Learning to draw has never been easier. But finding the best online drawing course can be a challenge — there's so many to choose from.
In this article, I take a look at the best online drawing courses to help you decide which one is right for you.
Whether you're just picking up the pencil for the first time or you're a seasoned pro looking for tips to improve, I've got you covered. From sketching to shading to figuring out the secrets of perspective. I’ve researched courses that teach all these techniques and more.
And though drawing sometimes feels like a talent, not a skill that can be learnt, the teachers in our selection of the best online drawing classes don't agree. They believe everyone can learn to draw with a little help, a pencil, paper and the time to learn.
So, without further ado, let’s get to it.
Best Online Drawing Courses 2023
Here are my top recommendations for the best online drawing courses this year:
- The Ultimate Drawing Course – Beginner to Advanced (Udemy)
- Drawing Basics – The Complete Online Course (Vitruvian)
- Let’s Draw: A Solid Foundation for Artists with Ronnie Williford (The Art of Aaron Blaise)
- Learn to Draw: Daily Practices to Improve your Drawing Skills (Skillshare)
- Creative Drawing Techniques for Beginners (Domestika)
- The Art and Science of Drawing: Basic Skills (Udemy)
- Start Drawing: 3 Fun, Freeing Exercises to Spark your Creativity (Skillshare)
- Pen and Ink Drawing Tutorial with Aaron Blaise (The Art of Aaron Blaise)
- Drawing Foundations: Fundamentals (Linkedin Learning)
- The Complete Drawing Masterclass: From Beginner to Advanced (Udemy)
A clear standout course from this list is the ‘Ultimate Drawing Course – Beginner to Advanced’ by Jaysen Batchelor & Quinton Batchelor. It takes you from beginner to advanced and does so at a fair price.
If you’re looking to explore more niche areas of drawing, Puño’s ‘Creative Drawing Techniques for Beginners Class’ and the ‘Pen and Ink Drawing Tutorial with Aaron Blaise’ are great options to explore illustration or ink drawing respectively.
I’d also recommend ‘Start Drawing to Spark Creativity’ for artists looking to have some fun or escape a creative rut.
For those on a budget, Linkedin Learning currently offer a month free trial giving access to all their online courses. You can also get a 30 day free trial of Skillshare to access multiple courses using our links.
For those just starting out, I’d recommend taking Jaysen Batchelor’s course to establish the basics. Once you’ve decided which art style to pursue, take one of the other courses such as Vitruvian to perfect those skills.
Read my mini reviews below for more details on each course…
Best Drawing Course Reviews
Platform: Udemy | Teachers: Jaysen Batchelor & Quinton Batchelor | Length: 64 video lessons totalling 11 hours and 8 minutes
With over 400k students, this popular course has a ton of great reviews. It covers the fundamentals of drawing with ease. Now a freelance illustrator and designer, Jaysen Batchelor began his work in animation at just 17 years old. He maintains that his success in his early career came down to his ability to draw. His passion for the craft is exhibited in the subsequent 12 sections of the course.
What you will learn:
- The fundamentals of drawing (ie. Lines, shapes, shadows etc)
- Perspective (1,2 and 3 point perspective)
- Still Life Drawing
- How to draw human faces and figures
- Techniques for drawing an eye (an exercise used to measure progress throughout the course)
- PLUS a bonus module in animation style sketches
- Lesson content spans across a wide range of proficiency levels – taking you from absolute beginner to completing more advanced pieces of artwork by the end of the course
- Friendly and conversational approach of the instructor helps to keep audiences engaged
- Covers a wide variety of art styles (from still life to animation) – perfect for beginners still discovering their main areas of interest
- Practical approach to teaching – allows you to adapt skills learnt at the beginning of the course to actual drawings
- Not as comprehensive as one might hope – skills aren’t covered in enough detail to allow users to develop a truly solid grasp of the basics
- Lack of instructor feedback and response to student questions
Who it’s for: Beginners who want to learn drawing from the very beginning. Plus more experienced artists wanting a refresher of the basics.
Overall: With ample demonstration across a wide range of art styles, Jaysen Batchelor’s friendly approach to teaching is highly engaging and informative. Perfect for students wanting to get a taste of drawing and progress from the basics to applying these to real drawings.
