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Irish_2417 04-03-2009 12:08 PM

Online Art Courses...
Hello everyone,

I am currently looking at some online art courses and am wondering if anyone has tried any that were any good.

Background: While in High School, I took every single art course I could to strengthen my skills. I have not really drawn much since then and am now getting back into it in a MASSIVE way. What I would really love is to learn how to draw professionally. Learn color theory, anatomy, perspective, proportions etc... I can draw what I look at quite good but I lack the necessary skills to one day become a professional artist.

My overall goal is to create digital art as my background in the digital media is quite strong.

I do not desire to get a degree as I have a full time job and would like to keep it till the art thing takes off.

Here is one place I found that looks not bad. Anyone tried it out? http://www.drawingprofessor.com/lessons/index.html

Thanks for your input!

Bearlette 04-29-2009 11:57 PM

Re: Online Art Courses...
I just found an Atelier site for $150 a month with a month trial. http://classicalpalette.com/ What do you think?

joqua 04-30-2009 09:07 AM

Re: Online Art Courses...

Originally Posted by Bearlette
What do you think?

I think it's a great way for the artist (any artist) to make some extra money!


NateSnitzer 05-09-2009 03:54 AM

Re: Online Art Courses...

Originally Posted by joqua
I think it's a great way for the artist (any artist) to make some extra money!



I appreciate your opinion on the matter, sarcastic as it is, but with all things considered, $150 for an intensive art education is not a lot of money, especially with the time and effort I put in to develop the site, the software, and continually provide material support both with video demonstrations and tutorials for my students.

I stand on the work I invested in the site, I stand on my teaching, and I also realize that the education isn't for everyone either. Some students work better on their own without the environment, which this site is perfect for, and some students need the attention of a hovering eye over their shoulder in a live studio environment, which this education definitely is not for and I wouldn't recommend for them.

For this same reason I provide the money back. Some students do start, realize they can't keep up with it or don't like it, and they lose nothing for it.

So trust me when I say I don't make tons of extra money on this site, it helps me afford acouple extra tubes of paint a month and it keeps the students in the program motivated so they don't waste their time.

dsargent 05-22-2009 11:11 AM

Re: Online Art Courses...
You may also find http://www.artistsnetwork.tv useful as well. Here's a preview of one of the art instruction videos there:


You can get a 6-month membership and watch all of the videos, or just sign up for one at a time (depending on what medium you want to learn -- watercolors, pastels, etc.).

LordBishop08 05-22-2009 11:18 AM

Re: Online Art Courses...
You can also check out:

pumkin54 07-05-2009 08:10 PM

Re: Online Art Courses...
Cross-posted from a Soft Pastel thread (hope that's ok).

I recently bought the complete course of Virtual Art Academy, which I since have changed my mind about mostly because I didn't like the attitude of the course. Hard to explain.

But the warning I have to give is that if you end up wanting a refund, you must first:
1) Send them an email providing them with the URLs of another online downloadable art course that you found better.
2) They will then email you a second form that you have to fill out and then FAX to them. (Very fun and pita if you don't actually have a fax machine lying around.) This form requires you to explain (again) why you want a refund and answer a few other questions.

The refund form also has you sign multiple statements to the effect of "Yes, I have disposed of any printouts I made," "Yes, I deleted all files from my computer," "No, I didn't email these files to anybody else," etc. It then goes on to threaten that it has embedded all of the files with tracking software and they will know if we continue to use any of the documents after being issued a refund.

Also, I'd like to share that, in response to the URL's I provided of online courses I found better, I was emailed the following:
"Watercolorsecrets.net is an internet marketing business created by Paintbox Art Media Ltd. If you do a search on Google for "Bob Davies", you will find nothing (apart from websites created by Paintbox Art Media Ltd.) - no professional galleries, no professional group or solo exhibitions, no museum shows, no artists awards, and no independent reviews of the artist. This is not what you would expect from a professional artist, and more what you would expect to see from a purely marketing driven company whose main goal is profit. There are many of these types of businesses on the internet that all market themselves in a similar way, and that feature "artists" that when you do a search, do not seem to exist." ... It then goes on to tout the superiority of Barry John Raybould.

This website is limited in that it only covers two of the nine foundation building blocks of painting (process and drawing), and no information that is relevant to painting landscapes or still lifes. A search for Michael Britton on the internet reveals only one site (http://www.drawingsociety.com) that is not owned by his business. This is strange for a professional artist (no awards, no museum shows, no gallery representation), and suggests that the author's principle profession may be selling how to draw courses, and is not a series full time professional artist. Having said this the material does look useful for someone interesting in learning how to draw portraits and the drawings of are of reasonable quality. This website is good, but it will only show you how to draw, you still need all the other principles of painting (such as notan, composition, brushwork) in order to paint a good portrait. ... It then goes on to tout the superiority of Virtual Art Academy.

