There are a billion things this pandemic has taught us, and one of them is the reminder of how therapeutic art can be.
Whether out of self-expression or the need to keep running a creative business, improving the way you translate your ideas into tangible imagery can be an exciting process and practice. As such, the Just Creative team scavenged the entire world wide web to narrow down all the best free online art classes in 2021.
Whatever your reason for wanting to become a more skillful artist is, we’re here to make sure you have access to the most amazing art course offerings the internet has to offer this year; so grab your drawing books and painting materials, it’s going to be a messy and exciting ride.
The Best FREE Online Art Classes in 2021
Discover the best free online art classes and the best drawing classes in 2021. Many of these online art classes are free if you make use of the free trial. We have also included some premium options.
- Drawing and Painting Portraits: A Guide for Artists
- Watercolor in the Woods: A Beginner’s Guide to Painting the Natural World
- Painting Nature with Acrylic: From Sketchbook to Canvas
- Introduction to Oil Paint Illustration
- Learn to Draw: Daily Practices to Improve Your Drawing Skills
- Character Illustration: Drawing Faces, Figures & Clothing
- Drawing as Self-Discovery: 5 Ways to Start
- Concept Art: Drawing Imaginary Worlds
- Digital Illustration: Drawing with Shapes and Layers
- Acrylic Painting: Learn the Basics For Beginners
- The Colored Pencil Drawing Course
- The Art & Science of Drawing / BASIC SKILLS
- In the Studio: Postwar Abstract Painting
- Drawing the Everyday Every Day
- Color Techniques for Drawing
You may also be interested in our compilation of the Best Illustration & Drawing Courses.
The Best Free Online Art Classes & Drawing Classes Compared
|Course||Instructor & Provider||Length||Cost|
|Learn to Draw: Daily Practices to Improve Your Drawing Skills||Gabrielle Brickey, SkillShare||20 Lessons (1h 24m)||2 Weeks Free then $99/year|
|Character Illustration: Drawing Faces, Figures & Clothing||Gabriel Picolo, SkillShare||12 Lessons (59m)||2 Weeks Free then $99/year|
|Drawing as Self-Discovery: 5 Ways to Start||Mari Andrew, SkillShare||10 Lessons (40m)||2 Weeks Free then $99/year|
|Concept Art: Drawing Imaginary Worlds||Ira Marcks, SkillShare||18 Lessons (1h 28m)||2 Weeks Free then $99/year|
|Digital Illustration: Drawing with Shapes and Layers||Roman Muradov, SkillShare||8 Lessons (40m)||2 Weeks Free then $99/year|
|Acrylic Painting: Learn the Basics For Beginners||LaurieAnne Gonzalez, Dog Lover, Bob Ross Wannabe, SkillShare||28 Lessons (2h 6m)||2 Weeks Free then $99/year|
|Drawing and Painting Portraits: A Guide for Artists||Gabrielle Brickey, SkillShare||12 Lessons (2h 19m)||2 Weeks Free then $99/year|
|Watercolor in the Woods: A Beginner’s Guide to Painting the Natural World||Rosalie Haizlett, SkillShare||13 Lessons (41m)||2 Weeks Free then $99/year|
|Painting Nature with Acrylic: From Sketchbook to Canvas||Maru Godas, Domestika||22 Lessons (4h 49m)||US$14.99|
|Introduction to Oil Paint Illustration||David de las Heras, Domestika||19 Lessons (3h 17m)||$9.99|
|The Colored Pencil Drawing Course||Matthew Fussell, Udemy||5 hours on-demand video||$15.99|
|The Art & Science of Drawing / BASIC SKILLS||Brent Eviston, Udemy||4.5 hours on-demand video||$12.99|
|In the Studio: Postwar Abstract Painting||Corey D’Augustine, Coursera||Approximately 27 hours to complete||Free|
|Drawing the Everyday Every Day||Kate Bingaman-Burt, CreativeLive||1h 18m of class content||$7|
|Color Techniques for Drawing||Cleo Papanikolas, CreativeLive||2h 42m of class content||$7|
The Best Online Art Classes in 2021
Let’s dive into the best online art classes in 2021 and get creative!
Another intermediate pick for the inherently talented artists is this SkillShare contender. Packed with more than 12 lessons under a little over 2 hours, each segment is evenly distributed, ensuring that students get a comprehensive perspective of the whole thing. Learn all about gesture drawings and creating your subjects’ features in no time with Gabrielle Brickey’s Drawing and Painting Portraits: A Guide for Artists.
There’s something about watercolor paintings that make them so appealing to the eyes, so if you share our appreciation for this art form, you’re going to want to take top teacher Rosalie Hayzlett’s Watercolor in the Woods: A Beginner’s Guide to Painting the Natural World. A course that’s helped over 28,000 students at the time of this writing, this SkillShare Staff Pick is bundled with 13 informative lessons that all happen in less than an hour. If bite-sized segments are what you’re looking for, this course offering won’t disappoint!
The process of painting with acrylic is an art form in itself considering how complicated the process can be. In other words, the final output is only as beautiful as the process of making it. Are you a huge fan of this painting medium? If the answer is yes, then illustrator Maru Godas’ Painting Nature with Acrylic: From Sketchbook to Canvas is the best online art course for you. Packed with over 22 lessons, all amounting to 4 hours of video-on-demand, this contender is one of the more comprehensive classes on the list.
