Drawing is a skill that you can practice at any point in your life. Once you know the basics, you can continually improve your abilities and challenge yourself to take on more complicated subject matter. This type of art will never go out of style, so there's no limit to the amount of drawing ideas you can sketch over the course of decades!
Many of us had art as a subject in school, but not everyone chose to pursue it beyond their tween years. If you’re in that camp, it’s not too late to learn how to draw. Thanks to the internet, there are plenty of courses you can take online and tutorials you can watch for free on Youtube. They cover a variety of sketching interests so you are sure to find a video (or series) that will pique your interest to put pencil to paper.
Another great resource for drawing lessons are books. Because the basics of drawing haven’t dramatically changed over time, you can pick up texts from fifty years ago and they’ll be relevant today. Just work through the suggested exercises and you’ll build your skills in no time.
Learn How to Draw With Online Classes
Online classes are a great resource for learning how to draw. They offer the convenience of online instruction—you can take these courses in your pajamas—with guidance from professional artists. Typically, each class has a series of lessons that are tied to a central theme as well as an assignment so that you can demonstrate the new skills you’ve learned.
These are some of the best places to take online drawing classes today:
Skillshare has classes that teach you how to draw with graphite, colored pencil, and more. Join their monthly subscription service and take as many classes as you like—including some to download and keep forever.
If you are just beginning your drawing journey, we suggest their ‘Staff Pick' class called Learn to Draw: Daily Practices to Improve Your Drawing Skills. Instructor Gabrielle Brikey, portrait artist, shares the essential techniques for drawing.
Know the basics? Try these classes to take your skills further: Start Drawing: Techniques for Pencil Portraits; Become a Better Artist: Drawing Essentials; Drawing for Personal Growth: 5 Exercises for Self-Discovery.
Creativebug is great at demonstrating big-picture techniques and giving you the tools you’ll need to draw a variety of things. Creativebug’s selection of classes, which also work on a subscription model, is more project and challenge focused. So, once you have the basics down, try one of their classes to take your imagination to new heights.
Finding your artistic voice is one of the most challenging but rewarding things you’ll do as an artist. Classes like Treasure Hunt Your Artistic Style will help you figure out what and how you like to draw, whether that’s in a realistic manner or with a cartoonish-edge.
Udemy offers a bevy of courses about drawings. They range in skill levels and subjects, and there are many classes that cover the basics. Unlike other e-learning sites, Udemy is extensive with their programs. Their Ultimate Drawing Course, for instance, is 11 hours long and includes 63 lectures!
For more drawing courses on Udemy, try some of their best sellers like The Art & Science of Drawing: Basic Skills and The Secrets to Drawing. If you’re interested in drawing digitally, instructor Austin Batchelor teaches Ultimate Guide to Digital Sketching: Beginner to Advanced.
More Ways to Learn How to Draw
How to Draw for Free with YouTube
Not sure you want to commit to an online class subscription? Fear not—there are other options available. YouTube has many channels where you can learn how to draw for free. Here are some of the top videos. For even more, check out our comprehensive list of YouTube channels that’ll teach you to draw.
Schaefer Art — The Schaefer Art Youtube channel introduces the very basics of how to draw in a lifelike way. Some of the highlights include clever tips and tricks for obtaining accurate and realistic proportions. They are the type of things you’d learn in a class at art school!
Alphonso Dunn — When you’re looking for guidance on how to draw a nose, flowers, mushrooms, and more, turn to Alphonso Dunn. His videos are subject-specific with step-by-step instructions that break down even the most daunting topics.
Dan Beardshaw — Artist Dan Beardshaw has a meticulous drawing style that showcases incredible texture using pencils. Because of this expertise, he’s the one to look to for hyperrealistic drawing. Realism isn’t the only style of art that Beardshaw produces though. If you want to stretch your imagination, he has advice for drawing fantastically, too.
Emmy Kalia — Visit Emmy Kalia’s channel if you want to learn to draw realistic human faces. She offers tutorials on drawing facial features as well as hair (including braids). Colored pencil is one of her strengths, so be sure to check out her videos on drawing skin tones and an eye.
“How to Draw” Books You'll Reference for Years
Want to build your creative library? Because drawing is a timeless activity, it's perfect for collecting hard copies of books. The following texts will offer introductions to the basics techniques of drawing. Think of them like reference materials that you can turn to as the years go by. They have another benefit; unlike online classes and tutorials, these publications come with exercises—some of them to complete in the book itself.
Keys to Drawing by Bert Dodson — Written in 1990, this book is proof that these reference guides will be helpful for decades. Author Bert Dodson has a drawing system featuring 55 “keys” demonstrating how to sketch any subject—no matter your skill level.
You Can Draw in 30 Days: The Fun, Easy Way to Learn to Draw in One Month or Less by Mark Kistler — Mark Kistler offers the ultimate crash course in learning to draw. Taking a fun, lighthearted approach, he has you drawing from day one. In the span of a month, you’ll learn how to make your drawings look 3D and delve into more challenging lessons.
Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain: The Definitive, 4th Edition by Betty Edwards — This is the world’s “most widely used instructional drawing book.” It’s intended to give you greater confidence in your art and “deepen your artistic perception.” Great for left-brainers, the exercises will help make you into a drawer, both on paper and how you view the world. “One day I was walking down the street,” one reviewer writes, “and was stunned to realize I was really SEEING the faces of the people walking toward me—the shape, the proportions, the perspective—as I had never ever seen them.”
Perspective Made Easy by Ernest R. Norling — Perspective drawing can be tricky, but it’s made simple with the help of this book by Ernest R. Norling. It clarifies the laws of perspective and over 250 lines drawings to illustrate the concepts. By the end of the book, you’ll know how to draw interiors, shadows, and more.
How to Draw What You See by Rudy De Reyna — Drawing what you see is one of the hardest things to learn. It takes years of direct observational sketching to get to that point, but it’s the only way to truly capture the world around you. How to Draw What You See shows you how to do this with exercises in perspective, landscape, figures and more.
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