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How to Teach Yourself to Draw: Cheap Classes that Work

We all draw as kids. We take art classes in school, make cards for our parents around the holidays, and go to summer camps where we’re forced to be inspired by nature. But, at some point, we start doing other things. We take science classes, learn how to run a business, and get “serious” about our lives. Drawing falls away. It’s really a shame given how much fun drawing can be. And, there are some amazing and cheap classes online that can take you from a beginning to advanced artist in a short amount of time. If you’ve found this post, it’s time to pick up your pencil again and teach yourself how to draw.

  1. Learn to Draw: Daily Practices to Improve Your Drawing Skills by Gabrielle Brickey
  2. Introduction to Character Design: The Most Important Elements with Tom Bancroft
  3. The Ultimate Drawing Class – Beginner to Advanced by Jaysen Batchelor 
  4. Form and Space – 3D Drawing and Perspective by Brent Eviston
  5. Botanical Line Drawing by Peggy Dean
  6. Mitch Leeuwe’s eBook Bundle
  7. Drawing Comics: A Beginner’s Guide by Ira Marcks
  8. The Ultimate Drawing Masterclass: Start Drawing Better Today by Kevin Gardin and Video School Online

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may earn a commission if you decide to purchase through my links.

Each of these classes either has a low one-time cost, or can be accessed within a library of classes for a low monthly fee (with a free trial, you can take them for $0)! These prices are a steal given the experts you’ll have access to and the lifelong drawing skills you’ll gain. All of these classes have previews, so feel free to click on the links to dig deeper into what they offer and even try one of the lessons. Can you teach yourself to draw? With these classes, the answer is “yes.” Let’s dive in.

Why Classes are my Top Choice for Learning How to Draw

Even if we hated school when we were growing up, it’s something that we spent A LOT of time getting used to throughout our educations. Like it or not, it’s an engrained routine. 

But, there’s a difference between taking required classes as a teenager and taking optional classes as an adult. When you make the choice to attend a class about a skill you actually want to learn, its a game changer. Suddenly, finding every way to dodge the lessons and fight your boredom doesn’t seem to matter anymore. You actually want to be there. You actually want to learn. 

There’s also another important distinction between the classes we took through our schooling and the classes we choose to take now for fun. The classes that are available to us to take for fun, like the drawing classes we’re about to talk about, are really entertaining. You won’t find any droning lectures here.

The creators of these classes know how to keep students engaged. Everything you see is very actionable and broken down into bite sized pieces that are quick and easy to consume.

Especially when you’re first starting out with your drawing skills, you’ll want a good guide to show you what to work on and how to progress. Learning how to draw can be a lot of fun, but it can also be really challenging. By taking a structured class, you can combat a lot of those nagging feelings to simply throw away your pencil and give up. All you have to do is press play on that next video. Just take that next step.

Aside from the expert guidance you’ll get from taking a class, you’ll also get a sense of community, which can help motivate you through those tough times. Whenever you feel like you’re alone on your drawing journey, you can pop into the class and see how many other students are taking the class with you.

As you’ll notice from this list of classes, I LOVE Skillshare. I’ve used Skillshare to take a lot of foundational art classes that has made a huge difference in my art abilities. Some of the experts you’ll find on this platform, many of which we’re about to talk about, use their Skillshare classes to share a lot of the secrets they’ve learned to become as great as they are. I can’t say enough great things about Skillshare.

You can also see some of the projects that other students post, which can be a really fun way to stay motivated when working on your own projects.

If you can take an in person class at your local community college or rec center, that’s ideal. It’s really great to have a consistent class schedule to keep you accountable and to have an in-person community of artists to rely upon. That isn’t always realistic though, so we’re going to focus on online classes in this post.

Luckily, Skillshare offers a generous discount that’s a great deal for new Skillshare users.

1. Learn to Draw: Daily Practices to Improve Your Drawing Skills by Gabrielle Brickey

Check out this class HERE!

