Best Online Watercolor Classes

The Watercolor College is our top overall pick

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Photo composite of a watercolor palette and different paintbrushes

The Spruce / Designed by Amelia Manley

Online watercolor classes provide instruction and inspiration for those who want to learn more about the medium. Whether it’s by pre-recorded video sessions or live instructor guidance, watercolor courses are available for beginners and advanced painters alike. Many watercolor courses guide you in selecting supplies, learning basic techniques, or help you hone your skills to paint specific things—like birds, flowers, or landscapes.

The best online watercolor class is one that fits your skill level and works for your schedule. Some classes are self-paced, giving you the opportunity to learn as quickly as you’d like or to spend more time practicing before moving onto the next section. However, these watercolor classes don’t provide the opportunity for instructor feedback or assistance. Live classes are a better match if you appreciate a more collaborative creative environment, but you’ll need to find a class that fits your schedule and register well in advance to avoid missing out since space is often limited. To recommend the best online watercolor classes, we scoped out the curriculum, evaluated the price, and sampled content from some of the most popular options.

Best Online Watercolor Classes of 2021

Best Overall: The Watercolor College

The Watercolor College

The Watercolor College

Why We Chose It: Move at your own pace through this video class and learn to paint simple elements that can be combined to create full-scale paintings. 

Pros
  • Instant access to all course modules

  • 50+ hours of video instruction

  • Monthly subscribers can cancel anytime

Cons
  • No lifetime course access

  • Lacks opportunity for instructor feedback

Whether you’re brand new to watercolor painting or are already familiar with the basics, Watercolor College can teach you something new. This self-paced online watercolor class consists of more than 50 hours of video instruction from a watercolor artist. The course is divided into three modules: Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced. Most students finish the class within a year, but this is up to you. 

One of the unique things about this watercolor class is the progressive approach to painting elements that can be combined into full paintings. For instance, in the Beginner module, students learn to paint tree trunks, followed by a simple tree, and then a grove of trees. In contrast to watercolor classes that teach you to paint a single scene, you’ll be equipped with the techniques needed to create more and more advanced paintings. 

If you already have experience with this medium but want a watercolor class that can help you continue progressing, a subscription to the Watercolor College provides instant access to the Intermediate or Advanced learning modules. The flexibility of the course gives you the option to focus your time and energies on the sections you’re most interested in learning or start at the beginning and progress through the entire course at your own pace. A monthly subscription cost of about $29 is required for continued enrollment in this watercolor class. While you don’t have lifetime access to the course once you cancel your subscription, you can watch the videos as often as you’d like as long as your subscription is active. 

Best for Beginners: Watercolor Workshop

Watercolor Workshop

Watercolor Workshop

Why We Chose It: This course provides the basics of watercolor in short, actionable video segments and teaches fundamentals plus techniques. The on-demand curriculum means that you can progress as quickly as you’d like on the path towards becoming a watercolor artist.

Pros
  • Instant access to all video lessons

  • Lifetime class access

  • Membership in private

  • Facebook group

Cons
  • No opportunity for instructor feedback

  • More expensive than some other pre-recorded courses

If you have an hour each week, you can learn watercolor painting with the help of the Watercolor Workshop. This course is specifically designed with beginner painters in mind, so there is no need to feel intimidated. A collection of more than 30 videos provides self-paced learning opportunities. If you have an hour every week to spend on your new hobby, you can progress through the entire Watercolor Workshop in just six weeks. 

The course is segmented into seven modules and progressively teaches you skills and techniques to progress from beginner to intermediate watercolor proficiency. In addition to the essential aspects of watercolor for beginners, like color mixing, shading, and light, or water usage, this course stands out for teaching students to use Photoshop for pattern making and how to digitize artwork. With a regular enrollment fee of roughly $235, it’s pricier than watercolor courses for beginners on popular video learning platforms like Udemy or Skillshare. However, the comprehensive nature of the course, plus access to a private Facebook group where learners can find encouragement and inspiration make the Watercolor Workshop a popular pick for beginners.

Best for Live Classes: The Art Studio NY

Watercolor Landscapes by Zaneena Nabeel

Watercolor Landscapes by Zaneena Nabeel

Why We Chose It: Benefit from expert instruction and feedback, along with a creative environment, when you sign up for live online watercolor classes from The Art Studio NY. 

