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Best Online Drawing Classes And Programs

The median annual wage for craft and fine artists was $48,960 in 2018, and employment is projected to increase by 6 percent from 2016 to 2026, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

Whether you want to go into design, architecture, fine art, illustration or computer animation, drawing is often the basic skill required, or at least preferred, in almost any artistic or creative industries. Even if you’re not aspiring for a career, drawing is commonly known as a therapeutic hobby as well, healing both the mind and body.

Whether you’re just interested in a new hobby or ready to set off your long-held passion into a career, don’t hesitate to check our list of amazing online courses available free or at affordable prices.

Although the list below is limited to courses on hand drawing, if you are interested in drawing using computer software, you can check our comprehensive lists of courses on graphic design, Canva, Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign.

Best Online Courses and Programs in Drawing
Best Online Courses and Programs in Drawing

Introductory Courses in General Drawing  

1. Drawing Fundamentals

In this online course, you will start with the most basic elements of drawing, such as line, shape, value and color. Then, you will go through multiple drawing exercises, where you will learn how to observe, map out, and draw an object with proper proportions. Lastly, you will learn how to draw a human face using photo references.

  • College credits: NO — CEU (Continuing Education Units)
  • Price: Free to enroll for the first 10 days; after that, choose from three different plans: monthly ($29), annual ($199), or premium annual ($349), which includes access to all courses on Pluralsight plus certification practice exams, interactive courses and projects
  • Financial aid or scholarships: NO
  • Mobile learning: YES
  • Self-paced learning: YES
  • Flexible deadlines: YES
  • Time needed for completion: 3 hours, 46 minutes
  • Languages: English
  • Vendor: Pluralsight  

Note: Prices for all courses listed in this article are true on the date of publishing, but are subject to change.

2. The Ultimate Drawing Course – Beginner to Advanced

One of the bestselling courses on Udemy, this ultimate drawing course teaches a comprehensive summary of skills and concepts of drawing. You will start from the very basics, such as observing an object, three kinds of different perspectives, and texture. Then, you will learn how to draw human figures and faces. Lastly, you will have a bonus section that teaches how to draw animation-styled characters. Before the course ends, you will go through 50 different exercises. This course also comes with a full money-back guarantee within the first 30 days of purchasing.

  • College credits: NO — Certificate of Completion only
  • Price: $12.99 on sale ($149.99 regular price)
  • Financial aid or scholarships: NO
  • Mobile learning: YES
  • Self-paced learning: YES
  • Flexible deadlines: YES
  • Time needed for completion: 11 hours
  • Languages: English with subtitles in English, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, and Turkish
  • Vendor: Udemy  

3. The Complete Drawing & Painting Illustration Course

Taught by the same instructor as the course above and also another bestselling course on Udemy, this online course teaches similar concepts of drawing as the one above, but of painting as well. You will be thoroughly guided through the process of drawing and painting in many different styles, using different mediums, such as graphite pencil, colored pencil, and watercolor. By the end of the course, you will go through 20 different exercises. This course also comes with a full money-back guarantee within the first 30 days of purchasing.

  • College credits: NO — Certificate of Completion only
  • Price: $12.99 on sale ($199.99 regular price)
  • Financial aid or scholarships: NO
  • Mobile learning: YES
  • Self-paced learning: YES
  • Flexible deadlines: YES
  • Time needed for completion: 12 hours
  • Languages: English with English subtitles
  • Vendor: Udemy  

4. The Art & Science of Drawing / Basic Skills

This course teaches a basic drawing skill per day for 5 days. You will learn how to hold the pencil, draw any shape, analyze and observe a subject, lay an accurate foundation, and add texture and detail. The main theme of this course is that there are basic formulas behind drawing, not just artistic talent. So, with these formulas, not everyone’s going to be Picasso, but anyone can draw. And the course has been updated to include bonus hours of demonstrations.

