10 Best Online Drawing Classes of 2023

Kenneth Palmer

It’s easier than ever to hone your drawing skills on your own schedule, thanks to online classes. Instead of carving time out of your busy schedule to attend in-person lessons, these online drawing courses allow students of all levels to learn from expert artists and practice at their own pace.

The best online drawing classes cover everything from introductory courses for complete beginners to advanced classes on specialized techniques, styles, and technologies. After sifting through numerous courses, we’ve compiled a list of the top offerings in a wide variety of categories. The best employ experienced instructors, offer flexible scheduling and a wide variety of courses, and give you direct, personal feedback. Whatever type of drawing you’re drawn to, you’ll find an outstanding online class on this list.


Best Online Drawing Classes of 2023


Best for Unlimited Access: Skillshare

Skillshare


Key Specs

  • Starting Price: $168 per year
  • No. of Classes: 2,900+
  • Skill Level: Beginner, intermediate, and advanced

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Unlimited access with monthly fee
  • Catalog has a huge variety of class subjects and lengths
  • Lots of offerings for both beginners and advanced artists

Cons

  • Pricing is not transparent
  • Minimal vetting for instructors
  • Little to no live or direct feedback

Why It Made the List

If you’re after self-directed learning and a huge catalog, Skillshare offers plenty of bang for your buck. The massive online learning platform has thousands of courses on drawing, illustration, graphic design, and other art skills. Ranging from lessons for true beginners to classes for experienced artists seeking to hone a specialized skill, Skillshare’s catalog has something for everyone. Courses also have a wide range of time commitments. Some comprise just a single short lesson, while others offer hours of instruction.

Rather than paying for Skillshare courses individually, you’ll pay for a single subscription that will give you access to the site’s entire catalog. The website is a little frustrating in that it doesn’t provide clear information about its pricing structure, other than mentioning it offers a one-week free trial. It’s not until you begin the sign-up process that you’ll find the price is $168 for a yearly subscription, which works out to $14 per month. That’s a pretty good deal for unlimited access to tens of thousands of courses.

That huge catalog, however, should be navigated with care. While Skillshare does offer training for instructors, there aren’t really any requirements to be a teacher on the site; pretty much anyone can upload a course, so research the instructors and read the classes’ reviews before signing up.


Best Variety: Udemy

Udemy


Key Specs

  • Starting Price: Free
  • No. of Classes: 800+
  • Skill Level: Beginner, intermediate, and advanced

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Wide variety of topics
  • Offers a number of free classes
  • 30-day, money-back guarantee

Cons

  • Minimal vetting for instructors
  • Not all courses offer direct feedback

Why It Made the List

The online learning platform Udemy isn’t limited to art classes, but it does have a hefty set of drawing lessons that cover a wide range of price points, topics, and skill levels. There are hundreds of courses geared toward honing the drawing skills of budding artists and advanced learners alike, plus hundreds more on related art skills like graphic design, animation, and painting. You can sign up for individual classes at your own pace, but Udemy also recommends groups of classes that are commonly taken together. Each class has its own price structure, syllabus, and time commitment. You’ll even find some of the best free drawing classes available online.

All classes come with Udemy’s 30-day, money-back guarantee. This allows you to try out a course you’re not sure about, and, if you decide it’s not for you, get a refund. Given that Udemy has relatively loose guidelines on who can sign up as a teacher and upload a course, this guarantee is particularly helpful. While some courses have mechanisms for instructor and/or peer feedback (usually on off-site groups like Facebook or Discord), many don’t, which can be challenging if you want more specific feedback and guidance on your drawings.



Best for Continued Learning: Vitruvian Studio

Vitruvian Studio


Key Specs

  • Starting Price: $100 per course
  • No. of Classes: 5, plus rotating livestreams
  • Skill Level: Beginner and intermediate

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Can join community for ongoing feedback
  • Prerecorded and live classes
  • Highly qualified instructors

Cons

  • Small course selection
  • Classes are somewhat expensive

Why It Made the List

Vitruvian Studio offers in-depth drawing and painting courses for beginner and intermediate artists and supports students with an online community for ongoing learning. The site has just a handful of prerecorded classes on topics like portrait drawing, drawing basics, and facial anatomy, but each features several in-depth lessons and modules. The site also offers livestreamed courses, where experienced instructors give real-time feedback. The number of courses offered is quite small compared to some other sites, although the catalog is slowly expanding. The courses are also on the expensive side, with even the least expensive costing $100.

