A Big List of Free Art Lessons on YouTube

It may seem like a dubious honor to belong to a select group that includes some of my favorite creative people: art school dropouts. But while a failed endeavor can be painful, many a dropout learns that the experience is valuable not only because failures can fuel future success, but also because the skills, techniques, and ways of thinking one picks up in the first, “boot camp,” year of art school are widely applicable to every creative endeavor.

My favorite art school class was simply called “Foundations.” As the name implies, it dealt exclusively with basic materials and techniques—for joining, painting, sculpting, building, etc. One learns to think of large, complicated, potentially overwhelming projects of as reducible in some sense to materials and techniques. What am I working with? What is the nature of this material and what are the best ways to shape it? What does it want to become?


These are practical, fundamental questions artists ask themselves, no matter how big or high concept their ideas. These days, the materials are likely to be more virtual than physical, or some creative mixture of the two. Still, similar considerations apply, as well as the basic skills of using color, perspective, shadow, and line effectively. In the free video tutorials here, you can learn many of those skills without attending, or dropping out, of art school. They may not provide a complete arts education, but they offer high quality lessons for artists needing to supplement or refresh their skill sets.

At the top, Ahmed Aldoori explains the color wheel and color palettes in Photoshop. In other videos on his YouTube channel, he gives tips on drawing hands (a particular challenge for every artist), artist anatomy, digital painting, and more. Another channel, Draw with Chris, offers free and premium content for both digital and traditional artists, such as the long video on shading technique above. He also has a popular two part series on life drawing (part 1 - part 2).

For artists and animators interested in “semi realistic, manga, and anime style characters, environments, and concept art,” the Lapuka channel features many free short videos on the basics, such as their short intro to "1,2, and 3 point perspective" above. Other videos teach “Multiplying and scaling in 1 point perspective,” “Cutting in 1 point perspective,” “Drawing with a mouse,” and rendering certain popular anime characters.

All of these tutorials come from a list compiled by Deviantart user DamaiMikaz, who has helpfully divided several dozen YouTube instructional series into categories like “Art Fundamentals,” “Tutorial & How to,” “Digital art software,” “Traditional Art,” and others. Whether you’re an aspiring artist, dabbling amateur, working professional, or an art school dropout picking the craft back up, you’ll find what you need here. Know of any other free video resources not listed in this archive? Let us and our readers know in the comments and we'll add the primo picks to the list.

Below find the list created by DamaiMikaz:

Art fundamentals

People that teach you the fundamentals of art. Anatomy, color, perspective, etc
Ahmed Aldoori
CG Cookie Concept

Tutorial & How to

How to's and tutorials on various subjects
Ahmed Aldoori
Art of Wei
Art Prof

Brushboost
CG Cookie Concept
DRAW with Chris
Draw with Jazza
Drawing Tutorials Online
FZDSCHOOL
Happy D. Artist
Imagine FX
Istebrak
Javi can draw!
Jesus Conde
Kienan Lafferty
LevelUp
My Drawing Tutorials
Proko
Sinix Design
Sycra
The Art of Aaron Blaise
The Drawfee Channel
Tyler Edlin
Will Terrell
Xia Taptara

Digital art software

Channels geared towards creating effects in digital art software
digitalfxcube
PHLEARN
Photoshop Training Channel

Traditional art

Channels doing traditional art
agnescecile
Baylee Jae
Happy D. Artist
James Gurney
Lachri Fine Art
Michael James Smith
Robin Clonts
Sara Tepes
Stanley Artgerm Lau
Super Ani
Zimou Tan

Manga / Anime

Channels geared towards drawing manga/anime style 
markcrilley
Nuei Neko
Sycra
Whyt Manga

Timelapse paintings

Just stare in awe
agnescecile
Alice X. Zhang
Apterus Graphics
Asuka111 Art
Atey Ghailan
axel torvenius
BrotherBaston
Brushboost
Chris Cold
Concept Art Sessions
Daniel Wachter
Draw With Rydi
FZDSCHOOL
Ilya Kuvshinov
Ilya Tyljakov
James Gurney
Jesus Conde
Jordan Grimmer
Kienan Lafferty
Kim-Seang Hong
Kiwa
LevelUp
Lina Sidorova
Nuei Neko
Peixel
saejinoh
Sara Tepes
Scott Robertson
SpoonfishLee
Stanley Artgerm Lau
Super Ani
Xia Taptara
zephyo
Zimou Tan

Critique's & Overpaints

People painting over other people's painting. Great to get insight
Ahmed Aldoori
Art Prof
BORODANTE
CG Cookie Concept
FZDSCHOOL
Istebrak

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Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him at @jdmagness

How To Understand a Picasso Painting: A Video Primer

night-fishing-picasso

Sometimes it’s hard for the untrained eye to figure out what exactly is going on in a Picasso.