  • College credits: NO — Certificate of Completion only
  • Price: $12.99 on sale ($44.99 regular price)
  • Financial aid or scholarships: NO
  • Mobile learning: YES
  • Self-paced learning: YES
  • Flexible deadlines: YES
  • Time needed for completion: 4 hours, 30 minutes  
  • Languages: English with subtitles in Indonesian, Romanian, and Thai
  • Vendor: Udemy  

5. How to Draw From Beginner to Master

Another bestselling course on Udemy, this course encompasses both traditional and contemporary drawing techniques, some of which were also used by artistic masters, such as Leonardo Da Vinci and Rembrandt Van Rijn. This course is taught by Joseph Patric Daniels (a pseudonym), a professional working artist who worked for famous artists like Tom Weselmann and has had his own artworks exhibited internationally. You will be learning the skills from the instructor, but he encourages all his students to use their own creative ideas to bring their drawings into life.

  • College credits: NO — Certificate of Completion only
  • Price: $12.99 on sale ($199.99 regular price)
  • Financial aid or scholarships: NO
  • Mobile learning: YES
  • Self-paced learning: YES
  • Flexible deadlines: YES
  • Time needed for completion: 8 hours
  • Languages: English with English subtitles
  • Vendor: Udemy  

Introductory Courses in Specific Drawing Topics & Tools

6. Color Fundamentals

Taught by a current professor at the Rhode Island School of Design, one of the country’s best art schools, this brief Color Fundamentals course teaches color theories, which applies to all kinds of image making and in illustration, design, photography, and more. You will learn about concepts like value, temperature, saturation, hierarchy, complements, contrast, light and harmony. Then, you will learn about the use of color complements in image making and the relationship of color to different mediums. You will learn through multiple demonstrations.

  • College credits: NO
  • Price: $41 on sale ($49 regular price), or $25 a month for the Creator Pass
  • Financial aid or scholarships: NO
  • Mobile learning: YES
  • Self-paced learning: YES
  • Flexible deadlines: YES
  • Time needed for completion: Approximately 3 hours
  • Languages: English
  • Vendor: Creative Live   

7. Pattern Design: From Hand to Screen to Surface

Requiring previous experience with drawing, this Pattern Design course teaches pattern design, a specific topic of drawing. First, you will learn how to create your own unique repeat patterns by hand. Then, you will learn how to scan and adjust patterns in Photoshop to work digitally as well. This course is perfect for starting or currently working illustrators to add the handmade, customized look to your artwork.  

  • College credits: NO
  • Price: $41 on sale ($49 regular price), or $25 a month for the Creator Pass
  • Financial aid or scholarships: NO
  • Mobile learning: YES
  • Self-paced learning: YES
  • Flexible deadlines: YES
  • Time needed for completion: Approximately 5 hours
  • Languages: English
  • Vendor: Creative Live  

8. The Colored Pencil Drawing Course

One of the bestselling courses on Udemy, this course teaches complete beginners to intermediate artists how to draw with color pencils. You will learn about color theory and what colors complement each other and which contrast with each other. Then, you will learn about professional techniques and applications using different types of colored pencils, such as wax-based, oil-based, and watercolor pencils.

  • College credits: NO — Certificate of Completion only
  • Price: $12.99 on sale ($34.99 regular price)
  • Financial aid or scholarships: NO
  • Mobile learning: YES
  • Self-paced learning: YES
  • Flexible deadlines: YES
  • Time needed for completion: 5 hours
  • Languages: English with subtitles in English, Portuguese, and Spanish
  • Vendor: Udemy    

9. Drawing Amazing Backgrounds with Perspective – Step by Step

This course teaches specifically on creating realistic, multi-dimensional backgrounds with linear perspective. Through multiple exercises, such as drawing an alleyway or a view looking up at skyscrapers, you will learn about how to draw using 1, 2, and 3 perspectives, map out space in perspective, and add depth and scale. As you are guided by the instructor drawing an example illustration for each technique, you will learn not only how to use these techniques but also to draw from imagination. Since understanding how to draw backgrounds is a crucial asset in animation or comics, this course will be very valuable to anyone aspiring to go into these fields.

