The Best Online Resources for Artists Part Five

The Best Online Resources for Artists Part Five

the best online resources for visual artists part five


Each week I write a brand new article to support members of our three wonderful groups on Facebook, The Artists Exchange, The Artists Directory, and The Artist Hangout. This week we take a look at part five of this six part series of figuring out exactly where the best resources for artists can be found online. 

For part five I wanted to find resources that provide great tutorials and when I took a closer look at the resources I consistently use, I realised that there is literally too much to learn in a single lifetime. So this week I have focussed on a couple of areas and disciplines and each of the sites and channels will definitely help you to become an even better artist. No matter where you are in your artistic career there is always something new to discover and learn about when it comes to the arts. 

Education and specifically arts education isn’t something that you just give up on once you are done with a course or a program, it’s a life-long pursuit of knowledge and even more so when you are a professional artist.

With a growing number of artists sharing their experience online there is no excuse to not be able to up your art education level. For a working artist though time is often the real barrier. Just having five minutes here and there to do the things you need to do in life away from art can be tricky. So when it comes to giving up even more of that time to you know, actually learn how to do stuff smarter, we are usually faced with juggling life’s other needs and balancing the need to produce art to keep the bills paid. It’s often a real catch-22 because the more you learn, the easier it becomes to do what you do!

Where to start!

Honestly I had no idea when I started writing this where I would point you too to access online tutorials. The problem is that whilst you can find plenty of tutorials they mostly want you to sign up for something or to pay. That latter one is more difficult if you’re not sure whether a certain tutorial will help you in the first place. 

Some online resources will offer a trial period but the reality is that the good stuff will often be hiding behind a paywall, or the resources will tell you exactly how to replicate the artist giving the tutorial, as artists we should all be very different. We need to learn skills from tutorials but our artistic style has to come from within. 

There are also plenty of bad resources out there too, just last week I watched a video promising to cover a subject for it to be just a time-lapse video that didn’t even guide you through any of the stages. Another resource was chock full of marketing tips but it was last updated in 2007 and I swear it still had a link to Myspace. What gave it away was the strapline which said this site is optimised for Netscape and the information didn’t mention much about online marketing at all and even the comments section was years out of date. 

The other difficulty in finding good tutorials is that there are so many niches within the art world and some are better represented than others. There are plenty of tutorials about creating landscapes, but there’s very little online that covers some other artistic genres and topics. So where do you start when you want to find the best resources?

Creative Bloq…

I must admit to spending a lot of time on this site particularly if I want to see the new features in new versions of Photoshop being used. Creative Bloq which you can find right here, is one you may have stumbled across before. The owners of Creative Bloq are Future plc, a global multi-platform media company. The company connects to more than 120 million people worldwide with expert content and they do this through media and publications. 

There’s just so much content on the site it quickly becomes apparent that this is a site owned by a global company who have amassed a global following. There’s plenty of inspiration, advice, and news, but there are also lots and I mean lots, of tutorials. Visit the how to page for a glimpse into the world of online tutorials that they offer right here, and you will start to see what I mean!

The how to section is split into categories such as art, graphic design, illustration, web design, 3D modelling, and typography. Look even closer at the tutorials in each of those sections though and you will find that they range from quite simple tutorials on how to draw a dog, to some quite complex tutorials such as animation and much more. If ever I want to find out about new features in Photoshop, this is generally where I head over to. 

The tutorials range from text instruction to full step-by-step photos and videos. I have only ever come across a couple of tutorials where there are definitely easier ways to achieve this or that result, and on the whole every new visit should fill you with new ideas and skills. 

It really is one of those sites that if you have never heard of it, then you really need to see it. Well put together, consistent, and thankfully it is one of the easier ones to navigate around. 


art tutorials on YouTube


YouTube…

What can I say about YouTube? Well, it’s really difficult finding good quality art tutorials online that are free, so this really is where YouTube comes into its own. The problem is sorting out the good from the bad, and there’s plenty of bad stuff here. Thankfully there is plenty of great stuff too, it literally is a case of finding it. 

