Learn How To Draw Beautiful Illustrations With 2021‘s Top 11 Best Online Illustration Courses

Best Online Illustration Courses, Certifications + Training
Best Online Illustration Courses

For those who have an interest in illustration and want to further their skills, or are starting from scratch, you’re in the right place!

With the advent of online learning platforms, there are now dozens of great online illustration classes that anyone can undertake, as long as they have an internet connection.

Below, you will find some of the best online illustration courses in 2021 and training which you can also try for free! Let’s begin!

Top 11+ Free Best Online Illustration Courses 2021


1. Character Illustration: Drawing Faces, Figures & Clothing (Skillshare)

Character Illustration: Drawing Faces, Figures & Clothing

Creating memorable characters is a skill and talent that can be used over and over again. In this course, you are shown how to do that and also how to grow that character. Students will also learn how to give drawn figures recognizable personalities that bring characters to life.

Your instructor for this course is Gabriel Picolo who is a professional comic artist and illustrator. For this class, he’ll go beyond the basics of sketching and give you tools to increase your skill level while also keeping it simple.

Some of the subjects of this intermediate-level course will cover figure movement and poses, the four core facial expressions, proper use of color, character poise, textures, clothing, and giving your character’s emotion and personality.

As this course is hosted on Skillshare, students get access to this course for free on their 1-month trial. P.S. 32,000 students and counting have taken this amazing course ????!

  • Intermediate level
  • Professional illustrator teacher
  • 1-hour on-demand video
  • Explores emotion and personality
  • Online community
  • Class projects

Activate FREE Skillshare Trial

2. Illustration & Inspiration: Keeping a Sketchbook (Skillshare)

Illustration & Inspiration: Keeping a Sketchbook

Illustrator Leah Goren is your instructor for this course which takes you into the everyday workday of a working professional. Leah Goren holds a BFA in Design from the Parsons School of Design and is an in-demand illustrator for brands such as Anthropologie, Random House, and Revlon.

A beginner-level course, the classes will focus on ideas which are done by undertaking in the included three exercises. These include drawing patterns, drawing from life, and drawing from the space around you which will set a strong foundation for illustration basics.

Though labeled as a beginner level course, all levels of illustrators are welcome. Any type of drawing tool will work too, from pen, pencil, watercolor, Gouache, and any type of paper. Over 22,000 students have taken this short class.

Being hosted on Skillshare, students get access to this course plus 29,000+ others on their 1-month free trial!

  • Beginner level
  • Beneficial for all levels
  • Professional instructor
  • 32 minutes
  • Works with multiple drawing tools
  • Great inspiration for illustrators

Activate FREE Skillshare Trial

3. Illustration for Designers: Create Your Own Geometric Animal (Skillshare)

Illustration for Designers: Create Your Own Geometric Animal

Up next is a fantastic course that covers Vector illustration using Adobe Illustrator. As Adobe Illustrator is one of the most common programs used for vector illustration, it makes sense to study it if you are working in illustration. This intermediate 90-minute with 16 lessons will help you to become a master of this tool.

The instructors for the course are DKNG designers Dan Kuhlken and Nathan Goldman. DKNG is a design studio working primarily in the entertainment industry with clients that include ABC Family, Disney, and MTV.

Lessons taught by the instructors in this course include basic shapes, adding color, geometric designs, adding texture, and how to research before creating a design.

Again, as this course is hosted on Skillshare, students can take this course and all the other Skillshare classes on this list for free on the 1-month trial! Thank you internet!

  • Intermediate level
  • 1-hour 30 minutes on-demand video
  • Focused on the entertainment industry
  • Uses Adobe Illustrator
  • Professional illustrators as instructors
  • Online community for the over 22,000 former students

Activate FREE Skillshare Trial

4. Illustrating Characters and the Stories They Tell (CreativeLive)

Illustrating Characters and the Stories They Tell

This class teaches how to draw characters as part of an overall larger story. You will also learn the fundamental responses to certain character styles and to use that response to make the characters more relatable.