What sets Vitruvian Studio apart, however, is its Studio Practice Community. For $40 to $150 per month (depending on membership level), past and current Vitruvian students gain access to a thriving community of fellow artists and instructors whose support encourages continuous learning and improvement. By joining, you’ll also get frequent livestreamed practice sessions, a community feedback forum, a catalog of reference images, and, at higher subscription tiers, one-on-one critique sessions with instructors.


Best for Animation: The Art of Aaron Blaise

The Art of Aaron Blaise


Key Specs

  • Starting Price: $15 per course or $249 per year
  • No. of Classes: 100+
  • Skill Level: Beginner, intermediate, and advanced

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Creative and specific topics focused on animation
  • Unlimited access with annual membership
  • Quality, experienced instructors

Cons

  • Few basic offerings
  • Few offerings for non-animation classes

Why It Made the List

If your drawing interests tend toward cartoons and animation, then The Art of Aaron Blaise is likely to be a great fit. Blaise is an expert animator with decades of experience, including work on some iconic Disney animated features. The site’s other instructors have similarly notable backgrounds. Although there are a few courses focusing on drawing fundamentals, the vast majority cover animation (including hand-drawing and digital techniques) and digital painting. These range from basic introductions to animation to highly specialized deep dives into specific approaches, styles, and techniques. If you’re keen to learn animation from real working animators, the site provides a truly robust and engaging selection of topics.

You can purchase lessons in two different ways: by individual class or through an annual membership. Individual classes are very reasonable, with prices starting as low as $15, and frequent sales can take some courses as low as $1. Alternatively, you can purchase an annual subscription, which gives you unlimited access to all the classes on the site, plus other perks, like subscriber-only events and exclusive streaming content. It also includes additional resources, such as reference packs, brushes, and textures; non-subscribers can purchase these individually.



Best Bundles: Proko

Proko


Key Specs

  • Starting Price: $65 per course
  • No. of Classes: 40+
  • Skill Level: Beginner, intermediate, and advanced

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Lessons bundled into topical courses
  • Classes for all skill levels
  • Some lessons offered for free

Cons

  • Can be rather expensive
  • Minimal live class offerings

Why It Made the List

Assembling a course of study for yourself can be challenging, which is why Proko is such a great choice for at-home art students. The online art learning platform features thousands of individual lessons, many of which are also bundled into full-fledged courses focused on topics like portrait drawing, figure drawing, shading, character design, and more. While the classes feature tips for artists of any skill level, and several courses are aimed specifically at advanced students, overall the site skews toward beginner to intermediate lessons.

When you select a course, you’ll see a listing of all its individual lessons. While some lessons have extended premium versions behind the subscription paywall or are inaccessible unless you’ve purchased the course, others can be viewed in their entirety free of charge. This means you can try out quite a few lessons for free before deciding whether to subscribe. Many of Proko’s lessons have a section where you can post your work and get feedback from the community, but live classes are a rarity. Courses are taught by experienced artists and teachers, and online profiles of all instructors provide you with info about their expertise and portfolios.


Best for In-Depth Instruction: New Masters Academy

New Masters Academy


Key Specs

  • Starting Price: $36 per month
  • No. of Classes: 60+
  • Skill Level: Beginner, intermediate, and advanced

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Structured, in-depth courses
  • Lets you work at your own pace
  • Offers some live classes

Cons

  • Heavily weighted toward beginners
  • Can’t purchase individual classes

Why It Made the List

New Masters Academy combines two of the most important elements of online drawing classes: flexibility and depth. The platform offers dozens of courses, primarily in drawing techniques but also in painting, art theory, and other subjects. Each class is broken down into modules, and each module is further broken down into individual lessons. Many courses run 10 hours, 20 hours, or even more. You can work at your own pace as you explore expert artists’ in-depth lessons, which are structured to build on one another. While the majority of courses are aimed at beginner or intermediate artists, advanced students will still find some offerings to suit their needs.

