Central Saint Martins
The capital’s most famous art school offers more than 1,500 short courses to 20,000 students each year. Its contemporary drawing and painting online short course is for passionate painters and artists who want to dedicate time to improving their skills and techniques. Students work with acrylic, oil and pencils as well as a variety of other media. You will also learn other skills such as painting in one sitting, abstract art and making effective compositions. Your work will be critiqued in a constructive and supportive way, by a professional artist as well as others in your group. The course is taught by weekly online sessions with dedicated projects each week.
The course costs £360 for four weekly lessons.
Royal Drawing School
The Royal Drawing School runs over 250 different full and part-time drawing courses each year. ‘Drawing A Head’, a new online course, gives students a variety of ways to approach the formal aspects of looking at and drawing the human head, with the objective of developing their own style and strengthening their practice. Different concepts such as shape and proportion, mass, composition and negative space will be taken into consideration, and various materials and processes will be explored. Students will also be encouraged to draw at every opportunity from both primary sources, such as self-portrait or companions, and secondary sources, such as photography, found images and other works of art.
The course costs £250 for five weekly sessions.
Whether you’re free during the evening, daytime or over the weekend, City Lit has a variety of classes to choose from. The school offers a bright, modern environment for you to get to grips with a new skill and was rated ‘outstanding’ in its last government inspection. New online classes include photography, fashion and textiles, drawing and painting, print, graphic design, interior design and garden design courses. We like the sound of the art history taster, How to Paint: Layers and Application, as well as Drawing and Mindfulness, which mixes art with meditation.
Classes start from £10.
The Little Art School
The Little Art School’s drawing and painting course is designed for absolute beginners. It starts with simple shapes, moving up to more complex portraits in oils. All the art materials you need are included in the cost of the course and will be delivered to your door ahead of your start date. Instead of live weekly sessions, the course suits your hours: you’ll be given access to 30 online lessons, valid for a year, when you sign up. A dedicated Facebook page is the place to head to discuss your development with other members of the coursd. Every month, there’s a live session with artist Joanne, who can answer any questions and demonstrate skills in person.
The course costs £350 for 30 lessons.
ClassBento has hundreds of online classes to choose from, including cocktail making, floral arranging, cookery workshops and photography masterclasses. The team also has a great selection of arts and crafts classes. Grandchildren can have fun with painting experiences at home, while adults can get involved with a range of painting and sketching sessions. Each class is led by an artist and most include all the equipment you need, which will be sent to you in the post ahead of time.
Classes start from £7.
Make Your Own
Make Your Own has a range of creative arts and crafts classes to choose from every month, from teaching beginners how to paint to embroidery masterclasses. The website regularly adds new classes to its timetable, so it’s worth checking the website every now and then. We like the look of the lino-printing virtual class, from £40pp. If you’re looking for something in person, the team has a studio in Borough where you can take part in art classes, creative off-sites and other events.
Classes start from £10.
Sunny Art Centre
If you’re serious about learning how to paint, Sunny Art Centre provides online arts courses led by world-leading tutors. There are several courses to choose from, all of which are taught via Zoom, from basic techniques and portrait painting to life drawing and calligraphy. The classes will teach you how to handle every medium including oil, acrylic and watercolour, and sessions are available every day, including weekends. If you don’t want to commit to a full course, the Sunny Art Centre also runs short three-day masterclasses where you can learn about various techniques used by some of the most famous artists, including Degas, Turner and Michelangelo.
Prices available on request.
St Ives School Of Painting
St Ives School of Painting has one of the most extensive selections of art classes to choose from on this list. Ranging from one-hour webinars and short workshops to courses spanning several weeks or months, each live session is also recorded to watch on demand. From getting started with watercolours to learning how to use oil paints, there’s a number of classes to choose from, suitable for all abilities. If you’re really serious, students can also head down to its studio in Cornwall to take part in its weekend art courses.
Classes start from £12.
London Drawing Group
London Drawing Group is an all-female art and teaching collective that’s been running since 2016. The team usually runs a selection of classes all over London, collaborating with major institutions and galleries, but now also offer a series of online classes to try at home. There are several to choose from every week, from self-portrait masterclasses and life-drawing lessons to feminist art lectures and a two-part special on David Hockney and drawing outside.
Free, donations welcome.
If you want to get children involved in a weekend activity, Art-K hosts Zoom classes and recorded tutorials for families and children. During the seven-week Zoom courses, small groups will explore a different medium or technique with every lesson, aiming to complete an artwork by the end of the hour. Art-K takes inspiration from well-known artists (both historical and contemporary) and uses their artworks as a jumping-off point for each project. Materials lists and Zoom links are sent out in advance of the class, and the materials list is kept as simple as possible, mainly focusing on watercolour, acrylic, ink and graphite. Make use of the free trial before signing up.
Subscriptions cost £25 per month.
London Art Classes
Learn how to draw and paint like a pro with London Art Classes, the south London-based group sessions led by tutor Nick Malone. Nick offers one-hour private art classes, as well as online portfolio sessions which take place over Zoom or Skype. The sessions are designed for those with previous artistic ability and aim to take your skills to the next level. It’s one of the more expensive options on this list, but it’s a worthwhile investment for those looking for professional expertise. Students can learn about contemporary watercolour and acrylic technique, the rules of perspective, and how to create abstract artwork.
Sessions cost £100 each.
Having launched in January 2020, SocietyX has quickly become one of the go-to places for creative classes online. As well as hosting educational talks from creatives and writers, it also hosts a number of virtual art events via Eventbrite. Its signature therapeutic art workshops are designed for those wanting to learn about the restorative benefits of art where you can learn new techniques on mindfulness and painting. The team regularly adds new events to its page – sign up for notifications so you don’t miss out.
Free, donations welcome.