Under the topics of Drawing, Illustration, and Mixed Media Art, this course discusses the key elements of story creation, storyboards, and what goes into character development. Included in this intermediate-level class are 16 lessons and is 2 ½ hours of on-demand video.

Mary Jane Begin is the instructor who is a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design and is now a professor at RISD in the Illustration Department. She has worked for clients including Celestial Seasonings, Hasbro, and Disney.

Bonus materials are included in this online course taken by over 10,000 students. To learn more, check out my CreativeLive review here.

  • Intermediate level
  • Taught by a full professor at RISD
  • 2 ½ hours on-demand video
  • Instruction concentrates on character development
  • Bonus materials
  • Online community of graduates

Visit Creativelive.com

5. Illustrator for Non-Illustrators (LinkedIn Learning)

Illustrator for Non-Illustrators

LinkedIn Learning (previously Lynda) brings you this beginner-level course on using Adobe Illustrator for drawing. Let’s face it, not all designers are naturally gifted at drawing. But Adobe Illustrator allows those to convert their ideas into a final product with ease.

Even if you’re already very adept at using Adobe Illustrator, this instruction may help you use it better to incorporate drawing into your graphic design work.

In about 3 ½ hours, the class teaches Adobe Illustrator tools and techniques such as creating drawing brushes, drawing with the Pencil tool and the Paint Brush tool, perspective, proportion, and distortion, contour drawing, and the inking and coloring of drawings.

Your teacher is Von Glitschka, a professional designer and illustrator for ad agencies and corporate art departments around the world. Hands down one of the best online illustration courses!

  • Beginner level
  • 3 ½ hours on-demand video
  • Based on Adobe Illustrator
  • Taught by a professional designer
  • Lots of extras included
  • Used by almost 40,000 students
  • Certificate of completion

Visit Linkedin.com

6. The Illustration Masterclass (Udemy)

The Illustration Masterclass

Edu Evolution provides Udemy with the instructors for this beginner-level course that is described as a quick and dirty way to master digital illustration using Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, or Gimp. It’s one of the best online illustration courses for business people wanting to take on their own illustration work.

Edu Evolution has provided illustrations for clients including UNICEF, The World Food Program, and Children International.

Three hours of on-demand video is supplemented by 19 articles and several downloadable resources. Some of what’s discussed is how to use copyrighted or royalty-free images in your own designs. A certificate of completion is provided for the 11,000+ graduates.

  • Beginner level
  • Professional instructor
  • Covers multiple programs
  • Discusses using the various types of stock images
  • Downloadable resources
  • Certificate of completion

Visit Udemy.com

7. Digital Illustration: Doodles to Designs (Skillshare)

Digital Illustration: Doodles to Designs

Everybody doodles. Doodling for an artist, illustrator, or designer is often the beginning stages of what will become artwork for a client. This course will help you take your doodles to the next level, the level that you can get you a paid gig.

Instructor Jon Burgerman is a long-time illustrator and designer, taught at Nottingham Trent University and works in New York City.

An hour of instruction in 16 lessons will show you how to take your doodles, expand on them, and then digitize them in a vector graphics program. The 20,000 students have downloadable resources available with this course.

  • Beginner level
  • 1-hour video
  • Working professionally as instructor
  • Teaches hand drawing and vector graphics
  • Downloadable resources
  • Ideal for small business

Activate FREE Skillshare Trial

8. Pen and Ink Illustration: The Basics for Creating Magical Drawings (Skillshare)

Pen and Ink Illustration: The Basics for Creating Magical Drawings

Pen, ink, and paper are the classic tools of illustrators, this beginner-level course will help you out whether you are an absolute beginner or a seasoned professional illustrator.

Yasmina is an established artist in ink and watercolor. Her teaching method is very helpful for beginning and advanced illustrators. This 30-minute course will take you through all the basics of pen and ink.