Instead of purchasing individual courses, with New Masters Academy you’ll sign up for one of three subscription tiers. At the lowest level, which costs $36 per month (billed annually), you’ll get access to the full catalog of courses and to the exclusive Discord community where students can share art, tips, and support. You’ll have to upgrade to the middle tier ($59 per month, billed annually) to get access to thousands of reference models and recorded classes. Only at the highest tier ($149 per month, billed annually) will you get access to live classes and group coaching sessions. Even at the lower tiers, though, the depth of instruction makes a New Masters Academy subscription worth the cost.



Best for Digital Art: CGMA

CGMA


Key Specs

  • Starting Price: $499 per course
  • No. of Classes: 100+
  • Skill Level: Beginner, intermediate, and advanced

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Covers a broad range of topics related to digital art
  • Remarkably in-depth courses
  • Includes personal feedback

Cons

  • Among the most expensive online drawing classes
  • Classes have enrollment caps

Why It Made the List

For digital art, 3D design, 2D animation and drawing, and visual effects, you can’t go wrong with CGMA (Computer Graphics Master Academy). Its courses start with the most basic drawing fundamentals (there’s even a course called “Absolute Beginners”) and expand out into the latest advanced techniques in software, visual effects, game design, and related topics. New classes are being developed and added all the time, often from respected names in the field. Most courses involve prerecorded lectures, but they also have hands-on assignments and personalized feedback, combining on-demand lessons with real, individual guidance. CGMA provides certifications of completion at the end of each class.

All of this quality doesn’t come without a cost. CGMA courses (most of which range from four to 10 weeks) start at $499 and can cost up to $998. There are a handful of options to offset the expense of the courses, especially if your employer is assisting or if the course has to do with your profession, but they’re still among the most expensive on the market. Developed and taught by leading industry professionals, these classes are geared toward those with serious artistic interests and ambitions.


Best for Beginners: London Art College

London Art College


Key Specs

  • Starting Price: £235 ($293) per course (outside the U.K.)
  • No. of Classes: 30
  • Skill Level: Beginner and intermediate

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Interesting, beginner-friendly topics
  • Personal critiques from teachers
  • You can earn a diploma or certificate

Cons

  • Small course catalog
  • Lacks live courses

Why It Made the List

Many students looking for online drawing classes are just starting out on their art journeys, and the classes from London Art College are among the best for beginners. The college has been providing distance learning services for decades and currently offers 30 courses designed primarily for beginner and intermediate art students. In addition to courses covering the absolute basics of drawing, you can enroll in overview classes for more specific styles or topics, such as pastels, botanical drawing, cartoons, and illustration. There are also a couple of courses on art history, giving you the chance to expand your knowledge beyond drawing techniques.

Courses can be a little more expensive than some competitors’ offerings, but they provide a great deal of structure and feedback for the price. You can upload your assignments (or submit them through snail mail) and get direct, personal feedback from the instructors. Several courses also provide some form of diploma or certificate at the end, and classes typically let you work at your own pace, as long as you complete them within a certain time frame, which usually is two years. For students looking for a gentle way to try out an artistic hobby, the classes from London Art College provide flexible options with plenty of feedback.



Best for Specialty Classes: Domestika

Domestika


Key Specs

  • Starting Price: $59.99 per course
  • No. of Classes: 2,000+
  • Skill Level: Beginner, intermediate, and advanced

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Unique and specific topics
  • Captions are provided in multiple languages
  • Frequently has sales

Cons

  • Many courses have Spanish-only audio
  • Most courses lack a livestream and/or feedback component

Why It Made the List

While Domestika does have plenty of beginner-friendly overview courses, its greatest strength is its deep bench of specialized courses on more specific topics. The learning platform’s thousands of courses on drawing, illustration, design, and other art topics are developed and taught by experts in their fields. Whether you’re interested in a particular technique, style, tool, or subject, there’s sure to be a class that will give you the opportunity to pursue your own art journey. If you’re interested in classes beyond just drawing, Domestika also offers courses on related topics such as fashion, marketing and business, architecture, and photography.

All Domestika courses can be purchased individually, and although their official base price typically hovers around $60, frequent sales and discounts can lower the prices to as little as $10 per course. There’s also the Plus option, a subscription for $6.99 per month (when paid annually) that provides access to a wide swath of classes for no additional charge. Domestika began as a Spanish-based platform, and while there are now many courses with English-language audio, quite a few are available only in Spanish. The majority of classes provide subtitles in several languages, however.