Pros
  • Live instructor guidance and feedback

  • Capped enrollment

  • Request a recorded class if you miss a session

Cons
  • Availability may be limited by demand

Live online watercolor classes provide a unique opportunity for feedback and collaboration that doesn’t exist in pre-recorded video classes. If you’re looking for a more stimulating environment and help from an instructor, then consider taking a live online watercolor class from The Art Studio NY.

This highly-rated brick-and-mortar art studio offers online classes using Zoom video conferencing, which gives students anywhere the chance to benefit from expert-level instruction. The courses vary in focus and scope so you can find one that fits your interests and abilities. Choose from beginner, intermediate, and advanced watercolor classes with either a general focus or a specific area of interest—such as flowers, birds, or landscapes. 

Classes are typically held once a week, for four weeks. The cost of each course varies, but The Art Studio NY's online watercolor classes range between about $114 and $239. In addition, single-session workshops are also periodically offered.

Best for Landscapes: Watercolor Landscapes by Zaneena Nabeel

SkillShare

SkillShare

Why We Chose It: Learn essential elements of creating watercolor landscapes, focusing on aspects like the background, foreground, and sky before putting them together with four different landscape painting projects.

Pros
  • Playback each lesson as many times as necessary

  • Benefit from 8 practice sessions included

  • Watch offline with the Skillshare app

Cons
  • No opportunity for personalized instructor guidance

  • Requires a Skillshare subscription

Landscape paintings are a popular project for watercolor artists. However, getting the balance, proportion, and elements correct can be daunting if you’re still learning. The Watercolor Landscapes class by Zaneena Nabeel on Skillshare offers a simple, easy approach to painting landscapes. 

Accessible on the Skillshare platform, this online watercolor course consists of 18 lessons and 3.5 hours of video content. Video lessons focus on how to paint a sky, background and foreground composition, and practice sessions to help you put what you're learning into practice. Students will create four different landscape paintings by the end of this watercolor course. 

Skillshare offers a 14-day free trial but requires a monthly subscription of about $32 or an annual payment of roughly $167.88. In addition to this landscape watercolor class, you can take hundreds of other watercolor classes, since Skillshare provides unlimited streaming of its online courses.

Best for Kids: Simplified Classes Watercolor for Kids

Simplified Classes Watercolor for Kids

Simplified Classes Watercolor for Kids

Why We Chose It: The self-paced and engaging video lessons from Watercolor for Kids are expertly designed by a watercolor artist and mother of four to teach watercolor basics and provide plenty of opportunity for learning and creativity.  

Pros
  • Includes 20 bonus watercolor pages

  • 30-day satisfaction guarantee

  • Video sessions are 30 minutes or less

Cons
  • No preview of required supply list

  • No auxiliary or advanced classes available

Watercolor for Kids is designed to help children from six to twelve years old enjoy watercolor painting. Part of Simplified Classes by Emily Lex, this course was designed by Emily to capture the attention and interest of budding artists. Each video lesson is short and focuses on a single technique or project. For example, this watercolor course for kids teaches painting techniques, color mixing, and how to use the "wet on wet" method to create a whimsical flower painting. A bonus of 20 watercolor pages provides an extra opportunity for creativity and to apply the skills learned. 

At about $29, the course is an excellent value for introducing kids to watercolor. Plus, a 30-day satisfaction guarantee provides reassurance that the course will meet your expectations or you’ll receive a refund. 

Best With a Kit: Let’s Make Art Watercolor Subscription Box

Let’s Make Art Watercolor Subscription Box

Let’s Make Art Watercolor Subscription Box

Why We Chose It: This watercolor class equips you with basic supplies for watercolor art, plus provides four lessons each month to help you learn and grow as an artist.

Pros
  • Receive new projects and video tutorials each month

  • Monthly subscribers can pause or cancel any time

Cons
  • Must buy brushes separately

  • Videos are not available to watch offline

The Watercolor Subscription Box from Let’s Make Art takes a different approach to watercolor learning. Like other craft subscription boxes, this option takes the guesswork out of exploring watercolor and delivers supplies to your door each month for about $45. You’ll receive the supplies needed to complete four watercolor projects each month: eight sheets of watercolor paper, enough paint to complete each project twice, step-by-step instructions, and a project reference card. Every week of the month, a video tutorial for each project is released.

