I have a big undertaking I have tasked myself with, and that is diving way on into the online world of art and craft classes.
There are a few main players here you may be wondering about: Creativebug, Skillshare, Bluprint (Craftsy), and CreativeLive, so I will try to break each one down and give you a good overview of what to expect with each site, as well as the highs and lows for each.
They also seem to be constantly changing pricing, subscription plans, and models, so I’ll update this post regularly.
You all probably know I am so in love with online classes, and if you haven’t taken any, I encourage you to find something in here that resonates with you. Seriously. How lucky are we to have all of these amazing resources at our fingertips?
Short on time? Click here to scroll down to the tl:dr summary for each site.
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Why Take Online Art Classes
It may seem counterintuitive to take an art class online when it’s so nice to be around other people and get all caught up in the collective art vibe, BUT! Here are the reasons I like (actually prefer) online art classes over in-person classes.
- They are cheaper! So much cheaper. As you’ll see below, some sites charge a monthly fee, while others charge per class. Even those are cheaper than in-person classes. (Then you can spend all your money on piles of art supplies, swoon.)
- You can watch them over and over again. Let’s face it, after watching a demo of a technique or project, you get all excited to jump in and make your own whatever, but then there usually comes a point where you need a little refresher. That’s where the rewind button comes in handy on your online class.
- You get access to world-class instructors. You usually get to choose between 1 or 2 options when you take a live class, but online? HEY THERE, LISA CONGDON, YES I WILL TAKE A CLASS WITH YOU THANK YOU VERY MUCH.
- You get more to choose from. I’ve taken classes I had no idea I was interested in until I saw them listed, and then with flat monthly fee sites, you can try them out without worrying you are throwing money away. It’s so fun.
- You can take classes whenever you freaking feel like it, while wearing the same sweatshirt you’ve been wearing for 3 days, eating Dove chocolates from the bag, petting your dog, and listening to the music you want to have on in the background, and no one is going to see you while you are making art so you can make whatever you damn well please.
- Introvert? Yes, me too. I can only take so much of being out with lots of people.
Where to Take Online Art Classes
I previously did a roundup of some cool online art classes here, but now I’m really going to dive into what makes each class platform unique, and which ones I think are the best for different subjects.
Here is a quick list of the platforms I will be discussing, so you can click on the link to jump down if you are looking for information on a certain site.
Bluprint (Used to be Craftsy)
How much it is: Get your first 2 months of Skillshare Premium for FREE by clicking this link. After that, Skillshare is $8.25 per month if billed annually ($99), or $15 per month if billed monthly.
Skillshare offers thousands of classes in art, design, craft, business, lifestyle, etc so chances are, even though you may be looking for an online art class, you’ll find some other interesting classes to take, too.
I love the bite size pieces of information you get with some of these classes, while others are longer and in-depth.
There are more classes in Skillshare than you could ever hope to get through. From how to paint watercolor animal eyes and Drawing your dream vacation to the 8 week daily course on the art and science of drawing, you are not lacking for amazing learning opportunities.
With that said, there are a handful of junky classes to weed through, but you can always choose to filter by the popular and trending classes to make sure you see the best ones.
Once you sign up, you can see which classes are original to Skillshare when you are browsing. You can also quickly see how many students have taken the class, and how long it is.
Keeping track of your classes is easy in Skillshare. You can bookmark classes that you want to check out as you’re looking around, and even save them to specific lists you create.
Later, you can go back and peruse the classes you’ve saved, mark them as finished, start them, or even give yourself a deadline for when you want to finish them!
I have just begun to bookmark some classes for my 16 year old daughter. She’s expressed an interest in figure drawing, so yep, we’re going to draw some nekkid models together.
When you click into a class, the video will start playing and you’ll see a list to the right of the lessons included. Here, you can read reviews, go to a specific lesson, add the class to your calendar, read more about the teacher, and see what level the class is. You can also scroll down the page to see what other students have made. And of course, upload your own art.
If you are looking for even more accountability and maybe some company, Skillshare offers workshops. Pretty cool, huh?
Browse Skillshare classes by clicking on the magic button below.[mks_button size=”large” title=”Skillshare” style=”rounded” url=”https://skl.sh/29lvQ69″ target=”_blank” bg_color=”#aa00dd” txt_color=”#FFFFFF” icon=”” icon_type=”” nofollow=”1″]
How much it is: Unlimited plan is $7.95/month, while the Unlimited Plus is $9.95/month (or $7.95/month if you pay for the whole year. Both plans give you a 7 day free trial so you can see if you actually like it.
New classes are released every day, there are community galleries and forums, and with the plus plan you get a discount to Joann and one class per month to keep forever and ever.
There are over 1,000 classes, and I want to take about 950 of them. Seriously, I have never wanted to make hand-sewn felt baby booties before I saw this class.
If you’ve seen something on Instagram and drooled over wanting to make it, most likely the class is on CreativeBug. They have the best selection of trendy, fun, very current art-making classes. They’re the Target of online art classes – bringing in the fresh stuff that you must have. All of it.
I like that they really emphasize community by giving behind the scenes looks at their instructors, letting you upload finished projects, and they have 33 classes dedicated to starting a daily art practice. (!)
CreativeBug also has an area where you can store your completed classes, classes you want to take, and classes you are in the middle of. Everyone gets a public profile where you can list your social media links, and choose to show or hide classes you have completed, and those you may be wanting to take next.
You can’t really interact on the platform so much with other people, but you can click through and view someone’s profile to see what they’re all about and follow them on social media if you like. You can also leave comments and respond to comments on each of the class pages.
