Are you looking to improve your art skills or do you want to start an art practice? In this post, I’m sharing some of my favorite online art courses to help you learn, grow, and practice from the comfort of your own home.
My Favorite Online Art Courses
2021 has been the year where I’ve made a dedicated commitment to begin creating art again. While I’ve dabbled here and there for the past few years, this year I’m fully committed. I’ve been trying to paint more often than not, sign-up for a local art course, and absorb as much info as I can.
I’ve included a few photos of some of my recent artwork in this post. In this current phase, I’m am just practicing as I try out mediums, papers, sketchbooks, material, styles, etc. to see what I like best. My current goal is just to create and enjoy the process.
As with any new adventure, I like to take you along with me. In the previous posts about my art journey, I’ve shared how I got started (and how you can get started) and my favorite art supplies. Beyond those two topics, one thing I’m often asked about it is how I am teaching myself and what are some of my favorite online art courses.
That’s why I took the time to put together this extensive list of some of my favorite online art courses and online artists. This list includes things like YouTube, Instagram, Skillshare, and others. Not everything on this list is an official “course,” but I’ve used all of these avenues to learn and grow in my own practice, so I thought it was worth sharing them with you.
Let’s get into it!
Over the past couple of years, I’ve started following a handful of artists that I really love. Each of them is very unique and different in their approach to art, the mediums they use, how they create their videos, etc.
Not all of these YouTubers are “teachers,” but I’ve learned so much from watching their channels.
Pictured above: Sandi Hester – Bits of an Artist’s Life
It just helps to hear artists talk about things such as value, shapes, light and shadow, mediums, and substrates. I’m also a visual learner so it helps to see how they work with mediums and tackle subjects.
In no particular order, here are a few of my favorites:
Sandi Hester – Bits of an Artist’s Life
Acrylics, Mixed Media, Sketchbook
Sandi’s approach to art is pure magic and joy. Her art is loose, colorful, and just makes me happy. Not only are her videos educational, but they are also entertaining. Her videos may be the ones I look forward to the most and I am often smiling ear to ear while watching them. I’ve watched every video on her channel at least twice. I’ve learned so much!
Chris Fornataro – Paint Coach
Chris is an amazing source of information for oil painters. I believe he shares two videos a week that educate on the dos and don’ts of oil painting and seemingly endless helpful tips. His videos show him painting and putting these techniques to work.
Michael Chamberlain – Chamberlain Paintings
I just recently discovered Michael and have been obsessed with his channel. He mostly does plein air paintings which I absolutely love and in which I have developed an interest. I love his loose style, beautiful colors, and attention to light and shadow.
Kim Myers Smith
I mostly follow Kim via her Instagram channel. Every Wednesday morning she goes live and does a real-time painting for an hour. I love it! I am mentioning her here because, like Renee Mueller, she uploads these lives to her YouTube channel. It’s a great way to watch if you missed the live.
Oil and Digital
Alai is new to YouTube. I couldn’t be more excited that she decided to launch a channel. I have been following her on Instagram for quite some time and I’m obsessed with her work. Her use of color is amazing. I also love her channel because she’s been sharing how she uses the app ArtRage to create digital art.
Mixed Media and Sketchbook
What I love about Melanie is her work in her sketchbook and her plein air adventures. She is a very talented illustrator and it’s great to see how that translates in her personal work.
Susan Jenkins – Monet Cafe
I really haven’t painted with soft pastels, but I think they are such a beautiful medium. Susan walks viewers through her process and shares helpful ideas for working with soft pastels.
Gouache and Watercolor
James is a very talented painter. It’s a joy to watch how he works. I especially love his plein art videos and the magic he can create with a limited color palette.
Ian is a well-known artist that has written a couple of books about the subject. His channel is very educational in learning about the fundamentals of what makes a good painting. He provides valuable insight into things like composition, value, color, etc.
Books by Ian Roberts:
- Mastering Composition
- Creative Authenticity: 16 Principle to Clarify and Deepen your Artistic Vision
I have taken a couple of courses with Renee (more on that below) and just love her spirit, style, and brush marks. I am part of her Facebook group where she shares weekly live videos with painting advice, tips, etc. She uploads these videos to YouTube in case you miss the live program.
Other YouTube Artists to Follow:
There are a few other channels that I follow, but not as religiously. Like the Youtubers already mentioned, these people are amazingly talented, so I thought they were worth mentioning if you’re looking for more artists to follow. Their Youtube channels are definitely worth checking out as well.
Mixed Media, Studio Vlogs
Sarah Burns Studio
Acrylic, Mixed Media
Cost: $9.99 a month
If you’re looking to invest a relativity small amount into online art courses, I highly recommend Skillshare. There are thousands of classes and it only costs $9.99 a month. Not only can you learn art, but you can take courses on public speaking, photography, building confidence, graphic design, productivity, etc.