Take note that you will need to buy a few essential supplies separately, including paintbrushes and a palette. Let’s Make Art replenishes your art stash to complete each month’s projects, rather than filling your kit with supplies you might not need or want. You can easily add brushes and other starter supplies from the site’s online store and have them shipped with your box.

Best Free Class: Watercolor Jumpstart by Angela Fehr

Watercolor Jumpstart by Angela Fehr

Watercolor Jumpstart by Angela Fehr

Why We Chose It: Angela Fehr, an artist, and instructor, offers this self-paced, free online watercolor class to help beginners learn the basics. 

Pros
  • Self-paced video instruction on Teachable

  • Provides a complete list of supplies and materials

  • Access to additional resources on painting

Cons
  • Limited number of projects

  • No instructor engagement or student community

Take advantage of this free online course to learn more about basic watercolor techniques. Rather than focusing on completing a single project, the four-part video series provides an introduction to the art of watercolor painting. Angela Fehr guides students on choosing a wet-on-wet or wet-on-dry approach, the importance of selecting the right watercolor paper, and an overview on negative painting, landscape painting, and painting flowers. 

Complete the four video lessons as quickly or as slowly as your circumstances and learning ability permit. Assignments provide you the opportunity to apply what you’re learning, though the projects are limited in comparison with more comprehensive beginner watercolor classes. When you’ve finished this free class, you can learn more advanced watercolor techniques with enrollment in one of Angela Fehr’s other watercolor courses. 

Final Verdict

The right watercolor for you will depend on your skill level, schedule, and learning style. Self-paced courses are very popular, either on learning platforms like Skillshare or via the websites of individual instructors. However, these aren’t the best choice if you’re a procrastinator or are looking to get helpful feedback from an experienced artist. 

One of the most important things for beginning painters is to choose a course that will provide a fundamental understanding of basic watercolor techniques. Ideally, a course should also be able to help you grow as a painter. For these reasons, The Watercolor College is our top overall pick. Students can subscribe for about $29 a month, move from beginner to more advanced lessons as they’re ready, and cancel at any time.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Do You Learn in an Online Watercolor Class? 

If you enroll in an online watercolor class for beginners, you can expect to learn about what supplies to use and how to sketch or copy a design. Other essential aspects of painting, like basic brush strokes, color mixing, water usage, and how to paint simple items are also discussed in most courses. Watercolor classes for advanced techniques will provide more in-depth guidance on using negative space, shadows, blending, and more to create layered and realistic watercolor paintings. 

Are Online Watercolor Classes Good for Beginners?

Online watercolor classes for beginners are a great way to get started with this art medium. While it might sound daunting to learn watercolor at home, choosing a basic watercolor class that teaches the fundamentals can help students learn simple techniques that can be used for more advanced painting in the future. 

Many beginner watercolor classes are designed for people with no painting experience. You’ll receive guidance on what supplies you need to get started, along with instruction on how to hold and use the brush, mix paints on your color palette, and use printable designs for your painting (or learn to trace your own). There are both adult and children’s beginner watercolor classes available.

Are Online Watercolor Classes Expensive?

These classes fit the budget of any learner since free online watercolor classes and tutorials are widely available. However, many students choose to enroll in a paid watercolor class to benefit from the curriculum, instructor feedback, or live class interaction. On average, watercolor classes cost between $25 and $200, depending on the scope of the class and number of sessions. Video watercolor courses are usually less expensive than live, instructor-led courses.

What Do I Need to Take an Online Watercolor Class?

Most online watercolor classes will suggest a supply list, either before the class begins or it will be discussed in detail during the first lesson. However, a basic list of supplies for watercolor usually includes:

Methodology

To find the best watercolor classes, we looked at more than 20 options for online learning that include both live sessions and pre-recorded video courses. Each course was evaluated based on the subject matter, opportunity for practice and projects, cost, availability, and learning platform. Some students may prefer a self-paced course, while others might benefit from the feedback and assistance of a live instructor. We included both free and paid online watercolor classes in our search and looked for options that fit a range of budgets and learning levels. All of our picks help students learn specific aspects of watercolor, rather than focusing on an "open practice" learning environment.

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