Best Free Online Art Classes

Looking for an art course online, but out of cash? Click here to find out more!

Art is one of the ultimate forms of expression. It allows you to show the world how you feel, how you think, and how you view the world itself.

For some, exploring artistic endeavors is a life-long pursuit that they have been engaged with since childhood, however for the majority, art was a wonderful hobby that was relegated to the side-lines as necessary life choices needed to be made.

In a world where money is everything and is only provided regularly through stable jobs, easels and paint brushes were put in the backroom, while shirts and paperwork took their place.

However, people are starting to push back against this idea of jobs being everything and have begun to explore their life outside of work once more.

With the internet becoming the powerhouse it is today, many have decided to look online to re-engage with the hobbies of their youth.

This is a fantastic idea as there are many courses online that can help you relearn the skills you need to be what you want to be or at least restart your hobby. But what if you have no money to pay for a course? Are there free ones?

In this article, we will explore some free online art courses to see how good they are and provide you with some options that won’t eat up all your cash.

Free Art Courses Online

If you want help from a professional, then you are going to have to fork out some cash, one way or another.

This isn’t a dig at professional art teachers, on the contrary they have a marketable skill that can be sold to others and in this day and age you need cash for everything. If they want to make art their career, they have to make money somehow.

However, there are ways that they can make money without charging you, and these are the courses and teachers that you should look out for when picking an art course.

1. University MOOC Courses

It may be surprising to some that University courses can be free, especially in America, where they are normally extortionate. But there are ways to get University information for free, and one of those ways is through a MOOC course.

MOOC stands for Massive Open Online Course and is a fantastic way to reintroduce yourself to art. These courses are often to a University standard and may offer a certification upon completion.

Universities and schools will offer to join the MOOC program, which will place their courses – including lectures and classes – online for those who enrol.

Due to this, courses can be tailored to a university’s specific guidelines and structure or can be very free flowing and less strict.

However, this shouldn’t be an issue as you can take your time with them, and you can always go back to things you don’t understand, instead of it being gone forever like in a traditional classroom.

There are a few issues with MOOCs though, and one of them is an inability to interact with members of the course. You cannot pose or ask questions during the sessions as they are pre-recorded, so if you just can’t understand something, no one is there to break it down.

The other problem is that some MOOCs are only partially free. A lot of the time, the first couple of lessons will be free, and the rest will require payment.

There are quite a few MOOCs that are free – for example, Udemy offers 600 courses that are completely free – but this also depends on the teacher.

Still, with most courses costing between $11.99 to $15.99 (or at the absolute maximum $200) for the entire course compared to the thousands at university, it might be worth shelling out the cash if you are truly invested.

Art Courses

2. Skillshare

Skillshare is a prominent website that allows members to learn from videos made by journeymen and professionals teaching their craft. They have a course in most things to do with the arts or with software engineering, and the people on there are given a rating on how good their course is.

The great thing about Skillshare is that once you are a member, you can go into any course that you desire. Anything on the website is available to you and since there are so many courses, you can peruse the art section easily to find what kind of art course you want.

Not only that, but with Skillshare, you can see how long the course will take and what particular lessons entail. This makes it so much easier to track and see your progress, rather than anxiously wondering whether you are making any progress at all.

As with MOOCs, it is hard to interact with anyone taking your course, however you can send messages to the instructor, if they feel safe for you to do so, and you can actually build a portfolio on the website.

This allows you to show off your skills and should you want to try for a job in the field you are interested in, then you have a portfolio already ready.

The issue with Skillshare, like MOOCs, is that it is not entirely free. The service asks you to pay $99 per year or $13.99 a month, which isn’t bad, but it’s also not free.

Nonetheless, you can get it free, at least in the short term, as Skillshare offers a free 2-week trial of premium Skillshare. So, for two weeks you can have Skillshare for free and, if you are dedicated, you can make the most of this time, taking all the skills you need to strike out on your own with your own artwork.

3. YouTube

This may be a surprising choice for some, but if you want a free course on something, then there is no better place than YouTube. The entire platform is entirely free for people to use and enjoy, with the only issue being adverts which pay for it all.

YouTube is the largest online video service in the world, and there are thousands of people producing videos to do with art. These can be one off videos on how to do a specific thing, or they can be whole courses dedicated to showing you how to do something.

These videos are not just home produced, either. You can find videos made by universities for their students, courses used by professional companies to train employees, and even videos from TV shows that show you how to make things.

For example, there is a Harvard University lecture on software engineering and if you search for a minute you will find a Bob Ross tutorial like that.

One of the great things about YouTube is the community that there is. Many YouTubers who put out this content will talk at length with their followers and will happily do Q and A video from their fans, discussing problems they encountered while following the tutorial and how to fix it.

Yet, there are still a couple of concerns with YouTube, and the big one is the YouTubers themselves. Unlike the other courses displayed here, YouTube does not count on you to have qualifications or experience, you can just put a course on the platform without any oversight.

As such, sometimes these videos are either poorly made or giving out incorrect information. Even if the viewers complain about this, YouTube will not take the video down, because this does not fall outside the terms of service, so it stays up for as long as the YouTuber wants it to.

Another concern is the community. We sang their praises earlier in this article, but you have to remember that everyone is allowed on YouTube. Everyone.

Even if a YouTuber’s community is lovely, there will still be trolls and miscreants who only seek to cause trouble and offense.

This is unfortunate and YouTube has worked hard in recent years to fix this issue, but when you are processing millions, potentially billions, of videos every day, there is only so much you can do. Therefore, for an entirely free service, it is pretty good on the whole.

digital materials

4. Kline Creative

The Kline Creative is unlike every other service in this article, it is not a big company, it is not a money-making machine, and it is not a professional education establishment.

It is literally the interests and expertise of a husband and wife team, John and Christine Kline, and their willingness to share this with you for free.

These interests include drawing, oil painting, photography, stage writing, piano, violin, and music publishing. Each of their courses is not designed to make you an expert, but it is there to give you the skills to pursue the interest yourself without the need of any help from teachers or professionals.

By the end of the course with the Klines, you should be able to walk into a music store or art shop and understand what you require in either books or supplies to continue your hobby.

For example, the piano course is 47 lessons long. By the end you won’t be a Chopin level pianist, but you will be able to understand and play the piano easily.

The only real drawback of this website is that the courses are designed for beginners and don’t go above an intermediate learner’s capability. Other than that, it’s only so-so video quality that is a real issue.

Everything else is incredibly solid and the Klines even put their qualifications in above the courses, so you know you are learning from a professional. Oh, and it is completely free as well, which is always a plus.

Final Thoughts

Art can be difficult to find for free nowadays. It is a hard skill to master and all the resources that are needed to complete an art piece mean that by nature it will cost quite a lot of money to learn.

Most people’s answer to struggling to find affordable classes or courses is usually unhappy at worst and downright condescending at best.

They will often say that you should just draw or paint on whatever you have without considering it is direction from someone that you are looking for.

However, the courses available online have changed that and what’s more, there are even a lot of free courses to choose from, so you should never feel the pressure to pay for your art.

If you don’t vibe with any of the courses on here, then I would advise looking for others that didn’t quite make the list (ArtyFactory and DrawSpace being the two most prominent). There are thousands of people who are happy to give away their expertise for free online, so it is best to make use of them.

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