These Free Online Drawing Classes Will Help You Unleash Your Inner Artist

Adult coloring books are great, but it's time to invest in a quarantine sketchbook.


While there is such a thing as natural born talent, some skills are teachable. Anyone can position two eyes symmetrically on a face by doing that little grid thing across an oval sketch. It just takes a good teacher and, say, a government-imposed stay-at-home order, to boost our skills. 

Right now we're seeing a growing trend of free educational courses being offered from otherwise costly online services, like Nikon's online photography classes and a host of free dog training series. But these things require pretty expensive accessories, wheras drawing requires only a pencil and a stable hand (you don't even need a stable mind!). 

So while you're cooped up inside actively looking for ways to waste your time, don't waste your time. These are the very best drawing classes being offered for free online right now. 

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Kline Creative for Beginners
OK, here's another less-than-perfect website with a lot of great material tucked into hyperlinks. These lessons are designed by Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts graduate John C. Kline, who now draws professionally. There are 14 lessons available, aptly named "Drawing Lesson [number]," as well as a series of "speed drawing" videos (e.g. speed draw a werewolf, or a face with charcoal). Each class is a video tutorials with voiceover and practical examples to follow. 

Rapid Fire Art
Rapid Fire Art is just what it sounds like, but not in the sense that it takes you from drawing a square to shading in the Sistine Chapel in a matter of minutes; The instructor, an experienced artist named Darlene, describes her videos as "a series of fun and easy tutorials which will develop your drawing skills quickly." The lessons are broken to give you brief and structured videos that are part of a larger lesson plan. There are two to three lessons in each of the five levels, which are titled "the building blocks of art," "the devil's in the details," "techniques to step up your game," "how to shade realistic textures" and "wrapping it up." 

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I find a lot of comfort in YouTube lessons because the format is familiar to the millennial eye, and the videos tend to be higher quality. SchaeferArt is no exception--This YouTube playlist has 28 videos covering topics like proportions, how to find your drawing style, and how to draw a portrait sketch. I like this playlist the most of all the ones I perused because it has videos like "Start Drawing, Stop Overthinking" and "Dealing with Disappointment in Your Art." It's the perfect series for a sadboi wanna-be artist. Heads up, these videos are mainly for graphite, charcoal, and White Charcoal (which is easier to use than it sounds!). 

The online educational platform offers classes on pretty much anything (you can save your marriage for like $12), but the arts are one of the main categories where Udemy really shines. 221 results come up for a "drawing, free" search on the homepage. There are sketch classes like Cartoon Drawing: For The Absolute Beginner, How to Draw a Basic Face, and Figure Drawing from Life, as well as digital offerings for those who do not own a pencil, such as my pathetic news writer self. Some of the best courses, like the Ultimate Drawing Course, are still going to cost you, but that the prices have dropped substantially for a flash sale running from April 15 to April 16. 

Jerry’s Artarama Drawing Lessons
OK, bear with me--I know this website looks like the Sears website circa 2002, but it's my personal top choice for free drawing classes online. These lessons are taught by professional artists with degrees to prove it, and the topics are wide-ranging; Instead of focusing on the basics of sketching a face, the website offers quick classes in anatomy, animals, landscapes, and collage. And one huge benefit of taking lessons from Jerry's Artamama, a discount art supplies company, is that the platform curates necessary materials for each video and prompts you to "add to cart." Normally I'd find this annoying, but in times of social distancing I'm thankful for any and all delivery opportunities.

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Ruby Anderson is a News Writer for Thrillist.