The best places to follow art courses

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Learning to draw better comes through trial and error. You can only get so far with your own skills. You can follow tutorials, something I recommend anytime. But after that you're bound to start doing courses. So where do you go? And what should you avoid? Or even, what do you prefer?

Hi! My name is Tessa, I’m a Dutch artist, specializing in wildlife and creature designs. I love to share my passion for nature, art and fantasy, and do that by creating this archive and community, alongside my company Tez Art & Design.

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The best places to follow art courses

These days it’s easy to get lost. Where to go in this plethora of art courses? Which one is best for me? Which ones are legit? And what can I expect?
This article is not a top-whatever. It’s just a list of different companies and platforms that offer courses. Some are more expensive than others, and some are more reliable than others.

Either way, the sources listed below each have their own approach to teaching people. They are all reliable, and if not for some reason, I will point out for you why that is the case. So look at yourself, what do you need? What are you looking for? What do you have available to spend? And make your choice from there.

Do I need to spend money to follow courses?

It’s completely fine to spend money on tutorials and courses, but you don’t always need to to get started!
Photo by Josh Appel on Unsplash

Yes! And no. There are some courses available every now and then that are free or go for really low prices. There is nothing wrong with these, and IF you find them, you better grab them while you can, and also inform us about it :p. Pretty please.
But the rule of thumb is: Courses are not free, tutorials are. Not always, but most of the time.

Tutorials are slimmed-down versions of a specific subject. You’d be good doing these if you’re new to that subject and still have a lot to learn. Not because that’s the best way, but because, if you do enough of these tutorials, you learn so much, that you don’t need to spend as much money on courses as you would have needed to otherwise.
This process might be a bit slower, but any artwork you make and every study you do will help you improve. If money is an issue, or you like to take it slow: Tutorials are the way to go for you. If you’d like to learn more after that: Top them off with some courses or even education.

Courses from leading artists

There are many artists that offer courses and even education or one on one tutoring. Many to name here, truth to be told. Some of them do so all on their own, like Adam Duff from Lucidpixul, while others do so through channels like Schoolism. Think of Terryl Whitlatch, Bobby Chiu, and many more. When it comes to things like these, you’re already past the tutorial stage. You moved on to the course stage and actually might want to be thinking about the critiqued options, or one on one tutoring to help you polish your craft even further.

Schoolism

Schoolism is a learning platform run by Bobby Chiu. Bobby Chiu always had the mindset to want to teach people in an affordable way. He honed his crafts early on by teaching for free in subways, maintaining art houses for artists to live and improve, and now has this awesome platform with many leading artists that can’t only draw, but also know how to teach. Because this is something that doesn’t always go hand in hand.

At schoolism you can buy single courses, have a subscription and have full access to all courses, or can get actual feedback from your teacher if you opt for that option. The advantage of this platform is also that many artists are available to learn from. Obtaining a feedback slot isn’t always possible, but if you keep an eye out, you will get yours in time.

There is also a Youtube channel you can pick up a lot from:

Gnomon

Gnomon has full-blown (remote) education. They are really in-depth and more often than not very specialized. They tackle subjects like 3D production and development, modeling and texturing, character and creature animation, VFX animation, virtual productions, art fundamentals and game development with the help of Unreal, Zbrush, and more. This is the kind of company you want to go for if you want to specialize in 3D, the gaming industry, and filmmaking.

CG Master academy

CG Master Academy has a lot of overlap with Gnomon. But they are much easier to access and they have many courses that are relatively small. You will be taught and tutored by a well-established artist that mastered the subject during a usually 8 to 10-week period. As a beginner, it’s easy to step in and it’s very useful for advanced artists as well, If you have some money to spend, you will get your investments returned in knowledge.

CTRL+Paint

CTRL+ Paint is your go-to is you want to kickstart your endeavor. Their courses are fairly affordable, complete, and in-depth. They focus on 2D and 3D art. There is no personal support or feedback, which helps to make these courses relatively cheap. Much of the information found in these courses, especially those concerning fundamentals, is available for free through many other sources, but if you want to make sure you tackle every aspect at once, and want to run through it quickly and effectively without feedback, this might be your go-to.

Skillshare

Skillshare is a platform for teachers or people that want to teach. It’s not specifically meant for artists, although there is a LOT of material available for artists. Skillshare is VERY cheap, only 12,- euro’s a month, and that is after a free trial. There are many good artists on there, and the support teachers get and the guidelines they have to run through to be able to work with Skillshare make most of them average to good teachers. I actually made a tutorial about animal portraits in black and white very early on in my career to get the hang of teaching and am still using the same steps to teach people these days on Life to Legend.

The biggest downside for a platform like Skillshare is: There are also many people there that are out there for the money. Their courses may look and feel good, but the information put in there might not be as accurate as you’d like it to be, which can be really crippling, especially for new artists. But if you keep an open mind and select artists that are well-established out there, Skillshare is a really good option. Another advantage is that, as it’s subscription-based, you can really grind your way through all the available courses.

Udemy

Udemy is yet a different kind of approach compared to the companies above. It has a lot of fairly cheap courses available, ranging from art to Javascript and from web development to design, lifestyle, financing, and more. Because the subjects are so broad, I’m always a bit wary and would opt for other sources first, as it’s a lot easier to control the quality when a company focuses on one subject rather than many at the same time. From what I gathered so far, anyone can teach here and earn money, which in my opinion doesn’t always allow for good in-depth courses. But Udemy always been a strong player in the field, so if you are looking for something specific and that subject looks appealing to you on Udemy, surely give it a shot! After all, they are not that expensive at all and have a good reputation.

Domestika

Domestika is a company with great advertisement skills and knows how to promote their courses. Like Udemy, they are fairly cheap and have a broad range of different teachers that offer these courses. And like Udemy, these courses go without any tutoring. If you’re quick with grabbing courses you can get large discounts. And really, there are always large discounts on this website.

Domestika comes in many languages, and so do their courses. Anything that’s not English is subtitled in often more than one language, which could be helpful to those that don’t master other languages but their own. All courses are creative-oriented, so they have that over Udemy. Domestika control checks their teachers. Not everyone can start teaching there, which in my opinion is a good thing.

Gumroad

Gumroad is a platform for people to teach and sell. And of course, buy nice goodies and tutorials/courses. Anyone can put anything on there. There is no quality control in any way, shape, or form, and these days it serves mostly as a cheap way for anyone to offer courses independently. This means that there is a gigantic myriad of services available.
You can search your way through Gumroad based on categories.

Conclusion

As you can see, there are many sources to get courses from. It’s up to you what suits you best. And with those I mentioned before, there are many other sources out there as well.

In any way: If you’re just starting out or are low on money, you can easily learn through free tutorials. But when you feel like you don’t develop as much anymore, consider moving on to following paid courses. They will be worth your while.

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