Gabrielle claims that drawing never came easily to her as a kid. Just like all of us reading this post, she wanted to teach herself how to draw and see how much she could improve through her own research and determination. 

Well, the results are nothing short of amazing. 

Gabrielle now has an enormous following as an artist and spends a lot of her time teaching other aspiring artists how they can learn the skills that she needed to improve her skills and become successful.

What I love about Gabrielle’s teaching style is that it comes from a very empathetic place. She wasn’t an artist that popped out of the womb with a pencil in her hand. Instead, she was in our shoes, struggling to figure out how she could turn her mediocre drawing skills into something great. 

If you take any of Gabrielle’s drawing classes you’ll be happy, but what I especially love about this class is that it’s extremely thorough and takes you step-by-step through every skill you need to master to improve your drawing skills.

You may look at some of the steps in her Skillshare class and think they’re boring. In reality, the foundational skills you need for drawing can be kinda boring. What isn’t boring is everything you can create once you’ve mastered these foundational skills. Luckily, Gabrielle doesn’t teach any of these traditionally “boring” skills in a boring way. 

There’s a good reason why Gabrielle is a top teacher on Skillshare’s platform. Take a look at the preview for her class HERE and see for yourself.

2. Introduction to Character Design: The Most Important Elements with Tom Bancroft

Check out this class HERE!

Uhhh, Tom Bancroft…did I read that correctly? Did I actually just watch a class done by THE Tom Bancroft. If you don’t know who Tom Bancroft is, you’re in for a great surprise. Tom is an artist who has worked for Disney on classics like Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King, Aladdin, and Mulan. He also worked on Veggietales, which is really cool if you’re a 90’s kid like me. Basically, Tom is a legend. And, you can actually take a class from him!

Tom Bancraft has a class on character design. Yes, you read that right.

The artist who designed some of your favorite Disney characters actually has a class that tells you the secrets of how he did that. If you’re interested in animation, designing characters, or cartooning, this class is a gold mine. Even if you aren’t interested in these types of art, there’s no doubt that you’re learning from a master, so even the basics he covers can be helpful across the board. 

Tom actually has a great series on character design, so if you like this Intro class, you can continue to learn from this expert artist.

3. The Ultimate Drawing Class – Beginner to Advanced by Jaysen Batchelor

Check out this class HERE!

Aspire. Accomplish. Udemy online courses start at $9.99.

If you want a start to finish, here is everything you need to take your drawing skills to the next level type of class, here it is. This class has over 11 hours of content broken up into over 60 separate lectures guiding you from beginning drawer to advanced drawer. 

This class is actually offered on Udemy and is taught by Jaysen Batchelor, an artist who got his professional start with animation when he was only 17 years old. At the time, he didn’t even know how to use digital software, let alone the software that professional animators used. He got his animation job solely through his ability to draw. And now he’s teaching others those same drawing skills.

In this class, you’ll cover everything from basic lines to character development. You’ll learn about shading and value, how to draw things in perspective, the secret to drawing textures, shaping the face and human body, and more. Yes, this class is CRAZY extensive. 

I highly recommend Jaysen’s class as a great way to immerse yourself into the skills you need to learn to draw. 

As I mentioned, this class is offered on Udemy, which means that you pay per class. It’s not like Skillshare where you get unlimited access to all of their classes for a monthly subscription price. This is why I tend to prefer Skillshare. The quality of classes is just as good and you’re free to start and stop your subscription as needed. 

That said, Udemy has a lot of sales, so it’s worth it to wait until there’s a sale. If you don’t want to wait though, Jaysen’s class is inexpensive given all of the value you’re getting. So, if you’re interested in this class, just go for it and get started! Udemy has a sale going on almost all of the time though, so check out their site and see what deals they’re currently offering.

4. Form and Space – 3D Drawing and Perspective by Brent Eviston

Check out this class HERE!

This class sounds specific, but it’s a HUGE topic. And a really important one too. If you can learn how to successfully draw in three dimensions, you’ll skyrocket your drawing skills and open up a whole world of realistic drawing opportunities for yourself. 

