• Irit Landgraf

Best Online Watercolor Courses

Updated: Dec 10, 2020

Which watercolor courses are the best? Which platform is best to learn how to paint with watercolor? Which courses are for beginners and which for advanced?

These are such great questions and I hope this article will answer them.


Many of us are only able to take online courses, especially now, as I am writing this during the Covid-19 pandemic. I live in a small village in Austria, I have small kids. I want to learn but cannot attend retreats or in person workshops.


Learning online is how I became the artist I am today, and I am so grateful that we have so many options these days.


Now is a good time to mention that I also teach watercolor online, and I would love to have you in my classroom! Head on over to my school Irit Landgraf and I'll see you there!


online watercolor courses how to learn to paint with watercolors
Best Online Watercolor Courses Guide

There are a LOT of free resources, like YouTube, where you can find endless tutorials about watercolors. I am on YouTube myself, and I share free content there.


However, when I want to do a deeper dive and improve my skills, I usually go elsewhere. I don't want to spend time searching and scrolling through thousands of videos that vary greatly in quality and skill.

I am happy to pay to receive the education and teaching I seek.


DISCLAIMER: The opinion shared here is my own. I will do my best to explain my reasoning. I am sure there are many other platforms and teachers out there that I am not familiar with. I have taken multiple classes from each platform or teacher mentioned.

THIS IS NOT SPONSORED.


I would say nowadays online learning is divided into two main categories: teaching platforms with a variety of teachers and subjects, and online schools created by an individual artist.


Let's dive into some of the options and see why you should choose one over the other, or maybe both.

Video content is king, and that is what virtually all websites and artists offer.


The great thing about most of these options is that there are free trials and money back guarantee for many courses, so you really can try different options and see what works best for you. Or, in the case of monthly subscription options, you may have some months that are better for learning than others (for me summers are family time for example), during those you can simply stop your subscription and return when you are ready.



Teaching platforms:


These are great because they offer a variety of teachers with different styles, and sometimes the topics range greatly. For beginners, this is probably a good place to start, especially if you're not sure what exactly you want to learn, or where your passion lies just yet.


There are significant differences between what is on offer, so let's dive in deeper.


Skillshare




What is it?


Skillshare is a huge online teaching platform with thousands of courses on anything and everything. Art, crafts, social media, writing, photography, marketing, you name it, it's on there.

The courses are usually quite short (1-2 hours) and very project oriented. They are made up of shorter videos of usually no more than 10-15 minutes. Bite size courses if you will.


How much?


8.25$ /mo charged yearly (99$)

They offer a yearly and monthly plan (watch out for 50% off sales). Once enrolled you gain access to all their courses.

Once you cancel your subsription you lose access.


Is there an app?


Yes, and it is quite user friendly although for some of the bonuses some teachers offer you will need to use the website and not the app.


Who is it for?


Skillshare is great if you are the kind of person interested in a variety of topics.

If you want to learn how to crochet a rug from sheets, take great pictures of your meals, urban sketch and how to paint a rose in one weekend, you might find this platform works for you.

If you are a beginner that feels comfortable with large platforms and a lot of content you have to sieve through.


If you're only interested in learning how to paint with watercolors, it is still great value.


Cons?


My issue with Skillshare is that it is overwhelming, and there is no strict quality control. Some courses are beautifully filmed (certainly the courses created by Skillshare themselves), and others rather poorly.

If you're not sure which course you want you may find yourself scrolling and searching, trying courses only to discover they are not what you wanted. It can be just as big a time sucker as YouTube.


Anything else?


To help you find your way, here are some great teachers that offer high quality, though sometimes fast paced courses-

Denise Soden

Yasmina creates

Ohn Mar Win

Amarilys Henderson

Sandra Bowers

Ana Victoria Calderón


ArtistsNetworkTV



What is it?


Artist network TV is a subsription based learning platform offering a range of tutorials in fine arts.

The tutorials are in the format of an educational TV program with one long video (1-1 1/2 hours) per lessons. All the artists are well known (to varying degrees) and the videos are clear, calm and professionaly made. It's the Bob Ross of online learning!


How much?


At the time of writing there is a sale, 99$ a year (for the first year, then 199$) or 9.99$/mo (regular price 19.99$).

Once you cancel your subsription you lose access.

You can also buy individual video for around 16.99$ per video, then it is yours to keep.

Is there an app?


No.


Who is it for?


This is the most "old school" and I dare to say (as a 40+) year old, it might feel the most comfortable platform for those of us who grew up before the interenet revolution and social media.

This is a great resource for artists at any level who are interested in one or more discipline of fine art, including watercolor, acrylics, oils, pastel, pencils, mixed media and more.


Cons?


Some of the videos seem a bit outdated in the production quality, but other than that I, for one, really appreciate the calmer pace of this platform.

I think perhaps very young artists may feel they prefer the fast pace and short snippets style of Skillshare.


Anything else?


The great thing about this particular website, is that there are pretty well known artists teaching there, many I haven't seen in other platforms. Let's drop some names- Betsy Dillard Stroud, Linda Kemp, Stephen Quiller, Thomas Schaller, Danielle Donaldson, Jean Haines, Hazel Soan, Julie Gilbert Pollard, Anne Abgott and many more.

Like the other platforms, this one is not specific to watercolors, but it is specific to fine arts.