Fortunately, the artist leaned toward informative, workmanlike titles.

Had he titled “Night Fishing at Antibes,” below, something a bit more opaque---“Untitled No. 2,” say---the uneducated eye might well perceive the narrative as something closer to “Drunken Night in a Conveyer Belt Sushi Joint.”

Even knowing the correct title, my gut still argues that the boomerang-headed lady with boobs like lips is singing karaoke...

But after watching the above video by Evan Puschak, aka The Nerdwriter, I'm willing to concede that she’s standing on a jetty, a likely amalgamation of two of Picasso's lovers.

(The less voluptuous creature standing next to her is his wife, and my gut is eager to know why it looks like she's topless, a point on which Pushak is frustratingly mum.)

His process for understanding a Picasso takes the gut response into account, but then fleshes things out with four additional steps. You can apply them to many other artists’ work too.

  1. First reaction
  2. Content
  3. Form
  4. Historical context
  5. Personal context

It’s certainly helpful to know that the painting was made in 1939.

You probably don’t need the Internet to guess what world events were likely a source of preoccupation for the artist, whose “Guernica” was completed just two years earlier.

Content-wise, Puschak truffles up some interesting geographical references that elude most online analysis of the work. For instance, those purple blocks in the upper left corner now house the Musée Picasso.

There may well be a sixth step. Earlier, when a fan of the Nerdwriter’s weekly video essay series asked Puschak how to understand art, he responded:

All good art is trying to tell you something about your life. Your life… specifically. So understanding art is a process of understanding yourself, and vice versa. In both cases, you only learn by engaging. Watching isn’t enough, neither is reading or listening or thinking for that matter. From my perspective, engagement means writing. An idea that’s been snaking around in my videos for a long time is that we learn by saying, not thinking. You know something when you can articulate it, and for that you need words and sentences and paragraphs. So introspect, write down what your mind is doing. And when you watch a movie or look at a painting, write down how you feel about it. You’ll be amazed how one informs the other, and before long you’ll see some beautiful sparks. 

Below are some of the resources Puschak credits with informing this Nerdwriter episode:

Rudolf Arnheim, “Picasso's Night Fishing at Antibes” The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism -- Vol. 22, No. 2 (Winter, 1963), pp. 165-167

Douglas N. Morgan, “Picasso's People: A Lesson in Making Sense” The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism Vol. 22, No. 2 (Winter, 1963), pp. 167-171

Nina Corazzo, “Picasso's 'Night Fishing at Antibes': A New Source” The Burlington Magazine Vol. 132, No. 1043 (Feb., 1990), pp. 99-101

Mark Rosenthal, “Picasso's Night Fishing at Antibes: A Meditation on Death” The Art Bulletin Vol. 65, No. 4 (Dec., 1983), pp. 649-658

Albert Boime, “Picasso's "Night Fishing at Antibes": One More Try” The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism Vol. 29, No. 2 (Winter, 1970), pp. 223-226

Timothy Anglin Burgard, “Picasso's Night Fishing at Antibes: Autobiography, Apocalypse, and the Spanish Civil War” The Art Bulletin Vol. 68, No. 4 (Dec., 1986), pp. 657-672

Lawrence D. Steefel, Jr., “Body Imagery in Picasso's "Night Fishing at Antibes" Art Journal Vol. 25, No. 4 (Summer, 1966), pp. 356-363+376

You can view the Nerdwriter’s other videos on his website or subscribe to his YouTube channel where a new video is published every Wednesday.

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Ayun Halliday is an author, illustrator, theater maker and Chief Primatologist of the East Village Inky zine.  Her play Zamboni Godot is opening in New York City in March 2017. Follow her @AyunHalliday.

How to Draw the Human Face & Head: A Free 3-Hour Tutorial

Aspiring artists, take note. New Masters Academy has put online a video demonstrating how to draw the human face and head. And it's no short demo. It runs a full three hours. 

Describing the scope and content of the video, the Academy writes:

In this in-depth drawing series, instructor Steve Huston shows you a step-by-step construction of the human head. He covers the basic forms and more detailed intermediate constructs of the head as well as the eyes, nose, mouth and ears.

In this lesson, you will learn how to use basic shapes (boxes, cylinders, spheres) to form the basic structure of the head. This lesson is a fundamental step in learning how to create a solid foundation to place the features of the face on. He will also show you how to construct the basic head in different perspectives...

This video will give you a big taste of what's inside New Masters Academy's library of subscription videos. You can learn more about their service here.

On their YouTube channel, you'll also find videos of (nude) figure models you can use in drawings and paintings. And a series of non-nude models you can use for the same purpose.

