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Online Art Class - Take a Web-based Art Course

Updated on April 6, 2013
Inspired by Joanne Sharpe's Letter Love 101 online art course.
Inspired by Joanne Sharpe's Letter Love 101 online art course. | Source

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.

© This page was created by TheRaggedEdge. All rights reserved.

Inspired by Letter Love 101
Inspired by Letter Love 101 | Source
Inspired by Letter Love 101
Inspired by Letter Love 101 | Source
Inspired by Suzi Blu's Portrait class.
Inspired by Suzi Blu's Portrait class. | Source

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 being Facebook, Flickr and perhaps an email discussion list, such as Yahoo! Groups.

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!

Online Courses - Do They Deliver?

If you have taken an online class of any kind, how did it work out for you?

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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.

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 on the right, where Joanne Sharpe discusses her DVD/Download workshop, "Artful Lettering".

Inspired by Joanne Sharpe's Color Love art course.
Inspired by Joanne Sharpe's Color Love art course. | Source


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.

Inspired by Zenspirations
Inspired by Zenspirations | Source

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.

Flickr is wonderful for inspiration, as is Pinterest. You just have to dive in.

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.

Glad you stopped by...

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    • Wayne Tully profile image

      Wayne Tully 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      I think online art classes are a life saver for those wanting to learn but at their own pace. I like interaction with other people and artists, but an online art course becomes more personal and involved with the right motivation, you can create some good pieces of work. Video and digital art courses streamed online are the future of learning and if you are committed, then you will take the courses to learn....

    • theraggededge profile image

      Bev 5 years ago from Wales

      I agree, Wayne, it's definitely the future, as more and more education providers go webby :-)

    • myownlife profile image

      myownlife 5 years ago from london

      Yes, there are always both advantages and disadvantages of anything but we always choose the thing that belongs less disadvantages, it is the best idea you have shared.


    • theraggededge profile image

      Bev 5 years ago from Wales

      Thank you, myownlife :-)

    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 4 years ago from Arizona

      Excellent and well written. I think anyway we can learn is good. Thanks for the research and sharing with us....

    • theraggededge profile image

      Bev 4 years ago from Wales

      Many thanks, Carol x

    • Judi Bee profile image

      Judith Hancock 4 years ago from UK

      I am so utterly dim - it had never even occurred to me to that there were art classes online! Once the AP is over, I am definitely looking for a class to take or even just videos to watch - thanks so much :D

    • theraggededge profile image

      Bev 4 years ago from Wales

      You are not dim, Judi Bee! Start with a free one and see how you get on with it.

    • GoodLady profile image

      Penelope Hart 4 years ago from Rome, Italy

      In the fullness of time, I will take up your suggestions here and go to YouTube and learn something. I had to make a cross stitch pattern picture for my baby granddaughter a while ago and I learned exactly how to cross stitch by studying the videos there, time after time, until I got it - excellent idea. Very helpful to anyone who suddenly decides that they want to do art - lets face it, lots of us are too busy to even think of it for years and squash our artistic tendencies down dark tunnels. Voting etc.

    • theraggededge profile image

      Bev 4 years ago from Wales

      GoodLady! How are you? Yes, you are right, Youtube is most wonderful for all kinds of tutorials, from cake baking to guitar chords. Never squash your artistic tendencies - let them out to play!

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 4 years ago from United States

      This hub is great. I never thought about art classes online and I sure do not know much about dressing up a web page. This is a great idea. Thanks for the information.

    • theraggededge profile image

      Bev 4 years ago from Wales

      Thanks, Pamela, much appreciated.

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