Once you understand how to draw things in perspective, with the proper sizing, and in the correct orientation, you’ll have mastered one of the trickier skills that you’ll face in your drawing journey. Everyone has their own unique struggles, but this is a fairly common one. 

This Form and Space class is actually a part of a series called “The Art and Science of Drawing.” All of the classes in this series are fantastic and, together, are a really comprehensive deep dive into the drawing skills you need to know.

This series of drawing classes is taught by Brent Eviston, a professional artist who has a long resume of classes and awards. Brent definitely knows what he’s doing. His drawing series is offered on Skillshare, so you can access all of them for free with their free trial deal.

5. Botanical Line Drawing by Peggy Dean

Check out this class HERE!

Peggy Dean is another artist I’ve been following for a while given her adorable and unique style. Her art is just so relaxing and fun to look at. Peggy is a master at drawing simple botanicals. Flowers, trees, shrubs, grasses, and more. If it’s botanical in nature, Peggy has it covered.

Granted, she’s skilled in a lot of areas, but her botanical designs are what I’ve always enjoyed the most. 

If you’re interested in line art, especially with pen and ink, Peggy’s classes are GREAT choices. I would personally start with her botanical line drawing class and then move through her other classes from there. 

What I really love about Peggy’s style is that it’s really simple, yet really beautiful. This is something I’ve always been awful at. When I draw a flower, I obsess over every tiny dot of pollen and curve of the petals. When I see something complicated, I just can’t get my brain to simplify it. Not in a way that looks nice, at least. 

I’ve learned a lot from Peggy about how to turn my complicated reference images into simple drawings. It might sound strange, but it’s actually really hard to do. In her classes, Peggy breaks things down in a really digestible and actionable way that’s easy to follow. 

If you like her style and struggle with simple line designs, this is the class for you! 

6. Mitch Leeuwe’s eBook Bundle

Check out Mitch’s art bundles HERE!

I am constantly in awe of Mitch Leeuwe’s Instagram feed. It seems like every day he’s creating a tutorial on an important element of drawing. What amazes me is how thoroughly he can dive into each of these elements and seem to explain them with just one canvas of art and a simple post description.

Mitch is REALLY good at what he does.

Animals, characters, anatomy, perspective, scenes, the list of things that he has mastered in his drawing and become skilled at teaching others can go on for pages and pages. Take a look at his work and you’ll see what I mean. 

Mitch works primarily in cartoons, but he builds these cartoons using extensive knowledge of real-world principles such as depth, perspective, composition, and anatomy. Studying the concepts he teaches has helped me a lot with both my cartoons and my realistic works. No matter what you’re trying to draw, you’ll get a really strong foundation following Mitch’s teachings. 

There are a couple of ways to learn from Mitch. The free way is to follow him on Instagram and scroll through his feed. For a low cost option, subscribe to Mitch’s Patreon account and get access to tutorials for as long as you’re a subscriber. If you want the best bang for your buck, grab all of Mitch’s teaching through his ebook bundle. The price is an absolute steal for all of the knowledge you’ll be getting. This bundle comes with over 12 hours of video content, giving you a great step-by-step way to learn all of Mitch’s drawing secrets.

7. Drawing Comics: A Beginner’s Guide by Ira Marcks

Check out this class HERE!

Even if you weren’t a comic book fanatic as a kid, all of us have had that moment reading the Sunday comics when we dreamed of what life as a comic artist must be like. I doubt it’s as glamorous as our childhood dreams led us to believe, but we can at least indulge in the fun part of comics to improve our drawing skills. 

No matter what you’re drawing, storytelling is a huge component of every piece of art you make.

At the end of the day, art is meant to inspire, motivate, empathize, empower, and so much more. Even if our art doesn’t have a beginning, a middle, and an end, it has a story to tell and an emotion it wants to bring forth in its viewer. Knowing how to evoke this emotion from your audience is a really important skill for creating art that serves the purpose you intend it to. 