If you put in the time and effort and take even one class a month, this is an amazing value. To me, this is more valuable than any other subscription you can buy. Plus, they also offer a free 14-day trial. It’s the best.
I have been taking a few in-person art courses so I have not set aside the time to dive into Skillshare art lessons, but I will be taking a course or two when my in-person courses are finished. I have about a dozen saved classes. I will be certain to update this post with the classes I found the most enjoyable and beneficial.
INDEPENDENT Online Art Courses:
This is one of my favorite sites for top-notch online art courses. Jeanne has collaborated with some of the best artists to provide courses for almost every medium and style. I have purchased seven courses and have loved every one.
Tip: Pay attention because once or twice a year Jeanne offers 50% off her courses. That’s a great time to buy!
Renee Mueller Art
Renee is one of my favorite creatives. I’ve taken a few of her classes via Jeanne Oliver, but she also offers classes on her own website. There are even a few free lessons!
Paint Coach – Foundations of Oil Painting
After watching his YouTube videos, I can tell that Chris is truly a great teacher. He offers a Foundations of Oil Painting course. I have not taken the course myself, but it’s something I would recommend for any beginning oil painter. I also believe he offers the color mixing lesson of this course for free. You could take this lesson first to see if you enjoy his teaching style.
Chris has also teased that he will be launching a drawing course in the near future. I think this will be another worthwhile course if you need to work on your drawing skills.
I just love Debbie’s art style and the way she paints flowers. This fall she is offering a course called Habit-Forming Flowers which I believe she has taught before. I’ve already signed up for this class and look forward to it with anticipation!
Haidee-Jo doesn’t have a class per se, but she does offer two videos of her painting. I own both and love them equally. I have learned so much just from watching her paint and hear her talk about why she’s doing certain things, how she chooses her subjects, etc.
Books by Haidee-Jo Summers:
Kim Myers Smith
I mentioned Kim above. She also has an online course called Art in Bloom. This is another course I really want to take. I believe she will be opening the course for enrollment this fall.
Marian Parsons (Miss Mustard Seed)
Marian is an all around powerhouse of talent. During the pandemic she taught live oil painting classes. (I added several.) Since then, she has made those classes (and more) available on her website.
I have recently discovered some painting and creative-related podcasts that I really love. Again, I find it so helpful and encouraging to hear about other artists’ journeys, how they got started, how they use their mediums, and so much more. I mostly listen to these on my daily walks or while I’m driving.
Pictured above: The Creative Exponent Podcast
I’m not going to give a full description of each of these podcasts, but I do recommend checking them out, listening to a few episodes, and determining if you like them. While some of these podcasts have great episodes every time, others can be a hit or miss depending on the guest, etc. Therefore, I recommend listening to a few episodes before making a final decision.
The amount of art inspiration and education on Instagram feels virtually endless. There are dozens of artists I enjoy following on Instagram. While I would love to list them all, I’m going to limit my list to some of my favorites. Some of these are repeats from above. I’m listing them again here as I enjoy following them on multiple platforms and since the content is not always the same.
Generally speaking, Instagram just serves as a source of inspiration versus a place for painting tutorials. However, there can be some educational elements especially in Stories, Reels, IGTV or Lives.
Again, I’m not going to describe each of these artists/creatives in detail. I have linked them all, so click on through and see if you enjoy their content.
Also, if you’re not following me on Instagram, you can find me at @inspiredbycharm. Not only do I share my own art practice, but I’m often sharing other artists and their work that inspires me.
Sandi Hester – @sandigrady1
Kim Myers Smith – @kimmyerssmith
Alai – @alaiganuza
Erika Stearly – @erika_stearly
Haidee Jo Sumers – @haideejosummers
Debbie Miller – @debbierosemiller
Michelle (Mish) Wooderson – @mishwooderson
Kathie Odom – @kathieoart
Emma Carlisle – @emmacarlisle_
Marian Parsons – @missmustardseed
Shaunna Parker – @shaunnaparkerstudio
Teddi Parker – @teddiparkerart
THE END: My Favorite Online Art Courses
Phew! That was a ton of information. I hope that this is more than enough online art courses and artist resources to get you started painting and keep you painting for years to come.
I tried really hard to provide you with a surplus of resources. I hope that it doesn’t feel overwhelming. If it does, just take it one piece at a time. Find one artist to love, find one medium to explore, and take it from there.
As with the other posts in my art series, know that I will continually update this post with new and relevant information to help you along on your art journey.
You can check out the posts below for even more information.
Happy Art Making!