  • College credits: NO — Certificate of Completion only
  • Price: $12.99 on sale ($94.99 regular price)
  • Financial aid or scholarships: NO
  • Mobile learning: YES
  • Self-paced learning: YES
  • Flexible deadlines: YES
  • Time needed for completion: 7 hours, 30 minutes  
  • Languages: English with English subtitles
  • Vendor: Udemy    

10. Anatomy for Figure Drawing: Mastering the Human Figure

This course teaches on anatomy for figure drawing, another crucial asset in comics or animation. You will learn the basics of proportions, where all the muscles attach and change in different poses, and how to draw different body parts and types. This is a very thorough guide on a specific topic, good for all levels. However, this course may be a bit long for those looking for brief courses.

  • College credits: NO — Certificate of Completion only
  • Price: $12.99 on sale ($94.99 regular price)
  • Financial aid or scholarships: NO
  • Mobile learning: YES
  • Self-paced learning: YES
  • Flexible deadlines: YES
  • Time needed for completion: 64 hours, 30 minutes
  • Languages: English with subtitles in English, Indonesian, Italian, Polish, Romanian, and Thai
  • Vendor: Udemy    

11. Drawing Nature, Science and Culture: Natural History Illustration 101

Offered by The University of Newcastle in Australia, this course teaches how to draw nature. You will not only learn the principles of natural history illustration, such as sketch development and proportion, but will also be guided step-by-step by two instructors teaching at the university. You will learn how to observe both artistically and scientifically and replicate it on paper by hand.

  • College credits: NO — Verified Certificate only
  • Price: FREE, but in order to receive a certificate, you need to pay $49
  • Financial aid or scholarships: NO
  • Mobile learning: YES
  • Self-paced learning: YES
  • Flexible deadlines: YES
  • Time needed for completion: 6 weeks (3–6 hours per week)
  • Languages: English
  • Vendor: edX

Introductory Courses in Drawing for Published Works  

12. Developing Characters, Environments, and Storyboards

Taught by Mary Jane Begin, a professor of Illustration at the Rhode Island School of Design and an award-winning author and illustrator of children’s picture books herself, this course teaches how to develop a dynamic visual narrative and create a cast of characters to tell a story. You will learn how to design images and storyboards.  

  • College credits: NO
  • Price: $41 on sale ($49 regular price), or $25 a month for the Creator Pass
  • Financial aid or scholarships: NO
  • Mobile learning: YES
  • Self-paced learning: YES
  • Flexible deadlines: YES
  • Time needed for completion: Approximately 3 hours
  • Languages: English
  • Vendor: Creative Live

13. Illustrating Characters and the Stories They Tell

Also taught by the same instructor as above, this course teaches how to draw characters and develop their stories. You will learn how about facial expression, body anatomy, character costumes and props, and adding details and colors to sketches.

  • College credits: NO
  • Price: $41 on sale ($49 regular price), or $25 a month for the Creator Pass
  • Financial aid or scholarships: NO
  • Mobile learning: YES
  • Self-paced learning: YES
  • Flexible deadlines: YES
  • Time needed for completion: Approximately 2 hours, 30 minutes
  • Languages: English
  • Vendor: Creative Live

14. Learn Anime Illustration: Space Girl

Taught by Takako Inoue Sensei, a currently working illustrator who drew illustrations for publisher Kodansha, a Japanese TV channel NHK, and game producer Bandai, creator of PacMan, this course offers a step-by-step process of drawing popular Japanese anime characters.

  • College credits: NO — Certificate of Completion only
  • Price: $12.99 on sale ($129.99 regular price)
  • Financial aid or scholarships: NO
  • Mobile learning: YES
  • Self-paced learning: YES
  • Flexible deadlines: YES
  • Time needed for completion: 6 hours, 30 minutes
  • Languages: Japanese with English subtitles
  • Vendor: Udemy

15. Character Art School: Complete Character Drawing Course

One of the bestselling courses on Udemy, this beginner-friendly Character Drawing course teaches how to draw characters for games, films, animation, manga, comics, and more. With step-by-step guidance from the instructor, you will learn how to draw figures, add facial expressions and different poses. You will learn through multiple demonstrations and fun projects.

