Best Online Art Classes

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Our Top Picks

Online art classes are often an affordable and convenient way to learn a new skill without committing to the expense of art school. While some online learning platforms focus a specific type of art—like drawing, painting, or photography—others let students explore a variety of skills. Either way, the best online art classes are offered on-demand and make it easy for students to choose content that’s tailored to their interests and skill level. 

To help you choose an online art class suited to your needs, we rounded up the best ones here.

Best Overall: New Masters Academy

New Masters Academy

New Masters Academy

Why We Chose It: New Masters Academy is our top choice because members get unlimited access to the platform’s extensive offering of drawing and painting classes, plus a community forum.

What We Like:

- Students can sign up for a free, 7-day trial

- Access to more than 1,200 hours of streaming art instruction videos

- Community forum lets students network and learn from each other

What We Don’t Like:

- Does not include courses for other skills like photography or fiber crafts

As an online learning academy intended to replace expensive art school classes, New Masters Academy offers drawing and painting classes that cover a range of topics and experience levels.

Courses range from art theory and drawing to painting, sculpture, and digital art. Even better? Classes are tailored to artists of every skill level, so it’s easy to find lessons that will match your experience and needs. Beginner-friendly lessons include color mixing, a 24-part introduction to landscape painting, and a two-hour portrait painting classes.

The Standard plan costs about $39 for a month-to-month membership (or roughly $35 per month when billed annually). Membership includes unlimited streaming access to more than 1,200 hours of instructional videos taught by true masters. Students can also make connections, share work, and solicit feedback in online community forums.  

Alternatively, aspiring artists can join the Premium plan for about $49 for a month-to-month membership (or around $44 per month when billed annually). In addition to standard features, Premium members get access to an extensive library of reference images to support daily practice and make it easy to find inspiration.

Note that student reviews are excellent and highlight the quality of instructors and the affordability of courses compared to traditional art schools.

Best Drawing: Proko

Proko

Proko

Why We Chose It: Proko stands out because it offers a comprehensive collection of free videos and paid premium courses that are both informative and enjoyable.

What We Like:

- Students can watch hundreds of free courses via YouTube or through the Proko website

- Most courses are taught by artist and Proko founder Stan Prokopenko

- Course bundles make premium courses more affordable

What We Don’t Like:

- Premium courses are more expensive than some other options

Proko is an online art education platform that was created by talented artist and teacher Stan Prokopenko.

Premium drawing courses include Anatomy of the Human Body, Figure Drawing Fundamentals, Portrait Drawing Fundamentals, and Art of Caricature. These individual courses are priced at $59 to $187 eacg, or students can purchase a three-course bundle for roughly $421. The mega-bundle, which is available for around $589, includes all of the anatomy, figure, and portrait courses, as well as nine model packs and four Model in Motion video sets. 

There are also hundreds of free videos available on the Proko website and YouTube. Not only can you learn from these videos, but they can also help you decide whether you like the instructor’s teaching style before committing to a premium class.

Satisfied students report that the courses are informative, enjoyable, and worth the cost.

Best Painting: Skillshare

Skillshare

Skillshare

Why We Chose It: Offering a wide range of classes for every skill level at an accessible price point, Skillshare is our favorite platform for online painting classes.

What We Like:

- Gives students the opportunity to explore numerous paint mediums

- Membership costs as little as roughly $8.25 per month when paid annually

- Students can join and preview courses for free

What We Don’t Like:

- Courses are not as in-depth or advanced as some platforms

Skillshare is an online learning platform that features courses on everything from web development and graphic design to illustration, fine art, and painting.

The site really stands out for painting classes, however, because students can explore a wide range of mediums, including watercolor, gouache, acrylic, and oil. This makes it an excellent option if you want to get into painting but aren’t sure where to start. The availability of more advanced painting classes also makes it a great choice for artists who want to expand their skill set. 

Premium memberships cost about $32 when paid month-to-month, but students can save by signing up for an annual membership for about $14 per month (roughly $168 billed annually). Not only do Premium members get access to thousands of classes, but you also have the ability to download those classes to their iOS and Android devices for convenient viewing anytime.

Best Ceramics: The Ceramic School

The Ceramic School

The Ceramic School

Why We Chose It: The Ceramic School offers on-demand classes and live online workshops for a reasonable price and is solely centered on ceramics.

What We Like:

- Students can choose from on-demand classes and live online workshops

- Individual courses and workshops are available for about $39 each

- Membership offers unlimited access to workshop replays

What We Don’t Like:

- Students cannot search for classes by skill level

The Ceramic School is an online learning platform and community centered around ceramics. Individual courses and workshops are about $39 each and cover introductory topics like wheel throwing for beginners and more advanced lessons like hand-constructing large vessels and carving a double-walled vase.

