Beginner artists have lots of great choices for drawing classes, both online and off. But how do you know which drawing class is right for you? And how can you tell if the instruction is top-notch? Most of the criteria for choosing a drawing class or art school apply to both online and in-person learning. Here’s a brief introduction on finding the best drawing class for beginners, including extra tips when choosing an art school for a Fine Art degree.
What a Good Drawing Class Teaches
A good drawing class teaches you how to draw anything. The class usually starts out with a discussion of materials, how to hold a pencil, then moves on to drawing basic and complex shapes and shading. Stay away from classes entitled How to Draw a This or a That. A quality drawing class gives you a solid foundation in drawing fundamentals and teaches how to draw anything from any perspective. This is the kind of class you want.
Quality of Instruction in the Best Drawing Classes
When selecting drawing classes or an art school, you want to know if the instructors are competent and present material in a professional manner that is easily understood. To check on the quality of instruction, do an online search of the instructors teaching the classes. Did the instructors attend an accredited art school? Does each instructor have a website showing examples of artwork, list of awards, or other public recognition of their art? Are the instructors represented by a gallery? If the answers to these questions are ‘yes’, it’s reasonable to assume that the instructors are a professional artists who offer high quality instruction.
Read reviews of the class or school from past students. This also gives you an idea as to the quality of instruction.
Pre-Recorded vs Livestream Online Drawing Classes
Pre-recorded drawing classes are videos that are uploaded by the instructor and remain on the class website. Students have access to these videos at any time, watching and rewatching videos on demand. Although there is no live interaction between student and teacher, some pre-recorded drawing classes offer access to the instructor via email or through the class website portal. This feature is definitely recommended when choosing a pre-recorded drawing class.
Livestream drawing classes teach on a particular day and time. Students interact with the instructor in real time which facilitates asking questions and obtaining feedback from the instructor or other students. The class utilizes a video conferencing platform like Zoom or FaceTime, and requires a high speed internet connection.
Either pre-recorded or livestream drawing classes are fine, although livestream classes cost more. Ultimately, it depends on your personal learning preference. Are you a self starter who enjoys learning independently, on your own time, or do you prefer learning on a schedule? Is critique of your artwork important to you? Do you require immediate feedback on your learning progress, or would you be happy waiting for feedback through email? Decide which type of class is right for you by answering these questions.
The Cost of Drawing Classes
There are 3 types of pricing for drawing classes. Free (online), pay per class, and subscription. Free is just that, no charge. Pay per class is where you pay for one class and receive a fixed number of hours of instruction. Subscription is where you pay a monthly fee to access a class or a series of classes.
Large art schools have their own pricing scheme based on tuition, give students access to a variety of classes, and offer bachelor, master, and doctorate degrees in Fine Art. An accredited art school may also offer online classes. Art school is, of course, the most expensive option. Some small local art schools are subscription based, offering a small number of classes, and may not offer a degree in Fine Art.
Can You Learn Anything from a Free Online Drawing Class?
Yes, a free class is a good start to learn drawing basics. Most free drawing classes offer a limited amount of instruction, so just remember that free drawing classes are only the beginning of your artistic training. Ultimately, move on to classes which offer more detailed instruction so you have a firm foundation in drawing. You get what you pay for.
Pay-per-Class vs Subscription
Again, this depends on how you like to learn. Pay per class cost may seem expensive at first. However, monthly subscription fees add up over time. With a subscription, a student may feel compelled to learn every single day and rush through classes to make the subscription feel worth the cost. However, if one is a dedicated student with ample time for learning, the variety of classes available makes subscription based learning worthwhile.
Extra Tips When Choosing an Art School for a Fine Art Degree
Accredited art schools cost a lot of money. For the art student wishing to obtain a degree in Fine Art, the money spent on a good school is well worth the cost. In addition to what is discussed above, here are extra criteria when choosing an art school:
Is the Art School a Good Fit for You?
Know what you want to study, then search for a school that provides a range of classes that meet your needs. For example, if you want to hone your skills in classical drawing, an art school specializing in online game illustration is not for you. Is the school’s curriculum broad or specialized in a particular genre? Look at the genre and quality of student work. Is the school a good fit for you? Does it match your artistic goals?
Will You Make Money with Your Fine Art Degree?
You won’t know for sure till you graduate, but here are a few things to look for to increase your chances of turning your creative talents into a source of income. The answers to these questions are readily found online.
- Are the instructors professional artists, well known in their field?
- Does the art school have student exhibitions that attract industry professionals?
- What is the employment placement rate for graduates?
- Are internships available?
Hopefully, the answers to these questions is ‘yes’.
Resources for Drawing Classes and Art Schools
Here are links to online drawing classes, and this is by no means a complete list. Please note this list is not an endorsement of any particular class or website, but is for information purposes only: