Creating art is an easy way to access a meditative state of mind and the deep healing it brings. More than the artwork itself, “art therapy is about the process, and using art to explore and learn more about yourself,” says art therapist Gretchen Miller. And picking up a set of paints or drawing pencils is also a good way to fill your time. Anyone can create art, but if the last time you held a paintbrush was in grade school, you might want a bit of guidance. Luckily, there’s no shortage of online drawing and painting classes to get you started.
With options spanning everything from oil painting to character design for video games, there’s a virtual art class out there for you.
Online painting classes
1. Skillshare Modern Watercolor Techniques, free trail
Watercolors are a super fun and beginner-friendly medium to work in. This class will teach you trendy watercolor techniques with step-by-step lessons. To take a class on Skillshare, you can get two months of Skillshare Premium for free. If you need paints, try this watercolor pan ($6) or this watercolor paint set ($30) (the latter makes it easier to blend your own colors).
The best part about paints is that you can mix them. Whether you’re working with an acrylic paint set ($30) or an oil paint set ($30), you can blend any color you can dream of. But, that’s only after getting an understanding of color theory under your belt. This class will teach you everything you need to know.
3. PAINTING PARTIES, $5 per month
This is the class to take if you have fun painting, but aren’t trying to become the next Picasso. Pop open a bottle of wine and have your own paint and sip with Painting Parties. For $5 per month (no monthly commitment required), you’ll get unlimited access to its library of dozens of step-by-step painting instructions.
4. BLUPRINT ACRYLIC PAINTING: BASICS & BEYONd, $20 or free trail
If you want to get started in acrylic painting, this course is perfect for you. You’ll learn the basics of color, how to paint a still life, and how to paint a landscape from a photo.
Oil painting isn’t easy. Unlike acrylics that dry relatively fast, oil paint literally stays wet for days. This can make layering pretty tricky. So you don’t waste paint and money trying to figure it out yourself, try this course. You’ll learn how to make a gradient, how to layer, how to control color and more.
Online drawing classes
1. Creative Live Drawing Basics, $17
This class will teach you beginner-friendly drawing techniques to help you feel confident putting pencil to paper. You’ll learn how to use different pencils for line quality, apply different shading methods, and practice measurements and proportions. Grab a sketching and drawing pencil set ($6) to get started.
If you’re interested in learning how to do draw with charcoal, this course will teach you the basics. You’ll learn how to replicate images realistically and add value including shading. This set of charcoal pencils ($6) is perfect for beginners.
3. Lynda Figure Drawing Tonal Rendering, free trial
Learn how to draw figures like Jack draws his French girls. This class will teach you what you need to know to make your 3D drawings pop. Step-by-step demonstrations will teach you how to add dimension and drama to your work.
4. Introduction to Graphic Illustration, free
If you already have a basic understanding of Adobe Illustrator and Adobe Photoshop, take your skills to the next level with this graphic illustration course. To take this course, you’ll need a pencil, paper, and Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign, which you can get through a one month free trial to Adobe Suite, and then for $53 per month
This course from the University of California Institute of the Arts will allow you to learn foundational concepts for successful character design and hear from professional character designers for shows like SpongeBob SquarePants and Adventure Time.
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