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An Introduction to Digital Photography: Take a Free Course from Stanford Prof/Google Researcher Marc Levoy

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An Introduction to Digital Photography: Take a Free Course from Stanford Prof/Google Researcher Marc Levoy

Photography and video have advanced to such a degree that any one of us, for a modest investment of capital, can own the requisite equipment to make productions at the same level of quality as the pros. And most of us already hold in our hands computers capable of producing and editing hundreds of rich still and moving images. What we may lack, what most of us lack, are the skills and experience of the professionals. No amount of fancy photo gear can make up the difference, but you can at least acquire the education—a very thorough, technical education in digital photography—online, and for free.

Taught by Stanford professor Emeritus of Computer Science Marc Levoy, the course above, simply called “Lectures on Digital Photography,” covers seemingly everything you might need to know and then some: from the parts of a digital camera (“every screw”), to the formula for depth of field, the principles of high dynamic range, and the history and art of photographic composition.


Beware, this course may not suit the casual Instagrammer—it requires aspiration and “a cell phone won’t suffice.” Additionally, though Levoy says he assumes no prior knowledge, he does expect a few non-camera-related academic skill sets:

The only knowledge I assume is enough facility and comfort with mathematics that you're not afraid to see the depth-of-field formula in all its glory, and an integral sign here or there won't send you running for the hills. Some topics will require concepts from elementary probability and statistics (like mean and variance), but I define these concepts in lecture. I also make use of matrix algebra, but only at the level of matrix multiplication. Finally, an exposure to digital signal processing or Fourier analysis will give you a better intuition for some topics, but it is not required.

Sound a little daunting? You will not need an expensive SLR camera (single lens reflex), though it would help you get the most out of complex discussions of settings. The topics of some interactive features may sound mystifying—“gamut-mapping,” “cylindrical-panoramas"---but Levoy’s lectures, all in well-shot video, move at a brisk pace, and he contextualizes new scientific terms and concepts with a facility that will put you at ease. Levoy formerly taught the course at Stanford between 2009 and 2014. The version he teaches online here comes from a Google class given this year—eighteen lectures spanning 11 weeks.

Find all of the course materials—including interactive applets and assignments—at Levoy’s course site. As he notes, since the course has “gone viral,” many videos embedded on the site won't play properly. Levoy directs potential students to his Youtube channel. You can see the full playlist of lectures at the top of this post as well.  For more resources in photography education—practical and theoretical, beginner to advanced—see PetaPixel’s list of “the best free online photography courses and tutorials.”

Lectures on Digital Photography" will be added to our collection, 1,250 Free Online Courses from Top Universities.

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Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him at @jdmagness

How to Get Started with Yoga: Free Yoga Lessons on YouTube

If you’ve dipped even a toe into the yoga world lately, you’ve perhaps noticed controversies raging from East to West about the Hindu practice of meditative postures (āsanas). Is yoga religious? If so, does practicing it in schools violate religious freedoms; does the Indian government’s endorsement of yoga slight Indian Muslims? Is yoga an ancient spiritual practice or modern invention? Is Western yoga “cultural appropriation,” as both campus groups and Hindu groups allege? Is there such a thing as “Real Yoga” and is “McYoga” killing it?

These questions and more get debated on a daily basis online, on campus, and in statehouses and councils. No one is likely to find resolution any time soon. However, you may have also heard about the health benefits of yoga, trumpeted everywhere, including Harvard Medical School and the Mayo Clinic, and you can safely ignore the politics, and learn the physical practice in any number of ways.


Like millions of other people, you may find that it helps you “fight stress and find serenity” as Mayo writes; or become a “mindful eater,” boost “weight loss and maintenance,” enhance fitness, and improve cardiovascular health, according to Harvard.

Various teachers and schools will make other claims about yoga’s practical and spiritual effects. These you are free to take on faith, experience yourself, or check against scientific sources. And when you’re ready to get out of your head and connect your mind and body, try a yoga class. Skip the gym and Lululemon. You don’t even have to leave your home or get out your wallet. We have several free online yoga classes represented here, from reputable, experienced teachers offering poses for beginners and for experienced yogis, and for all sorts of ailments and types of physical training.

The first, Yoga with Adriene, opens things up gently with “Yoga for Complete Beginners,” at the top, a 20 minute “home yoga workout” that requires no special props or prior experience. From here, you can browse Adriene’s Youtube channel and find playlists like the 38-video “Foundations of Yoga” and 10-video “Yoga for Runners” sequence, further down.

Should Adriene’s approach strike you as too casual with the yogic tradition, you might find the instruction of Sri K. Pattabhi Jois more to your liking. His one-hour “Primary Series Ashtanga” video, above, opens with this disclaimer: “The following video is NOT an Exercise Video. It is intended for educational, artistic, and spiritual purposes only.” The text also warns that Master Sri K. Pattabhi Jois’ yoga practice is taught “to six highly experienced students,” as will become clear when you watch his video.

