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Most of us wish to be born with two skills. The first one — to sing and play in tune; the second – to draw with ease. Unfortunately, most of us can only stare with envy as some of the blessed ones give their talents a bigger stage.
What about you? Have you let your talents wither away and die?
I can’t hold a tune, but to a moderate degree, I can wield a brush and palette. That little amount of unpolished skill has helped me breeze through Biology’s vertical sections and sundry anatomical illustrations. The art classes that I took certainly helped to shore up my understanding of symmetry and perspective.
Today, with that smidgen of skill you can start a second career in graphic design. Even if you skip art school, a few online Photoshop and Illustrator classes can take you a good distance. But to really take it to the next level, a good drawing hand is essential.
So, it’s never too late to dust off the years and take up lessons on how to draw. Think of the web and these websites profiled below as your free online drawing and art class. Brush up your skills. Start.
Unique Feature: More than 500 classes for all levels.
You can learn how to draw and sketch with this one site. The person behind the site is Brenda Hoddinott. It’s not only the variety of things you can learn to draw or the well-supported discussion board on the site. It’s also the layout of the site — jump straight to your skill level (Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced).
There are both free and paid classes, and enough free drawing tutorials (about 15%) to give you a running start.
You might like the high-quality downloadable PDF tutorials that are detailed with illustrations and steps. You can also view them online without a download. If you doubt your caliber as an artist, download and read the lesson titled – Understanding Talent. To access the lessons in full, you need to register (free).
Unique Feature: Dive into the art of cartoons and caricatures.
As a child, you must have wanted to make your own comic strip. It takes a special kind of talent to combine cartoons with a sense of humor. You can’t do without both. Drawing Coach has drawing tutorials of all types, but it leans more towards cartoons. It will teach you everything step-by-step — from drawing people to tracing tattoos.
The site is a singlehanded effort but you won’t have anything to complain about. I like that the tutorials are light in theory but heavy on technique. If you like a bit of bedrock, look into the Drawing Techniques section.
3. Arty Factory
Unique Feature: A growing section on art appreciation you should study alongside.
This is a clean and free online resource for anyone who wants to learn how to draw, paint, and understand more about design too.Some of the illustrated step by step tutorials are one of a kind — you can learn how to design your own tribal masks. Or, pop-art lessons in the style of Chuck Close.
I spent some time on the aerial perspective lesson and even tried my hand at it. Try it yourself; it’s a simpler skill but leaves a beauteous impact.
Unique Feature: A simple one-off lesson that will give you some confidence.
Enter the Flash-based video class. You might hate Flash, but the animation here is high quality. It is just a step-by-step tutorial on a single topic — how to draw a head. But, it is instructive because you will learn all about facial proportion, expression and sketching basics.
Also, it is a stepping stone to portrait skills. Practice the basics and then draw a friend’s head from memory or a photograph.
Unique Feature: All members have the same tools so the difference is just the talent.
Rate My Drawings is a leading online art community with 50,000 plus members. The site is a platform for drawing tutorials and community forums to learn and share. The site has a web interface that’s like an online canvas. Users draw using the Flash-based or the more advanced Java-based or HTML5 drawing software tool, and people rate drawings with a score that’s anything between a masterpiece and a disaster.
The same online drawing tool is also the canvas for multi-user collaborative art. You can draw and chat. For instance, an interactive tutoring session can be easily set up by two or more users.
6. Drawing Now
Unique Feature: Thousands of cartoons, manga, people, animals and more easy lessons.
Drawing Now is a user-driven site that’s simple and not overwhelming for the beginner or the intermediate user. With a free membership, you can enjoy interactive features like live chat and IM. The tutorials are step by step and easy to follow. What makes them easier to follow are the screencasts along with the step by step instructions.
You can also create your own tutorials, thus teaching others how to draw. There is a Flash-based whiteboard for digital art and mobile apps for iOS to support your learning.
Unique Feature: The largest art community on the web.
If you have just taken up the paintbrush or the pencil, it will take you a while to reach Deviant Art. The best social network for artists can overwhelm you with images of what’s possible when you have serious art skills. But, you can take up the Daily Sketch Challenge anytime because it welcomes all skill levels.
The challenge was started in 2015. The instructions are simple — check the group’s Journal every day for a new subject to draw (e.g. “Scary Godmother”) and post your drawing of that subject each day. As the site says, it’s all about the act of drawing each day as a habit.
Unique Feature: Bite-sized videos on digital drawing and painting.
Keep the sketchbook aside. It’s time to pick up a stylus because this neat website is all about digital painting. The procession of videos is organized like a curriculum and that you can learn complex subjects in small chunks. Each video is just 5 minutes long.
Take a look at the Drawing Habit first. Then, dive into the different topics. For instance, Chapter 2 and 3 cover traditional drawing. They have this advice for beginners — Basic drawing doesn’t seem as exciting as digital painting, so it’s often skipped by beginners. Don’t make this mistake!
Unique Feature: Find and save drawing lessons on your own boards.
Try this — type “drawing tutorials” in the Pinterest search bar and see how many results get displayed. Someone like artgirl67 has a board with 966 lessons on “How-to-Draw”. That’s just one drawing buff. Pinterest is a launch pad for more.
Pinterest is a visual smorgasbord. In 2016, the social site has more than 150 million active users a month. And, as it is a conclave for creatives, you can expect to find links to drawing tutorials you can check out with a glance. Just remember to follow these Pinterest search tips to find the most interesting pins you need.
Unique Feature: Create your own playlist from an almost infinite catalog.
Digest this — one-third of all internet users are on YouTube. That’s one billion and counting. But how many are creating authentic art channels you can learn from? But, as you well know, you can learn anything on YouTube and these fantastic channels on drawing skills are a tip of the brush.
Use the power of auto-suggestions in the search box. For instance, “drawing lessons for beginners step by step” is a better keyphrase than just “drawing lessons”. Even the former nets you nearly 4 million results.
Turn Yourself Into an Artist
We all were artists once. In the journey towards adulthood, our crayons were forgotten. Thanks to the web, all of us can come back to this skill. It’s just that drawing is all about the eye and the hand. The benefits are many. Right off the bat, a drawing habit will improve your observational skills…and this creative habit might make you a happier person.
For continued learning, check out these mobile apps that make learning about history more fun.