Online Art Class - Take a Web-based Art Course
Learn Art Online
Many artists and teachers are switching on to the power of the internet when it comes to sharing their skills and expanding their client-base. Offering online art classes is a great way to become known and recommended throughout their particular sphere. Also for artists with books and/or DVDs, online courses are wonderful for increasing sales.
For the student, these classes are the answer to their prayers, especially for those who live in areas where there aren't any such resources or those who are house-bound or otherwise restricted.
This article looks at the advantages and disadvantages of taking a web-based art class as well as things you should consider before signing up. I have included links and resources where possible. Most of them are classes that I have taken myself so they tend to be mostly art-journaling oriented. I'd like to emphasize that I have no financial affiliation with any of them.
Advantages of Taking an Online Art Course
Taking a web-based art class can be a fun way to improve your art skills. You can complete the lessons in your own time and at your own pace, meaning that you are under no pressure. Online courses are generally more cost-effective than a real-time class. Interaction with the tutor and your fellow classmates can take place in a number of ways, the most popular, of course, being Facebook.
In most cases you are able to repeat lessons as often as you like. Many tutors offer video lessons that you can watch over and over, or even download to your own computer.
Disadvantages of taking a Web-based Art Course
You're on your own! Taking an online art course usually means you can't get to directly talk to your tutor or classmates. Sometimes it is hard to motivate yourself without the stimulus of real face-to-face interaction. You can't see other people's artwork in real life, therefore you miss out on the tactile factor. You need a decent camera and/or scanner in order to share your work.
One big thing is that when you attend a class in person, there are usually lots of supplies provided for you. You get to try before you buy. With an online class, you can't do that, so be careful if signing up for what seems to be a reasonably priced class – sometimes the supply list can run to a lot of dollars!
What You Need to Take an Art Class Online
- Research – make sure the class you are considering is the right one for you. Do a little research to see if there are better, cheaper, more suitable classes available.
- Enrolment confirmation.
- Class access - website addresses, log-ins, passwords, etc.
- Supplies – watch this one, it is tempting to rush out and buy everything all at once but in many cases, you can purchase as you go along. Often you can substitute expensive materials with less costly ones.
- Decent internet access – this is a big one. I have often had problems due to our less-than-great internet connectivity. If the class relies heavily on videos, make sure your service can accommodate the extra bandwidth required.
- Time – don't be tempted to sign up for an art class unless you have a daily or weekly chunk of time to devote to it.
- Enthusiasm – being enthused and excited can take you a long way. I have often been surprised at the reluctance of some participants to engage in the learning process and wonder why they bothered taking the class in the first place.
Online Courses - Do They Deliver?
If you have taken an online class of any kind, how did it work out for you?
Types of Web-Based Art Classes
There are two main types of online art courses – those which run in real-time and those which are always available. The real-time ones often become 'always available' when they have finished; sometimes they are cheaper because you don't have the immediate support of your tutor.
There is another way to learn art techniques and that is to download a complete workshop from somewhere like Interweave. See the video above, where Joanne Sharpe discusses her DVD/Download workshop, "Artful Lettering".
Jane Davenport runs some of the most popular art classes. Check out her blog, Artomology, for more info,
Kelly Kilmer is just launching her "Finding My Way", e-book-based course. There are downloadables and a discussion group. The good thing about this one is that Kelly insists you use the supplies you already have.
Suzie Blu: Art journaling, portraits and more. Suzi has a unique style!
Joanne Sharpe's Whimspirations Blog, see Joannes's colorful artwork and sign up for one or both of her courses.
Interweave: Sign up for newsletters, forums, free e-books and look out for the fantastic sales they have periodically. You can download video workshops (or order the DVDs) by artists such as Pam Carriker, Joanne Sharpe, Julie Fie-Fan Balzer, Paula Phillips and many others.
Free Online Art Classes and Resources
Strathmore Online Workshops are wonderful. Complete courses with videos and artist interaction. And totally free. I have taken several classes and love them. I recommend Tracy Bautista's class.
YouTube is just the best resource for learning new techniques. Try searching for a particular art supply or area of interest, like 'watercolor pencils' or 'collage'. The link will take you directly to a selection of mixed media videos. I love to go on a video exploration (when my internet is behaving), skipping and hopping from artists to artist. Remember to subscribe to your favorites.
Deviant Art is a huge community, post your art, gaze at art, take part in art competitions - join the site to get all the benefits.
Wet Canvas has a massive forum, galleries and also a library of free art-related videos.
© 2012 Bev G