2. Drawing Basics – The Complete Online Course (Vitruvian)
Platform: Vitruvian | Teacher: David Jamieson | Length: 62 lessons with over 200 hours of video content
David Jamieson is an established artist who has had his work featured in numerous publications and art collections. He's taught drawing, painting and anatomy to students across the world. And is now teaching exclusively at the Vitruvian Fine Art Studio in Chicago Illinois.
What you will learn:
- Basic must-know skills and concepts (ie. an introduction to drawing materials, how to properly hold a pencil etc)
- The fundamentals of drawing (ie. lines, shapes, values, perspective)
- How to measure the proportions of a subject
- Use of light and dark within drawing
- How to capture subtle curvature
- How to build 3D shapes using the skills taught in the course
- Comprehensive coverage of lesson content – ensures students have a high level understanding of the basics and are able to establish a solid foundation of drawing
- Sequential structure of the course ensures that content taught in previous lessons continue to be applied in practice and not forgotten
- Easy to understand – concepts are demonstrated through diagrams and animations. PDF guides follow along with each module
- Skills based course only – focuses on the practice and repetition of basic skills rather than completing a finished piece of work. Students rushing to get ahead may lose patience with it’s somewhat theoretical approach
- Only covers basic skills meaning that those wanting to progress from beginner to advanced level will need to purchase follow up courses in order to progress
- One of the more expensive courses within this list – however, for professional level teaching with over 200+ hours of lesson content, this could be a worthy investment in the long run
Who it’s for: Beginners as lessons assume no prior knowledge of drawing. Also for intermediate artists who wish to solidify their understanding of the basics and fill in any gaps in knowledge.
Overall Ideal for those who want to learn drawing professionally as it ensures a solid foundation of knowledge is formed early on. Its extensive coverage of content can be quite lengthy but will be worthwhile for students who are serious about the craft.
3. Let’s Draw: A Solid Foundation for Artists with Ronnie Williford (The Art of Aaron Blaise)
Platform: The Art of Aaron Blaise | Teacher: Ronnie Williford | Length: Several gigabytes of video content to be streamed or downloaded
Ronnie Williford is a professional artist with almost 50 years of experience. His drawings have been exhibited in galleries worldwide. And he has worked on Walt Disney animations such as ‘Brother Bear’, ‘Lilo and Stitch’, ‘Mulan’ and more.
What you will learn:
- Introduction to tools and materials, the definitions of common terminology)
- Drawing Fundamentals (ie. Construction using simple shapes, shading, 1, 2 and 3 point perspective, contour drawing etc)
- Drawing heads, faces and basic human anatomy
- Life Drawing
- Optical Illusions
- Covers a wide range of content – from basic concepts to actual drawings
- Concepts are explained with visual aids and animated diagrams – allows students to get a solid grasp of the basics before progressing
- Commonly used terms explained in depth (something not a lot of courses focus on) – allows students to have the spoken toolkit to communicate with other artists
- Less interactive than other courses – no online community for peer or tutor comments on work
- Doesn’t cover advanced techniques – those looking to progress further will need to purchase additional courses
Who it’s for: Perfect for new artists looking to learn drawing basics from a tutor with industry experience.
Overall: An ideal starting point for new artists who wish to learn the basics of drawing. Concepts are well explained in a lot of depth and further illustrated by visual diagrams. The only downside is that tutor feedback is not available so may not be ideal for those who require more support along their learning journey.
Platform: Skillshare| Teacher: Gabrielle Brickey | Length: 20 video lessons totalling 1 hour and 24 minutes
As a once struggling learner of art, Gabrielle Brickey understands the student mindset. So she tailors her teaching to beginners, sharing the tips and tricks which have helped her as an artist. She's passionate about teaching and well equipped to guide you along your learning journey.
What you will learn:
- How to break objects down into shapes and consider different angles when drawing
- Basic Drawing fundamentals (ie. proportion, shading and different types of lines)
- Different drawing techniques
- Using 5 different drawing exercises to put these skills into practice (ie. drawing from a photo, drawing from life, copying techniques by a drawing master, quick sketching and drawing from imagination)
- Passionate and empathetic teacher who understands drawing is a learned skill rather than an innate talent
- Covers additional tips and tricks that have been found to be useful in practice
- Shows drawings on both traditional (pencil and paper) and digital (procreate) mediums
- Need to purchase Procreate in order to follow along with parts of the course
Who it’s for: Beginners learning to draw from square one and more advanced artists wanting a new perspective to drawing.
Overall: Does just what it promises. Not only does it encompass a series of exercises for you to put learned skills into practice, it also drops golden nuggets of knowledge along the way based on the tutor's own experiences with drawing.
