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The 10 Best Online Art Classes for Self-Learners

Online art school is one of the best tools for new and veteran artists to practice and learn new art skills from the comfort of their homes. At Winged Canvas, we mentor thousands of art students who are building their art skills, working on a portfolio or actively pursuing a career in the arts. So naturally, we’re always asked about other art program recommendations by our students.

We don’t shy away from being blatantly honest about our competition, so here is a shortlist of the top 10 online art classes (outside of colleges / universities) we’d personally recommend!

What should you look for when choosing an online art class?

Online art teacher painting a strawberry dipped in chocolate
Winged Canvas instructor Arruniya teaches acrylic painting techniques in Virtual Art Camp

Before we get started, the first thing to consider when looking for an online art class is what you want to learn. Are you looking to develop the basics? Work traditionally? Digitally? Prepare for a postsecondary or masters degree in the arts? Or maybe you are seeking a way to express yourself, and you’re hungry to learn from different artists. These factors are important because each art school is different and specializes in different forms of art.

You should also consider what materials you feel comfortable working with in your house. Art can sometimes get messy depending on the medium you use, so be mindful of the courses you choose if you want to avoid mess. If you’re planning to work digitally, consider the benefits of learning traditional art foundations such as knowing how to mix colours.

Winged Canvas’ Top 10 Online Art School Picks

Best free art track for independent learning

Art Prof is a YouTube channel that provides free livestreamed lessons and an asynchronous art learning track so that you can practice art wherever you are, whenever you want. They cover art tips for beginner and career-level artists. Here are some of the perks that we think make Art Prof great:

  • BFA and MFA critiques and programs to prepare you for art school

  • Step-by-step livestream art tutorials

  • Lessons in fundamentals to more advanced art study

  • Tutorials in a range of media (from digital to traditional)

  • Professional development tips (from careers to copyright to wellness)

  • FREE, with paid consultations and memberships, so please support them on Patreon – because there is a big cost to creating good content!

Best “Netflix” style video art courses

The courses offered with New Masters Academy focus on developing traditional art skills in drawing, painting, and watercolour as well as entertainment arts like illustration, cartooning, and animation! With this school, you pay a monthly subscription and gain access to all of their courses, so you can watch at your leisure! Here are some perks we think you should know about:

  • 2,500+ hours of courses

  • 3D reference models

  • Instructors teach at universities around the world and work for companies like Netflix, Warner Bros, Marvel, Walt Disney, and DreamWorks

  • Learn to draw like Renaissance masters

  • A range of courses for beginners and advanced students

  • Monthly or annual subscription model

Best selection of digital classes for concept art

Schoolism is mostly known for their digital art courses led by world class artists. With a monthly subscription, you can access courses that range from cartooning to realism. Here are some of our favourite things about this school:

  • Courses in a variety of mediums with anywhere from 9-63 lessons per course

  • Add on critique sessions so that you can receive online feedback

  • Webinars and workshops

  • Instructors have worked on large-scale animation films by the likes of DreamWorks, Disney, and Pixar

  • Some course topics include: Environment Design, Character Design and Costuming for Games, Book Illustration, Watercolour Fundamentals, and Drawing Portraits with Charcoal

  • Monthly or annual subscription model

Best step-by-step courses for teachers and students

This online art school is a great tool for students and teachers, offering a variety of courses in painting and drawing for beginner, intermediate, and advanced learners. If you’re a teacher, it also offers resources for your classroom! Here are some of the benefits for students and teachers alike:

  • Lesson plans for teachers

  • Student discounts for your class, department, or school

  • Art critiques

  • Live and asynchronous lessons

  • Ebooks with step-by-step instructions

  • Monthly or annual subscription OR you can purchase single courses

Best art program for nature enthusiasts

Nature’s Art club offers family style packages so that all members of the family can practice art inspired by the outdoors. With this fully virtual program, you can learn whenever and wherever! Here are some of the top perks offered:

  • Lessons in watercolour painting and drawing (inspired by nature)

  • Can be used by the whole family

  • Nature journaling, crafts, and activities

  • Perfect for parents who love art to create with their children

  • Pre-planned course curriculum

  • Monthly or lifetime payment model, or varying prices for larger groups (up to 30+ families)

Best art program for learning human anatomy

Proko is a great resource to master the art of human anatomy. With their online classes, you can learn from a variety of teachers and build your skillset in more traditional art forms. Here are the benefits for artists, from beginners to intermediate:

  • Courses in traditional mediums with some digital art included

  • A community of artists where you can ask questions

  • The option to visit their FREE YouTube videos for lessons and tutorials

  • Purchase individual courses

  • Over 100 instructors to choose from

Best free digital art lessons

Marc Brunet offers free access to digital art tutorials for over 1.2 million YouTube subscribers! The tutorials are great for beginners and more developed artists that want tips to improve their skills. Marc offers a course bundle with 10 terms that covers everything from Photoshop to character design to portfolio building. Here are some of the top perks offered:

  • Digital art tutorials on everything you need to know

  • Feedback sessions

  • Tips for Beginners

  • FREE access to YouTube tutorials for digital art

  • Option to purchase a bundle of courses (10 terms of curriculum)

Best art classes for animal lovers

In these online art classes, instructor Aaron Blaise teaches courses in the art of animation and digital art with a focus on animals. Courses range from Animation Tutorials, Animal Drawing Lessons, Art Basics, and Digital Painting Lessons. Here are some of the reasons these courses might be for you:

  • Aaron Blaise was an animator for Walt Disney for 21 years

  • You can purchase digital art brushes and course bundles

  • Art reference photo packs

  • A variety of instructors to choose from

  • Individual courses can be purchased, a monthly subscription, or a premium membership

Best resource for learners with a lot of different interests

Skillshare is an education platform where all types of creatives can share their knowledge by producing bite-sized video lessons in all types of creative topics including art and illustration. There are a variety of different instructors, all working with a different set of skills. Here are some of the top benefits of Skillshare:

  • You can personalize your learning with a variety of creative topics to choose from

  • A chance to learn from fellow creatives

  • A membership opens you up to explore topics in the arts and outside of it

  • Affordable monthly and annual memberships

  • Get 1 month of Skillshare free with this link

  • As a member, you’ll get access to some of Winged Canvas’ lessons

Best resource for students that want to learn in different art forms

With Domestika, you can find courses in different art forms from illustration to fine art to fashion. You get to choose different creative subjects to learn in and share your projects with fellow students. Here are some of the top perks of Domestika:

  • Courses in visual arts, writing, and music

  • Career-helping courses like Marketing and Web Design

  • A community of artists to share your projects with and receive feedback

  • You’ll receive a certificate every time you complete a course

  • Yearly or you can subscribe monthly subscription (optional: purchase individual courses)

Digital art instructor teaches an online art class
Winged Canvas instructor Josh teaches composition and digital techniques in an online art class.

Online art classes are a great way to learn with the busyness of everyday life. With these online art schools, you’ll have the chance to pick up a new hobby or expand what you already know while being taught by trained professionals from around the world.

If you’re looking to connect with a community of art nerds, join our Discord server!

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