Here are some of the sites I’ve visited that provide online instruction for both aspiring artists who want to learn and accomplished artists looking to improve their abilities. Many tutorials and video lessons are free or can be purchased for a minimal cost. Other professional classes may cost hundreds — or thousands — of dollars. I will be adding additional resources to this page as I discover them. If you have a favorite learning site that’s not included, please send me a link so I can share it.
This is one of my favorite sites. Kerry Godsall is a self-taught artist who believes that anyone can learn to draw. She offers a great deal of encouragement, many simple illustrations that new artists can copy, and lots of helpful tips and tricks. You’ll also find links to excellent books and free videos for beginning artists. Instruction is arranged by topic to make it easy to find drawings of a particular subject, such as birds or flowers.
This site features a great blog with information about art and how to increase both your knowledge and your skills. In addition, there are online courses available. You can also sign up for their newsletter to keep up-to-date on the products and services they offer.
This is a popular site that’s associated with North Light Art. Their premium instruction services offers over 500 art videos for a monthly subscription fee of $19.99. They also have various free art videos which are pleasant to watch but not especially instructive. Early today, for instance, I watched a video titled “Painting a Rainy Day in Acrylic”. The artist, Mike Barr, paints to a lovely musical accompaniment. Yes, it’s fun to watch a talented artist at work, but I’m not at a level where I can truly gain pointers or inspiration from the experience. I still need more of the step-by-step, here’s how to do it approach. More advanced artists, of course, will enjoy the free video presentations.
For serious artists of any skill level, the Artist Network University might be a good choice. I’ve never enrolled in any of their classes — most are $50.00 to $100.00 per course — but the quality of instruction appears high. Classes are offered in three skill leves: beginner, intermediate, and advanced.
I recently discovered the “Craftsy” classes and am quite interested. The prices aren’t out-of-reach and the many video lessons included in each craft seem to offer a good amount of information. You can click on a quick “video preview” to learn about each class before enrolling. Once you’ve enrolled, you’re granted lifetime access to those videos, making them useful for reviewing various subjects. You can also find classes easily using “skill level”, “subject” “media” or “price” to sort. Classes are sometimes offered on sale, so the site might be worth watching if there’s something of special interest.
Although the Fine Arts Studio doesn’t offer online classes or tutorials, I’ve found this site very helpful for explaining terms or getting basic art-related information, such as the standard sizes of art papers. The site has a lot of useful links, so I’ve included it here.
As a manufacturer of art materials, Grumbacher wants to help you succeed with their products. Their tutorials are designed to provide information on using paints, brushes, and other materials. I think of these as more of the “mechanics” of art rather than instruction in developing artistic abilities.
I have little information about Grumbacher Classes. I know in the greater Kansas City area, various classes are held at Michael’s craft stores. I am guessing that there’s probably a minimal fee involved to cover materials. Note that these are in-store classes rather than online. You can quickly search for classes in your area, and you might find one that’s just what you’re looking for. Getting out, receiving live instruction, and meeting other artists is always valuable. I intend to check there classes out for myself. You can also visit the Michael’s Stores website for additional information.
If you’re looking for information on watercolor, this is a great site to visit. I love browsing through the site, and I pick up helpful tips on each visit. Jim also offers a watercolor magazine and a video watercolor course.
I found this site recently while struggling with watercolor brush techniques. His information and exercises for mastering brushstrokes was exactly what I needed. I’ll be spending a lot of time on this site, as he has instructional videos, helpful articles, and tutorials on a variety of watercolor-related topics. He also offers a newsletter. If watercolor is what you love best in art, you’ll truly love this website.
I recently discovered this site while looking for information on figure drawing. It’s got a wealth of information, and it’s all free. Donations are accepted, if you’re so inclined. It’s a site that every beginning artist should check out.
For accomplished artists and intermediate artists wanting to challenge themselves, the Mighty Art site offers a lot of in-depth tutorials. I discovered this site recently while searching for information on how to draw fabric folds. The tutorials I’ve seen listed are typically excerpts from art instruction books. Many of the tutorials provide step-by-step “how-to” information. I don’t think the tutorials would be especially helpful for beginners but those who have learned the basic fundamentals of drawing and are ready for more advanced instruction might benefit from this site. Tutorials are arranged not by skill level but by materials and by subject. You’ll find a lot of good information at Mighty Art, and you’ll have a chance to browse a bit to see what various art books have to offer. If you find a tutorial that deals with a particular medium or subject you’re learning, you might then choose to purchase the book for more instruction.
North Light is probably one of the best-known art instruction sites. They offer a wide variety of instruction books, several art magazines, and many DVD art classes. It’s very easy to find what you’re looking for with their navigation system. Media lessons are conveniently categorized by skill level. Unfortunately for artists like me who learn best from watching demonstrations, most of North Light’s instruction comes in the form of books. I was intrigued by their “Free Advice” section but was a bit disappointed as I browsed through some of the articles provided. While they contain helpful information, they serve basically as “commercials” inviting artists to purchase books and other products. In a similar fashion I once signed up for a North Light “event” on learning to take art to the next level. It proved to be a one-hour “info-mercial” for an artist’s online classes — which she offers for thousands of dollars. Thanks, but, no, thanks. Of course, if you’re serious about your art and hope to make a career of it, you might be willing to make such an investment.
I discovered this site very recently and I’m so glad I did. It’s another site by artist/teacher Matt Fussell from The Virtual Instructor. This site is dedicated to quick sketches, such as this “Old Man Waiting” sketch I made following the step-by-step guide. He has a 30-day “Sketchbook Challenge”, showing step-by-step how to create simple drawings. The sketchbook projects I’ve done have included an elephant, an octopus, and a owl. I enjoy it immensely and am usually quite pleased with my results.
Another recent “find” is The Helpful Art Teacher, a blog that includes art instruction, exercises, and worksheets that are helpful, indeed. I discovered this site while browsing around for information on perspective. The blog is from Rachel Wintemberg, an art teacher in Perth Amboy, New Jersey. She offers ideas that are helpful for both adult and younger students.
Without a doubt, Matt Fussell’s “Virtual Instructor” site is my favorite. I wouldn’t have made as much progress as I have if it weren’t for Matt and his video lessons, many of which are free. In addition to the free tutorials, he offers a number of classes in drawing and painting, and site members receive other benefits as well, such as the opportunity to ask questions during live classes each week and a chance to upload work for critique in a “Member’s Minute”.
The video courses can be purchased separately at reasonable prices. The “Secrets to Drawing” course, for example, provides a total of five hours of video instruction plus 26 ebooks for $30.00. Alternately, you can join the site as a member for $19.00 per month or $97.00 per year. This gives you access to all content on the site. For me and my particular learning style, the video demonstrations are well worth the price. Seeing an artist work helps me gain a clear understanding of what I need to do. For those who are curious, trial memberships are available for $1.00. Matt also offers a newsletter for subscribers which features helpful tips, fun exercises, and information on new tutorials.