5. Creative Drawing Techniques for Beginners (Domestika)
Platform: Domestika | Teacher: Puño | Length: 14 video lessons totalling 2 hours and 57 minutes
Puño has worked as an illustrator since 1994. He's the author of multiple book illustrations, has won prizes for his illustrations and has also directed several illustration courses.
What you will learn:
- Composition (ie. visual weight, using lines and geometric shapes etc)
- Perspective, proportions, shadowing and using colors
- Famous drawing techniques such as the blotted line method (frequently used by Andy Warhol)
- How to digitize illustrations (by posting them on Instagram) and attract followers to your work
- Many exercises to help improve drawing skills plus a course project to create a sketchbook – ensures students complete the course with a body of work to showcase what they’ve learnt
- Clear focus on the illustration art style – perfect for those looking to specialize in illustration
- Teaches how to share drawings online to attract a following – useful for those looking to pursue art professionally as it touches on the business side of the industry
- Fun and engaging teacher – ensures students feel encouraged and thoroughly enjoy the experience
- Doesn’t cover a wide range of drawing basics compared to over courses explored in this article
- Focuses quite a bit on drawing with paints/ markers which might not be suitable for those looking to learn the traditional pencil and paper fundamentals
Who it’s for: Beginners who wish to learn new drawing techniques in a fun and interactive way.
Overall: Creative Drawing Techniques is a fun and engaging course. Great for those looking to pursue illustration style art as it covers all the basics and ensures you have a body of work to share online.
6. The Art and Science of Drawing: Basic Skills (Udemy)
Platform: Udemy | Teacher: Brent Eviston | Length: 17 video lessons totalling 4 hours and 18 minutes
Brent Eviston has been teaching drawing for over 20 years. He was honored as one of Udemy’s best new instructors in 2017. He has studied both traditional and contemporary methods of drawing.
What you will learn:
- Drawing Basics (ie. how to hold a pencil)
- The Artist’s Mindset (ie. how to observe and analyze subjects, how to break objects down into shapes so they can be easily drawn)
- Fundamentals of drawing (ie. shapes, using light lines to lay an accurate foundation, using detail and texture to bring drawings to life)
- Recently updated with new content – ensures the course is consistently reviewed and up to a good standard
- The basics are really well explained (ie. how to hold a pencil, which part of the arm/ hand to move when drawing) and examples are used to showcase any points made
- Well structured – intended to have one lesson a day which will teach you a skill you can then practice later (although you can still take the course at your own pace)
- Bonus demonstrations show how to apply the skills taught to real life drawings
- Encouraging teacher who understands the inevitability of making mistakes
- Only covers the basics of drawing – but is part of a wider program which means, to continue learning, you will have to purchase more courses which can be quite expensive. However, you cold access this course through a Skillshare subscription which would give you access to Brent's full range of courses
- Confusing module structure
Who it’s for: Beginners looking to learn the fundamentals and intermediate artists who want to brush up on their skills. Students interested in painting may also find this course useful to learn about the basic drawing techniques needed in the painting process.
Overall: A great starting point for students to learn about the fundamentals of teaching. It doesn’t cover more advanced techniques. But for those looking to progress further, I’d recommend taking the course on Skillshare so that further courses in the program can be accessed.
Platform: Skillshare | Teacher: Carly Kuhn | Length: 9 video lessons totalling 43 minutes
With over 190k followers on Instagram (@TheCartorialist), Carly Kuhn is an artist focused on exploring creatively. She's inspired by slice of life stories, people and weird and wacky things she observes on the streets of New York. Recently, she also launched her own design studio, The Cartelier.
What you will learn:
- To complete 3 line drawing exercises – focus on ignoring perfection and creating without judgment
- How to ignite your inner creative spark with exercises such as drawing with your non-dominant hand or drawing without looking at the paper
- To trust yourself as an artist, embrace flaws and let go of judgment.
- Mix and match exercises to develop your own style
- Styling tips to incorporate drawings into your personal living space
- Create a frameable piece of art in just 43 minutes
- Fun and engaging course – focus on sparking creativity rather than achieving perfection
- Allows room for mistakes to be made
- Simple course – only requires pen and paper
- Teaches how to style your artwork within your home
- Only covers one type of drawing (line drawing)
- Doesn’t cover traditional drawing fundamentals
Who it’s for: Artists looking to find or reignite their creative spark
Overall: Carly Kuhn encourages you to find your inner picasso within this 43 minute tutorial. Although not covering drawing fundamentals in the traditional sense, ‘Start Drawing’ is the perfect course to find the fun in drawing, experiment creatively and connect with your inner artist.