Drawing comics is a really good way to practice storytelling with your art. With traditional art, it can be easy to push the storytelling aside and just focus on the techniques you’re using. Well, you have no choice but to pay attention to the story when you’re making a comic. If you don’t, you won’t have much of a comic at the end of the day. Working on these storytelling skills can carry over to the rest of your art and help you always pay attention to the message you’re trying to convey to your audience through your art.

This beginning comics class on Skillshare will give you all of the fundamental skills you’ll need to draw your first comic. Ira Marcks will be your guide through this class, and a great guide he is! Ira is a cartoonist and author who has published a number of graphic novels, comics, and illustrated books. 

What I love about this class is that it’s really fun and fast paced. Spread over 22 lessons, this 2 hour course covers all of the essentials of comic book art without overwhelming you with details. Ira’s art style is really fun and his teaching style matches that. This is a really enjoyable class that will not only grow your skills, but will be fun to complete.

8. The Ultimate Drawing Masterclass: Start Drawing Better Today by Kevin Gardin and Video School Online

Check out this class HERE!

Aspire. Accomplish. Udemy online courses start at $9.99.

Like the other class on this list with “ultimate” in the title, this class has A LOT going on. Kevin Gardin’s mission when creating this class was for it to be the only class you would need to become a pro drawer. That’s a pretty high expectation, but there’s no doubt that you’ll learn a boat load after taking this. 

When you buy this class, you get 126 lessons, which adds up to almost 27 hours of content. A boat load? Yes, a boat load. 

You’ll cover everything from shading to textures, figure drawing to face composition, and landscapes to perspective. Plus, more! In 27 hours, don’t worry, you’ll cover a lot. 

Yes, I love how thorough and extensive this course is, but that’s not why I choose it for this list. What I REALLY love about this course is their mission to help students draw from their imaginations. Drawing from imagination is really hard to do. It requires ingrained knowledge of a lot of technical skills without ever relying on references. 

A lot of hobby artists don’t get to the point of being able to draw from their imaginations very well. The challenge of it can feel baffling, but the biggest reason for it is skipping through the fundamentals after only getting a loose grasp on them and moving on to more advanced techniques. Fundamentals aren’t super sexy, so a lot of us want to understand them as quickly as possible and move on. 

As Gardin explains, you need to know your drawing fundamentals backwards and forwards in order to use them when drawing from your imagination. The primary focus of his class is to do just that. By the end of the class, Gardin wants you to know your fundamentals so well that drawing from your imagination is attainable for you. 

This course is offered on Udemy so, similar to our other Udemy recommendation, you may want to check if there is a sale going on when you click the “buy” button. Regardless, this class is worth the money whether there’s a sale or not, so go ahead and buy it and get started.

Alright, so this list of 8 classes is a great place to start when you’re looking for ways to teach yourself to draw. If you were to go through the entire list, you would be busy for a LONG time and have enough resources to get a really strong grip on your drawing skills. There’s an important caveat though, which we’ll talk about next.

Finish a Class!

So many of us fall into the trap of buying a class and then letting it sit there. We might look at a few lessons here and there but, overtime, it kind of slips away. The biggest reason for this is because the excitement has worn off and we realize that we’re in for some hard work.

These classes are amazing at guiding you step-by-step through learning drawing skills, but that doesn’t mean they can do all of the hard work for you. Even with the best guidance, you’re still going to have to put in some elbow grease to make sure that you learn what you need to know. 

Fight through the challenges and make sure to finish your class.

These classes are only as beneficial as you make them to be. Do the hard work to get through every single lesson and finish the classes that you started. If you don’t, you’ll be letting a lot of your drawing potential slip away. 

Work on the current lesson in your class until you’ve mastered it before you move on. If you make a routine of working on your drawing skills every single day, you’ll progress faster than you thought you would. Teaching yourself how to draw is totally doable. With these amazing classes to support you, your hard work is bound to pay off in the form of beautiful art. Get drawing!

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