We’ll handle this one a little differently as everyone knows how to access YouTube, so I will point you towards some of the best channels and videos that go through different subjects, and artistic styles. 

Proko…

Video channels on YouTube particularly where they are updated regularly can often be fruitful in terms of finding great free learning resources and how-to explainer videos. One such channel with plenty going on is, Proko who has just over 952,000 subscribers and pretty much covers everything from shading, light form, and how to hold and control your pencil. It’s one I go back to for inspiration and it’s definitely worthy of hitting the subscribe button. You can find Proko’s channel on YouTube right here.  

Old Masters Academy & Web Art Academy…

The Old Masters Academy is another useful YouTube channel, sitting within the Web Art Academy, this time specialising in oil painting in the style of well, the Old Masters. You can find the channel right here

The Web Art Academy seem to release a couple of new videos each month, but there is plenty already online to keep you going. The joy of this channel is that it shows you how to paint like the Old Masters using modern materials. 

Bob Ross…

Bob Ross is one of life’s greatest legends. For some, his artistic style was something to be adored, for others not so much. Whether you like the works of Bob Ross or not that is kind of missing the point and I will explain why in a moment. Bob did more to encourage people to give art a go and he did this during a time when the gatekeepers to the art world were frantically trying to keep the doors bolted from the inside.

Last week I was intrigued by an article I read from an art dealer who said that Bob’s paintings were messy and amateurish and served no artistic purpose. That’s totally subjective and the reason it misses the point is that Bob was introducing people to art and he did this by breaking down the elitist barriers that were in place in the art world. 

Without Bob’s inspiration there would be way fewer artists making a living wage today from their work. Whether you like Bob’s art or not there is plenty of useful content within his programs that can benefit artists of any level, just to get a sense of how another artist breaks shape, form and colour down can be really useful in developing your own style. 

So I heartedly recommend that every artist takes in some if not all of Bob Ross’s programs right here, it’s a rite of passage!

Holly Exley…

Holly Exley is a professional illustrator who also makes videos about her life and she shares her splendid watercolour creations as well as offering up a number of tutorials. I could go on about how Holly’s work is always beautifully presented but to get a real sense of what her channel is about then head over to here

The Art of Aaron Blaise…

Most people I know, also know about my little secret obsession with Disney art. My collection grows every year and my wallet shrinks, so when I hear that a Disney artist has a YouTube channel I get a little more than excited. 

Aaron worked for more than 21-years with Disney and helped to create some of the greatest animated films ever made through the studios.  There’s plenty to keep you hooked and watching YouTube forever more, but I must admit to particularly liking his tutorials on creating fur. 

You can see Aaron right here.  

Xia Taptara…

Xia offers plenty of drawing and digital painting tutorials and has a long history of producing concept art particularly in films and video games and chances are you will have already seen some of Xia’s work. 

Choosing colours for light and shadows is a great one to get started with and you can find Xia’s channel right here.  

Brush boost...

This is another popular YouTube channel but one that you might not have come across if your niche sits outside of the subject matter. There are some particularly insightful tutorials around colour theory and creating characters, again this one lends itself better to digital art creatives, but there’s plenty to gain some inspiration from and traditional artists will learn something new too. 

You can find the channel right here.  

Sycra...

Sycra is another one of the more popular channels so again it is one you might have stumbled across, and especially if you are into creating digital art. Having said that the tutorials on understanding colour and value, choosing colours that work and use a painters wheel are great places to brush up on some of the most needed skills as an artist whatever your medium of choice. 

You can find Sycra’s channel right here.  

Jeff Watts...

Sometimes we need to listen to other artists talk and this is perhaps one of the best channels on YouTube as Jeff uploads round tables with other artists. Sometimes you need to understand critique and at other times you just need to get the sketchbook out. Here is a channel that will certainly feed any of those needs and you can find it right here.  

Tuts+...

Away from YouTube there is still a world of free tutorials and Tuts plus is a place where you will find some relatively easy to moderately more challenging resources around graphic design and illustration. Whether you want to learn about using Adobe Photoshop or just improve your general current skillset, this is a destination that offers a wide choice of learning materials and tutorials. 