I actually found this response offensive because I've been a long-time visitor of Bob Davies' how-to-draw-and-paint.com website for a couple of years now and have watched many of his videos. He has a great personality, an authentic friendly manner, and is obviously skilled as a painter. It quickly becomes clear that his only purpose is to share what he's learned, and he deserves nothing but respect.

One other thing to note. The Virtual Art Academy does have videos and an online forum to accompany their course...for an additional fee. I find it ironic that they try to tear down other courses for being only after money and then require an extra $100 for the videos and $20 annually for access to the member forums after you've already bought the main course.

If you've read all of this, you'll maybe understand by now what I meant by "attitude" when I started this post. This same attitude I've just described is evident throughout the actual course text itself. It's not blatant, but it's definitely detectable to anybody sensitive to those things.

Just my $0.02 worth. And if you want a refund, please fax me the appropriate form.

b123 07-07-2009 05:18 PM

Re: Online Art Courses...
I apologize for the attitude you described -- you are quite justified in saying that, and I do sympathize with the difficulty of sending a fax for a refund. However I would however like to offer an explanation for this to clear up any misunderstanding.

When someone requests a refund (which almost never happens by the way), we request a little information. I understand it is a little trouble to send the fax and provide us with this information - this we realize and are not entirely happy about asking people to do it. However we were forced to do it, because unfortunately there were some people who took advantage of us and who had no intention of keeping the course (we know this was not the case with you).When we make a refund, the credit card company charges us about $30, so we make quite a loss on this.

Why we ask for information
The reason we ask for the information is so that we can do something about it! We do take all your needs to heart, and listen to each and every suggestion we receive! In your case you are a watercolor painter, and our brushwork course units did not show any watercolor examples. So you were quite justified in wanting those examples. Since you wrote to us two weeks ago, we have been working night and day to produce a watercolor version of the brushwork course units for people such as yourself whose primary interest is watercolor. Today we have just finished three new brushwork course units focusing on watercolor, and will release them free of charge for anyone who bought the brushwork courses. This is why we asked you those questions. By the way, we will happily give you a copy of these new course units if you would like us to (free of charge).

Bob Davies courses
I agree with you, the response was offensive, and was too strong. My apologies to you and to Bob. Bob Davies is I am sure a very nice person. But as a teacher and an artist I feel duty bound to give every student of mine the best advice I can for how to learn and become better, even if it might seem harsh advice. I really want to help people become better painters, and that is my priority. If I did not do that, I would feel I was letting them down. Sometimes it is very hard for me to do what I think is right for the student.

I don't write these courses for the money, but unfortunately the people who work to produce these materials have to eat and will not work for nothing. To put together a quality learning program takes a tremendous amount of effort. It is not a simple job - we have to pay for desktop publishing, internet design, website hosting, advertizing, server software, and helping customers who are writing to us all the time. We are not a big company. There is only me and one person who helps me and answers all your emails.

And finally, I take no credit for the course materials I wrote. I am merely passing down the knowledge I have learned from my teachers, and from many of the great master painters throughout the centuries. Credit for the content of the courses I wrote is due to them, not to me. I merely put it down in an organized way so that it is accessible to people who want to learn.

Once again, I would like to offer my most sincere apologies for any misunderstanding. It was not intentional.

best regards

indigoart 08-22-2009 08:54 PM

Re: Online Art Courses...

I just came across this topic and thought I'd share a point of view as someone with no dog in this fight.

You seem like a sincere person who is responsive and thoughtful and like someone who is trying to the right thing (never easy in the business world). However, a couple of points if I may...

I understand your desire to protect your intellectual property rights (I was in software development for years so I completely understand how frustrating it is to see your digital work stolen in any form), but it is very important to not become so protective as to drive away your customers. I'm not sure if you are old enough to remember the days of software "protection" schemes such as hardware doggles, key discs, and code wheels needed to use a software product. Over time we learned to drop these devices...they did protect us to some degree (of course people always find a way around such things if they want to bad enough) but they just tended to drive away legitimate customers so in the end we had to rely on serial numbers and online verification (both of which are easlily broken by people who don't want to pay) and learn to accept a certain amount of piracy and build it into our business plans. It's a fine line to walk I realize.

As for requiring your customers to explain their reasons twice, I would definitely re-think that policy because that will drive almost any customer crazy. Kind of like when you spend 10 minutes typing your information into your phone on a cable tv service call and then as soon as the operator picks up they ask you to repeat exactly the same information!

As for the fax, that is also going to be tremendously inconvenient for most people who don't work in an office. It means a trip to Kinkos or somewhere similar and money spent doing so. Could you consider providing your customers with a pdf they could fill out and return? That might solve the problem. If you are looking for them to sign something for your protection I understand, but as with asking your customers to sign something saying they disposed of the product, etc. while that may provide you with some legal protections in reality are you going to go the time and expense to pursue legal efforts against someone? Remember, no matter what you do there will always be scammers trying to rip you off, and many will gladly fill out the forms and fax them in and then keep and use your product anyway.