8. Pen and Ink Drawing Tutorial with Aaron Blaise (The Art of Aaron Blaise)
Platform: The Art of Aaron Blaise | Teacher: Aaron Blaise | Length: Video lessons totalling just over 2 hours
Aaron Blaise has nearly 30 years of professional art experience. He's spent more than 21 years working for Walt Disney Feature Animation. Working on well known films such as ‘The Lion King’, ‘Beauty and the Beast’, ‘Pocahontas’ and more.
What you will learn:
- When and how to use different drawing materials (ie. ballpoint and brush pens, using white ink, shading techniques with markers etc)
- Rough Sketching
- Working with values
- Great value for money considering the teacher’s impressive credentials
- Teaches how to use white ink which is not widely covered by other drawing courses
- Clear approach to teaching – by explaining his approach to drawing, students can understand his thought process to see what tools he’s using and why
- Doesn’t cover the basic fundamentals of drawing – as this is an ink drawing class, traditional styles of pencil drawing are not taught which may not be suited for students wishing to learn drawing more generally
- The class only shows two drawings of a lion so doesn’t show a wide breadth of examples
Who it’s for: Students who want to learn about drawing with ink and those who want to add ink to their sketches to give it more life.
Overall: A great masterclass into ink drawing taught by a well experienced tutor. However, not suitable for those looking to learn drawing more generally as it doesn’t cover the basics of drawing but focuses on a specific niche.
9. Drawing Foundations: Fundamentals (Linkedin Learning)
Platform: Linkedin Learning | Teacher: Will Kemp | Length: Videos and Chapter Quizzes totalling 2 hours and 24 minutes
Will Kemp is an award winning professional artist and teacher with his own online art school.
What you will learn:
- Drawing basics (ie. how to use different materials)
- The theory of drawing (ie. how to see like an artist)
- Drawing fundamentals (ie. Line, value and tone, space and composition, perspective, light and shadows etc)
- Most of the basics are covered and clearly explained/ showcased in a simple way
- Does not require many materials which means it has a clear focus on the basics and is accessible to all
- Teaches you how to think like an artist – establishes solid foundations for students to get into the artist’s mindset and break down barriers to good drawing (ie. breaking from memory to enable more realistic drawings)
- Very interactive – encourages students to follow along with drawing exercises
- Can be quite slow paced which means students with less patience may lose interest quickly and be less engaged
- No instructor feedback can be accessed – less tailored to the students personal experience (although there are student community’s which can be accessed through linkedin learning)
Who it’s for: Tailored towards students who believe they can’t draw but have always wanted to do it as a hobby or skill.
Overall: Despite its slow pace, Will Kemp’s teaching style ensures a wide range of basics are covered. Concepts are clearly explained and the exercises ensure a hands-on learning experience to measure progress as you go.
Platform: Udemy | Teacher: Chad Neuman & Jonathan Simon | Length: 125 videos totalling 19 hours and 47 minutes
Chad Neuman is a professor of communications and digital media. Jonathan Simon is an illustrator and has also been a studio artist for more than 26 years. He teaches intermediate to advanced level painting, drawing and illustration at a college level.
What you will learn:
- How to use a wide range of drawing materials (though you only need a pencil and paper for this course #)
- Beginner to advanced level skills which will be practiced through various projects
- Industry standard drawing techniques – using gesture lines to capture the essence of an object, using shapes to build more complex structures, practicing contour and cross contour lines to improve hand eye coordination
- How to draw from imagination
- Covers a wide range of drawings such as still life, portrait and landscape – perfect for students still figuring out what type of drawing interests them
- Lesson content builds upon past sessions allowing students to progress at a steady pace
- Basic drawing fundamentals are taught in a lot of detail
- Some lessons are taught using materials such as charcoal etc – this might not be easily accessible for all students and using a pencil may have different effects making it more difficult to follow along with the course
- Techniques are showcased but not clearly explained causing students to struggle when following along with the course
Who it’s for: Beginners who wish to learn drawing for fun. Also existing artists who wish to brush up on their skills. Also suitable for designers or those in visual storytelling who need to quickly convey visual ideas in their everyday roles.
