If you are thinking to start to draw life figure sketches, as a hobby or for a serious career, you may not be able to find a life drawing class near you. Or you might not be able to attend it, a lot of life drawing workshops are held at night, from 6 pm to 9 pm.
But do not despair! There are a lot of options for you to learn how to draw online, from the comfort and safety of your home.
The main advantage of learning life drawing online is that you can set your schedule, without having to spend any time commuting, and last but not least, these online life drawing classes are usually free.
There are a lot of options on the world wide web to choose from, but in this article, we only picked a few websites which we think we'll give you the best learning experience possible (outside a physical classroom).
SkillShare: Figure Drawing
We have mentioned this website before but let's dig a little deeper this time.
Skillshare is an online platform with more than 22,000 online classes, ranging from business to design, photography or writing.
This platform encourages learning by doing rather than just watching or listening. Each class is designed with a project or exercise for the student to complete.
Skillshare also encourages students to connect with each other through the online forum.
The figure drawing section of the website includes hundreds of videos adding up to thousands of hours of classes. The good thing is that there are videos for every level of students, from life drawing basics to a guide to drawing hands.
The website feature video using many different drawing materials, from graphite pencil and eraser to charcoal and drawing board or easel, you will be able to learn many different drawing techniques, from anatomical studies to classical pose and figurative portraiture, your sketchbook will be filled with amazing artwork.
The platform will also satisfy more advanced drawers and painters who wish to take up their games. A lot of the classes are dedicated to improving your gesture sketching, character design, fashion portrait drawing, foreshortening techniques or even comic characters.
The video art classes are done by professional artists, and each class displays the number of students that follow it, so you can see how popular, and more likely to be interesting, each class is.
The main downside of this website is that lessons will only be accessible if you subscribe to it, for a fee of course. But given the multitude of art classes that you can follow on this platform, it will be worth it in no time.
You will have one month of free trial to decide if this website is for you or not after which you will have to pay $15 a month or $99 for the whole year (which represents a %45 discount).
If you are looking at starting life drawing, learn how to use light and shadow in portraits or create pastel and watercolour figure drawing paintings, Skillshare is for you.
For those wishing to join a live life drawing lesson in London, have a look at our guide.
"Drawing is a form of probing. And the first generic impulse to draw derives from the human need to search, to plot points, to place things and to place oneself."
- John Peter Berger, English art critic, novelist, painter and poet
Line Of Action: Learn, Draw, Discuss
This website is aimed explicitly at self-taught artists who want to improve their techniques, extend their knowledge, and not fall into some bad habits.
The website is divided into three main sections.
- Learn: this section contains a lot of tips and lessons on how to improve your drawing skills and how to gain a better understanding of the human figure and anatomy.
- Draw: this section is probably the most exciting feature of the website. If you don't have access to life drawing classes or figure drawing classes, you can use this section to select models, nude or not, male or female, and the length of the poses you are looking for, and this will display a life figure model for you. If you have a giant TV screen or even better a projector, this will be the perfect substitute for a real figure drawing model.
- Discuss: this section is a forum for passionate artists to share their advanced techniques, drawing tips and stories. It is the perfect place to post questions on subjects that you don't master yet or on some methods that you are struggling with. The idea is that Line of Action is a community-based platform allowing its member to help each other by sharing their knowledge and experience.
This website is entirely free, but people can donate money towards the improvement of the platform if they wish to do so.
Currently, the website is looking into developing a membership program that would cost between $9.99 and $14.99 a month, but you could get a whole year membership for only £25 through their crowdfunding campaign.
"Drawing is the artist's most direct and spontaneous expression, a species of writing: it reveals, better than does painting, his true personality."
- Edgar Degas, French painter, sculptor and drawer
Love Life Drawing
Everything is in the name!
This website was created with the belief that life drawing should be "fun, accessible and expressive", and it encourages everyone to try life drawing.
The mini-course for beginners you can find on here is the perfect first step for anyone looking to get a foot in the world of figure drawing. It is divided into ten lessons, with videos and tips about every aspect of the basics of life drawing.
After completing this FREE course, you should be able to follow their video and articles which offer other aspects of life drawing, for more advanced artists.
The website also posts weekly podcasts which are perfect to keep your techniques up to date. If you fancy taking the next step in your life drawing journey by attending a real figure drawing class, the website also lists dozens of art classes and workshops across the UK.
Join the best drawing lessons London.
"Learning to draw is really a matter of learning to see - to see correctly - and that means a good deal more than merely looking with the eye."
- Kimon Nicolaides, Greek American art teacher, author and artist
The Royal Academy is a 250 years old institution that has championed art and artists and has extensive galleries through London where you will be able to admire the best life drawing pieces. They also boast one of the best art school in the country, and their website also offers #LifeDrawingLive.
This new way of studying and practising life drawing will make it easier for everyone living far away from any studios or art schools. All you need is the Internet and a computer. You could start a portrait or a sketch of an (almost) nude model who's posing hundreds of kilometres from you.
The 90 minutes long sessions can be joined at any point, for all or parts of it. The courses are guided by an instructor, and it usually starts with some quick poses before trying some longer poses to perfect your drawings.
Note that because these sessions are held on social media, they will not include fully nude models. So for any NSFP content, you will have to find a regular class.
"It is only by drawing often, drawing everything, drawing incessantly, that one fine day you discover, to your surprise, that you have rendered something in its true character."
- Camille Pissarro, Danish-French Impressionist and Neo-Impressionist
The New Masters Academy
This online art school aims to offer real art courses and lessons, to everyone, anywhere in the world, for only a fraction of the price that a typical art school would cost.
Based in the US, this website contains all the main subjects you'll need to learn to master the art of life drawing, from human anatomy to perspective and composition.
With hundreds of hours of video course with demonstration and animation, from professional and renowned artists, these classes will take you from beginner to working professionally in a few weeks.
With tons of useful features such as tutor coaching and full mobile access, this platform is beneficial if you are serious about getting in the art game.
You could also start learning the basics of sculpture or illustration, your creativity and imagination being the only limits.
We particularly like the 3D model library. This handy tool lets you choose between different models and poses that you can then visualise entirely in 3D, changing the angle of the camera, the lighting, the surrounding and the materials. Running directly in your browser, this feature does not require you to install anything else.
However, this top-notch online art school is not free. The premium membership, will cost you $44 and give you access to all the website's features, including:
- Unlimited learning from over 5,000 videos
- Watch on your computer, phone, tablet, or TV
- Access to the community forums
- Access to over 15,000 reference images
- Access to Lesson attachments
- Interactive 3D figure model gallery and viewer
So no excuse left. Get your pencil and paper and start sketching, your artistic career is only a few clicks away!