you’re an experienced artist looking to expand your skill set or an absolute beginner.

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Udemy/Screenshot by Shelby Brown/CNET

The Ultimate Drawing Course on Udemy doesn’t ask you to go out and invest in high-end supplies when you’re starting out, which I appreciated. The course has 11 sections with 63 lectures that cover the fundamentals of drawing and build upon each other. You’ll learn about perspective, texture, drawing from life, drawing the human face and figure, space, value and contrast. There’s also a bonus video about animation-style art. 

What it costs:

Udemy’s course prices are set by the individual instructors from a price tier, unless they choose to offer them for free. The Ultimate Drawing Course costs $120.

Udemy/Screenshot by Shelby Brown/CNET

Udemy’s Complete Drawing Masterclass course also covers some fundamental artistic teachings like lines, value, contrast, perspective, but goes a bit more in-depth in each lecture. In addition, the course also explains art supplies, like different types of paper, suggested brands, sharpening tools and how using a table or an easel can affect your work.  

What it costs: Udemy’s course prices are set by the individual instructors from a price tier, unless they choose to offer them for free. The Complete Drawing Masterclass course costs $100. 

Creative Live/Screenshot by Shelby Brown/CNET

I liked that Amy Wynne’s landscape course was about enjoying nature and relaxing, too — which is key, since trying to learn a new skill can be frustrating if you’re not picking it up as quickly as you’d like to. Over the course, you’ll assemble a field sketch journal as Wynne teaches you about seascapes, countrysides and industrial scapes. You’ll learn about assembling an efficient (yet portable) art kit, how to use light and a viewfinder, sky-to-land ratio, achieving depth and establishing atmosphere.

What it costs: CreativeLive lets you purchase a Creator Pass for $39 a month or $149 annually. This gives you access to features like the site’s entire library of over 1,500 classes and ways to track your goals with learning paths. You can also set up an account and purchase classes individually. For example, Wynne’s course costs $20 while CreativeLive runs a spring sale. Otherwise, it costs $29. 

Skillshare/Screenshot by Shelby Brown/CNET

Pilot Precise V7 pens (you can find them at office supply stores) are one of my favorite tools for drawing. Of course, pen-and-ink art can go well beyond this, and it’s all about what works best for you. If you’re interested in pen and ink, Yasmina Creates has a course on Skillshare that covers it all.

The course breaks down the different supplies and how different tools act. You’ll also learn tips and tricks like line variation, texture and patterns.   

I liked that the class projects displayed on the course page showed varied styles like realism, illustrative and cartoons, so it looks like the instructor gives you room to find your own art style.

What it costs: Some online classes on Skillshare are free when you create an account, but most require a premium membership, which costs $99 annually or $19 a month. You can sign up for 14 free days of unlimited classes. The premium membership is also ad-free and lets you download classes to your mobile device and watch offline. 

Skillshare/Screenshot by Shelby Brown/CNET

This course is classified as intermediate, so if you’re pretty green to drawing (pun intended), I wouldn’t start with this one. Brickey’s class focuses on life-like pencil portraits by breaking down pencil techniques, facial features and their proportions, and supply recommendations. 

Before you sign up, Brickey’s syllabus lists class supplies — paper, pencils, lead (if you’re using mechanical pencils), blenders (tissues, cotton swabs or blending stumps) and erasers. She says you can use any type, but provides specific brand recommendations in the syllabus.

What it costs: Some online classes on Skillshare are free when you create an account, but most require a premium membership, which costs $99 annually or $19 a month. You can sign up for 14 free days of unlimited classes. The premium membership is also ad-free and lets you download classes to your mobile device and watch offline. 

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