Online Art Communities and Tutorials for a Non-Beginner?
October 7, 2014 8:21 PM   Subscribe

I'm a blocked artist. I worked professionally in graphic design/animation for many years, but professional burn out kicked my butt and I've barely picked up a pencil (let alone a Cintiq) for well over a year. I'd like to get involved in drawing again, starting with baby steps cuz that's the kind of snowflake I am.

I'm not looking for something like DeviantArt, but more of lesson-based site with a supportive community attached to it. I remember browsing a site years ago that had solid, free tutorials on anatomical drawing as well as a lot of other advanced technique stuff, but for the life of me I can't find it again- all my Google searches are bringing up beginners' and kids' sites.
I realize I'm being awfully broad here, but any suggestions would be helpful. Oh, and I'm already in an "Artist's Way" group, week 2. Hope me, intertubes!
posted by biddeford to Media & Arts (11 answers total) 25 users marked this as a favorite
This doesn't meet the tutorial part of your criteria, but there's always the Sketch Daily subreddit. It's a pretty active community.
posted by gemutlichkeit at 8:38 PM on October 7, 2014 [1 favorite]

Perhaps you were thinking of WetCanvas?

There are also loads of monthly art challenge type things, which artists of all ability levels join. Probably fewer on the professional scale, by a lot, but still a nice variety. This month is Inktober! You can also find it on Facebook, and you can join in by using #inktober in your post.

If you don't do a drawing every day, no one is keeping tabs. But it can be very nicely motivating. If nothing else it will get you drawing and something might click.
posted by Glinn at 9:15 PM on October 7, 2014 [2 favorites]

You might be thinking of Drawspace?

I have not used it myself but it looks like it fits your description
posted by motdiem2 at 10:55 PM on October 7, 2014

Well I've read mixed reviews but a class structure is what Sketchbook Skool is about. It's not free, but not too expensive either. And there is a fair amount of material and instruction intended for non beginners. It seems to be more of an observational 'draw what you see' type class though and that might not be what you're looking for if you're looking to develop your own personal art. Also the feedback is more of the encouraging and motivational variety than any sort of art school critique. Although if you just need to get motivated again that might be just the thing you're looking for.

I haven't personally tried it myself since I'm poorer than dirt but Danny Gregory of Everyday Matters and Cathy Johnson are two of the teachers for the class so I'm very interested in checking it out some day.

Of course there's the still active and huge Everyday Matters Yahoo group that is free. There's a lot of members though, and a lot of beginners too, so it's easy to get lost in the crowd. Overall it's a friendly and encouraging place though. Just like Sketchbook Skool, the focus is on observational drawing and journaling.

Possibly more relevant is Chris Oatley's Magic Box class for professionals looking to refine their existing skills in entertainment industry digital arts; like concept art, character design, cartooning, and video game art/animation. It's structured like an online class with downloadable lessons. The classes are very small and the feedback is very personalized. I haven't taken this class either even though it's very affordable but most artists I've seen talking about it on Twitter love it and say it really helped their art improve.

Based on the industry hangout forum there's an online class offered through a special paid members only forum called Level Up. You upload your assignments to the locked forum and get direct feedback from industry professionals. Like Oatley's class it's meant for artists in the professional media and entertainment industry. Unlike that though they accept students at any level of ability including beginners.

There's a nice subreddit called art fundamentals with weekly art lessons and a sorta loose class structure. There's one advanced artist who has taken on the challenge of mentoring anyone who wants to learn via the lessons he's created, which is pretty cool so far, and he gives great and detailed feedback. Since it's just one artist who's doing this in his spare time there's no telling how long it'll be around though.

I know you said no deviantart but you might be interested in the weekly art challenges tumblr community. There's no lessons but the weekly painting and drawing prompt is fun and it's a nice and accepting place for both beginners and advanced artists with no pressure to do any of the prompts. There's no real feedback but it's a nice site to share art and find other interesting artists to follow on tumblr.
posted by everyday_naturalist at 6:23 AM on October 8, 2014 [3 favorites]

Two more classes that I know nothing about, Illustrator Jake Parker's School of Visual Storytelling, and Craftsy (more craft oriented but some drawing classes offered).

Also the public sections of the forum have a lot of free art learning resources that you don't have to take the Level Up class to use. There are a lot of members though and it's definitely a bit overwhelming.
posted by everyday_naturalist at 6:47 AM on October 8, 2014 [1 favorite]

I keep thinking about other places I forgot to include, sorry for filling up your question.

There's the Skillshare video learning site, mostly on illustration, Photoshop, design and photography but some instruction in traditional mediums.

Not quite direct instruction for artists, but art history and art technique videos free at Khan Academy. Check out these partnered with MoMA.

Impossible to navigate, but a huge wealth of reference material and art tutorials collected on the fuckyeahreferences tumblr.

The pixelovely drawing reference/practice tool has a forum for critique and a blog with tips although I don't know how active/good it is.

If you have a 3DS, the Colors 3d painting app has an active art community, although it's mostly just for fun, and if you're a good artist you'll get a lot of ego inflating votes on the online gallery. It's almost all anime drawing teens (though there's the odd pro who hangs out there). Also every painting has a video of how it was created, stroke by stroke, so it's an inspiring place to go if you just want to watch people paint.

I think finally I've posted everything I know about.... :)
posted by everyday_naturalist at 7:29 AM on October 8, 2014 [1 favorite]

I have no life apparently, here's another art community, drawcrowd. It's more for finished digital painting artwork than learning but the galleries are intimidatingly good and inspiring.

Here's another treasure trove of tutorials and drawing reference/inspiration, the characterdesigh masterlist pinterest board. Some overlap with the fuckyeahreferences tumblr but way easier to navigate.

More active art subreddit communities: artbuddy, learnart, and artistlounge.
posted by everyday_naturalist at 8:46 AM on October 8, 2014 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thank you, everyday_naturalist! That's an amazing collection of links. I have to wait until I get home from work to check them out, but these all look like great resources. Wow!
posted by biddeford at 9:18 AM on October 8, 2014

Along with concept art, check out CG Society.
posted by sebastienbailard at 12:53 PM on October 8, 2014

Probably concept art and CG Society forums would be good places to get feedback from a variety of artists. Sometimes pro artists will upload WIP, streams, or art walkthroughs on their personal or gallery sites for followers. Also, I like to read drawing tutorial book reviews on amazon to get a good idea on which guides are worth the time/money too.
posted by chrono_rabbit at 7:43 AM on October 9, 2014 [1 favorite]

Sustainably Creative doesn't have hardcore lessons, but it does have a community and a really nice mellow focus on using baby steps (one thing a day) to establish a manageable creative habit. I joined and thought it was totally worth it; he also offers coaching sessions (and group sessions?). Bonus if you're an Anglophile ;)

You might also look into The Moonlight Chronicles, Kerri Smith, and Pikaland.
posted by jrobin276 at 4:16 PM on October 10, 2014

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