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Giving (Free) Online Drawing Classes a Try

by Jean Van't Hul
July 9, 2014
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Figure Drawing with Kids using an online drawing class

This post contains affiliate links.My kids and I have been trying something new in drawing instruction recently—online drawing classes.

We’re giving Craftsy classes a try and I’ve been surprised at how helpful and inspiring we’ve found them.

Drawing with Kids Around the Table

The classes are meant for adults, not oriented specifically for kids at all (although who knows, maybe they’ll add some classes for children to their line-up down the road), but Maia (almost 9) sat with me to watch a few lessons and try them out. And Daphne (almost 5) joined us at the drawing table as always and, without any instruction, seemed to absorb what we were doing.

Again, I was surprised.

Free Online Drawing Class by Craftsy - Figure Drawing

We’ve been trying out one of their free mini classes—Figure Drawing: An Essential Guide—and haven’t completed the online lessons yet but have seen changes and improvements in all of our drawing already.

Jeans Figure Drawing of a Stuffed Monkey

I’m drawing again after years of not drawing (that’s definitely an improvement!).

Maia Drawing Mr Monkey

Maia is learning specific drawing techniques and her observation skills (which are so important for realistic drawing) are improving. Her confidence and pride are especially wonderful to see. About one of her figure drawings, she said, “This is the best drawing I’ve ever done!”

Figure Drawing with Kids

And Daphne has started drawing more realistically and with more detail just by sitting down at the table and drawing with us. She didn’t watch any of the lessons and we didn’t try to teach her. (Although I did talk to Maia a little about what we had just learned while Daphne was there…)

Watching the Craftsy Drawing Class Lessons

The drawing class is broken down into seven lessons and the lessons themselves are brief (10 to 20 minutes each). A good length for fitting in here and there as we could.

I thought the class was well done—the filming is professional and the steps are outlined thoroughly. There’s a materials list (although we just made do with what we had). The drawing instructor, Patricia Watwood, is a professional artist with an MFA from the New York Academy of Art and a long list of accolades under her belt.

Craftsy first came on my radar about a year ago—I was intrigued but busy and set the idea of online classes aside until recently when Craftsy contacted me about trying out a couple of their classes and sharing the experience on The Artful Parent.

Online Drawing Classes

So Maia and I have been watching a few of the figure drawing lessons and doing the drawing exercises, and also just doing more drawing, period.

For me, it’s been a chance to refresh/relearn drawing techniques and an excuse to actually draw again—something I’ve always enjoyed but was never amazing at.

Maias Figure Drawing

For Maia, it’s been a chance to draw with me, to sit down and do something together, and to learn some concrete drawing skills from a professional—different shading techniques, blocking-in, measuring proportions, etc.

And she’s been drawing a lot more since we started the lessons. They seem to have piqued her interest in drawing, given her something specific to practice, and the confidence to draw more of what she sees.

Online Drawing Classes - Kids Drawing Stuffed Animal

Daphne hasn’t watched a single lesson (so far) but her drawing has improved remarkably. I’m not even really sure why except that she’s doing what we’re doing—slowing down and really observing and drawing what we see. We’re talking about the shapes, the patterns, the colors, and the details while we work and that is bringing them to Daphne’s attention as well. I thought she’d do her own thing at the drawing table, but she’s joined right in.

Daphnes Figure Drawing from a Wood Model

I can’t tell you how much I’m loving this whole experience! And I want to keep doing it.

I have drawing books on my bookshelf—good ones—and I’ve even used them with my kids a bit—but as much as I love books, I think they are far from ideal for learning to do something like drawing.

Watching the online videos was quick and easy and yet we learned so much through watching the teacher demonstrate a drawing technique, listening to her talk about what she was doing, and trying it out ourselves during the lesson and afterward.

 

Online Drawing Classes - Sharing one with the kids

I never thought that I would turn to online video instruction (I’m not a TV or YouTube person) but I know that I’ll be trying out more of these Craftsy videos for myself and I can tell that Maia will, too, even though they are not children’s videos per se. (And I haven’t even told her yet that there are cooking and sewing and cake decorating classes!)

These online drawing classes are nice because you can watch and learn at your own pace, when and where it’s convenient.

That’s the case with all of the Craftsy classes, of course.

It’s even their guarantee and motto:

Watch classes on your own schedule: wherever, whenever you want.

Drawing with Kids

There are some free mini classes (like the figure drawing class we’ve been taking) and the others seem very reasonably priced.

What do you think? Would you give an online drawing class a try? Or another online instruction class?

If you want to try one of Craftsy’s FREE mini classes, they have 29 of them! Everything from drawing, photography, quilting, and knitting, to cooking the perfect pizza and painting a (real) cake!

I think we’re going to start working our way through the list!

This was a sponsored post; all opinions expressed are my own.

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