You’ll learn what tools and supplies to get, how to hatch and crosshatch, and textures and patterns. 20,000 students have taken this course which includes downloadable resources.

  • Beginner level
  • 30 minutes
  • Established artist as instructor
  • Concentrates on pen and ink
  • 20,000 students
  • Downloadable resources

Activate FREE Skillshare Trial

9. Make Things Make Money: The Business of Illustration and Lettering (Creative Live)

Make Things Make Money: The Business of Illustration and Lettering

If you have a passion for drawing and illustration and want to make money from that passion, this is one of the best online illustration courses to take. 29 lessons in almost 5 hours of on-demand video will show you the basics of turning your art into a full time or part-time business.

Dina Rodriguez is the teacher, she is a commercial artist and an art professor at Pacific Northwest College of Arts. She also designs and illustrates for clients like American Greetings, Wacom, and Millo.

You’ll learn how to attract new clients by means of social media, finding your own process for landing the job, and how to figure out what to charge for your work. Many resources are online for class use. 19,000 students have learned how to make their passion into a real job.

  • Beginner through intermediate level
  • 5 hours of on-demand video
  • Taught by art professor and successful commercial artist
  • Downloadable resources
  • Helps you learn how to get jobs and what to charge for them
  • Accessible offline

Visit Creativelive.com

10. The Complete Drawing & Painting Illustration Course (Udemy)

The Complete Drawing & Painting Illustration Course

Here is a very well rounded course of art and illustration instruction that can take you from an absolute beginner all the way to being able to complete advanced projects. It is 12 full hours of on-demand video that you can study at your own pace.

You will learn the basics of watercolor, pen and ink, graphite, and other media, as well as what to draw or paint on and how to advance beyond the basic level. During the class, you will work on 20 different projects.

Multiple articles and other online resources are available to help you progress. In the 12 hours, you will go through 11 complete lessons.

The instructor is Jaysen Batchelor, a professional freelance artist, illustrator, and designer. This class is relatively new, with about 2,600 students, but Jaysen has assisted over 460,000 art and illustration students with his 12 classes at Udemy.

A certificate of completion is provided when you finish. You also have real access to the instructor for questions and can an online community of former students. Students receive lifetime access.

  • Beginner through advanced levels
  • 12 hours of self-paced on-demand video
  • Students complete 20 projects during training
  • Many online resources
  • Professional illustrator as instructor
  • Certificate of completion

Visit Udemy.com

11. Digital Illustration for Beginners in Adobe Illustrator (Udemy)

Digital Illustration for Beginners in Adobe Illustrator

Vector drawings and professional illustration is within your reach with this instruction in how to use Adobe Illustrator. A beginner-level course, all you need is the program and about 2 ½ hours of time to access the on-demand video at your own pace. And then the time to put into practice all you have learned.

6 articles and various downloadable resources come with the course. It is divided into lessons that cover the Pen tool, the Pathfinder tool, the Shape Builder tool, and the Width tool in Adobe Illustrator. You’ll also learn how to outline, sketch, paint, and add detail to the illustrations and vector drawings.

Taught by Moy Lobito, a working professional artist, you will benefit from real-world views into the business and art of illustrations. A certificate of completion is provided.

  • Beginner to intermediate level
  • 2 ½ hours of on-demand self-paced video instruction
  • Concentrates on Adobe Illustrator
  • Professional artist as teacher
  • Many extra resources
  • Certificate of completion

Visit Udemy.com

Final Thoughts

An illustrator is an artist. Illustration is used to clarify, introduce, or supplement an idea. Especially in advertising is illustration useful, but illustration is also used for articles, blogs, and instructional material for training purposes. The best online illustration courses will prepare you for excelling in this field.

Illustration is more than being able to draw. For many illustrators, having graphic design skills is also beneficial. However, drawing, sketching, and painting are often at the core of an illustrator’s job. Being familiar with these design elements is essential.

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