In closing let me make give you one additional point to ponder. A friend of mine who is an executive at Walt Disney World (where they know a thing or two about customer service) once told me the problem with dissatisfied customers is that 95% never tell you they are dissatisfied, they just tell about everyone else they meet how much they don't like your product or customer service. That is why Disney emphasizes getting it right the first time...in most cases you don't get the chance to offer what Disney calls "service recovery". For example, if someone had told me about your return policy in person (where of course I would not have seen your response) I would be very reluctant to purchase your product, even if I were tempted to do so.

I hope you take this in the spirit in which it is intended. You seem like a nice guy and I just thought I'd offer my thoughts to maybe help you see things from another's perspective. Take it with a grain of salt if you'd like. Good luck and I wish you every success!


Donna13 08-31-2009 10:32 AM

Re: Online Art Courses...
I'm about to purchase the complete Virtual Art Academy course. In fact, I'm going to purchase it right after I get home from work today. I did a complete due diligence of on line courses & as for me, Virtual Art Academy has come out on top. During my research I e-mailed my questions to each site (where I was given that option) & I have to say that I got the quickest response from Virtual Art Academy. I have read the comments here about the refund process & I also have read the response from Barry John Raybould. His willingness to take his customers criticism to heart & work to make improvements goes a very long way with me. Will his program be a good fit for everyone that orders it? Probably not, but the fact that he offers a refund & does actually return the money is a major plus. I know having to fill out paperwork & fax it in can be an inconvenience but unfortunately, it is also a neccessity. I'm glad that I was able to research quite a few on line courses before I made my decision & I'm looking forward to receiving my Virtual Art Academy courses. I'm confident that I will be very happy with them.

b123 09-22-2009 04:50 PM

Re: Online Art Courses...

Originally Posted by indigoart

You seem like a sincere person who is responsive and thoughtful and like someone who is trying to the right thing (never easy in the business world). However, a couple of points if I may...
I hope you take this in the spirit in which it is intended. You seem like a nice guy and I just thought I'd offer my thoughts to maybe help you see things from another's perspective. Take it with a grain of salt if you'd like. Good luck and I wish you every success!


Hi John,
Thank you so much for taking the trouble to respond to me -- it was very much appreciated. I think you have made a couple of excellent points and fully agree with you. I have implemented your suggestions and changed our policy so that there is no requirement to send in any forms.
Thank you once again for your kind help!
Barry :)

Sulla 11-21-2009 02:10 PM

Re: Online Art Courses...
Hi Irish I am working on a free online art course / school you are welcome to look at. It is still rough but has lots of information and resources. Including a large free library of art books. And I am just about to start adding videos to go along with the written part of the course. You can find the course here http://www.artphotofilm.com/forum/in...;page=page4719

Here is a quick overview. The course builds on the basics in a logical order. For example it starts out with learning to hold your pencil / brush etc and then builds with learning control. And then perspective, shading etc etc. Always trying to build on what you have already learned. Then later parts of the course will get into painting both digital and traditional. It will also include sections on illustration, concept art, comic art etc etc.

And as for the styles besides realism I try not to be dogmatic. There are many ways of doing art. And after you master your core skills you have to find the way that is best for you.

Any way hope it helps if not at least you have not wasted any money:)

Briar Rose 11-26-2009 11:51 AM

Re: Online Art Courses...
If you are disciplined, and would rather put all that money into art supplies you could try this;

figure drawing;

get one of those wooden models, draw form one of those

take some pictures of figures, print them out, enlarge the sizes
(print shops with big machine can do this for a couple of bucks)

get a light box, and trace the drawing, or picture

feel your angles, look at your angles

notice the shading.

You can actually do this with anything you want to learn to draw.

What can you find in video's, DVD's and books that you can't find here?

I'm in college learning, and mostly all of what I am learning is done on my own, and here. Teachers give you the tools and the ideas, but the learning comes form you.

I did find an artist that gave me an invaluable watercolor lesson. She showed me tips and tricks, and I loved it. I did 2 more studies of it after she left.

I don't think tracing it is cheating, because you are feeling the lines, and learning angles, it will teach you a lot.

But if you really want the DVD's go for it.

Briar Rose 11-29-2009 08:15 PM

Re: Online Art Courses...
I am changing my mind about these on line tutorials. I think they are a good idea. Some things I just can't teach myself, like painting grass and srubs, and trees. I think that having someone show you is a good idea. At first I didn't think so, but as I get deeper into my compostions, I am chaning my mind. I think they are a good idea. Like a one on one teacher at your own pace.

Lowry 11-27-2014 01:13 PM

Re: Online Art Courses...
I just watched a video on YouTube by Glenn Vilppu, and it improved my figure drawing immediately! I'm not connected to him in any way, but with his guidelines, and using Croquis Cafe on YouTube, you may be pleasantly surprised at the improvement. He teaches you to see the human figure as a 'construction', but my drawings don't look mechanical at all. I was amazed at the difference after watching a couple of his videos. I really enjoyed using ballpoint pen on newsprint. Much more responsive than graphite or charcoal for quick drawings.

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