  • College credits: NO — Certificate of Completion only
  • Price: $12.99 on sale ($194.99 regular price)
  • Financial aid or scholarships: NO
  • Mobile learning: YES
  • Self-paced learning: YES
  • Flexible deadlines: YES
  • Time needed for completion: 26 hours, 30 minutes
  • Languages: English with subtitles in English, French, Indonesian, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, and Spanish
  • Vendor: Udemy

Introductory Courses in Selling Your Drawings

16. Make Things Make Money: The Business of Illustration and Lettering

Yes, you can be an expert at drawing, but making a profit and starting a career out of your work is a totally different field of learning. For people who are interested in turning their passion for drawing into full-time freelance work, this course will teach you how to market your work on social media and build your online presence, attract clients, and how to charge your work. The course instructor and full-time freelance artist, Dina Rodriguez, will share very detailed strategies and tips that helped herself and many other professionals to be where they are now.

  • College credits: NO
  • Price: $84 on sale ($99 regular price), or $25 a month for the Creator Pass
  • Financial aid or scholarships: NO
  • Mobile learning: YES
  • Self-paced learning: YES
  • Flexible deadlines: YES
  • Time needed for completion: Approximately 5 hours
  • Languages: English
  • Vendor: Creative Live

17. Selling Your Creative Ideas

This course teaches specifically on getting material funding and support for your big art project ideas. You will learn how to sell your artistic ideas to the right audience and supporters. This is not a drawing course, but more like a marketing course specifically for art works and projects.

  • College credits: NO
  • Price: $41 on sale ($49 regular price), or $25 a month for the Creator Pass
  • Financial aid or scholarships: NO
  • Mobile learning: YES
  • Self-paced learning: YES
  • Flexible deadlines: YES
  • Time needed for completion: Approximately 2 hours, 30 minutes
  • Languages: English
  • Vendor: Creative Live

Introductory Programs in Drawing

18. How to Draw

Taught by a professional painter and illustrator, this online program is made of 3 courses and teaches the very basic skills of drawing for absolute beginners. With this program, you will get into a habit of drawing everything around you. If bought separately, each course costs $24 on sale ($29 regular price). However, if bought together as one program, it costs $49, saving you $23 in total.

The 3 courses:

Course 1: Drawing Basics

Course 2: Drawing the Everyday Every Day

Course 3: Color Techniques for Drawing

  • College credits: NO
  • Price: $49 for 3-course bundle ($24 on sale for each course, taken separately, but $29 regular price), or $25 a month for the Creator Pass
  • Financial aid or scholarships: NO
  • Mobile learning: YES
  • Self-paced learning: YES
  • Flexible deadlines: YES
  • Time needed for completion: Approximately 6 hours
  • Languages: English
  • Vendor: Creative Live

19. Exploring Art Supplies

Taught by Mary Jane Begin, a published and award-winning author and illustrator for children’s books and a professor at the Rhode Island School of Design, this 7-course program teaches on how and when to use different types of art supplies. You will get familiar with drawing mediums like watercolor, acrylic, and oil paints, graphite pencils, patels, ink, and more. With much fuller understanding and control over different kinds of art materials, you will be able to bring much diverse range of texture, mood and feel to your artwork.

The 7 courses:

Course 1: Getting Started with Acrylic Paints

Course 2: Getting Started with Charcoal & Chalks

Course 3: Getting Started with Colored and Graphite Pencils

Course 4: Getting Started with Oil Paints

Course 5: Getting Started with Pastels

Course 6: Getting Started with Pen, Ink & Markers

Course 7: Getting Started with Watercolor & Gouache Paints

  • College credits: NO
  • Price: $99 for 7-course bundle ($24 on sale for each course, taken separately, but $29 regular price), or $25 a month for the Creator Pass
  • Financial aid or scholarships: NO
  • Mobile learning: YES
  • Self-paced learning: YES
  • Flexible deadlines: YES
  • Time needed for completion: Approximately 13 hours
  • Languages: English
  • Vendor: Creative Live