One big difference between Skillshare and Creativebug is that anyone can be a teacher and upload classes to Skillshare, while CreativeBug works with top established art and craft teachers/artists. You know you’ll always get quality classes here.
This is a peek at my classes, showing classes I’ve partially watched (oops), which is great if you want to see which classes you still need to finish. You can also access your watchlist here (classes you want to take next), or click the explore button to find even more classes.
When you click on a class, you’ll see the description, comments, people who have recently taken the class. Right under the main image is a cool little section where you can keep your own notes on the class, or even download the transcript if you want to refer back to it or even write out your own notes on that.
And yes, this embroidery sampler class is in my Watchlist. 🙂
How much it is: $7.99/month or $79.99/year – if you pay annually you get to choose 12 classes to own forever and ever and you get free shipping in the U.S. on their supplies and kits. Sign up here for the free trial.
They also offer gift subscriptions for 3,6, and 12 months.
Bluprint is what Craftsy has become as of January 2019. They were acquired by NBCUniversal in 2018, and if you were familiar with Craftsy previously, you’ll notice some changes since the rebranding.
Similar to CreativeBug, Bluprint offers over 1300 classes in creative endeavors, focusing on art and craft-making. They have expanded into the lifestyle niche with some Yoga, dance, and healthy eating classes as well.
You can browse their topics from the top menu and when you click a topic you can then see their sub-categories like top picks, projects, patterns, and a shop button.
Yep, Bluprint sells supplies and kits for many of their classes, or to be used on their own. Some of these make it super easy to work alongside the class you want to take, especially if you’re a beginner, so you don’t have to wonder if you’re buying the right materials.
From the top bar, you can also keep track of classes you’ve watched and get recommendations for new classes. You can also save articles and videos from the site to watch/read later, bookmark specific moments from videos, and access your patterns and classes that you own.
Their strong point as of now still seems to be the crafty classes like quilting, knitting, baking, so we’ll see how they evolve in the future. I do like that they have a whole woodworking section.
I like that they have Startup Libraries for some of their topics like knitting, where you can really dive deep into what you want to learn and have everything easily accessible.
Browse Bluprint classes by clicking on the button below.[mks_button size=”large” title=”Bluprint” style=”rounded” url=”http://shrsl.com/1jyz8″ target=”_blank” bg_color=”#aa00dd” txt_color=”#FFFFFF” icon=”” icon_type=”” nofollow=”1″]
How much it is: Varies by class after a free live stream, or $39/month and $299/year. Start for free here.
If you are just interested in a class here and there, CreativeLive has sales on different class topics all the time.
Last up is CreativeLive. This is a different model than the first three in that they stream their classes for free over the course of 2 days, and then if you decide you want to own the class you pay a certain amount for that class.
They also offer a monthly or yearly subscription (The Creator Pass) at $39/month and $299/year. This seems like a huge step up from the other sites, but this can be worth it depending on how you use the site. I think it’s especially useful for people who want to use these classes as alternatives to higher learning institutions, up their game in their careers, start a creative business, or just really deep dive into a particular topic. (When you look at it that way, the price is pretty low.)
I’m a bit biased here, because I really love CreativeLive and have taken some fantastic classes on there (and ended up buying some, too.)
One thing: they are constantly running sales on classes, and I usually mention them in my weekly newsletter if you want to be notified about those (along with what I’ve written the previous week.)
You are learning from the best of the best on CreativeLive, and the classes range from art, design, and craft, up to business & marketing, Etsy, entrepreneurship, and creative mindset.
(Look at these powerhouse instructors!)
There’s more to CreativeLive: they have a community section featuring a photography podcast, stories about real live creatives, a fascinating instructor bio section, a blog, and list of events, where you can sign up to be a member of their live audience. (Yes, please.)
Click into the individual classes and you see: a button for an intro video, the list of lessons, reviews, student work, and whether it is part of a bundle. Bundles are groups of classes that complement or build on each other that you can save money on by buying all together.
Browse CreativeLive classes by clicking on the button below.[mks_button size=”large” title=”CreativeLive” style=”rounded” url=”http://shrsl.com/1jyzd” target=”_blank” bg_color=”#aa00dd” txt_color=”#FFFFFF” icon=”” icon_type=”” nofollow=”1″]
If you’re looking for more instruction or simply some new fun ideas to push your creativity further, definitely try some of these sites and see which ones you like the best. It doesn’t take much time to figure out which platforms and teachers you prefer, and you’ll probably be spoiled after learning from so many truly talented instructors and artists.
Here’s my tl;dr summary of each site:
Who it’s for: Since Skillshare has a little bit of everything, you’ll be able to cherry pick what you want to learn. The vast number of classes means you’ll have to weed through some duds, but you’ll also be able to find some fascinating little classes you won’t find anywhere else.
CreativeBug Who it’s for: If you swoon every time you see a beautifully styled sketchbook shot on Instagram, chances are you’ll love Creativebug. They seem to tip to the art side of the art vs craft scale, while still keeping art-making accessible and fun for everyone.
Bluprint Bluprint was started by a quilter and has always seemed to emphasize quilting, sewing, knitting, and crochet. Even though they offer all sorts of creative classes, the needle arts are where they really shine.
CreativeLive CreativeLive is an absolutely viable alternative to higher learning for creatives. You can absolutely learn enough through the classes on CreativeLive to start a new creative career, or pivot from or enhance your current one. Their world-class instructors and perfectly curated topics make CreativeLive a no-brainer for people serious about upping their creative education.