If you’ve ever wanted to learn how to paint, try out a new creative hobby, or deepen your appreciation of art, there’s never been a better time. Online art classes have surged in popularity over the past few years, and it’s easy to understand why—virtual learning makes it incredibly simple to receive training from knowledgeable teachers on a flexible schedule without ever having to leave your home.
You can choose from courses that teach the basics of painting, drawing, and design or sign up for a college-level course that includes a professional certificate upon completion. Whether you’re an experienced artist or your best creative attempt involves a stick figure, there are courses available to fit every skill level. We’ve created a list of some of the best online art classes for people of all ages and with varying interests and artistic goals.
realsimple Available at CreativeLive
Best Painting Class
realsimple Available at Udemy
Best Graphic Design Class
realsimple Available at Coursera
Best Photography Class
realsimple Available at MasterClass
Best For Kids
realsimple Available at Outschool
Best Art History Class
realsimple Available at Museum of Modern Art
Best Watercolor Class
realsimple Available at The Great Courses
Best Overall Online Art Class: CreativeLive
Dedicated exclusively to courses in the arts, CreativeLive is an online platform that offers thousands of classes in photography, art, design, music, crafts, and more. Learn at your own pace from renowned creative professionals as you progress through video lessons, practice materials, and class assignments. You can download and watch from anywhere on your computer or phone, which is a super helpful feature for people always on the go. There’s even an option for students to upload their artwork for public review after they’ve taken the class. CreativeLive allows you to buy courses individually, sign up for a monthly subscription, or livestream classes for free.
Best Painting Class: Udemy
In addition to hosting business and professional development courses, Udemy is an online platform with art, photography, and design classes for artists of all skill levels. To enroll, you simply pay a one-time rate for the course you want, watch the video-recorded lessons whenever you have time, and receive lifetime access to the class in case you want to take it again later. Udemy’s painting courses, which range from beginner to advanced, teach a variety of media, including oil, acrylic, watercolor, and even digital painting. Choose between free and paid courses with thousands of five-star reviews from past customers.
Best Online Graphic Design Course: Coursera
Whether you want to improve your design skills to advance your career or simply have a desire to learn more about the discipline, Coursera has a class for you. With thousands of courses taught by real professors at accredited institutions, Coursera allows people with differing degrees of experience to take college-level classes in just about any area of interest. The classes themselves vary quite a bit, so you can find one that fits your needs—from beginner courses that can be taken at your own pace to specializations that award a professional certification upon completion. Coursera offers a ton of graphic design courses, including typography, design basics, web design skills, and more. You can read detailed descriptions that include notes on a course’s difficulty level, a list of the skills you’ll learn, reviews, and the percentage of previous students who made a career change after taking the course.
Best Online Photography Course: MasterClass
Bet you never thought you could take a class from an A-list photographer. MasterClass’s monthly subscription service offers instructional courses on arts and entertainment, business, music, cooking, and more, taught by some of the most famous names in those industries. The service has an entire section of courses dedicated to the arts, including three multi-lesson courses on photography. Sign up for an adventure photography class with award-winning photographer Jimmy Chin, learn how to shoot portraits from magazine photographer Tyler Mitchell, or have Annie Liebowitz teach you how to tell a story through images. The best part? A monthly subscription gives you access to all of MasterClass’s courses, so you can learn a variety of new skills at once.
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Best Art Classes for Kids: Outschool
Created to help children continue learning and exploring their passions outside the classroom, Outschool is an online educational platform for kids ages 4 to 17. While Outschool has classes on traditional education topics like math and science, the service also offers courses in music, video game design, and even lego building. The art classes are designed to keep kids engaged and excited about learning, with hands-on instruction that teaches them how to draw, paint, and learn animation basics. Since these courses meet over video chat a few times a week, you can select a start date and time that works for you and your child. Classes are taught by independent instructors who undergo a background check by Outschool prior to joining, and the classes are publicly rated by users for greater transparency.
Best Online Art History Course: The Museum of Modern Art
One of the best ways to increase your knowledge and appreciation of art is to visit a museum. The Museum of Modern Art’s collection of free online art history courses explore the past, present, and future of art through video lectures made for beginning art enthusiasts and experts alike. Taught by museum curators, these classes delve into art themes throughout history, analyze contemporary art styles, and explore how social issues impact artistic expression. Since the courses are hosted by Coursera, you can sign up for the classes you’re interested in and watch the lessons whenever you like. MoMA also offers a Coursera specialization for people who are looking to use art and design analysis professionally.
Best Watercolor Classes: The Great Courses
If you’ve ever wanted to learn how to paint with watercolors, The Great Courses is a fantastic place to start. This online learning site offers video instruction classes that teach drawing and painting techniques, including several courses dedicated specifically to watercolor painting. Many five-star reviewers say the instructors break down complex art concepts to make painting with watercolors easier for students of all skill levels. You can purchase a monthly subscription to The Great Courses, which gives you full access to their entire library, or you can buy classes individually.