Best for Character Design: 21 Draw

21 Draw


Key Specs

  • Starting Price: $14.99 per course or $235 per year
  • No. of Classes: 40
  • Skill Level: Beginner, intermediate, and advanced

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Includes lessons for both hand-drawing and digital techniques
  • Classes for all skill levels
  • Courses are taught by expert teachers

Cons

  • Relatively small course catalog
  • Little to no live interaction or feedback

Why It Made the List

21 Draw is the ideal site for anyone who wants to design and draw their own characters. The platform offers dozens of courses, all teaching elements that make up truly great character design. Start with the absolute basics of drawing, gestures, and shapes, then move on to courses that focus on bringing characters to life with expressions, personalities, shading, and much more. Most classes are taught by experienced designers, artists, and animators, so you can be sure that you’re getting advice straight from people with success in the field.

You can purchase individual courses or get an annual subscription that provides access to all classes. Keep an eye out for the site’s frequent sales and discounts. The classes do skew a little toward beginner and intermediate levels, but several are great for more advanced students. Courses cover both hand-drawn and digital techniques, and most involve multiple hours of video instruction, plus references and other resources.

What it largely lacks is a mechanism for direct instructor feedback. Still, if you’re a relatively self-directed creative person with a deep interest in the details of character design and illustration, these courses offer the tools you need to take your art to a new level, on your own schedule.


Final Thoughts

The best online drawing classes balance on-demand, flexible content with plenty of interesting topics and helpful feedback from expert instructors. Skillshare is a cost-effective option that gives you unlimited access to a huge catalog of classes for a single monthly fee, while CGMA provides professional-level training in digital art (for professional-level prices). If you’re particularly interested in animation, consider The Art of Aaron Blaise. If you’re a beginner just starting to get your footing, a fundamentals-heavy catalog like the one London Art College offers may be your best bet.


Frequently Asked Questions

How much does an online drawing class cost?

The price of online drawing classes can vary significantly, depending on factors like course length, certifications, and the presence of live feedback. Some classes on platforms like Udemy are free, while other courses, such as those offered by CGMA, can cost $500 or more. Many learning platforms also offer subscription options, which let you take multiple courses for a single fee and can be a cost-effective way to pursue several classes.

What is the best free online drawing class?

Several platforms, including some listed here, offer free classes in addition to their paid offerings. Some sites offer these freebies all the time, while others may only provide free courses from time to time as a marketing tactic. A couple of the best options for free courses (either regularly or occasionally) are Udemy and Proko.

How long does an online drawing class take to complete?

Online drawing classes vary in length, just like in-person classes. Some only involve a few hours of instruction, plus however long it takes you to complete any exercises or “homework” assignments. Others span dozens of hours and are meant to be completed over the course of a few months. Most classes let you work at your own pace.

How do you know if an online drawing class is legitimate?

As with all online classes, it’s important to confirm that the drawing classes you’re signing up for are legitimate before you submit any personal or payment information. If the class isn’t from a company you recognize, do some research to gauge its legitimacy. Take a look at who the instructors are and their credentials, and see if you can confirm from their other online profiles that they are, in fact, affiliated with the school. Read through online reviews for the classes to see if there are any complaints, though if there are nothing but five-star reviews, that might also be a red flag that the company isn’t entirely honest.

What’s the difference between self-guided and instructor-led drawing classes?

A self-guided drawing class relies mostly or entirely on prerecorded and pre-written material. Students work at their own pace and have minimal interaction with the instructor. In contrast, instructor-led classes may also have some previously prepared material, but they’ll include live and/or scheduled lessons from the instructor as well. They’ll also usually have more opportunities for direct feedback, whether through uploaded assignments, live sessions, or something else.


Methodology

Drawing requires nuance, technique, and creativity. Our goal in compiling this list was to provide recommendations for different styles and disciplines while also giving options for classes that provide the solid foundations beginners will need to develop their drawing skills. To do this, our team reviewed a wide range of online drawing classes, researching the types of lessons they provide, the variety and number of courses offered, and their prices. We also looked at the expertise of the instructors involved, favoring classes from accredited institutions and/or taught by working artists with expertise in their field.

Next Post

Try This Fun, Flexible Language-Learning App

It can be quite inspiring when you get started breaking down all of the different methods figuring out a language, other than your native tongue, can make life far better. The 1st, and arguably most noticeable, is the very simple real truth that the a lot more languages you know, […]
Try This Fun, Flexible Language-Learning App