Membership is also available for roughly $29 month-to-month, $290 for an annual membership, or $597 for a lifetime membership. The Ceramic School’s membership option includes access to two live workshops each month, all of the workshop replays, and monthly meetups with a global community of artists. 

Students can also download The Ceramic School mobile app and join one of the school’s online communities to interact with other artists. The Ceramic School's blog is particularly helpful, too, as it covers more business-oriented topics like “Should I Sell on Etsy?” and “How to Design a Logo for Your Pottery Business.” If you’re ready to take the next step, you can also sign up for The Ceramics MBA, a six-week intensive to help you start selling your ceramics online.

Best Photography: International Center of Photography

International Center of Photography

International Center of Photography

Why We Chose It: We chose the International Center of Photography for its wide selection of beginner, intermediate, and advanced courses taught by passionate and talented faculty.

What We Like:

- Classes are easy to search based on skill level

- Students can sign up for a mentorship with specific faculty members

- ICP members get a solid discount off of all classes

What We Don’t Like:

- Classes are more expensive than other platforms we considered

Founded in 1974, the International Center of Photography (ICP) is an institution dedicated to promoting photography through exhibitions, education, and community outreach and programming.

Online students can choose from more than 100 courses ranging from photography fundamentals, like light and subject matter, to street photography and portraiture. The cost of online courses varies by topic and skill level, but generally ranges from about $35 up to $1,000. If you are or are looking to become an ICP member, you'll receive about $25 off all courses.

Beyond ICP’s courses and workshops, students can opt to join the center’s full-time Creative Practices or Documentary Practice and Visual Journalism certificate programs, which take one year to complete.

Best Yarn & Fabric Crafts: Craftsy

Craftsy

Craftsy

Why We Chose It: Craftsy stands out because of its extensive course offerings in everything from basic sewing and embroidery to advanced knitting, crocheting, and weaving.

What We Like:

- Courses are offered in sewing, embroidery, quilting, knitting, crocheting, and felting  

- Low monthly membership cost provides access to a huge selection of classes

- Students can purchase individual courses if they’re not ready to commit to a membership

What We Don’t Like:

- Craftsy doesn’t advertise a free trial, but members can cancel anytime

Craftsy is an online community of creatives that offers courses in quilting, sewing, knitting, and crochet, among other skills and hobbies.

Sewing classes allow you to learn how to sew velveteen blazers, camp shirts, Fremont bags, and more. Quilting courses will help you learn how to make floor pillows, market totes, tree skirts, and more. Knitting lessons will teach you how to knit socks, hats and headbands, and reversible cables. You can also learn how to crochet a cactus garden and yarn dye.

Classes are taught by experts, and students can choose from more than 1,500 classes, each of which has an average of six sessions. Students can purchase lessons individually for between roughly $10 and $250, or sign up for a membership for just under about $8 per month. Alternatively, an annual membership costs around $80 (less than approximately $7 per month). 

Final Verdict

Whether you’re thinking about developing a new creative practice or are already an experienced artist, online art classes make it easy to access high-quality lessons from the comfort of your home. While these courses are most commonly taught via on-demand videos, some platforms also offer live workshops and community-based features that let you learn from other passionate artists. 

Our overall best pick is New Masters Academy because of the school’s selection of high-quality drawing and painting classes that cater to all skill levels. New Masters Academy provides students access to an online learning community and is an affordable alternative to art school.

How Do Online Art Classes Work?

Most online art classes include pre-recorded videos that students can watch and re-watch on-demand. Many of these courses also feature downloads, online forums, and other resources to enrich the learning environment. That said, some online art classes are offered as live workshops where students can login at a scheduled time and interact with teachers and other students in real-time. Often, these workshops are also available as on-demand replays after the fact. 

How Much Do Online Art Classes Cost?

The cost of online art classes varies depending on several factors like course format (live vs. on-demand), skill level, and the instructor. Some online course providers also offer student memberships that typically include unlimited access to lecture videos. In general, though, online art classes are available for between roughly $30 and $1,000, with memberships ranging anywhere from about $10 to $50 per month, or more; some platforms also provide access to free online art classes, like those available on YouTube. 

Are Online Art Classes Worth It?

If you’re just getting started with a medium and want to learn specific techniques or other foundational topics, online art classes might be worth the investment. Likewise, if you’re a more experienced artist and want to expose yourself to advanced techniques, online art courses can help you develop those skills while interacting with other talented artists. 

Finally, aspiring artists who are still exploring different mediums to see what they enjoy can benefit from platforms like Skillshare that let them try out different classes without a large financial commitment. 

How We Chose the Best Online Art Classes

To choose the best online art classes for Treehugger readers, we identified more than 15-course providers and compared them based on pricing, membership options, quality, format, and class selection. And, because the learning experience is so important with online courses, we also evaluated the user interface of each provider, as well as whether students could access an online community.