Drawing Lessons Online for Beginners

Artist drawing on an easel.
Cecilie_Arcurs / Getty Images

The famous French artist Ingres once said, “Don’t think about painting until you’ve mastered the art of drawing.” If you want to be an artist of any kind, you’ll be best served if you start with those words in mind. Luckily, learning how to draw isn’t difficult, especially with convenient online lessons.

Finding an Online Class

Once you have committed to learning how to draw, you need to figure out where you’ll get your knowledge.

There are a bunch of free online drawing lesson outlets in the world, though you might want to invest in a paid class to gain access to higher-level instructors and techniques. YouTube, blogs, and Instagram all have platforms for people to offer drawing pointers. Some free options to consider include:

  • Drawing Tutorials and Lessons, SchaeferArt (YouTube): This YouTube playlist of 28 videos was designed to help beginners improve their drawing over time. Topics include a tutorial on proportions, how to find your drawing style, and how to draw a portrait sketch.
  • Free Drawing Lessons for Beginners, KlineStudios: Instructor John C. Kline has training from the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and years of working as a professional artist. This series of videos aims to give a newbie a core foundation for two-dimensional works.
  • Drawing Lessons for Beginners, Art of Wei (YouTube): This series of 24 videos is for anyone who wants to learn how to draw with just a pencil and paper. It starts with a primer on the best pencils for drawing and explains to drawing basics such as spheres and cups to portraits of Marilyn Monroe.
  • How to Draw: Free Beginner's Course, Rapid Fire Art: Beginners can learn from this drawing course consisting of 10 lessons grouped into five levels. Tutorials include an introduction to linear perspective, drawing with accurate proportions and how to shade.

If you're interested in paying for an online drawing class, take a look at these courses:

Gather Your Materials

The first thing you need to consider when embarking on your drawing journey is your art supplies. When you’re a beginner, you can get away with basic paper and pencils. As you advance, however, you’re going to need some nicer supplies in order to make better drawings. Don’t go wasting your high-quality paper on practice, though; save the good stuff for your finished pieces.

There are various thicknesses and hardness of pencils. “H” denotes hardness, “B” denotes softness, and the numbers indicate the thickness of the line. Pick something in the middle to start. Once you’re sure you like drawing, then you can invest in various types of pencils—you might even try charcoal or ink!

Choose materials you’re comfortable using and working with. Don’t break the bank at any point in your learning process; if you buy stuff that is too expensive, you’ll be scared to use it for practice.

Listen to Feedback

One of the best ways to grow as an artist is to ask for other artists’ opinions on your work. Open yourself up to criticism, and take in what other people tell you. You can share your art in a bunch of ways, including social media, Tumblr, Instagram, Facebook, as well as other small art websites that ask for art submissions. The more you put your work out there, the more perspective you’ll have on what you are and aren't doing right.

Sharing your drawings is also good practice for building potential clients if professional art commissions are where you want to head with your craft.

Because online drawing lessons remove you from any situation where you have peers and a teacher to critique your work, you need to reach out and find a community that can offer you artistic feedback.