Other courses---from yoga video series by Kino Yoga and Yoga Journal---gesture to both ends of the purely fitness-based and purely spiritual-based spectrum, and both have beginner series, above and below. It's up to you to decide where you stand in the yoga wars, if anywhere. You’ll find, if you look, no shortage of reportage, think pieces, academic articles, and rants to fill you in. But if you want to learn the physical practice of yoga, you needn’t look far to get started. In addition to the resources here, take a look at some curated lists of online yoga classes from New York Magazine, Huffington Post, and Elle UK.  Thanks go to our Twitter followers, who gave us some helpful hints. If you have your own tips/favorites, please drop them in the comments section below.

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 Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him at @jdmagness

Change Your Life! Learn the Japanese Art of Decluttering, Organizing & Tidying Things Up

Custom dictates that you should observe July 4th---America's Independence Day---outdoors, eating hot dogs, drinking beer, waving tiny flags on Main Street, and viewing fireworks.

Why not liberate yourself from the tyranny of the traditional by spending a portion of the day indoors, communicating affection to your clothing, as organizational expert, Marie Kondo, author of the best selling book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, does in the instructional video, above?


Most of us who dwell in small New York City apartments are already familiar with her teachings. Hers is a take-no-prisoners approach to clutter control. Any item that doesn’t “spark joy”---be it a pair of stretched-out sweatpants, a long ago graduation present, a ream of children’s artwork, or a nearly full bottle of slightly funky-smelling conditioner---must be discarded immediately.

(Note to self: ask Mom whatever became of my Spirit of ’76 watercolor. She had it framed because it won a prize. Best Bicentennial Observance by a 4th Grader or some such. Things like that don't just vanish into thin air, unless…)

The total makeover Kondo proposes is an arduous, oft-emotional, week-long task. Don’t blow your entire July 4th holiday trying to complete the job.

Instead, take an hour or two to refold your clothes. New Yorkers’ drawers are where Kondo’s influence is felt most deeply. Whether or not we subscribe to her practice of treating each garment like a treasured friend, our underwear definitely has more room to breathe, when not on active duty.

See below for a graphic demonstration of how to best fold shirts, pants, and several species of undies, using Kondo’s Kon-Marie method.

And don’t be tempted to decamp to the backyard barbecue when you run across challenges like overalls or baby onesies. Watch below as Kondo tackles a shirt with kimono sleeves, a pair of Edo-style mata hike pants, and a sweater with a marked resemblance to a Thneed.

If you're beginning to feel like fireworks may be overrated, Kondo delivers a 45-minute overview of her philosophy as part of the Talks at Google program below. Or lose yourself to an entire playlist of Kondo folding videos here.

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Ayun Halliday, author, illustrator, and Chief Primatologist of the East Village Inky zine, will be reading from her travel memoir, No Touch Monkey! And Other Travel Lessons Learned Too Late at Indy Reads Books in downtown Indianapolis, Thursday, July 7. Follow her @AyunHalliday

How to Build Stuff: A Free Short Course on Making Prototypes by Entrepreneur Dan Gelbart

Dan Gelbart, a Vancouver-based electrical engineer, helped create a company called Creo, which Kodak bought in 2005 for roughly $1 billion. If you read Gelbart's short autobiography here, you can learn about the arc of his career: About how, during his early years, he started working for a tech company that produced high-speed film recorders. And about how Gelbart told the company that he could build a better film recorder, at a cheaper price. And he could do it in the basement of his home. He explains:

After a crash course in optics, I changed the design [of the recorder], but surprisingly managed to deliver a shippable prototype in 12 months with only one person working with me. I had a small metalworking workshop at home, many of the machines home-built, and this allowed me to fabricate most of the parts for the prototype myself.

I now have a wonderful CNC machine shop at home, but I don't have the boundless enthusiasm of those days. However, I still build all my prototypes myself, finding it to be faster than sending out drawings and waiting for parts.

Above, you can watch what Gelbart calls "A Short Course on How to Build Stuff," a series of 18 videos designed for students and scientists who want to build prototypes very quickly, using machines that are easy to master. Writes Make magazine, the "series begins by demonstrating how to use and modify his favorite shop tools, and reveals all kinds of enlightening shortcuts that make complicated assemblies trivial to produce. There is a true art to uncomplicating things, a rarity for some engineers."

You can access the complete playlist here. Individual topics include:

1. Introduction
2. Safety
3. Waterjet
4. Bending
5. Spot Welding
6. Coatings
7. Presswork
8. Enclosures
9. Materials
10. Flexures
11. Non-metals
12. Plastics Forming and Casting
13. Large Structures
14. Brazing
15. Mill and Lathe
16. Machining
17. High Accuracy
18. Design

Gelbart's course will be added to our collection, 1,250 Free Online Courses from Top Universities.

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