I was a member for some time and greatly enjoyed the content, I have to be honest and say this website has a real warm spot in my heart, as it feels like attending art school (which I didn't do, but wish I had).


Jeanne Oliver Network



What is it?


The Jeanne Oliver Network is a website that offers now more than 180 courses in a variety of subjects. The woman behind the brand curates everything, and it shows. The classes, while taught by many different artists still all have the same format and classrooms.

There is a wide selection of topics to choose from, from fine arts through mixed media to brush and doll making.


It is different from previous platforms mentioned as this is not subscription based (at this time) and you buy individual classes, but if you buy more than one or grow your library over time, it is all housed under one roof and is very easy to access.


How much?

Each course is priced individually at 62$. Older or smaller courses may be cheaper, there is always an early bird price that is significantly reduced.

Watch out for their annual 50% off sales, that's usually when I stock up on courses I'm interested in.


Is there an app?

No.


Who is it for?

This platform is for artists and crafters of all levels. They offer many free lessons that give you a taste of the courses, also make sure to sign up for the newsletter.


Cons?

Not really. I think once you go there and see the feel and style of the website and courses you will be able to tell pretty fast if it is something that appeals to you.



Domsetika



What is it?


Domestika is a learning platform teaching mainly in Spanish but they are expanding and have courses also taught in English. Most courses I am aware of have English subtitles.

They offer courses taught by different intructors dealing with a variety of topics from painting, sketching to design, craft, ceramics and more.

All the courses are beautifully edited and filmed, that part is definitely consistent and very polished.


How much?


You can choose to buy courses individually and gain lifetime access or sign up for their subscription service and gain temporary access to many courses (not all, it is more limited than Skillshare or the Artistnetwork, however things seem to be changing there as they are growing, so check their website for the most current information). Prices range from 9,99$-19,99 for most courses. Once you purchase, take and rate a course, you will receive 20% off your next course.


Is there an app?


Yes, and it is user friendly, videos can be dowloaded.


Who is it for?


Anyone insterested in the topics offered, but I do feel they sometimes ignore the existence of a learning curve...


Cons?


My personal experience has been a little hit or miss. I found some courses just do not live up to the promise. Some of the teachers are less engaging than I would like.


What is extremely tempting and frustrating about Domestika, besides their intensive advertising on social media, is the ultra polished course promos. The promos are so well made, but sadly sometimes they build a hype the course then does not deliver. Or worse, with some digital graphic design courses, almost mislead the customer into thinking they will be able to make something similar to the amazing graphics and effects in the course promos (that many times are just added to the images created in the course, or images of artwork made by the teacher, that are not taught in the course itself).


Anything else?


One of the best courses I took, that I'd like to share, is by Adolfo Serra, Introduction to Children's Ilustration. It was enjoyable from start to finish and I just loved it. But some of the other courses were somewhat disappointing.




Individual Artists


I personally prefer going directly to the source, and know that my money goes to the artist in its entirety. However, I know it is not always easy to find artists that teach online and paint in a style you want to learn, and are good teachers. Also, many times it is the courses that I'm most interested in, that are outside my budget limits.

Here are some of my favorites, I've taken multiple classes from them and always want more. Some now offer a subscription option that is wonderful, as it is affordable and allows access to multiple classes or tutorials, as well as a community. The downside to that is that once you are no longer subscribed you lose access to the tutorials, but I still think it is worth it and prehaps if you are more advanced superior to buying one course at a time (which are yours to keep).


Most artists offer one or more free courses as a taste of their teaching style, so make sure you search their websites for it!


Angela Fehr - Watercolor Artist





Angela is one of my biggest influences. She is the kindest teacher and I could not be more grateful that she decided to teach online. In 2020 she started the Fearless Artist community, which offers access to all her courses while you're a member, an active and supportive community of watercolor artists. This is an affordable way of taking her classes, as opposed to purchasing them individually.


How much?


30$ USD per month or 300$ a year. You can also purchase courses individually that are yours to keep, the prices vary.


Jean Haines- Watercolor Artist



Like Angela, Jean Haines also started a subscription based school this year. I haven't enrolled in it, but I have read most of her books and taken her classes on ArtistsNetworkTV. She is known all over the world for her loose expressive style that has captured many watercolor artists.

Once subscribed you get access to her many tutorials and a community.


How much?


19,99$ per month or 199$ a year.


Wendy Brightbill- Mixed Media Artist


There is something about Wendy's artwork that just makes my heart skip a beat. I'm so grateful she teaches online. Her color stories are always magical to me. She paints mostly in mixed media, actylics, inks, oils, pastels... Fortunately also sometimes in watercolor. I learned so much from her and continue to.


How much?


Depends on the course, but they are very reasonably priced and she always has early bird specials, as well as occasional discounts.


Toni Burt- Mixed Media Artist



I love Toni's style, it's loose and fun. She offers different courses, they usually focus on creating 4 projects from start to finish.


How much?


Depends on the course, but they are very reasonably priced and she always has early bird specials, as well as occasional discounts.


That's it! I hope you enjoyed this post and found it helpful. I know there are many other great teachers out there and I will do my best to add to this list. The websites mentioned here are how I got to where I am, and I am so grateful for today's technology, otherwise I would still be sitting by myself in my studio trying to figure out how to paint.


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