Overall: Offers extensive coverage of using line within drawing (ie. gesture lines, contour lines etc) and covers other drawing techniques as well. However, some students have had difficulty following along with lessons due to a lack of clear explanations.
What are the advantages of taking a drawing course?
There are many reasons to start learning to draw, for example…
- It’s a great creative outlet – the perfect relaxing hobby to get in touch with your creative side and express yourself through art
- Essential skill for those in visual storytelling roles (ie. Designers, Marketing) as it helps to clearly communicate visual ideas
- Develop a lifelong skill
- Source of extra income if you reach a good standard
- Allows you to capture a moment within a drawing – you could even give these as gifts to friends or create your own art decor
Buyers guide: what to look out for
With so many courses out there, it can be difficult to decide which drawing course is the most suitable for you. When making a purchase, I recommend you to consider the following points:
- Skill Level – When deciding which course to take, ensure that the syllabus aligns with your personal goals so that you can finish the course with a sense of accomplishment and reach a level you’re happy with.
- Style of Art – Are you looking to just learn the basics of drawing or do you want to specialize in a specific niche? The style(s) of art covered within a syllabus are worth considering to make sure you’re learning about something you’re interested in.
- Price – The price of the course is crucial to ensure it fits within your budget. The main point to consider here is whether a course is good value for money. A course may cost more but may give you more bang for your buck if it’s taught by a teacher with better credentials or covers the specific content you want to learn.
- Length of Course – You want to choose a course that fits into your schedule and is an appropriate length so you’ll be motivated to complete it. Longer courses may be more suitable if you wish to study modules in more depth or cover more content. If you’re short on time or may quickly lose motivation, shorter courses may feel more achievable.
- Materials Needed – Not everyone has access to pricey art supplies. When choosing your course, consider what art supplies you’ll have access to.
- Teaching Style – I’ve always found that a teacher can either make or break a course. When deciding which course to take, ensure that the tutors approach to teaching aligns well with your preferred method of learning. Do you prefer a teacher who explains concepts in depth or a teacher with a quicker teaching pace? Someone fun and engaging or someone more serious and strict?
How much do Online Drawing classes cost?
The Art of Aaron Blaise and Domestika average around $5 – $23. This is a bargain compared to the cost of taking private lessons (not to mention the benefit of having an online course fit flexibly around your schedule).
Courses such as Vitruvian seem to be on the pricier side (costing just under $260). But within this, you’re also getting access to a larger quantity of video lessons and a professional standard of teaching.
If you want the best value for money, you might want to consider subscription platforms which will allow you to access all courses on their site for a fixed price. This allows you to pursue additional interests or take further drawing courses to improve your skills.
Platforms such as Linkedin Learning cost around $24.99 a month (annual plan) or $39.99 a month (monthly plan). This includes access to Linkedin Premium benefits for your personal linkedin account and certificates of completion for certain courses. They currently offer a free one month trial which is handy if you’d like to test out the platform first.
Another platform you may wish to consider is Skillshare. Membership costs are $13.99 per month (annual plan) or $32 per month (monthly plan). Using our Skillshare links you can benefit from a 30 day free trial.
How long does it take to learn drawing?
The courses outlined in this article range from 2 hours to longer courses with 200 hours worth of content.
For some courses, you may need to account for practice time. This could range from 1 – 5 hours a week depending on the course.
It’s important to note that a major benefit of online courses is that you take them at your own pace. The length of time it will take to finish a course is wholly customisable to you and your routine. So don’t be put off by a busy schedule. You can take the course whenever you want and allow yourself to learn a new skill.
If you want to learn drawing, the courses recommended above give you a wide range of styles and skill levels to choose from.
Want something that will take you from beginner to advanced level? The Ultimate drawing course (Udemy) is the way to go.
If it’s just the basics of drawing you’re after, many of the other courses will teach you the skills you need to start drawing. Whichever course you choose to go for, our selections are sure to help you along your artistic journey!
Digital Art Courses – Frequently Asked Questions
Our top recommendation is the Ultimate Drawing Course – Beginner to Advanced (Udemy) as it covers a wide range of content – ranging from beginner level concepts to completing more advanced level pieces of art.
Drawing courses recommended within this article range from $5 – $260. Subscription packages may be more ideal which cost around $14 – $40 a month.
Classes range from 2 hours to 200 hours – you should also factor in practice time if needed.
Jessica graduated from the University of Manchester with a First Class Degree in LLB Law. In her spare time, she enjoys learning new languages, singing, and performing.