Help me find my perfect online art class
October 7, 2019 8:05 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for an online art class that meets some particular specifications. Snowflakes within!

I'm looking for an online class or classes that will be the equivalent of a high school AP studio arts sequence (i.e. 2D, 3D, design). As in an AP sequence, I want this class to involve the kinds of assignments that-- if completed -- would probably lead to a portfolio in the end.

Other requirements:
Free or inexpensive (OK if books or supplies are required purchases to complete the course(s), though)
Offered under the aegis of a reputable institution (well-known university, well-known design school, college board, etc.)
Self-paced, enough content for a year or more of regular work
Content equivalent to a solid entry level basic studio art curriculum

Not needed:
Any kind of interactivity, live teaching, or critique
Any kind of credential or completion certificate

Basically, I'm looking for MIT Open Courseware, but for Freshman fine arts majors or promising high school seniors looking to be fine arts majors someday. Hope me?
posted by shadygrove to Education (10 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
Any kind of interactivity, live teaching, or critique - seems essential to a meaningful art experience. But my old school degrees may not be in sync with new methods.
posted by blaneyphoto at 9:49 PM on October 7 [3 favorites]

It sounds like you want the assignments/briefs without the actual interaction or degree at the end. I asked a similar question here years ago and couldn’t find the answers I was looking for so I will be awaiting your responses with interest.
posted by Jubey at 2:51 AM on October 8 [1 favorite]

Can you can elaborate on who the student is and how these snowflakes came to be? Is interaction and/or a certificate not necessary (I.e in hopes it will be cheaper), or is it actually* not wanted*?

This specific combination of things isn't...a thing (as you've noticed) for...Reasons. However, if the end goal is to, say, have a portfolio that gets you into a fine art major or school that is definitely possible! I loved (LOVED) my time at art school, and I would be more than happy to swap some emails with this person and work out a sort of plan/curriculum.

But're going to have to wing it or pay for it.

I found quite a few syllabi googling "AP studio art curriculum".
I can also send through some links to artists on YouTube talking about their backgrounds and applying to art school and
posted by jrobin276 at 2:01 PM on October 8

Hey folks, I definitely understand that what is being asked for here is not equivalent to taking an actual class or receiving an actual art school education. Trust me that I am asking for what is indeed wanted, and try to take the question at face value if possible. (The outcome mentioned -- a portfolio -- is not the primary goal.) Think MIT open courseware but for studio art disciplines. If that truly doesn't exist, pointers to syllabi or similar are welcome.
posted by shadygrove at 4:53 PM on October 8

I am obsessed with art and live in a place without many substantial local offerings, and I'm having a hard time coming up with anything that fits the bill here. The 'reputable institution' thing is tripping me up the most, as nothing of this kind comes to mind at all, but there ARE a lot of very excellent online resources that, put together, can get you somewhere. I think this type of thing is just going to require more legwork than something like a MOOC coding program. For anything more coordinated than online model drawing a la (NSFW — nude models) Croquis Cafe, free is also not really going to be a thing.

It also really depends on what exactly your goal actually is. If it was a high school level portfolio, I'd have some ideas on that based on my art courses in high school and the portfolio I put together based on that. But what kind of art are you thinking? Drawing? Painting? 3D in what sense?

The only thing I can think offhand is to pick up something like Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain and work through the exercises.

Syllabi suggestions are also tough — my high school art assignments were extremely varied and largely relied on elaborate still-life setups in a studio setting. My college foundations year was also really varied and each class was somewhat intensive on its own. In 3D we built massive sculptures out of cardboard, in 2D we made abstract compositions out of construction paper that we cut out with x-acto knives and had to mix hue/value/saturation color swatches with gouache and were graded on how smooth or streaky the swatches were. I took an Intro to Photography class where we basically learned how cameras actually work and then took pretty subpar photos!

All this to say it may be more beneficial to figure out your end goal and make your own online syllabus for the year. More work for you, but luckily online resources of various types are pretty widely available, many of them free, and there are most likely relatively inexpensive books that you can get depending on the discipline you're interested in pursuing.
posted by caitcadieux at 5:57 PM on October 8 [1 favorite]

Sorry to threadsit. Really, the goal here isn't to become an artist. The goal is more along the lines of exposure to what is being taught in reputable studio art programs to first year students. Hence: syllabi, lectures, demos, assignments, but the focus on "reputable institution" is a key requirement. 2D or 3D media or design.
posted by shadygrove at 6:28 PM on October 8

Just to follow up on my last post, I am not certain beyond a shadow of a doubt, but am fairly certain nothing like that exists. Your best bet is to ask a university art department for the course list of their foundations year. You might be able to find the syllabi for some of those courses online afterward.
posted by caitcadieux at 7:16 PM on October 8 [1 favorite]

Here’s a book that lays out how to apply and a plan to build a portfolio for art school. I found it to be really helpful in laying out what I wanted to do and when. Then... I procrastinated, worked some stuff out at the last minute and submitted what I had and got in. Hmm apparently I don’t know how to link. The book is called Getting In!: The Ultimate Guide to Creating an Outstanding Portfolio, Earning Scholarships and Securing Your Spot at Art School by Nancy Crawford
posted by avidreader at 7:52 PM on October 8 [1 favorite]

I honestly think you’re going to struggle finding any reputable institution that will give away their lectures, demos and assignments for a fine arts or design course. Yes, I know other disciplines do it, but there’s a very good reason why a design course wouldn’t. Why?

Because with other disciplines, it’s no skin off their nose to give it away when they know what employers really value is the piece of paper. But for fine art and design, what employers value most is the work, the portfolio. And if the course gives away the information to teach you how to do it without signing up, you can get a job just fine with the work alone and you’ve saved yourself tens of thousands of dollars.

Also, I realise YOU don’t want to build a portfolio but you’re asking for the info to help you towards it, so my comment still stands.

(And yes, having done a design degree myself, I know there’s more to it than that, you get critiques etc which are invaluable but the fact remains that releasing this information into the wild isn’t good for business.)
posted by Jubey at 1:06 AM on October 9 [2 favorites]

I've previously recommended The Education of an Illustrator, and while it doesn't meet your requirements exactly, you might find it helpful. The last 125 pages of the book is a "Syllabi Sampler", a collection of 22 course descriptions from real art college profs. Some are very general, and you'd have to invent your own tasks based on themes and goals they outline. But some describe actual assignments, to varying degrees of detail. But there's no teaching or instruction on technique given. The other missing component will of course be any instructor or peer assessment, as many folks above have mentioned. Some of the syllabi also include suggested readings.
posted by Kabanos at 12:42 PM on October 9 [1 favorite]

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