If there’s anyone you should listen to when it comes to oil painting, it’s David de las Heras. Having collaborated with global magazines and publications, this esteemed artist is no stranger to compelling book covers and thought-provoking works of art. In his Domestika course, you’ll learn how to stain your hands with the first layers of acrylic, paint with oil, scan your illustration to give it the last touches in Photoshop, and literally everything else in between. If all of this sounds interesting to you, then Introduction to Oil Paint Illustration warrants your commitment.
There’s a reason why Gabrielle Brickey’s Learn to Draw: Daily Practices to Improve Your Drawing Skills is a Staff Pick on SkillShare. Optimizing both the power of digital mediums and the familiarity of sketchpads, the talented top teacher discusses her creative process in coming up with striking illustrations. Packed with 20 awesome lessons, this course is friendly to beginners, easy to follow, and a fantastic first choice for anyone looking for an introduction to the dynamic world of drawing.
Nothing quite captures the heart of an illustration the way attention to detail does. That being the case, comic artist and illustrator Gabriel Picolo’s Character Illustration: Drawing Faces, Figures & Clothing is a wonderful online art course for intermediate artists. From mastering the four core expressions to ensuring the characters you draw pack a personality, there’s a lot you can pick up from this SkillShare Original.
The idea of drawing may sound intimidating to many, but when you have a teacher as informative and well-paced as Mari Andrew, you can bet you’re only bound to improve. Also a SkillShare original, this Drawing as Self-Discovery: 5 Ways to Start course is for anyone and everyone of all learning levels. Bundled with 10 lessons that take place all under an hour, this contender is perfect for those who want only a quick crash course on how to draw as a means to express.
Although drawing is a superb tool for solidifying reality, it’s also an equally viable medium to escape the truth. But don’t take our word for it—listen to graphic novelist Ira Marcks instead. In the Concept Art: Drawing Imaginary Worlds course, Marcks details how he finds inspiration, approaches depth and meaning, and all else that happens in between. And because you can complete the course in less than 2 hours, finishing this pick certainly doesn’t feel like a chore.
If you’re looking for a course that’s made to improve your tablet drawing skills, you’re going to adore Roman Muradov’s Digital Illustration: Drawing with Shapes and Layers. Narrated by the talented artist himself, Muradov’s full course is completable in less than an hour. Having serviced over 10,000 eager students at this point, you can bet that this pick is an immediate crowd favorite for reasons that don’t need explaining. Are you an eager student yourself? Learn everything about shapes and layers in this class!
Nothing screams beauty and authenticity the way acrylic paintings do. They’re stunning, incredibly distinct, and warrant a compelling story after each gaze. If this art segment is something you want to explore soon, then Acrylic Painting: Learn the Basics For Beginners is the one for you. Led by SkillShare top teacher LaurieAnne Gonzalez, this course is a regal pick for eager learners.
One of Udemy’s most creative bestsellers, Matthew Fussell’s The Colored Pencil Drawing Course is an offering that’s sure to keep you productive. With over 5 hours of on-demand video and 38 downloadable resources, you’re bound to pick up more than just a thing or two. From color theory to landscape drawing, expect nothing but a comprehensive walkthrough on all things related to pencil drawings.
Artist Brent Eviston put it best when he said, “drawing is not a talent; it’s a skill anyone can learn.” While anyone can argue that some people are more efficient illustrators, an equally valid argument is that anyone can be just as disciplined when they put their heart and mind to it. If you’re an aspiring artist who wants to be better at drawing, Udemy’s The Art & Science of Drawing / BASIC SKILLS should be a terrific online resource for you!
Not everyone can claim to have learned abstract painting from MoMA’s Corey D’Augustine—but you can when you take this online art course! Taking approximately 27 hours to finish, the In the Studio: Postwar Abstract Painting course comes with a shareable certificate upon completion and is available in multiple languages like many of the other picks on the list. Extending a balanced mix of painting techniques and art history, this offering is arguably one of the most inclusive and comprehensive art classes on all of the web today!
Sometimes, one of the biggest hurdles in drawing is finding the inspiration to actually draw. If this is a sentiment you experience now and then, allow CreativeLive’s Kate Bingaman-Burt to help you find the romance in the mundane. In her course Drawing the Everyday Every Day, the highly reputable creative walks you through developing themes you resonate with, refining sketches, and forming everyday habits to help you better your craft. Whether you’re a procrastinator or just need an extra push in the creative direction, this 78-minute art course is for you.
Okay, you’re a great illustrator but is your relationship with color efficient? This may sound like an absurd statement, but being a master sketcher doesn’t always mean your eye for color is just as sharp. Wherever you are in your journey to the arts, let CreativeLive’s Color Techniques for Drawing help you better your approach to choosing colors and refining your artistic voice. Authored by the talented and accomplished Cleo Papanikolas, this offering packs 17 video lessons in nearly 3 hours of video-on-demand.
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The Best Online Art Classes in 2021
Overall, The Best Online Art Classes in 2021 are whatever you resonate with more easily. Each of the picks on this list has been handpicked to ensure that artists and creatives of all kinds have selections they can enjoy. Whether you’re a traditional artist with a love for physical mediums or an aspiring illustrator who’d like to better your grasp on digital channels, we hope that this post was able to help!
Keep learning and stay creative!