You can visit Tuts+ right here.  

Arty Factory…

Arty Factory offers free art lessons for everyone. The aim is to share knowledge, understanding and experience of art to improve your artistic skills and increase your enjoyment in creating artworks. 

The latest lesson is still-life painting but there are plenty of other subjects too and there is an entire section on design lessons which cover subjects such as repeating patterns, and composition techniques. 

It’s a well laid out site with easy navigation and the resources are good. It’s a definite must do on your website visit list and you can find it right here.  


art resources and art education for artists


Adobe…

One of the questions I constantly get asked is “will you teach me to use Photoshop”, too which I usually reply “not a hope my friend”. There’s just too much to learn about Photoshop and no matter how many beginners’ guides anyone reads, it’s usually much better to watch some of the official tutorials from Adobe and then go away and have a play. For the more serious users or those who want to drill down into any Adobe product professionally then I can heartedly recommend the official Adobe courses offered through colleges and private training providers, but make sure the place of learning is offering official Adobe certification. 

Going to the source of the application particularly with something like Photoshop is a great place to start and thankfully you don’t have to sort out what might or might not be relevant to you. Everything is clearly labelled and falls either into the beginner category or the experienced category. My advice is that you stand well back from the experienced category until you have covered pretty much everything in the beginners category, and by doing this you will get a sense of the basic tools which knowledge of is needed by default in the advanced tutorials. 

The great thing about the Adobe site is that there is a strong and often vocal community too and even if you are using a competitors photo-editing programme, mostly the lessons here will give you an idea on how to use those other platforms too. A crop tool is generally a crop tool whichever platform you use. Although there will be some nuances between different programmes that perform this function, many of the competitor applications will mimic features from Photoshop. 

You can find the Photoshop tutorials from Adobe right here.  

Tutorials for Creative Cloud right here

Tutorials for Illustrator here.  

And you can find tutorials for Lightroom (both versions have different links but these are easy to find), right here.  

If you are an educator or you are interested in the resources that educators use, then take a look here.  

If there is a particular Adobe product then there is usually a corresponding tutorial section alongside a willing community who can also offer support, a quick search online will point you in the right direction. 

Study Time…

As I said earlier, time can be the real barrier to learning. There’s so much free content out there on the internet but also as I said earlier, not all of it is good. If you can find twenty-minutes each day to learn it is amazing just how much you can achieve and when you do learn new techniques and skills it saves even more time. 

You can never be too prepared as an artist, but taking that initial step to put aside some time each day will pay dividends as you progress. Whenever I meet new artists who want to study at one fine art school or another I am often minded to tell them that just because they attend doesn’t mean that the learning stops once they have completed their degree or whatever course it is that they are on. In more than thirty-years of being around the art world I can testify that a majority of learning about the arts comes not through a formal route, but from both experience and self-guided learning and that’s not always something that you could ever get from the formal arts education route. 

The formal route will give you a grounding, the foundations on which to build a career, the real learning starts when you start going it alone. 

Even those artists at the top of their career right now need to strive to continue this learning, otherwise as artists we can quickly stagnate, go out of vogue and if there’s one lesson I have learned over all of the years I have been doing this is, if you do stop, pause, or stagnate, you will quickly fade away. 

Be creative, have fun, and I’ll see you all next week with part six and it’s shaping up to be the best article this series!

About Mark…

I am an artist and blogger who specialises in abstracts, landscapes, and seascapes. My work is sold in more than 150 retail locations across the USA and Canada including The Great Frame Up, Framing and Art Centre, and Deck the Walls and you can also buy from Fine Art America or my Pixels site here: https://10-mark-taylor.pixels.com   

I also offer some works directly and these come signed with a certificate of authenticity. Please do get in touch if there are any pieces you are interested in owning, I also sell some of my original pieces through this route too! 

You can also follow me on Facebook at: https://facebook.com/beechhousemedia and on Twitter @beechhouseart

If you would like to support the upkeep of this site or just buying a coffee so I can keep on writing hopefully useful articles for you at https://gofundme.com/mark-Taylor-beechhouse-Media

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