Can Art Be Taught Online?

Many of my learners are missing their regular art face-to-face art classes as we all switch to online learning, but is it the same?  Is it possible to teach art, as it’s such a practical subject online? What does online learning involve?  Will you get the support and guidance from a tutor if they are ‘remote’?  I aim to address all these questions and give a flavour of how I teach drawing and painting online…

It’s Different 

There is no doubt that online learning is not the same as face-to-face learning, it requires more independent learning, individualised learning and some digital literacy skills.  It is a good idea not to expect the same learning experience from a different format but that is not to say the experience can’t be rewarding and enjoyable.

Many miss the buzz of the creative community in a face-to-face class

There Are Positives

Okay, so you don’t quite get the ‘classroom buzz’ but there are some positives of online learning such as flexibility, improving your IT skills and developing independent study skills.

I have done many online courses in the past few years because I’ve not been able to get to classes with a busy teaching schedule and I’ve come to enjoy the flexibility of learning in my pyjamas, spending time in my home, getting my cooking and gardening done in the breaks and… I’ve actually enjoyed using the tech!

Okay, you are on  your own…but you are not if you can share with an active online community

Couldn’t I Just Teach Myself?

Although it is true that there is a wealth of resources online now and forums full of beginner artists sharing their work and offering tips and advice, an online course is different.  Why? Well being on a course offers you structure and access to a qualified and experienced tutor, remember even if they are at a screen miles away they still have the same skills and knowledge that you benefited from in the classroom.

Ink Drawing

This is something to consider when you sign up for an online course, does the tutor have the experience of the subject and teaching experience?  An art teacher is used to delivering learning in a way that learners can understand and access, an artist who teaches a course online may not have the same teaching skills.

Although they may well be a very talented artist, there is a skill in teaching and those skills are still there with teachers and tutors despite the format of the learning.

Do I Have To Spend All My Time At A Screen? 

Of course there will be some screen time, but drawing and painting is still just that and the subject lends itself to practical project work offline.  Most of your time is likely to be working on projects practically rather than on a PC.

You will come online to share findings, connect with classmates and the tutor and have regular ‘check ins’.  You will also be online to access worksheets, videos and links to websites.  Art is not a subject that requires you be at a computer to create, unless it is a digital art of course.

Succeeding Online 

There are challenges for all involved in learning online, having a suitable work space set up, avoiding interruptions and being disciplined to complete the projects on time to name a few.

The key skills if I had to name them are surprising not the tech skills but having the motivation and discipline to learn independently.

Another trait of successful online learners is that they are willing to share and collaborate online, taking part in discussions, sharing others online their work.

Many enjoy the collaboration online with the tutor and getting to know the other learners but if you are silent and ‘lurk’ online no one can interact with you.  Many learners have become real life friends in person after the online course has ended.

Online has much to offer and is often a more flexible and affordable option for many.  You might be surprised how much time you save travelling to classes, I have certainly noticed my petrol bill plummet and have replaced my daily commute with time in my garden.

Have you tried learning art online?  How did you get on, share your experiences and thoughts below…

2 thoughts on “Can Art Be Taught Online?

  1. Anonymous

    One of the main drawbacks for me doing an on-line course would be my lack of IT skills…I haven’t mastered how to upload photos from my phone or camera yet! And having a less than perfect internet connection might put some people off? I know from my work how frustrating it can be when screens freeze and voices cut out…But then in such difficult and strange circumstances any time set aside to create art must be worthwhile..


    1. Yes the tech can indeed be a barrier, although blended learning allows for working offline with only some online contact. There are ways around some of these issues such as emailing of resources. Most of the online courses I’ve seen recently are very Zoom heavy and I don’t think this is suitable for all online teaching at all, there can be other ways of doing it.


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